My friend wants to get a bass guitar and asked me to help him since Ive been playing guitar for 3 years. His budget is $200, he wants to play a lot of hard rock such as Motley Crue, Ozzy, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, etc. I suggested him to get a better amp rather than better bass because of tone and the fact that a bass sounds better with more wattage ( usually ). Any suggestions of what he should do?
My Gear:
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster
Epiphone Sheraton II
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue
Teese RMC Picture Wah
MXR Carbon Copy
Keeley Modded TS9
Korg Pitchblack
Schecter Omen 6
Dean Performer Acoustic

Kudos to SX.

Good stuff. After that save up and buy a tube preamp. It will make up for whatever is lacking in tone with that setup
Member of UG's Keyboardists club. PM 4string-tsurigi to join.

Jimbo Wallace of the Godlike, Archaic, But Sexy Instrument Players. PM me to join.
For $200 you really can't get a decent rig, especially for hard rock. On occasion, you'll find a Fender Squier Jazz bass for around that price used (see Craig's List)--that's the best he can hope for in that range. Don't bother with Rogues and cheap knockoff basses--they may look flashy, but when you get them home, the intonation may be way off, the action may be too high to fix, and/or the neck may warp after a few months. Get a solid bass that has a good reputation. The Squier Jazz is a decent bass--it looks good, and it is versatile enough to tackle most forms of rock music.

As far as a bass amp--well, he'll have to save a bit more and get something that sounds decent. Crate, Peavey, Pignose and Danelectros all make small and cheap amps that sound good on a budget.

I agree that if you get a crappy amp, you get crappy sound. But I also know that if you buy a cheap bass with lousy action and tone--he'll lose interest fast. Get a good bass, get it set up professionally with good action, and he'll be very glad he did.

Squier makes a decent setup for beginners, but it comes with a Precision bass, not a Jazz bass. It will limit his versatility somewhat, and the neck may be too wide for his liking.

Ibanez makes a decent pairing of beginner bass and amp. So does Yamaha. The very first bass he buys will govern how he will feel about bass playing for the rest of his life. Make sure he gets a bass that he feels comfortable with, and one that he feels a "vibe" with straight off.

My first bass was a Fender Squier Jazz bass. I still own it--I put in EMG pickups to replace the stock pickups, and it plays and sounds great. It was made in 1986 in Japan, so the quality of the build was wonderful. I wish you could find a deal like that for your friend--most cheap basses are made in China or Indonesia these days, and their craftsmanship is nothing like a good Japanese made bass--they are flawless.

A lot of beginner basses (like the Fender Squier BULLET basses) are eye candy, but beware of the bodies of the basses made from pressed wood! They will warp easily and will cause undue sorrow. Get a bass that is solid wood if possible.

Once in a while, you'll come across a gem--a Carvin bass made after 1995. These basses are one of easiest basses to play--they have superb craftsmanship and are made in the USA. Their necks are the straightest and the most comfortable you'll ever come across for the price range. I've seen them for $300 on occasion n Craig's List. They are worth every penny.

By the way--you know what happens when you run a crappy bass through a loud amp? You get a LOUD crappy bass sound! This is especially if the bass has hum (from poor shielding, a cheap pickup, or poor wiring). If the neck and body are good, but there is bad hum coming from the bass, it can be fixed. Get a soldering iron and some copper tape (snail repelling tape from Orchard Supply will do wonders) and shield the inner cavity with the copper tape. Solder the tape to ground with a wire. No more ground hum! Get a replacement pickup that is worth the tone, like a Seymour Duncan, an EMG, a Lindy Fralin (expensive handmade pickups), or some other decent pickup and replace the crummy stock pickup and the cheapo pots (potentiometers). There are websites dedicated to this stuff--do some research. You can make a cheapo crappy bass sound pretty good with a little electronics skill.

The other option is to buy a bass kit. Have your friend buy something like this:


With the skills, he can have himself a custom made bass at a fraction of the cost--with the satisfaction of having built it himself!

Good luck!
Jaco de Lucia.

The Zen of Duh: How low can you go? Zero Hertz. That's the lowest anyone can go. Just turn off your bass amp and not play.

Q-tuner PUs (0X0 configuration) and HG Thor Labs for the best fretless bass tone. MWAH FACTOR!!!

Those SX basses do look nice for the price. If they have a good reputation and have necks that do not warp after a few months of drying in the US weather--I'd say go for it. Worst case--you can try to replace the neck with a genuine Fender neck down the line, and get better pickups as well. Good call!
Jaco de Lucia.

The Zen of Duh: How low can you go? Zero Hertz. That's the lowest anyone can go. Just turn off your bass amp and not play.

Q-tuner PUs (0X0 configuration) and HG Thor Labs for the best fretless bass tone. MWAH FACTOR!!!