Any suggestions for a good recording bass guitar?

Discussion in 'Bass' started by pr0gr4m, Nov 29, 2007.

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  1. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    I have had an itch to buy a bass guitar for some time now. I don't play bass and have no specific need for a bass's just something that I've been wanting for the last year or so.

    I do play guitar but I'm no guitar virtuoso. I like to strum my acoustic, play power chords on my electric or get all SciFi with my Ebow and EFX pedals. Basically what I'm saying is I'm not a master guitar or bass player so I don't really know what exactly I want. But I do know what I sort of want.

    I've got a 4 string POS 1000 that just flat out sux. It sounds like crap, the neck is loose and I never play it. It was something left at my studio a long time ago.

    What I want is a bass that is versatile and would work well for various types of music, if there is such a beast. Something that would sound equally good in reggae and heavy metal music - just to pick two types out of a hat.

    If I had my druthers and a million space bucks, I'd get a Steinberger just because I think them things are KEWL. It screams 80's! But I don't have my druthers nor do I have a million space bucks. Instead I've got 600 magic beans and a lot of hopes and dreams.

    What I'd like to have is a bass that sounds good when recorded. I don't have an amp to play it through but I've got several DI's and preamps to play with. I've demo'd a few different basses. Some had a round sound. Some had a flat sound and others were bright. What I'd like is one that has the potential to create a wide variety of sounds.

    As for the asthetic it's not that important, although I do like the narrower rounded bodies like on some of the spector basses.

    So...Any suggestions or recommendations or maybe things that I should look for?
  2. Groff

    Groff Active Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    My first choice would be Fender Jazz Bass ... second hand, in good condition, with original pickups, the older the better.

    Here is more about preamps but you can also hear few classic basses in action.
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Like Groff, I'm going to recommend a Fender Jazz, but I'd go with either one of the Mexican models from the last 15 years or one of the Japanese models from the last 20 years. With the MIM (="Made In Mexico") models, I usually swap out the pickups for something I like better. You also have to be careful about getting one with a working truss rod. With the MIJ or CIJ (="Crafted in Japan" a label from the '80's) the pickups are better and the average build quality is better. But the price is usually higher and the best MIM are better than the worst MIJ. Also, I like to swap out pickups anyway, so why pay for the better ones if they are just going to be sold off. Finally, the pots on the MIJ are not as good as the MIM but are cheap and easy to replace if they go bad.

    As with all used guitars, either pay the money or learn to do good setup and fret dressing yourself. It amazes me how much of the difference between high and low end guitars is in the simple hand work that anyone can do if they take the time and buy a few simple tools.
  4. HansAm

    HansAm Active Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Ibanez RB650. ;)
  5. Glide

    Glide Active Member

    Mar 28, 2006
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Early 80's PeaveyT-40.

    Absolutely worth every $275 you will pay for it.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I will chime in on this one. Having played the bass for 40 years now, I get a feeling that I have been-there done-that with just about every make and style of bass known to man.

    Because you, as you say, arent a virtuoso on the bass, my recommendation is going to take that into account as well as the bass sound itself.

    The main reason for this is because you havent played a bass a lot, the position of the pickups in a lot of basses is simply going to be in your way. A LOT of acoustic guitar players who CAN get through a bass line have this problem. Its where you are likely comfortable in your picking and the hand position you'd most likely start in.


    Fender Jazz Bass. Sounds like an echo......echo....echo........

    Read Groffs post. There is the truth of it. A MIM or a MIJ Jazz, with Duncan Vintage P/U's and you're good to go. Any style. Any sound.

    The good thing is having such a machine around the studio will encourage those clients who just cant get a good bass sound out of their rigs to use yours.....easy.
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Since Dave has seconded the motion on changing pickups, I'll throw in another comment - Not all replacement pickups are an upgrades from the MIM or MIJ pickups. All of the cheap pickups I've seen are no better than the MIM stock. (Good ones may be out there, I've just never seen them.) A good set of strings and a good setup are much more important than a pickup upgrade.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    One warning - most of the replacement pickups are sized for the MIA (Made in America) basses and the bridge pickup is slightly wider than the neck pickup. In older MIM basses (not sure about MIJ) the cavities are all the same size and you have to widen the cavity for the bridge pickup about 1/8 inch. It is not that hard to do - just don't get impatient and make an ugly job of it. Lots of advice on this available on the web.
  8. Get a short scale neck bass if you are more of a guitar player.

    Unless you have technique or really big hands a full scale bass will be a disaster. You'll look at that neck and just be confused. A full scale fender bass neck is huge!!!!!

    I have big hands but short fingers and play a full scale because that's what I have. I wish I still had the 60's musicmaster bass, oh well. I have a Fernandez which is very good and is very Fender, with Duncan pups in it. Alder body Maple neck.

    An old Fender Mustang or musicmaster sound great but there are descent short scale bases out there that are not expensive like maybe an Ibanez.

    A lot of them have a P-J setup pickup wise and sound OK.
  9. moisiss

    moisiss Active Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    New York, NY
    Home Page:
    I went through this a while back..... I mainly play acoustic guitar, but was really itching to learn bass. I went and tried out some basses and then hit the bass forums.

    That's where I ran across a brand of bass called "SX" basses. They are apparently only sold through a music store called Rondo Music in the US (I don't know where they are made). But basically, I found out that they are popular with people who are into moding basses because they are really cheap, and the really important parts (like the solid body and neck) are of high quality. The hardware and pick-ups aren't too great... but who cares if you are going to replace all of that stuff anyway?

    So I bit... and ordered a "Fender PJ" clone for about $120... and I love it. I haven't done anything to it (like replace the hardware or the pickups) and think it sounds good. Much better than the low-end Yamahas or Ibanez's that I was looking at paying more for. I'm sure if I had played bass for the last twenty years I could find things wrong with it.... but for a beginner this is a great bass IMHO.
  10. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    Jan 13, 2003
    I've been playing bass for almost 40 years... That said, the best studio bass I've ever played is a Carvin bass. Mine has been in my closet for 10 years. But, if I needed it, I could pull it out right now and it would be in tune. So that is my first recommendation.

    I do love my Hofner basses too, however. Hofners are a bit pricey, but are worth it if light weight is a priority.

    I also love my Fender Mustang bass. And I used to have 11 of them. But now I find the Hofners suit my needs.

    Wish I'd known back in the day what I know now!

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