#1
Hey all,

I'm kinda new to these forums, I've been checking them on and off for a while but never signed up. The last real music/instrument related forum I was an active member of was Taborama, before the owner closed it down due to all the tab killing hype and law suits.

Anyhow, I myself am a 20 year old dude, and a guitarist by that. I've been playing guitar since I was about 15, but I'm not very good at it lol. It's been quite a while since I've picked up one of my axes, mainly because I'm getting extremely tired of the ''guitarist scene'' down here (pre-pubescant kids all saying ''I'm a better guitarist than you because I can play satch like #3969161''), that, and I just cant seem to vocalise what I want to with guitar anymore.

I want to try bass. I've been digging it for a long time, but I recently decided that I actually want to purchase one, mainly because I can get an amp for free (my cousin has an ol' ass Ampeg that he never uses), and since Tool and Gorillaz came in to my life I just really wanna play this extremely ''moody'' instrument. It appeals to me so much because, from what I've noticed, if used properly it can really set so much mood and sphere into a song. Now my questions are:

-I've been playing guitar for about 5 years, and I am quite fast in the fingers (i.e can ''shred'' a bit, sweep picking etc.). I'm also pretty used to stuff like natural harmonics, pinch harmonics etc. What would I need to focus on when playing bass, after playing guitar for 5 years?

-What would be a nice bass to start out with? I live in the Netherlands, and would have about 400 euro to spend on one (2nd hand is an option). I want a bass guitar that I wont have to sell of directly to get a better one, if it turns out that I like playing the bass. Preferably a versitale instrument, probably bolt on, and a good balance between attack and smoothness (I know its not possible to get a Tool like tone at 400 euro's, but something along those lines). If I were to play bass in a band I would want to make it stand out a bit, instead of being on the background constantly so I need the tone to accomplish that. I'm also not a fan of the THUMP THUMP kind of things that just keep on crushing, I'de like attack when playing short notes, and smoothness when sustaining notes.

Right I realise this is a wall of text, but if any advice is given I thank you in advance!
#2
ah , mooi. Wilkommen.

Try out as many basses in your price range, and decide for yourself. It's YOUR instrument. If you're gonna be playing it, you have to feel comfortable with it.

Secondly, a bass is a bass. Don't look at it from a guitarist's POV technique-wise.

Thirdly, your plectrum skills may be good, but they'll need to be adjusted for bass, and learn how to play fingerstyle, be as versatile as you can be.
#3
Yeah, you really need to change the way you look at the bass. If you look at it like a guitar, you're sunk. You need to learn pick-style on bass and fingerstyle. As well, as more than likely strengthen your fretting hand to get accustomed to the thicker strings. Other than that, it's all how you view making music with the instrument.

Like Ben said, try out all the basses in your price range, it's your bass no one should guide you to like one over the other. It should be %100 your decision.
#4
Yes, we can all recommend our particular favorites for bass, but ultimately you have to live with the instrument. I imagine when you bought your first guitar, you read some reviews and then tried out a few, and then pick the one that felt and played right to you. The same applies to your first bass. I happen to love my Ibanez and Stingray, but they aren't the basses for everyone.

On playing bass after playing guitar. You already have some good basic knowledge that will transfer well (chords, fret knowledge, music theory etc etc), but there is a significant change in how you approach your playing and the technique. Bass is much more rhythm oriented than guitar, and your timing needs to be so rock solid. You are the bridge that spans the drums and the rest of the band and lays down "the bottom".

If you played guitar fingerstyle, playing bass finger style is different, and you need to make some physical adjustments. The same can be said for playing with a pick.

Welcome to the land of bass---its so much more fun in the low end!

And btw, I went from guitar to bass for many of the same reasons you mentioned, and I have never regretted it.
#7
I'd suggest you look into the Fender Jazz and Precision basses. If you can, play both the Mexican made and American made ones. The American one is going to be out of your price range, but it's a good standard for comparison.

Also, Ibanez makes some pretty decent basses for a small amount of money.
2006 Warwick
MASTODON
#8
welcome,

if your looking for a very versatile bass then maybe you could get a used fender j bass, that way you probably have a bit of money left over if you want to buy any pedals, etc. but as delirium and jazz_rock said, try all the basses in your price range and see which one best suites you.

if I were i would carry on playing with a pick seeing as youve been playing guitar for 5 years, but then you should try fingerstyle aswell.
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#9
Hey all,

Thanks a lot for all the replies! I got some very usefull information out of this. I'll definetly be checking out the Fender basses, I always liked them a lot.

And indeed when it comes to guitar playing I used alternate picking only, I actually envisioned it to be somewhat similair on the bass but apperantly its not =p I'll definetly be looking into finger style aswell as slapping/popping. That Fender bass that was linked seems really interesting also.

I know it will always be the bass I choose myself, but when it comes to quality/just a good bass I really don't know a lot. I have extensive knowledge about how guitars are built, which wood delivers which tone and what pickups I love, but I have 0 of this for the bass so in a sence I'm really starting over. However, because I always really want to know what I'm getting myself in to, I WANT to know this stuff about Bass guitars aswell =)

For instance, I know Aldar delivers a brighter, slightly mid orientated tone for guitars. Mahogony delivers the darker, ''smoother'' sound and in combination with a Duncan Jeff Beck it sounds awesome. For bass, I have no idea which wood will deliver which tone <_< As well as pickups. I'm seeing really funky pick up configurations (just like the Fender bass that was linked), with like 2 pole pieces per pick up, and then a pick up below it with the other 2 pole pieces in what would be called the bridge position O_O

I'm a bit clueless on these parts, so any information would be appreciated once again =) I'm gonna check those Fenders out now tho! Soon as my Gibson sells I'll start annoying my local guitar store (Dirk witte, amsterdam) for a nice Bass.

EDIT: Also, is it wise to start out with a 5 string, or is it better to begin with a 4 stringed bass? I understood that more strings on a bass is a bit different from guitar, hence the question.
Last edited by JaeSwift at Oct 13, 2007,
#10
Quote by JaeSwift
-I've been playing guitar for about 5 years, and I am quite fast in the fingers (i.e can ''shred'' a bit, sweep picking etc.). I'm also pretty used to stuff like natural harmonics, pinch harmonics etc. What would I need to focus on when playing bass, after playing guitar for 5 years?

Rhythm. Most lead guitarists have crappy rhythm, and when you start on bass you'll probably find yourself not being able to 'lock in' with the beat. Practice simple lines with a metronome and a drummer. You'll also have to get used to thicker strings, longer scale length, playing with your fingers etc. but that won't take long.

Also, don't worry about getting things like slap until you have a good rhythm, that's the most important thing for bass.
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#11
Quote by JaeSwift
For instance, I know Aldar delivers a brighter, slightly mid orientated tone for guitars. Mahogony delivers the darker, ''smoother'' sound and in combination with a Duncan Jeff Beck it sounds awesome. For bass, I have no idea which wood will deliver which tone <_< As well as pickups. I'm seeing really funky pick up configurations (just like the Fender bass that was linked), with like 2 pole pieces per pick up, and then a pick up below it with the other 2 pole pieces in what would be called the bridge position O_O


I'm no wood guru, but the tone of woods doesn't change as you make the piece of wood bigger and put bigger strings on it. Alder, is a fairly bright sounding wood, it's also kind of the industry standard almost thanks to the MIM Fenders being made out of it. Mahogany is also pretty smooth in my opinion. Ash is quite bright, and basswood is generic depending on the type of basswood you get (basswood or select basswood) it can range from utter **** to pretty fabulous versatile would.

The three main pickup configurations you'll see are, single coil (like on a jazz bass, basically just big versions of the ones in a strat. They usually sound pretty smooth and mids oriented), humbucker (the same kind as on millions of guitars used for the purpose of bucking hum. They usually have a bit more aggressive tone than single coils, depending on the type you have) and split single-coil (these are the funky ones you saw. They are commonly known just as "P pickups" as the Fender P-bass originated them. They have a very bass oriented tone and a lot of thump).

About the five string, again it's all preference. If you like one go for it, but make sure to try out a lot of basses with four and five string. Maybe six if your a nutter for a lot of notes.
#12
Hey

Well you're not a complete beginner but checking this bass buying guide (click) couldn't hurt. This should give you a basic idea on what to look in a bass.


Quote by Deliriumbassist
ah , mooi. Wilkommen.


Actually it's "Willkommen" I just started learning German
#13
To the TS, I have to say, that you've made a great start on the bass forums. Great questions and your approach to your new instrument of choice is great and will serve you well.

Quote by xifr
Rhythm. Most lead guitarists have crappy rhythm, and when you start on bass you'll probably find yourself not being able to 'lock in' with the beat. .


Sad, but true. For most of the guitarists that transition from guitar to bass, this is one of the biggest issues. Even as a rhythm guitarist, you can fudge the rhythm quite a bit and get a way with it. Bass requires a religious adherence to the beat and a confidence in holding down that beat. Its something that I still struggle with at times. Xifr's advice about a metronome is dead on, and I would also recommend getting drum tracks to jam along with. Your ability to lock in the beat with a drummer will make you a highly successful bass player and the comrade in arms of every drummer you encounter.
#14
I did the same as you're doing mate, bought a bass pretty randomly because someone asked me to play bass for their band. Bought a "Vintage" bass, not even sure which one, it was £99.00 (Pounds Sterling) and went from there really.

If you know for a fact you're going to love the bass, then spend all 400E of your budget, if you're not sure then just pick up a cheap one (either a cheap used one, or a budget squire or something new) from there, if you decide you love it, you can save and buy a great bass etc.

I'm far from an expert, it's just my own opinion.

-sc00t
Gear:
Vintage Bass
Laney G300 Amp Head
Laney RB410 4x10" speaker
practice amp: Trace Elliot Commando 10

Fender Stratocaster (Korean model, early 1990's)
CUBE amp

Harmonica (Key: C)
#16
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
About the five string, again it's all preference. If you like one go for it, but make sure to try out a lot of basses with four and five string. Maybe six if your a nutter for a lot of notes.


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#17
Granted I've been out of the guitar loop for a while, but there are 2 things that bass guitars deal with that most guitars don't.

I haven't seen too many guitars with an active 3-band EQ. On-board EQing is a very important thing if you want tonal flexibility, and knowing how your EQ works is the first step to getting that sound you want in your head. If you talk to me about 'the mids', you better be wearing a helmet. Unlearn everything you knew about guitar EQ because it simply doesn't apply anymore.

Secondly, there are plenty of overlap woods (on both bass and guitar), but there are a few 'modern bass woods' that aren't terribly common on guitars. Many modern bass companies construct instruments using woods like Wenge (Warwick, old MTD), Ovangkol (OK, pretty much just Warwick), and Bubinga (many companies). While mahogany might be all cute and warm on guitar, Bubinga's where it's at when it comes to the real depth. Be prepared to learn about new woods.

Woods do make tonal differences, but none of those differences are as immediate and as significant as EQ adjusting. Keep this in mind.

Oh, and for what it's worth, there seems to be this n00b guitar stigma that humbuckers > single coils. Personally, I think that in the bass world, the humbucker:single coil ratio is probably 1:4, and that might be a bit generous to the humbuckers. On bass, humbuckers have a distinct tone that is lovely to some but impallatable to others.

EDIT: About Basswood - I've always vocalized my distaste for basswood. However, like Jazzy said, there's good basswood, and there's crappy basswood. Basswood is (good grade or not) a very tonally transparent wood. On the cheap side, that means your bass will more likely than not have a very bland, almost 'stereotypical' tone with very little character. On the expensive side, your bass will have a very 'responsive' tone (dare I say 'clear'), but absolutely no emphasis on midrange, treble, or lows. Every nuance will shine through, but it'll shine through evenly. This may or may not appeal to some. Personally, that evenness is a bit too sterile - an expensive basswood instrument loaded with active EMG's would sound identical to another EMG loaded basswood instrument.
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Last edited by thefitz at Oct 18, 2007,
#18
Man, just bust it out already!!!!.....get your left hand in shape...i find it a tad bit more difficult due to the fact that my left hand has to push harder on those fatty strings....but hell....rip it up bro!!!!!!!!!...learn Cliff Burton's Anesthesia Pulling Teeth off of the Kill em All album and impress your friends!....weee!
#19
EDIT: You're right, two L's. I Phail.

Anyway, I'd also look into the Ibanez Soundgear basses and the Schecter Stiletto series basses. They're very popular for giving a lot of quality and features for the money, where Fenders are more of a name thing (not bashing Fenders though, I love a good P bass). It's all preference, I'm just throwing some options out there
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Last edited by Your41Plague12 at Oct 18, 2007,
#20
If your scene is anything like mine..good bass players are hard to find!!! everybody and their mom plays guitar nowadays...
#21
One of the most mentioned things in the switch between guitar and bass (even starting bass) is the Big Muff. It's not for bass. Get a real bass distortion pedal that preserves low end like it's supposed to.
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Sex, pizza, the smell of fresh washing and slap bass.
#22
Guitar and bass are equal in theory, but absolute opposite in practice.

Forget everything you knew and start slow and make sure you avoid all bad habits from stage 0, because losing them will be near impossible (I for example will never be able to be a decent bassist in a metal band because of my bent-wrist picking hand technique which won't let me go faster than 16th notes @ 160bpm because going faster hurts and will get me RSI ).

Also, many people diss Fender basses for some reason, but even a Mexican Fender can be awesome (You might need to try 10 of those to find one that doesn't suck, but it's worth it). For 400 euros, you can get one.
MIJ Precision 1988 / MIA Jazz 2005 -> Markbass CMD 102P -> Kustom 'Deep End' 115