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Bass Advise

Discussion in 'Ace's BASS Place' started by dueducs, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. dueducs

    dueducs Senior Stratmaster

    Let's pretend that I have been playing guitar off and on for decades and have never even picked up a bass. And let's pretend that I am considering buying a cheap bass to start playing around with... maybe even lay down some simple tracks behind my guitar. And let's pretend that I've started looking at Squier P & Jazz basses... mostly because they are cheap and look familiar to me.

    Which would be the better choice for an aspiring blues guy that likes to imitate Hendrix's more melodic stuff, Steve Cropper, SRV, Stray Cats, etc.- P bass or Jazz bass (or some other) and why?
  2. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    Why not both?
    Seriously, a P/J bass will cover most of the bases.
    West Coast Idea and Hugh like this.
  3. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    I have an '80s Hohner P copy. It's a real boat anchor, but I won't get rid of it, because I inherited it when it's original owner died 20 years ago. It works ok, get something lighter. :)
    West Coast Idea and Hugh like this.
  4. dueducs

    dueducs Senior Stratmaster

    Ah, I see what you did there , good Sir. LOL
  5. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    A pun is a pun, but the truth is the truth. ;)
    dueducs likes this.
  6. Mansonienne

    Mansonienne Stratocrastinator Extraordinaire Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 2, 2015
    Paris suburbs, France
    You might want to look at Yamaha. But Squier has a P/J bass that I was looking at when shopping.
  7. GaryCorby

    GaryCorby Strat-O-Master

    Apr 11, 2012
    Let me be the contrarian. You should get a bass that does not look familiar to you, because a bass is not a guitar. It is tuned percussion. Try not to play the bass like a guitar player. Therefore get a bass that does not put you in the comfort zone of thinking you hold a guitar.

    And when you start playing, remember those immortal words: "Too many notes, Mr Mozart."
  8. Namelyguitar

    Namelyguitar Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 3, 2009
    Mobile Bay
    If the bass has a street price (new) of less than about $300, it may not be worth while as a practice instrument, YMMV. Try to locate a nice bass on the used market.
    West Coast Idea and Hugh like this.
  9. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Depending on how large/how long you hands/fingers are, you might not make the transition to a 34" scale bass.

    When I made the transition from strumming an acoustic to playing electric, I was borrowing a Lyon P bass from my best friend from kindergarten.

    The jumbo wide frets were uncomfortable, and luckily that bass fell apart and was traded in on a Yamaha Motion B, short scale. Much sleeker instrument and easier to play, lighter also.

    I currently have 3 basses (jazz partsbass, an upgraded Affinity P and a ~1970 Epiphone Rivoli EA-260 short scale). Still, after 20 some years of playing I still fell discomfort between the knuckles of my left hand after playing the P for a while. The P neck feel to thick and chunky to a lot of guitar players making the transition from guitar.

    I'm going to echo the advice of Lumbergh, and say a P/J would be the thing to get.

    Squire VM Jaguar Special is a P/J, and lists for $250 new at musiciansfriend. They also have open box, scratch and dent (typical good used wear and tear $159) and blemished (typical floor demo from a store wear, includes factory warranty)- and MF has free shipping, as well as a free 2 year warranty.
    billybuck, rolandson and dueducs like this.
  10. stratomatt

    stratomatt Strat-Talker

    Sep 23, 2010
    San Diego
    If you're looking for a good cheap bass, maybe check out the Ibanez sound gear models. I have one that is a P/J and it's great. In fact, I know a guy who gigs with one regularly. I think it's the Gio 100 or something. It's low on the totem pole, but good. Nice reviews on Harmony Central too.
    Namelyguitar, Hugh and dueducs like this.
  11. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Jun 30, 2016
    meridianam altum centralis
    As a guitarist, you'll climb the learning curve faster with a 30" scale, and much easier switching back and forth. But a 34" works too. I like a jazz better, just seems to have more separation for busy stuff (like melodic bass lines) especially with flatwounds.
    rolandson, Hugh and dueducs like this.
  12. mapleglo

    mapleglo Strat-Talker

    Oct 25, 2015
    As a first bass, you can't go wrong with a Precision. There's nothing wrong with a Jazz either though. The previous posters make some valid points. You may wish to see if you can get your hands on a P or J just to see if the 34" scale will work for you. There's always a Mustang or Bronco, which are 30" scale.
    dueducs likes this.
  13. moullineaux

    moullineaux Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 11, 2009
    I have a MIM Fender Jazz bass that sounds amazing so there’s that. Also, way back in the day when I first started playing melodic instruments( was a drummer to that point) I pick up a G&L L 1000 used. After decades and I mean decades of playing live and in the studio that bass still plays and sound like a dream. I don’t have a clue what they are selling for but if you can find one and have the cash get it. I’m pretty sure it was produced back when Leo and Fender were battling over headstock copyrights because soon thereafter they stared putting that little notch in that beautiful fender shaped headstock. I feel fortunate to have one before it was changed. The comments about playing it are spot on, it isn’t a guitar. Good luck
    dueducs likes this.
  14. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 2, 2010
    Peardale CA
    Lotta used ones to choose from at guitar center...
    You can return em
  15. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    In an inexpensive bass, the Sterling Subs are a lot like the G&L. My son has a Sterling Sub and it beats up other basses and takes their lunch money.
    moullineaux, joe_cpwe and dueducs like this.
  16. knh555

    knh555 Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 6, 2016
    I was in the exact same situation two years ago and bought a cheap '87 Peavey Patriot. The neck is incredible and it sounds like a bass. It's also light. my tech/luthier (yes, he built guitars) was primarily a bass player and told me he'd gig it. (He built Chris Squire's bass in the Owner of a Lonely Heart video.)

    Good enough for me.

    Find something that feels reasonably comfortable and get it set up properly. I like the rolled maple neck on mine.

    Here it is.

  17. Simpleman

    Simpleman Strat-O-Master

    Jun 27, 2010
    Back when I was playing bass. My go to was a P-Bass.

    I had a jazz bass for awhile. I really liked. The neck on a Jazz was thinner than the P-Bass, but the P-bass had more thump.
    West Coast Idea likes this.
  18. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 21, 2015
    I have a Squire Standard P/J bass. Yes, it's fine to play and with the two pickups plenty of sound options.
    I gotta tell you, there are nicer necks. The 34" scale does make a difference and from what I understand, It's a P bass w/ a Jazz pickup, not the other way around..meaning a P neck too. My son has J basses and they have a thinner necks and play better, for me. I can play mine for a while, but not hours.
    ...back on the other side of the table, I like the sound of using both pickups, the P at 10 and the J around 7-8 so the Precision pickup does have a good sound.
    rolandson and dueducs like this.
  19. West Coast Idea

    West Coast Idea Strat-O-Master

    Mar 10, 2017
    Out on the Range
  20. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

    I'm a wuss, I admit it . my hand doesn't care for the full scale of a P or Jazz bass. I prefer the shorter scale of the Squier. I know that the tone is 'off' as far as the purist is concerned and that the intonation is also not as precise as its larger relations...

    But I'm not a bass player. I really can't hear the difference in my rudimentary mixes. And for $100 US...? Compared to 5 - 10+ times that...?

    It's was a no-brainer for me.
    johnnymg, nuculer terrist and dueducs like this.