Beginner Bass

This article is about bass for beginners.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
1
This is a real article for beginner bassists. There was another one submitted by someone which totally bombed so I thought I outta help out those beginners who read the other one and actually thought it was good.

Bass Guitars

Ok, so you decided to take up bass guitar, you dont have much money but you have some, this is what you do. You can go and buy a Bass Pack for around $500, those are pretty good. Bass Packs are good and they last for awhile and they'll good for beginners. But what I recommend is to go out and search for that Bass Guitar that suits you, thats what I did and I am happy with the Bass Guitar I have. Some good brands are Squier, Fender, Epiphone, Gibson, Peavey and Ibanez. You can find a Bass Guitar at a cheap price from any one of these brands, and they are good too. I always say why buy the cheap brand when you're gonna end up buying the good brand later on, so dont go out and buy a cheap no-name guitar, buy a good brand and you'll be happy with it. The cheap no-names sound alright but always end up breaking down after a year or so, with a good name brand they sound awesome and last for many years. Used, it doesnt matter because every musician who is serious about what they play always takes care of their equipment. Just make sure to look into it before you buy it. New is garanteed to be good, but you just gotta work it in for the first week or so. Pickups dont really matter, it doesnt matter is your Bass has 1 pickup or 5, it will always sound good. But if you think the sound needs to be improved go out and buy some pickups and get them installed. I've had 3 Bass Guitars since I started and I got them at cheap prices too and they were pretty good. I first had a Squier Affinity P-Bass- $300, second was a Epiphone EB Bass- $350 and now I have a Squier Precision Bass JV Series.

Bass Amps

An Electric Bass Guitar isnt complete till you have a Bass Amp to go with it. You can buy regular amps for your Bass but its best to buy an actually Bass Amp. There are many good brands out there like Peavey, Fender, Yamaha, Marshall. For a beginner, a 20 watt would be good but later on a bigger watt would be needed. 20 watt Bass Amps usually only cost around $150 or $200. It is always best to buy an Amp new, I would never trust a Used Amp. And it is always best to bring your Bass with you and try out the Bass Amp you're looking at because you wanna make sure it sounds good with your Bass. Never just buy an Amp and go, always try it out first, I made the mistake of just buying an Amp and going and now I'm screwed. I have a Peavey MicroBass Amp 20 watts and it isnt very good, I would not recommend this amp.

Bass Pedals

Now usually advanced bassists use Bass Effects Pedals but its always good to start off early with one. Anyone who says a Bass sounds crappy with Effects on it has never actually listened to it, Effects on a Bass are wicked. Bass Pedals have many different costs but most of them are good quality. The prices can go from $80 to $500 or so. Some good brands are Digitech, Boss, Zoom. Bass Pedals are good for just having fun and messing around or actually taking it serious and making good music. People may say Bass sounds ridiculous with Effects but look at Cliff Burton, he was one of the greatest bassist and he used Effects on his Bass like distortion and wah, same with Flea. I have a Digitech BP-80 Bass Pedal and it is wicked.

Bass Tuners

A Bass Tuner is a must have, because you're a beginner, you most likely do not know how to tune properly. Bass Tuners usually cost around $10-$50 and the brand doesnt really matter, any tuner is reliable.

Strings

A set of strings always comes with the guitar but just to be safe it is best to buy an extra set of strings. Name brand doesnt really matter, any brand is good. Strings go from $15- $50 or so. You can get light strings, medium strings or heavy strings. I myself love heavy strings, you can ask anyone, the heavier the better when it comes to Bass but light and medium are also good.

Cases

It is best to have a case for your bass because it keeps it safe and good for transportation. Again name brand doesnt really matter, any case is reliable. Cases usually cost $30- $200, they are good at any price but the more they cost is usually the better. Most case's have the high neck rest so the tuner keys dont hit the case. And most cases usually have storage compartments so you can put your cords, extra strings, tuner, notes, etc in.

Straps

A strap isnt really needed at the start but it is nice to have. Name brand doesnt matter and they usually cost around $10- $40. So this is the end and I hope I did a good job. If you have something nice to write, write it, if you have something bad to write, write it. Good luck everyone.

91 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    pacificblue
    This isn't a very good article. Reccommending more expensive basses to beginners isn't too smart, as if they decide to give it up 3 months later, they've lost a lot of money. In addition, a beginner wouldn't fully appreciate a more expensive bass. Secondly, bass multieffects units are terrible compared to the stompbox-type single pedals, plus most bassists don't use more than 5 effects, so the other 30+ on the pedal hardly ever get used. Your general vagueness and lack of knowledge about brands etc is leading me to think that you don't know what you're talking about.
    lostsoul_1981
    pickpro 14: what about some thing to help me actualy play it? I agree w/this guy i play bass have been for 12 years and for some reson i checked this arrticle out i think its cool the guy gave u all insite on cost and so forth but he didnt get into playing at all
    Tijmen
    Poor Article. About the strap: a beginner should always play with a strap so that the weight of the bass does not rest on your fretting hand (bad habit).
    An80sAbortion
    this should be more about, technique about playing and what songs and such to start out with. then suggest buying a bass. buying a bunch of equipment doesn't make a new player any more skilled.
    X rancidian
    Wtf.What moron wrote this article?You need to form more educated opinions.My guitars a Drive, yeah thats an unknown brand and it still works just as sweet as the day I got it over a year ago. So it depends who plays it and what care they take. Nimrod.
    sturdy13
    I would like to point out one thing, if your gonna write an article about what equipment to buy, at least have the years of playing behind you to be able to recommend good equipment at some point. All the stuff this guy uses is crap he's never played a good bass so how can he tell you what is good and what isnt, he throws out name brands like squire (cheap fender) and epiphone (cheap gibson..... ever played monster weighing fat necked basses with heavy guage strings as a beginner...listen to this guy and you will be. Second, if you want a good piece of advice, dont be so worried about sitting in your room with your new crappy little bass pack, find people to play with, playing along to cds sucks and will get old fast I have been playing for over 17 years and I use and recommend ibanez..... gsr for beginners (light weight, super fast thin necks and cheap about 199.00 to start) and high end sound gear basses when you move up after that check out warwick and alembic also check out ampeg bass amps I use them and recommend them, Im not some kind of bass god and Im not telling you what to use, Im just giving an opinion due to the trouble I had when I started out, and when you think it sucks being a new bass player buying equipment, count your blessings your not left handed in that spot
    R00k13
    good stuff, its good for newbie bass players. it might help them a bit..
    AcoustiGreg
    i gotta say, most of the sh*t you just wrote is the most blatantly obviously crap i've seen.
    sumsemperfi
    I have only been playing bass for about 5 months, but i have no time to play becasue of work n school. BUt as for everything this guy said i dotn beleive him. Beginenrs should buy cheap liek me i Bought a Samick fnt-1 bass guitar(ithink thast model). It sounds great with a berringer amp. i also bought the bp-50 distortion pedal everything i have for my bass has cost less than $500 us dollars. but this guy wants us to spen 500 on a guitar. Bah he knows not what he talks about but nor do i so i guess is hould shut up.
    Eddie_Van_Halen
    I dont know about price differences between the UK and USA but here in the UK you can get a fender bass, 15 watt amp, gig bag, strap and plecks all for 150. And it doesnt sound bollocks either. You named some pricey stuff for 14 year old kids wanting to play bass
    korn11
    not to rag on this guy but odviously he doesnt really know what he is talking about and he is a begginer himself but yea just get the starter pack and if you are still interested in bass or guitar in a year then venture and get other things
    Joey .G
    Sorry man but I think you should edit your article before you post.
    Danny7
    Strings aren't that important? Whats wrong with you? You clearly know almost nothing about bass at all. This is just such a damn vague article.
    Wiegraf
    Gibson basses sound like crap. If you're starting out, I reccomend getting a Squire Bass, they're pretty good, and only a couple hundred bucks. If you decide that you want to get more into playing bass, you can toss in better pick-ups, or buy a new one then.
    LTJ fo sho
    advertisement....like many others have said, its all pricing dont buy kickass equiment at the start, if you decide you dont like playin bass or just get sick of it within 2-3 months, your stuck with some sweet shit thats USED. never trust used equiment, always craps out on ya. just as a summary ..PISS POOR ARTICLE!!!
    Ibanezno1
    Name brand doesnt really matter, any brand is good. You can get light strings, medium strings or heavy strings. I myself love heavy strings, you can ask anyone, the heavier the better when it comes to Bass but light and medium are also good.
    Lol, name branded strings do matter because quite simply different brand strings sound differently. You also say you love heavy strings and the heavier the better when it comes to bass...THEN you say but the light and medium strings are also gd ....so there you tell a beginner that all strings are basically the same will sound the same regardless of gauge and brand. Plus you dont even talk about flat wound strings not to mention how they differ from round wound strings.
    name brand doesnt really matter, any case is reliable
    Wrong a crappy cheap ass case wont be as sturdy as a more expensive one because it will be made with inferior materials and wont give your bass as much protection.
    A strap isnt really needed at the start but it is nice to have
    Get a strap, you need a strap...well yo will unless you always wanna sit your ass down when you play bass Anyways, Im sure I could have picked out more flaws in your article but I wont even bother, needless to say im not impressed with it and im sure most other people wont be ....least not anyone with any sense.
    Ibanezno1
    You can buy regular amps for your Bass but its best to buy an actually Bass Amp.
    wtf, no its pretty much essential unless you want to blow up alot of guitar amps, you fool.
    It is always best to buy an Amp new, I would never trust a Used Amp
    Yeah it might be better to buy everything brand new but many used items are in perfect condition, for example I got a berhinger ultrabass bx 600 for 100 which is a gd buy in my book, the amps amazing and ive never had any problems with it. As long as you try it out and it sounds gd then whats the problem?
    its always good to start off early with one. Anyone who says a Bass sounds crappy with Effects on it has never actually listened to it
    Seriously Effects pedals at the beggining are just an unecessary distraction, its much better to learn good technique first. And effects on bass can sound horrible, you have to use the effects correctly, you dont just pile on the effects because you have this hugely expensive new effects pedal, the effects have to fit with the song.
    Bassman13
    that just was stupid, bass even under effect does the job of the bass. Which is... adding bass? it may not be clear, and it may be rougher but either way it makes the song fuller
    frusciante_5
    Anyone who says a Bass sounds crappy with Effects on it has never actually listened to it, Effects on a Bass are wicked.
    your kind of talking crap there, plus everyone has a personal opinion, and secondly my personal opinion is that if extreme bass effects are layed on, the bass guitar know longer becomes a bass instrument, it becomes a second guitar, especially heavy metal bass effects, the bass guitar is meant to sort of "lean against" the electric guitar, not cover it with shitty wah and heavy effects
    Craig85311
    Holy crap, hes just tryin to get a general understanding, i can see dont buy a complete piece of ass, get a half way descent bass, stop killen the guy
    Michaelpalkowsk
    its more of a buying guide rather than a tuition to bass guitar Why start playing bass with a ***ing terrible bass guitar you should get a good bass to get a better sound.
    bass_player15
    ya this is way too general to offer help for serious bass players, and anyways i only speant $179 on my bass and its great. well i talked it down. it was like $230 when i found it. but anyways, um ya go for a cheap bass that fits u and has a half decent sound. no need to go throwing around $500 to start bass. learn the facts before posting articles.
    will_clip
    X rancidian: Wtf.What moron wrote this article?You need to form more educated opinions.My guitars a Drive, yeah thats an unknown brand and it still works just as sweet as the day I got it over a year ago. So it depends who plays it and what care they take. Nimrod.
    Brands do matter nimrod. Play a squier bass and then play a warwick and tell me you cant tell a difference. And to all of you who are saying tuner prices/brands do matter.... no they dont. They all get the job done, just some are easier and quicker to use. a 440A is the same on every tuner. And then to all of you ripping on this guy about the 'you can play thru any kind of amp' comment. He's right you can, and i know like 95% of you did it in the beggining when your friends who played guitar had their amps lying around and you hadnt bought one yet. We all did it. This guys not saying its a good idea, hes just saying if you dont have another choice. And yet again another stupid amp comment. 'Dont buy a 20 watt cause soon you wont have an amp' (or w/e that guy said)... 20 watts are for practice, not for playing at full volume. If you blew a 20 watt ur not a very smart person to say the least. Im sure there are other stupid comments i missed as well. But as for advice, if you're just starting out. Buy a cheap bass like a crappy squier or ibanez (the neck on most any cheap bass is gonna warp and give you buzz in a couple years any way) and then if you end up liking bass look into the more expensive ibanez, warwicks, fodera, fender, rickenbacker... it all depends on what kinda music you play. And eventually you are gonna need a good amp. Behringer does make good amps, as well as ampeg. A lot of ppl say hartke amps are good buy i had a problem with both the 3500 and the 5000 so im not gonna recommend hartke. If you're gigging getting a 300w+ amp would be a good idea. And thats all you really need to know starting out aside from actually learning your instrument and a few minor details that are all opinions (strings, effects, etc.)
    Pourquoi?
    Agreed, this was just a bunch of advertising. For a tuner I recommend the Korg CA-30, it's a good one for 20 USD.
    Either a sublte joke or sheer hypocriticalness. The article lacked detail and was a bit vague, but I think there have been some very unfair comments.
    Kaitums
    Dood, I am a beginning beginner (perhaps that doesn't make sense, but ohh well) and this was pretty much useless as far as a tutorial. But nice job on stating what items to begin with. Although, I do think its pretty important to have good strings. I just switched the ones that came with my bass to ernie ball strings and the sound is a lot better.
    goodbydresden
    i bought a second hand Hofner bass *(for those who dont know a Hofner is the bass Paul McCartney plays) Its awesome
    zoltan256
    nice for begginers with almost no information.... except about the brands. "strings-any brands are reliable" thats kinda wrong because cheap strings are really bad. you should reccomend earnie ball or dadario for begginers(yes, there are other good ones but most stores have them) also you should mention that squier is a cheaper version of fender with less quality. there are good yamaha bass too.
    Stealthbass
    This is a really good article to help beginner bass players. It gives them a really good idea of what to buy and how much they will pay. nice job on explaining.
    ak50324
    ^I know a kid who bought a rickebacker...and then quit after 3 months...I keep dying a little every time i hear about it
    Bass123
    Wtf is this about? Why buy a expensive bass if your a beginner? What if you quit after a few months and spent $2000 on a bass thats probably going to be thrown in a cupboard!!!! CRAP!!!!
    Cookie_master
    Bassman13: that just was stupid, bass even under effect does the job of the bass. Which is... adding bass? it may not be clear, and it may be rougher but either way it makes the song fuller [POSTED: 13 November 2004 - 09:59]| Yeah true
    Bulletbass man
    Ok first marshalls bass amps cost a shit load more than guitar amps so pretty much don't buy them unless you have a job. Ashdown are very cheap and have a really good sound. I just got the Five Fifteen 100 watt and love it. Also wait at least 3 months before getting an effect pedal. By then you should be good enough to play with one and if your not then maybe you should think about a new instrument. Also don't make your parents buy everything for you if you're some rich kid thats just gay and u'll have less respect for the equipment. Also make sure the wiring in your bass is good if you get one used. My first basses wiring fell off the output in like five days
    flea_market
    who the hell can afford to buy a marshall when they start out if they are like 14 or 15 when most people start. And whats the point
    Dammit Missed T
    dont ignore used amps - check them well 1st tho. I got a used peavey 60 watt basic amp for 145 and its great, play both my bass and electric through it (not sao much electric any more - my dad bought himself a vox valvetronic )
    cparker3210
    You can buy regular amps for your Bass but its best to buy an actually Bass Amp.
    little suggestion...don't buy a regular amp for a bass... in about a month you won't have an amp
    deakzilla
    this article sucks i play bass, and have for awhile, those brands suck and who in the world plays through a 20 watt amp? that dood knows nothing about bass
    EET_FUK_BASS
    oh yeah and this article...was lacking I know it's been said before, but I'm gonna repeat again $500 for a package? hah musiciansfriend.com my friend $150-200 for a 20W? again, musiciansfriend- like 130 (or so) for a fender rumble 20W at least you tried, I mean you didn't totally bs and you went off your experience as a beginning bassist I was expecting a technique sorta guide, seeing as how I've been playing for a month and a half
    EET_FUK_BASS
    whoa
    frusciante_5: Anyone who says a Bass sounds crappy with Effects on it has never actually listened to it, Effects on a Bass are wicked. your kind of talking crap there, plus everyone has a personal opinion, and secondly my personal opinion is that if extreme bass effects are layed on, the bass guitar know longer becomes a bass instrument, it becomes a second guitar, especially heavy metal bass effects, the bass guitar is meant to sort of "lean against" the electric guitar, not cover it with shitty wah and heavy effects
    hopefully that quote shit worked anyway, dude, have you listened to Anesthesia? how bout watched Cliff 'em All? or even listened to RIDE THE GODDAMN LIGHTNING (the song; I swear I can hear bass distortion on that, but I'm not entirely sure-can someone please help, I'm tryin to get the song down by the end of the week)
    Timz0rs
    Buying an expensive bass when you're beginning isn't really a good idea...
    Cameo
    Interesting. I'm about to get a bass... I love bass. I don't think it's always good to start out with effects right away though, it'll probably just distract you from learning better technique. Not indefinitely, but it's a possibility.
    Eddie_Van_Halen
    Personally I think your points were pretty common sense. All you did was quote prices and advertise equipment! You didnt tell anybody about the roll of the bass and its place in a band. Alot of people might go out and buy all this kick ass equipment but never get into a band because of their enormouse ego because they're convinced the bass is the god of all instruments. New bassists need to realise theyre the engine room of the band, they dont need crazy pedals and expensive guitars to sound good.
    deinem
    all this article is about is all the crap you should but, I thought you were gonna talk bout technique. Label you're article better.