Looking for a bass...(beginner's question sort've)

Hi, I bought a Rogue bass around November of 2006 (2nd hand at a pawnshop, but I realized that I was sort've jipped because the amp and the bag was weirdly stained...) and I've got no problems buying it second-hand. Well I didn't really start playing it until January/february of this year and I've come to realize that this bass is sort've...well there are a lot of buzzing problems and I don't like the sound of it but I do want to keep playing bass. So I was wondering if anyone could suggest a better starting bass that I could go try out or something that would be good for a beginner (who is financially impoverished mind you)

Any ideas?

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Hello Daymea, welcome to the board and I'm glad that the problems haven't put you off continuing with bass.

The first thing to make sure of is that it is actually the bass that is your problem; there are other possibilities. One is that you have a ground hum from that particular socket so try another room to plug in (another house is even better) just to rule that out. Next, if you only have one instrument cable, borrow another to eliminate that as a possible. Now you're only down to the amp or the bass.

If you bought the amp 2nd hand, there's a possibility that this is the cause of the buzz. Try your bass in another amp or, if no-one will let you, have someone's guitar played through your amp. That leaves only the bass. If the bass is the source of the buzz, it need not be expensive to fix; in fact, it usually is not. Most Rogues I see have a Jazz and a Precision-type pickup so it's unlikely that both are failing. Obviously, try sweeping the pups so that only one at a time is putting out to make sure that both work fine (or not, at this moment).

Is the problem a persistent hum, and one that is reduced in volume if you touch the strings with your fretting hand? This is an earthing problem and is very common. Normally, there is a ground wire leading through the body and comes up underneath the bridge. This can come loose so resoldering can fix this problem. If the problem is an intermittent noise like this (onomatopoeia apologies) "DZURR DZURR DZURR", this is caused by a crummy jack socket. Cheap guitars made in the Far East often have rubbish jack sockets of flimsy metal. After a while, they make a poor connection and cause this noise.

It is simply fixed for a few dollars by buying a Switchcraft jack socket for jst a few bucks. If the old socket is removed and the Switchcraft soldered into its place, the problem of buzzing is solved. Any friend even remotely handy with a soldering iron can do this.

If you still decide that you'd like a cheap replacement bass, I can highly recommend Rondo Music's SX range of basses:
http://www.rondomusic.net/bassguitars4.html

They are practically given away and I know many good players who buy an SX guitar as a backup and find them very playable. Some have fitted a more expensive pickup in place of the stock and ended up with an instrument they're happy to gig with.

Poms and their cheap basses. Try finding a Rondo in Au. A list of good beginner bass guitars could be a good idea.

Ahh, thanks a lot for the help 1bassleft and Michael, I really want to continue playing bass (after I really got interested in the Chili Peppers my love for the bass was solidified)

Well I've tried on multiple amps and and wires and the same buzz is there but when I touch it does become quiet (though there is a slight buzz still) And it's the same issue in my friend's houses and even outside. And yes they do do that DZURR DZURR sound when plugging in (this bass was made in Korea I think) I've also noticed that the jack on the bass becomes loose A LOT, even when I tighten it with a pair of pliers they find some way to come up loose again.

I wouldn't mind buying a new bass because (forgot to mention this) but there are little cracks along the fretboard, they're not big but it's looking like a little scar running along the 12th fret, but I suppose I'll get this fixed at my local Klines or something. Though while we are on the subject I found this site that listed a few good beginner basses
Squier Jazz Bass
Ibanez GSR200

But a friend told me that since bassists in my area are hard to find and that that unlike a guitar a bass has a lot more longevity (I'm not sure if that's true or not) he said that I'm better off buying a Fender Jazz Standard or invest in a Thunderbird (I've never heard of a Thunderbird up till then) Any opinions? I really, really do enjoy playing bass and I was wondering if it'd be a good idea to just save up a bit more and buy one of the 2.

Sorry for the delayed reply; busy weekend. I'm guessing from your writing that you are in the US. Buying an SX here in Britain is not such a bargain because the imports get a straight $-£ conversion, or worse, despite the pound sterling being worth two dollars. Very irritating, that. For Americans, the SX range represents incredible value. In Europe, Stagg have a decent range of instruments for relatively small money but I'm not usually keen on their headstock shape (Fender have trademarked theirs) whereas the SX look more trad.

I think the Rogue is Korean and, nowadays, Korea is not so much of a cheap-plank guitar country. Washburn and others have Korean-made basses with quite highish price tags and the cheaper stuff (including Squier) is now coming from places like Indonesia and China. HST, every Korean bass I've owned had that BZURR and the unscrewing jack nut and bad earthing you've described. Flimsy metal and indifferent wiring is the cause and, as I said, it can be remedied cheaply and without much soldering ability required.

On the guitar category, Youngwasp started an old thread about how good "starter" instruments are these days and he's quite right. Old farts like myself, Lee and Wasp had to make do with awful budget gear back in the day. I had Kays and a Hondo that were awful instruments but the routine use of CNC programmed routers today makes the country of manufacture fairly irrelevant. Apart from wages, costs are cut by using cheaper woods, duffer hardware and electronics. The trick with budget guitars is to take an interest in the specs, particularly the body wood, and choosing pup styles that are easy to upgrade (Jazz, Precision and Musicman types are all pretty easy).

Necks are almost universally North American hard maple and commonly with Indian Rosewood fretboards (Brazilian is nicer but scarce and not too eco-friendly). For bodies, alder is a plus, agathis is an OK Far Eastern version of alder, basswood is not my favourite (soft, and dings easily). I've sometimes seen elm and other oddities used on budgets but plywood (bane of my teenage life) is pretty much unheard of as a bodywood now.

As far as your friend's advice goes... Bass players are a lot less common than guitarists and you'll probably be able to join a band without too much difficulty. You might feel like getting a better name on your headstock for stage kudos if nothing else and that's fine. Your friend, who I suspect is a guitarist ( :wink: ) has really just come up with two recommendations that are a bass equivalent of saying "You need a Fender Strat or a Gibson Les Paul". The Fender Jazz and Gibson (or Epiphone) Thunderbird are very different basses in the same way that the guitar equivalents are very different. If you're thinking of saving up, you definitely want to try out some in a store to see what suits your style. Bass players are generally less conservative than guitarists and there are a lot of options beside those two.

The Jazz standard, made in Mexico is alright and has "Fender" on the headstock, but I don't see an awful lot that justifies the price tag. The electronics are not all that brilliant. The Thunderbird is more quirky (Lee_UK has a US Gibson) and the Epiphone, although different to the Gibson, is also a pretty good bass for the money (the Gibson costs a bomb).

If you've got an ambition to play in Flea's style, you'll need to work on technique of course (particularly slapping and popping) but also choose a bass that suits. Until recently, his bass was the Musicman Stingray. These aren't cheap, but they also made the SUB (sport utility bass :roll: ) that cost a lot less but only had a few cutbacks. Mostly, the use of poplar wood and a "textured" paintjob to disguise its visual roughness. I'd go for the SUB with the active EQ rather than the passive and it'll be hard for the ear to notice it's not a Stingray. Cheaper still are the OLP (officially licenced product) Musicman copies. The standard MM2 also lacks the active eq but the Tony Levin model and the double-pupped MM22 are active.

There are a lot of good basses out there and I could fill a page listing them. Best if you try some out yourself in a shop but feel free to post here your preferences in terms of music styles and what visuals you like; it helps to narrow the field down.

Hi this is Daymea (something happened to my last account, I can't log in to it)

As far as style goes I really do like jazzy funk but with punk rock tones to it (so definitely like Flea) but I also really like the sounds Stu Hamm has produced too. As far as visuals go I like the typical sunburst colors but I can go for anything really, as long as the color is somewhat earthy. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Fender-Jazz-Bass-Deluxe-Series-Active-Pick-up-NR_W0QQitemZ130127833796QQihZ003QQcategoryZ64400QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I saw this and I'm not sure if it's the real deal or anything but again, anything you can suggest would be fantastic (I have no problems just saving up)

Hello, sorry for delay (been out most evenings) and for your login probs. Please let Mike know if you have any tech problems with this forum, but very glad you went the extra mile to stay on here.

I had a look at the Fender. I do like active eq on bass guitars; they have a couple of advantages. One is the signal boost over noise compared with standard passives, and the other is the extra versatility from cut/boost on the treble and bass (and mids, if a 3-band eq) which is so much more useable than a simple, passive, tone control. Both Tim and I (not that we're Bass Gods of course) hardly bother to adjust the standard tone knob on a bass.

I'm also in favour of twin-pup basses generally, and particularly with actives. It should be good for getting a range of tones to suit different styles. The Stingray is great for impersonating Flea, but that single pup placed where it is makes for less variety. I have a passive Jazz and I can get a nice thumb slap out of it (I'm dire at the technique) using the neck pup only. It's not a typically funk/flea slap, much more ring to the harmonics and bottom end, but I prefer it to the typical Flea tone anyway. He's a great player, but the "pdink doink tank" sound isn't a favourite of mine.

So, I think that Mex Jazz is worth a look, but I can't recommend you spend quite a few dollars on the basis of a nice picture. You really would gain from getting down to a big GC, Sam Ash or whatever and trying a few basses for yourself. Until they realize you're not immediately buying and stop handing you more to try :wink:

I went to my local music store the other day and saw there selection of basses (which consisted of a large collection of different squiers, but not jazz basses.) They had a single Squier Jazz and a single Fender Jazz but they marked down the Fender by a good 40 bucks or so because of a scratch in the bottom (it's still $390).

So I played both and the Fender Jazz felt a lot better than the Squier (a good deal lighter too) Then my friend (who's a drummer) said that it's better that I save up for something I really want (and after sitting down with it I really do love the sound and feel of the Fender Jazz) instead of settling for something cheaper and something that I would have to upgrade over later.

Thanks a lot for the help. Now I've got to go fix my bass amp (the jack is stripped)

As a lefty, I find that Henry Ford "Any bass you like as long as it's a Precision copy" thing in guitar stores immensely frustrating. Apart from the obvious thing with pups, the Jazz differs from the Precision in having a much slimmer width at the nut. Fender Jazzes tend to have fairly "V" shaped necks in the hand. I'm OK with the slimmer Jazz width (many much prefer it) but it doesn't bother me if it's a wider P-type because I've got fairly long fingers and a good stretch. What I don't like is the deep V shape. I tend to use a club or "baseball bat" grip and I think the Fender Jazz is suited to the more classical "thumb in the middle of the back of the neck" grip.

While you're saving, keep trying out other bass guitars. There's more out there than just Fenders but it's good to hear that you are finding your preferences. BTW, do fix that jack. A loose one is a great way of shorting an amp out.

Not reading your last post properly I thought you'd already bought the bass...If you haven't I would say do try other brands while you're saving, you may get better woods and features for your money. I would also argue that having 'Fender' or 'Gibson' on the headstock only really gets you respect from guitarists, bass players aren't as fixed in there opinions and the audience don't give a poop. That said, if you like the sound and feel of the Fender then cool.

I've said this before but I personally wouldn't buy a new instrument at all, I always go second hand. There's not much to age on a guitar (if anything bits have settled in) add on the price of a pro setup (£20-30uk) and some strings and you can still get a lot more for you money. Less so with basses than guitars (fewer unwanted gifts etc) but you can still pick up some bargains, just my op.

Anyway good luck, keep at it. Bass is great as you're always in demand (without needing the van to move a drumkit!)

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