Ok so I'm going to try some basses out this weekend. i've never played bass before, but i do play guitar. i've learnt some simple bass lines on guitar (under the bridge etc), but what should I check for when trying out these basses?
I mean in terms of sound, finish, build quality etc.

Listen to The Sounds Inside
John Frusciante
Same things you look for in a guitar. Balance, scratches, good pickups, combfortable, etc.
Comfort, tone, balance, any possible damages, any possible "weaknesses" in the build, and then really speaking you just need to make sure you -like- the bass.
I think the two most important things you will need to look at are how comfortable it is to play, and how good the tone is. The only problem is fair number of basses don't balance the two (ie, the thunderbird bass. It has a huge, pounding tone, but it's a nightmare to play.) Find one that has both ease of playing and a good tone and you'll be golden.
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tone, ease of use, clarity of harmonics (for me, anyway), higher fret access, looks... cosmetic damage really doesn't bother me too much, it's gonna get dented at some point, anyways.

+1 To these.

Tone, harmonic clarity and playability (often in that order).
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Also, it's probably good to find out if you'll like Active or Passive basses. I've found active basses nice because they can get real loud and usually have great tone shaping. But I've liked passive basses mainly for their effects use and slap bass qualities, IMO.
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If it's your first bass, I really think comfort and ease of play is most important. That will make it more fun to play and easier to learn on.
Got Bass?
im with everyone else....play what feels good to you, whether that be the ballance, tone, action, harmonics, etc, if it feels the way you imagine a bass should feel then thats the one for you
*1962 Fender MIM Jazz Bass (re-issue) with added pickup and bridge covers

*Hipshot D-tuner

*1970's-80's Carlsbro Cobra 90 Bass Amp

*Mini-Q-Tron electro-harmonix envelope filter
first thing to look for is thickness of neck... then sound quality... then weight

the major three factors

if your really nit picky, feel around the bass... make sure its scratch free, and all the knobs work well and exactly, make sure the bridge is well adjusted, etc.
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someone sig that typo!


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My amp is so loud, it has no number system.

It's only rated in decibels of loud and louder.
the one mistake made is to get on the bass and just try and show off your skills. I must have looked like a retartd when i was buying my american fender jazz cause i just sat slowly going up and down scales and letting the first five notes on each sting ring out so i could hear if there was anything abnormal. of course you can shred a little, but thats not going to give u a great understanding of the instument you are holding
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without having read this thread and just seeing the title since i've been not on the forum for a month i'm just going to say

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I always do things that piss people off. For one, I overbend the strings to see if they stay in tune. I also detune and retune to see how the tuners are. I do slight Billy Sheehan neck bends to see how stable the neck is or isn't. I try to balance the bass on one finger, to see where/how it balances.

Finally, I do the PoT test. I hit that last harmonic in that song, and the clarity and ease of that harmonic REALLY go to show the quality of the bass. I remember when I first tried an American Deluxe Jazz, it was perfect and easy. That's when I knew I had to have one.
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I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
these suggestions pretty much cover it. i also inspect the neck to body joint, and make sure it's tight(not any large gaps). feel the fret edges, sometimes they miss filing one properly. this can be easily fixed. look for small nicks and scratches if it's brand new, because they will reduce the price for those imperfections. the best advice is take someone who knows bass, with you. if thats not an option, after you found a few that feel good, ask the sales person, who is the best bass player in the store and have them play, them for you, and you listen for the sound your looking for. salespeople make the most money from selling a discontinued, longest time on the rack, or cheap basses with the most mark up. and sticker price is never the, least they will take for it. and always demand a pro set-up as part of the purchase. these are a few things to consider. take your time, do the research, and learn as much as you can. being a great bass player doesn't get you the best deal, being an educated consumer, does! good luck!
Last edited by 83lespaulstudio at Nov 13, 2007,
Alright then thanks guys! ill keep those things in mind this weekend. So its the same things to look out for when trying a guitar out.

cheers bass ppls.
Listen to The Sounds Inside
John Frusciante
it's all feeling for me. i just pick it up and play it and if i like it i buy it if i don't i don't
I shot JR

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