#1
I am pretty confused after talking to my son's bass teacher yesterday--here's the situation:

My 6th grade son has been playing electric bass since Christmas. I bought him a basic Washburn bass since I was not sure if he would like it. He started playing stand up string bass in 4th grade and was very good, so I thought he would like electric bass.

Fast forward to now. He basically plays 1-2 hours every day. He seems to have an amazing ability to hear a song and play it immediately on the electric bass. And of course he can read music from his background in string bass.

His teacher is great and plays in a local band here. He has asked my son to increase his time in lessons to one hour since he cannot teach him enough in 30 minutes. He told me yesterday that my son is already playing the equivalent to kids with 3 years of playing experience. (Probably again due to his string bass playing.)

Now that I know my son is totally into it, I want to get him a very good bass he will play the rest of his life and cherish for his birthday. I am in no rush, and can watch eBay for months.

Since I know nothing about basses, I asked my son to troll around into eBay and forums and see what he likes and ask some of the older kids. He of course came up with a Rickenbacker 4003 and 350V63. So I asked his teacher yesterday about them and he dissuaded me away from Rickenbacker since my son seems to be into much more heavy metal. His quote: "RIckenbacker is for the Tom Petty crowd and your son does not play that era!"

His recommendation was for (1) 5 string bass and (2) Warwick since "this will take your son to where he wants to go by high school and college." But the Warwicks are very expensive due to the Euro so I might have to get an used one.

Any thoughts to his recommendation. Also, anything else I should be looking for? I would spend up to $3000 and obviously will look at used within that price range.

Thanks in advance.
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#2
3000 bucks, eh?

Well first of all make sure you buy him a decent amp. You have quite a bit cash so I would recomend taking a look at some ampegs.

As for a bass, take him to the store and let him try everything.
#3
I don't know much about heavy metal basses. Maybe a Fender Precision will do.
If he doesn't have a good amp yet then spend half on a bass and half on an amp.
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#4
Your best option is to take him to the nearest guitar center or other such store and let him try everything. Get him to test out the basses he's interested in on the amps he's interested in, untill he finds a combination he loves. I'm sure he'll charge you for the most expensive stuff, too, so you'll be fine on quality. =P

I can't say what he might like, or what might suit him, but I can offer advice on what not to buy. For amps, effects, etc, stay away from Behringer. They may be very affordable, but their quality is terrible, their sound equally as bad, and their lifespan is that of the average fruitfly. I reccomend looking into Ampeg, Ashdown, GK and Warwick amps.

For basses, stay away from Gibson(and Epiphone). They're terrible basses, priced so high not for their quality but their iconic looks. They're near-impossible to play past the 15th fret, they sound muddy and far too bassy, and they have little to no versatility. Even if your son enjoys the sound of a Gibson bass, he can replicate that sound on any other high-end bass, and later change it when he discovers he hates the sound(He will, trust me). I reccomend telling him to try out Fender, Warwick or Spector basses. They're all very versatile and can all achieve great metal tones.

I hope this helped you out, and wasn't filled with too much jargon. haha.
#6
maybe fender mia deluxe p bass
its active and is like 1200$ or something
it can do metal and more
or if he just wants metal maybe an ibanez
but 3000$ is too much for a bass unless HE realy knows what he wants and the diference between lots of basses
you should take him to guitar center and try some basses
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#7
Fender and Warwick are the ones i'd go for. Like everyone else is saying, get him to try out the ones at a guitar store. Getting the one that he feels is right is essential.
#8
First off, kudos on supporting the next generation of musicians in your family. Its a great thing you are doing and you are guareenting that you will always have a jam partner at hand!

I'm in the same space as you are right now, except my son is a guitarist who is looking to upgrade to the next level of guitar. My advice is for the two of you to make a roadtrip to your local shop and spend the afternoon trying out instruments. ( Its a great bonding experience btw).

While your son's teacher has made some valid recommendations, ultimately, its your son who has to live with the instrument, hopefully for a long time. My son had his eyes on a Strat until he tried a Telecaster in one of our afternoon visits to the music store. It was instant love and we'll be buying him a nice midnight wine Tele in June.

And I concur, at least half of that budget should go to a nice head and cabinet.
#9
His bass teacher mentioned Warwick, if they are too expensive, I recommend Spector, but by no means am I suggesting that Spector are cheap Warwick replacements. You can get some real good quality Czech or US Spectors, so I'd keep them in mind too.

There's always the Fender US Jazz, the versatile workhorse.
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#10
i don't think you're doing the right thing by spending $3000 dollars on a bass for a 6th grade kid. Now i don't know much about the american schooling system but 6th grade is 11 year olds am i right?

that means your son's taste in music will change as he grows up so this bass that you're willing to spend an arm and a leg on won't last him the rest of his life. I'm not saying don't buy him a new bass i'm saying be more reasonable with your money. Look at maybe spending $800 on a bass for him because his tastes will change and as he's still growing what he finds comfortable now will be different to what he finds comfortable when he's all grown up and so on.
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#11
To start, one can never go wrong with a Fender Made-In-America Jazz. They're used in every genre, come in a 5 string model, and are overall one of the best basses you can buy.

Chances are, he wants the Ric for prestige more than anything; money = quality, which isn't true in the bass world. Look at Behringer. Make sure he knows that Rics have a distinct tone, feel, everything, and to boot can take a long time to get.

Warwicks are pretty good from what I've heard. The couple I played weren't the best- I played one I can't remember, and a six string, and the neck on the six string was just way too wide, even for a sixer. That said, every Warwick owner I've talked seems to love theirs, so I may've got two nerfers.

Also, make sure he gets a nice amp. With any upgrade, the amp should really come before a bass, as counterintuitive as that may seem. The amp will have a huge effect, so invest more in that, really.

I think that's all. Good luck!
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#12
What kind of amp/cab is he playing through? If it isn't that good upgrade that with some of the 3000 and buy a bass with the rest. Also the HH MusicMan Stingray is really nice and versatile so if/when your son starts to change taste in music it will still suit him.
#13
alright. you just gotta take him to guitar center or somthing and let him try stuff out there for a couple hours. let him find what he really likes.
#14
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Warwicks are pretty good from what I've heard. The couple I played weren't the best- I played one I can't remember, and a six string, and the neck on the six string was just way too wide, even for a sixer. That said, every Warwick owner I've talked seems to love theirs, so I may've got two nerfers.


I highly doubt you got bad ones. They have incredibly tight quality control. They are just love it or hate it basses. They have a distinct tone and feel. You eithe like that or you don't.
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#15
Feel will be most important to him, I wanted a Warwick for so long, but the necks... eugh... Fenders have great necks, but with that much cash they won't be much competition for a Spector, they're awesome and will be perfect for metal.
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#16
Quote by Insanity^2
Feel will be most important to him, I wanted a Warwick for so long, but the necks... eugh... Fenders have great necks, but with that much cash they won't be much competition for a Spector, they're awesome and will be perfect for metal.


At the start I found the Warwick necks uncomfortable, but I loved the tone and style so much I persevered until I decided to buy one. Now I can't imagine ever having another style of neck.
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#17
: O

Ricks are amazing for metal! The punchy growl I get from my Ric goes great when I'm at a jam session.

I agree with everyone else though, go with a good amp before a new bass.
#18
Quote by Pink Muse
Chances are, he wants the Ric for prestige more than anything; money = quality, which isn't true in the bass world. Look at Behringer. Make sure he knows that Rics have a distinct tone, feel, everything, and to boot can take a long time to get.

I would say that Behringer is the perfect example that money=quality, they are cheap for a reason.

As for the TS, everyone is right in saying that your son is still in the developmental stage of music taste. However, not getting the bass is not the answer. I reccomend a bas that has a lot of variety, so that it can support your son throughout the genre changes and such. One bass is the ever-present MIA Fender Jazz bass, which is renowned for it's quality and varience of sound, and costs around $1200. Warwick is also a valid choice, they can hold down from funk to metal, they cost around $900.

Cconcerning the Rickenbacker, although it has a lot of variety, it will always have the classic Ric tone that it is famous for. Some people like it or hate it, so I would not take the chance with it unless your son has tried and understood it fully. I also must warn you against Gibson, all of their basses have a muddy tone that, like the Rickenbacker, some people like or hate.
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#19
Quote by kranoscorp
I would say that Behringer is the perfect example that money=quality, they are cheap for a reason.

Not quite. For their price, you can get much better. By being marked up, they show how money =/= quality.
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#20
As said above an amp is very importand and not staring at a "metal only" bass.

I say a Spector, Stingray, Fender jaz/percision will be your best bet as those are very versitile basses and can be used for many many styles. (jazz probably the most versitile of the 3)

For Amp: Im in love with Trace Eliot But SWR and Eden are amps defenatly worth trying. Just dont get a Line6 or a Behringer.
Another tip get the bass first then let him take that bass to a store and plug it in to hear his bass on a specific amp.

(ps. If i had that cash to spend i would give the Lakland 44-02 delux a try)
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#21
Jazz if you're not sure about genre. Stinger if he is staying in Rock and (to some extent) jazz.
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#22
you must bare in mind that his tastes in music will change. So you will not want to buy a bass thats a one trick pony (stingray, rick, etc). Variety will be a key. With $3000 you could buy a top of the range MIA Deluxe Jazz bass (arguably the most versitile bass ever made) and a top of the range trace elliot/ampeg/ashdown rig.

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#23
The other thing to consider is he tastes in life, period. Yeah, he likes it now, but will he be so enthralled with it in a couple of years? He's 11, I know I don't do any of the same stuff I did at 11. Tastes change an incredible amount at that age, and my age really. I'm not saying don't buy him a nice bass, I'm just saying maybe think twice about spending that much money on one.

By the way, +1000 cool points for investing in your kids' musical endeavours.
#24
I just realised how much you are spending on this, you could actually go the custom route and have a luthier craft one for you, or you could go to a custom shop. The advantage to thi is that your son will have an entierly unique bass, and you can have them do it in a way that will be perfect for your situation (I.E. tonal variety).

I also want to say that your son is extremely spoiled, my parents have never spent more than $2000 on one item for me, and that was my computer.
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#25
fender P bass (american made, of course) or a really nice ibanez, which can sound just as good as any fender
#26
Everyone, thanks for the advice. Here is what I learned:

1. Take some of the money and also buy a good amp. Maybe $1000 or so for amp and rest of budget for bass. Are bass amps like guitar amps--best to get tube if you can afford it?

2. Maybe rather than stepping up to a Ric or Warwick maybe get a Fender P or something in that price range. He can always get a better one later as he gets better.

3. Take him to GC and let him play for some time and see what he likes.
1999 Gibson LP R9
2006 Tele John Cruz Masterbuilt
2007 MIA Strat Sunburst
2008 PRS SC-J Thinline Black Cherry/Bigsby (for sale)
2009 Zerberus Hydra II
2009 Custom Red Strat

Traynor YCV-50 Blue
#28
Quote by jcoley2
Everyone, thanks for the advice. Here is what I learned:

1. Take some of the money and also buy a good amp. Maybe $1000 or so for amp and rest of budget for bass. Are bass amps like guitar amps--best to get tube if you can afford it?

2. Maybe rather than stepping up to a Ric or Warwick maybe get a Fender P or something in that price range. He can always get a better one later as he gets better.

3. Take him to GC and let him play for some time and see what he likes.

The thing about Rics and Warwicks is that they are not a step up from Fender, a MIA Fender Jazz or P can hold its own against near any instrument.
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#29
Quote by kranoscorp
The thing about Rics and Warwicks is that they are not a step up from Fender, a MIA Fender Jazz or P can hold its own against near any instrument.

While that's very true, the Rics and Warwicks are definately a step up when it comes to price.
#30
Quote by kranoscorp
The thing about Rics and Warwicks is that they are not a step up from Fender, a MIA Fender Jazz or P can hold its own against near any instrument.


That depends. If you're a warwick or a ric person, then they definately are a step up from MIA Fenders.

Then again, I also believe you get what you pay for most of the time at higher priced instruments.
#31
Quote by RJayZ
While that's very true, the Rics and Warwicks are definately a step up when it comes to price.


The lower end Warwick instrument (which are cheaper due to slightly less exotic woods and body sculpting mostly, not quality of build) are of a similar price to equivilent MIA Fenders. I think the bassic passive, ash bodied Warwick goes for about £650 for the 4 string version, if not less. MIA Fenders are very often a fair bit more than this.

I would say the Warwick Corvette line is roughly equivilent to MIA Fenders in value and quality.
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#32
Heres somethings I thought of...

Maybe get him two cheaper basses. That way he has more to experiment with. As time goes by and his intrests change he has something to fall back on. Perhaps he will use one bass for slow, mellow songs, and maybe sometimes he'll use the other for fast, agressive songs.


And I think you should consider getting him a few effects. I think with his talent and a few pedals to screw around with, I think that it could greatly expand his creative horizons.
#33
I don't mean to criticize here, but if I were you, I'd flip the budget around for the amp and bass. $2000 can get you a great rig that he won't need to upgrade from any time soon at all, while $1,000 can get you a nice bass. I suggest an American Jazz if you're into versatility. They're less than $1,100. For amps, I suggest Gallien-Krueger, Ampeg, Trace-Elliot, Warwick, and Eden (in no particular order). Tubes aren't that big of a deal for bass, or at least not nearly as much as they are for guitar. It's all preference. Most bassists value clean headroom. I, being mainly a metal and rock player, LOVE my tube amp. I can turn it up to 5 or 6 (which is loud with a capital L) and get a nice growl to the tone that the genres require. Not everyone likes that kind of tone though, and tube amps require a lot of upkeep. Replacing tubes isn't always easy on the wallet. Personally, I love my SVT, but your son for example might not. If at all possible, have him try a high-end solid-state amp and high-end tube amp out side by side. Best of luck to both you and your son! I like your style of parenting
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#34
I don't think anyone's talked about effects yet.

I'm a somewhat beginner bassist (I've only been playing half a year), but I got a decently priced effects processor (Boss ME-20B for ~$200) and I'm really happy with it and what it can do.

You should note that if you're going to get a Rick, the neck's gonna be thicker than most other basses. If he gets used to the Rick and gets a different bass, he might have a hard time adjusting to the thinner neck.

My suggestions for basses are Schecter Stiletto or the Music Man Stingray. Both are pretty universal in sound and are fairly priced for their sound. I like those two basses better than the Warwicks I've tried at Guitar Center.
As for amps, try going for Fender or Peavey stuff if you don't already have it.
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#35
^+1 for the effects. Also, give a look at the Line6 POD, either the regular or the floor model. That will get him thinking in new ways about music.

No one has mentioned Peavey's basses yet, but their basses are pretty tonally diverse and I'm thinking that you can get a custom shop Peavey for around $800-$1100. Have your boy give some Peaveys a try and see if it's his cup of tea.
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#36
congratulations for being a parent that understands that quality costs more, but is worth it. by the way, i'm up for adoption! lol.
Warwicks are fine basses, as are my favorite Fender MIA Jazz Basses (made in usa).
you should also consider the Musicman's. just so you know, the Fender Jazz is the #1 choice of the professional studio musician, world-wide. Rickenbacker make very nice basses, but as mentioned, have a very distinct sound. as for bass amps, you need to be thinking at least 200watts. Ampeg is the top name in bass amps.
Gallien Krueger, Eden, and Mesa Boogie, are also nice in the "high-end" arena. now, you and your son need to get out there and find the "perfect" bass rig. good luck!
oh, btw, your child is very fortunate to have you, as a parent!

Edit: you don't need effects. good equipment, and well trained fingers, is the only effect he'll ever need. until he decides otherwise.
Last edited by 83lespaulstudio at Apr 2, 2008,