Need some advice from bassists

I've been thinking about picking up a bass and bass amp for just kickin around, possibly to lay some tracks for doing some recording. Those of you that know me know that I'm a guitar guy, never played bass, so what I'm asking is advice on decent cheap starter gear, I don't want to dump much $ into it as it would just be for fun and hobby stuff, it needs to be brands that are common in the US, I'm considering both new stuff and used, if new I'll probably buy from one of the big web seller stores as there are no guitar shops where I live, if I go used I'd like advice on things to check for and avoiding pitfalls. Are pawn shops a decent option?Best brands for beginners? Whats your take on the entry level Squires, Epi's and any others?

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Oh Scott, I didn't specifically comment on that SUB you pictured. Things can get confusing, so bear with me. Back awhile, Ernie Ball brought out USA-made SUBs as more affordable Stingrays which are well regarded although the paint job (especially running up the back of the neck) is not everybody's taste. The Musicman Sterling (named after EB's son, who now runs the company) is a high spec/cost bass. Recently, there have been semi-affordable Sterling by Musicman basses made in Indonesia (as are recent Squiers) and the cheapest is SUB Sterling. Confused? So am I.

One to consider is the OLP (Officially Licenced Product) Stingrays that EB had done. They can be had used for used-Squier money and I think they make good Stingrays on the cheap. Repeating myself, but putting in a Warman pup and active EQ makes them even closer to a good, cheap Stingray. However, I think a PJ or straight J bass is a more conventional bass sound for you.

Keep posting up links to anything that catches your eye; either right here or via PM if you'd like an op before trigger-pulling.

Made a new acquantance the other day, might become a friend, He's a bassist who dabbles in guitar. He confirmed your opinion that for me the best bet would probably be a Squire JB, playability vs cost ,tone ect. BTW he has three JAzz basses two are MIM and the third is a hot rodded Squire japan, He also recently purchased a Epi EB 5 and his demonstration of it's characteristics confirms your opinion about balance and ease of playing, he put the Epi on and let go of the neck, dam thing looked like it wanted to tip him right over, same demo with a JB the guitar stayed right in place when he let go of it. Now I just need to find one at a really good price.

This was probably not a reply to me,but I agree the Jazzer is the best bet for you. For a fairly cheap step up for the Squire Jazz Bass,go to the Guitar Fetish website and check out the " Overwoundt" Jazz Bass replacement pickups. I have advized several Squire Jazz Bass players to try them out and in every case they are very,very satisfied. Great pickups indeed for the money.

Good luck to you !! 8)

Boogie, actually I have seriously been considering the Xaviere JB it's in the same price range as a Squire JB , only thing holding me back is considering re-sale values

Scott, just to add to the confusion, this is an Affinity Squier that I could actually recommend at least trying:

It's very, very new, has an RRP of $180 but has yet to turn up in GC and the like. I've mentioned that I like the PJ pup configuration as a versatile set for an only bass and, whereas Affinities have been low rent, this has some features that might apply across the range of Affinities in future.

1) Solid alder body. I'd be surprised if it's American alder and would be unsurprised if it turned out to be agathis (sometimes called Eastern or Asian Alder). Either way, I pretty much guarantee that you wouldn't tell the difference in tone from a bodywood on electric bass. Squier VMs and CVs use basswood (as does my new Maestro), which is less ding-resistant than alder/agathis and this bass comes in a solid colour so grain looks aren't an issue. 3-ply pickguard, now, too.
2) "Two colour Squier logo" means that cheap-looking black "Squier" on the headstock is replaced with a more pleasing gold + black job.
3) Best news of all is that the hideous-looking and badly performing enclosed tuners of the Affinity have been replaced by proper, open cog clovers. I have never found any problem with Squiers trad-style tuners and, even if I did, at least they'd be an easy replacement compared with the nastier closed ones.

Apart from the PJ, I like the P body (more compact than the J) but mated to the thinner (1.5" nut) Jazz neck. I'm not always a fan of rosewood fingerboards, particularly the cheaper Indian rosewood with those pinholes and no nice grain, but it's a minor issue. If my GC or MF had one to try, and it felt good, I'd seriously consider it because - if the pups are only so-so - upgrading would be stupid easy.

If you got bored of learning all the complexities of being a good bass player and settled for just being a guitarist (or, conversely, realized bass was finally an instrument worth devoting more of your life and wallet to) :wink: , you'd probably get $100+ on resale or trade up so it's not a huge hit to try as an experiment.

Update: I gather the latest Affinity Jazz for 2013 has the same sort of improvements (pickguard, logo, tuners) and the Lake Placid Blue looks quite nice. Affinities have started to become a consideration - that will probably knock down the value of 2nd hand older Affinities once the latest spread around.

I've also been checking into Xaviere - a new name for me but I'm up to speed with GFS stuff and they also look very viable. I prefer the look of their maple-boarded P basses to the lone rosewood J but I'm starting to think that one of these vs the new Affinities might be the battleground. As said above, I don't think resale value is a major issue. Could be the Xavieres have better pups out of the box but the Affinity, once the production rolls out, will be much easier to try before buying.

1Bass, thanks for the tips, the squire you pictured looks kind of nice, I gather it's 1 pbass pup and 1 jb pup? Saw a squire jag bass with the same set up called a squire jag special I believe, certainly a squire is a lot easier to go in and play than a Xaviere, it's the one thing thats alway put me off them, in fact I looked at some Squire JB's the other day at a dealer, I liked them but had been hoping to find one used for a much better than retail price, if I bought from GC or another big box dealer, the price for the base model affinity jb is practically the same as the Xaviere JB from GFS about 170-190 new, i too would prefer a solid maple neck like they show on the PB's, and although I like ht e looks of the natural finish, I was hoping to find an antique white bass, something about the color combo appeals to me, GFS also makes the PB in white with the maple neck/fret, I wonder what would be involved with changing the pups on a PB to JB ones, think I'd end up with holes in the pickguard? Not too keen on doing immediate mods to a brand new (at least to me) guitar, probably I'll continue to check the pawn shops and craigs list till I find one I can afford, there is after all the cost of a bass amp to go with the cost of the bass to consider, can't put much budget into a new hobby item, it's hard to think of spending money I could use on guitars instead, I keep drifting over to GFS and checking out Tele's for 179 too. Thats a sound I don't have in my ittinerary.

If there is a Best Buy store near you on this list, check it out in person;

I have just been reading that they are closing their instrument sections down and bargains are to be had. Don't have them my side of the pond, and I read they have clueless salespeople but that's not an issue if you know which way is up. One bassist in PA said there was a Squier Mike Dirnt with a gouge in the back for $65 :shock: . Heck yes at that price. Also might be a cheap combo going.

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