#1
Hello UG!

I've been playing guitar for a year, my brother is starting drums, and now my youngest bro wants to learn bass.

And I really have no idea how to get going on this. Can anyone recommend any beginner basses/amps for him? Can he use one of my guitar amps?

And our parents would really prefer if he could teach himself. Can someone recommend any self teach books?

What does he need to learn for his specific style? He likes pop-rock (sadly, yes, that exists) but my other brother and I are trying to convert him to hard rock and metal.

Thanks in advance.
#2
Any of the vintage modified basses by squire would be a good starting point (if he's into poppunk stuff I'd suggest a precission or PJ model) cheap amps (in my experience) aren't any good so he might have to aim a bit higher on that one. As for reading material I haven't come across a bass book yet that has actually had any impact on me. I leant from scratch from just jamming with guitarists and lifting tabs of this site
#4
I would try to get them to spring for at least a few lessons. If anything, just to get his technique going in the right direction.
I agree with vintage modified Fender squires, they are great.
As for the amp? Maybe try and find something used with at least a 12 inch speaker.
Try to avoid any of the bass and amp bundles as each component is never as good as it should be.
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals
#5
A used Squier Vintage Modified Precision or Jazz bass would be more than adequate. Should be able to find a nice one in the $150 price range. New Squiers depreciate by about 50% so a used one can be sold for close to what was paid for it.

If the budget is really tight then a used Squier Affinity Series Precision or Jazz bass can be had for $75. Some people give Affinities a bad rap but they're actually a viable option for a beginner.

The amp is more problematic. I see bass practice amps (15-25 watts) in pawn shops all the time for $25-$30, but while fine for practice they are too weak for playing in a band. Also, most of these practice amps have a really blah tone.

Realistically you need at least 200 watts (and preferably 300 watts) to cut through in a band setting. Running bass through a guitar amp is a recipe for destroying the speaker in the guitar amp. The amp portion won't care though so if you have a guitar head then it can be used to power a bass cabinet. Not ideal but it will work OK until your bro sees the need to upgrade. Used 1x15 or 2x10 cabs can be found for as low as $100.

Add a decent instrument cable, guitar strap, gig bag, and new set of strings and it's possible to get started in the $300-$350 range. If you're able to spend more then it's even better.

You can also get lucky and find someone who is quitting bass and selling his rig. For example, in my area there is a guy on Craig's List selling a Hartke 350 watt bass head with a 2x10 cabinet , and a Lotus PJ bass guitar with a gig bag for $300. You just gotta start looking.
#6
Quote by VeloDog



Realistically you need at least 200 watts (and preferably 300 watts) to cut through in a band setting. Running bass through a guitar amp is a recipe for destroying the speaker in the guitar amp. The amp portion won't care though so if you have a guitar head then it can be used to power a bass cabinet. Not ideal but it will work OK until your bro sees the need to upgrade. Used 1x15 or 2x10 cabs can be found for as low as $100.


Really have to disagree with the "at least 200 watts" comment. That BXR 60 in my signature has been used in full band situations for practice and small gigs for over a decade. It only clocks in at 60 watts, and you can hear it fine. I only turn the volume up halfway at most.
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals
#7
When I started playing bass, I was able to get a Squier Bronco for about $120 and a 10-watt Acoustic bass amp for $90. The "Bass Guitar for Dummies" and "Everything Bass Guitar" books gave me the bass-ics (arf arf) and I just went from there.

So yeah, it's possible to teach yourself and get a budget practice rig but I would still agree with getting at least some lessons, especially if you have zero musical training. I'm pretty sure my technique would make a "real" player cringe, but whatevs.
#9
Quote by VeloDog
A used Squier Vintage Modified Precision or Jazz bass would be more than adequate. Should be able to find a nice one in the $150 price range. New Squiers depreciate by about 50% so a used one can be sold for close to what was paid for it.

If the budget is really tight then a used Squier Affinity Series Precision or Jazz bass can be had for $75. Some people give Affinities a bad rap but they're actually a viable option for a beginner.

The amp is more problematic. I see bass practice amps (15-25 watts) in pawn shops all the time for $25-$30, but while fine for practice they are too weak for playing in a band. Also, most of these practice amps have a really blah tone.

Realistically you need at least 200 watts (and preferably 300 watts) to cut through in a band setting. Running bass through a guitar amp is a recipe for destroying the speaker in the guitar amp. The amp portion won't care though so if you have a guitar head then it can be used to power a bass cabinet. Not ideal but it will work OK until your bro sees the need to upgrade. Used 1x15 or 2x10 cabs can be found for as low as $100.

Add a decent instrument cable, guitar strap, gig bag, and new set of strings and it's possible to get started in the $300-$350 range. If you're able to spend more then it's even better.

You can also get lucky and find someone who is quitting bass and selling his rig. For example, in my area there is a guy on Craig's List selling a Hartke 350 watt bass head with a 2x10 cabinet , and a Lotus PJ bass guitar with a gig bag for $300. You just gotta start looking.


I don't think he'll play gigs for a while.

Um, why a few lessons? I've been teaching myself for a year, and from watching actual artists and instruction videos, my technique is okay (although I tend to underestimate solos).
#10
Quote by CarsonStevens
When I started playing bass, I was able to get a Squier Bronco for about $120 and a 10-watt Acoustic bass amp for $90. The "Bass Guitar for Dummies" and "Everything Bass Guitar" books gave me the bass-ics (arf arf) and I just went from there.

So yeah, it's possible to teach yourself and get a budget practice rig but I would still agree with getting at least some lessons, especially if you have zero musical training. I'm pretty sure my technique would make a "real" player cringe, but whatevs.


Sorry if I sound like an idiot, but what's an acoustic bass?

Thanks for the books, I'll check those out.
#11
"The problem with teaching himself is that bad habits in technique can cause health issues down the line."

With the amount of online help nowadays you don't need a degree in music to just jam so that comment seems a bit redundant. No 2 bass players play the same and surely it better to learn from mistakes rather than being a clinical bass machine. I've been playing for 12 years and can't really say I've had a lesson seeing as my bass teacher at high school was useless.
#13
Quote by toateridax2010
Sorry if I sound like an idiot, but what's an acoustic bass?

Thanks for the books, I'll check those out.


Acoustic bass amps. It's a brand name.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass-amplifiers/acoustic

I wasn't looking for anything high-end because when I record I just plug directly into the board, and when I play live we use a PA.
#14
I'll chime in on the technique issue... I learned without any lessons. I just watched the bass players who inspired me quite closely. I also revised my technique several times and following some reading made sure that I wasn't putting my hands in any unnatural positions and was as relaxed as could be. With all that said, as I was learning I was playing with more experienced players who would likely have called me out on bad technique, and I think I was generally quite lucky to have ended up with a decent technique.

I'd definitely heed the warning. You really can mess up your hands and wrists by not doing it properly, and that will make life very unpleasant (as well as prevent you from being able to play the instrument very often).
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#15
Quote by toateridax2010
Um, why a few lessons? I've been teaching myself for a year, and from watching actual artists and instruction videos, my technique is okay (although I tend to underestimate solos).


See... the problem with instrument technique is like anything else. You have to know what you're doing to be able to identify problems. You might think that you have good technique, but in actuality you could be lacking the experience to realize that your technique isn't so great. The fundamentals are the worst place to develop bad habits. And like others have said, bad habits can sometimes lead to physical harm, such as people that learn to pick from their elbow.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#16
Quote by obzen.lf
"The problem with teaching himself is that bad habits in technique can cause health issues down the line."

With the amount of online help nowadays you don't need a degree in music to just jam so that comment seems a bit redundant. No 2 bass players play the same and surely it better to learn from mistakes rather than being a clinical bass machine. I've been playing for 12 years and can't really say I've had a lesson seeing as my bass teacher at high school was useless.


Having a few lessons is hardly the same as having 'a degree in music.' Being pointed in the right direction is a huge plus to have. I've been playing 15 years (not that it matters), teach and get paid to play. I'm all for pushing the boat out, being innovative, but little things like making sure your wrists aren't at too much of an angle, using your thumb as a pivot point on the neck etc... it's hardly making someone a 'clinical bass machine.' It's protecting your assets so you don't lose them. You've been playing 12 years, but how effective has your practice time been? Truly? A teacher can also help guide that practice time outside of the lesson. You can be playing for 12 years, but if that practice time isn't directed, analysed, improved upon and revisited, you could well be hindering your technical development. I appreciate we all learn at different speeds, but the key to practice is to be efficient with it. The better you practice (not more), the better you'll be able to transfer what's in your head onto the fretboard.

Is it good to learn from mistakes? Absolutely. Is it better not to make the mistakes in the first place? They do say prevention is better than the cure. The problem with learning from mistakes is twofold- the first is realising you're making a mistake. If you haven't had the direction, are you actually going to notice you're making a mistake? And secondly, if you do realise, how ingrained is the bad habit? New learners are always more receptive than those who have been playing longer, because bad habits haven't taken root.
#17
The second paragraph was what I was getting at.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#18
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Is it good to learn from mistakes? Absolutely. Is it better not to make the mistakes in the first place? They do say prevention is better than the cure. The problem with learning from mistakes is twofold- the first is realising you're making a mistake. If you haven't had the direction, are you actually going to notice you're making a mistake? And secondly, if you do realise, how ingrained is the bad habit? New learners are always more receptive than those who have been playing longer, because bad habits haven't taken root.

Threefold - if you **** up the mobility/dexterity/strength of your hand playing with bad technique (which is eminently possible in the long term) you might not get the chance to learn from your mistake at all.
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