Recommend me a bass

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menamestommenamestom Frets: 2276


I currently have a short scale Ibanez bass with an active pickup.  It is okay but I want a full scale bass and something that doesn't look as bad.

So I'm thinking a Precision Bass.   I've played Jazz bases quite a bit, they always seem big and round sounding.  The impression I get is Precisions are a bit more focused and a bit harder sounding, probably less Jazz/soul and more suitable for funk?

Anyway, assuming this is broadly correct, what would be good to look at on a budget.  Squire affinity series, or perhaps a classic vibe?  Budget around £250, either new or 2nd hand.

Also, pickups, are the squire pickups reasonable?  I only really know about guitar pickups, for example, the classic vibe ones are pretty good, but some of the Mexican ceramics are not great. 

Another option is starting a partscaster build and buying the bits as I can afford them.


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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Pre-owned Squier Vintage Modified series is the default answer. Pre-owned Sterling/Musicman S.U.B. Ray 4 is another strong option. Yamaha RBX models, some Ibanez SDGR models.

    Funk is about syncopated timing NOT the instrument tones. e.g. James Jamerson on countless Tamla Motown hit recordings. Grooving all day but using the cruddiest, old flatwound strings ... in the world.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • teradaterada Frets: 1273
    When it comes to bass tones sitting in a band mix, I found this video quite helpful. For what it's worth, I like the p bass tone best. 


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15720
    terada said:
    When it comes to bass tones sitting in a band mix, I found this video quite helpful. For what it's worth, I like the p bass tone best. 


    That's cos the P bass tone is always the best tone ;)
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    edited August 2017
    The comparison video just goes to show that Rics and T-Birds go better with some amplifier dirt and a plectrum.

    The 4001 in that video sounded off - as if it had a wiring issue.

    Maybe, I am just looking for excuses to possess more than one type of bass guitar?
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32839
    Unsurprisingly I thought the Rick sounded the best, followed by the Precision and then the T-Bird, slightly depending on which style was being shown.

    The Rick sounded as if it was clipping the recording equipment on the pick parts. If anything the one that sounded most wrong to me was the Jazz, they shouldn't be that thin normally. I didn't like the Warwick at all, which is also unsurprising.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15720
    ICBM said:
    Unsurprisingly I thought the Rick sounded the best, followed by the Precision and then the T-Bird, slightly depending on which style was being shown.

    The Rick sounded as if it was clipping the recording equipment on the pick parts. If anything the one that sounded most wrong to me was the Jazz, they shouldn't be that thin normally. I didn't like the Warwick at all, which is also unsurprising.
    It did remind me of how much I prefer the tone of flats on a bass. 

    Agree about the Warwick - horrid buzzy mess. I thought the P had the best individual note definition - especially later on, tho the Ric tone was very good. 

    The T bird was cracking for low down growl, but it just shows that it's not an all rounder. 

    I ignored the slap section. Ughhh. Slap = wrong on any bass. 

    The Jazz sounded quite horrific tho. Intonation was off, low mids were totally lacking and it was the most mushy. Poor choice of Jazz I'd say.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 964
    edited August 2017
    I second the Squier VM suggestion, they are excellent value for money

    I use green Tortex picks with my Precision, and it's strung with flats. An unmistakable classic sound that leaves space for other guitars.

    PS you can blame Kim Deal for the green picks B
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  • bandmaster188bandmaster188 Frets: 270
    edited August 2017
    P bass all the way. Quite surprised how well the the thunderbird stood up though to be honest!
    I've had my brother in laws early 90's stingray on loan for quite a while now and it's an absolutely stunning bass. But I recently bought a p bass from a forum member and the stingray hasn't really seen the light of day since. P basses do everything..........Well!
    The Swamp City Shakers
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  • fftcfftc Frets: 296
    Interesting vid.
    The Jazz and the Warwick sounded best on the slappy (yuk) stuff, but the P and the T-Bird definitely won in the more traditional stuff. The Rick just sounded terrible in all styles IMHO.
    Surprised by the Stingray. I expected it to perform a bit better.
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7025
    edited August 2017
    Re: the video posted.

    That's a 70s Jazz with the bridge pickup closer to the bridge.  The typical spacing on most Jazz basses you'll find in shops (e.g. Mex and US standards) is 60's spacing, which has the bridge pickup moved further towards the neck.  This will give a different scoop and a bit of a thicker sound than the 70s.

    It's pretty hard to go wrong with a P bass, they'll work in pretty much any genre and sound great distorted too.  

    Personally I love Jazz basses for heavier more guitar forward genres.  The natural scoop of a two pickup bass tends to leave a bit more room for a heavy guitar tone, when the guitar is supposed to be the driving force.  In this scenario the bass provides the deep low end, and cuts through with some high end zing, but the rest is more left to the guitar.  P's work great when the bass is supposed to be the driving force and the guitars less big.  Gross generalisations of course!  But that's how I'd approach them.

    Listening from that perspective (and guessing what I'd probably do with the sounds) I preferred the base tonality of the Jazz and Warwick, but still liked most of the rest with my third favourite being the Precision - though as an isolated tone the P is probably nicest.  I didn't like the Rick at all to be honest, I couldn't imagine using that sound at all, but I've never played one to know if it is capable of more sounds or sounds I would like.

    It'd be a more useful test if there were more instruments involved, that way how it sits would have more context.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15720
    fftc said:

    Surprised by the Stingray. I expected it to perform a bit better.
    I think the Stingray is actually a bit marmite.

    I recently sold mine - great bass, fab to play, beautifully built, but once I'd started playing P's I just preferred the tone from them, so the Stingray didn't get played as much (or at all!)

    I think you either love the tone, or you think it's a bit meh compared to some others available.. 

    In the video above, just thought the tone was meh..
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    I have had a fretted 'Ray since 2003 and a fretless one since 2004. They got less use after I acquired the usual Fender AVRI suspects.

    For a while, I used to adjust the 3-band EQ on the fretted 'Ray to make it sound more like a P Bass. Strangely, I never found it necessary to do this with the 2-band EQ on my fretless. I have since concluded that this has more to do with the EQ circuitry than the mechanical aspects of these instruments.

    P versus J? The midrange is in a different place and the split pickup gives more output, sending amplifiers into overdrive sooner.


    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • I strongly prefer the 3 EQ Stingray, contrary to popular internet opinion.

    The high pass filter in the 3EQ means you can get tighter rock sounds especially with lower tunings. You can change the EQ out to the John East one anyway if you want something closer to the 2 band.

    Since I tune to a low B I do actually use a HPF pedal with my passive Jazz, the sub can get pretty big without it. I use the microthumpinator. 

    The placement on a P voices the low end higher up than the J, there's a bit less deep sub and generally more punch and usable thickness. That's kind of why they're hard to make sound bad, they just sit in an area that'll pretty much always work for a bass guitar. If you want to make the room shake a Jazz and a preamp with a 40hz bass knob like a Tonehammer works great though.


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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32839

    For a while, I used to adjust the 3-band EQ on the fretted 'Ray to make it sound more like a P Bass. Strangely, I never found it necessary to do this with the 2-band EQ on my fretless. I have since concluded that this has more to do with the EQ circuitry than the mechanical aspects of these instruments.
    I've always thought 2-band Stingrays sound much better than 3-band ones.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ICBM said:

    For a while, I used to adjust the 3-band EQ on the fretted 'Ray to make it sound more like a P Bass. Strangely, I never found it necessary to do this with the 2-band EQ on my fretless. I have since concluded that this has more to do with the EQ circuitry than the mechanical aspects of these instruments.
    I've always thought 2-band Stingrays sound much better than 3-band ones.
    There is a noticeable voicing difference.

    I think one of the main reasons people dislike the 3EQ is how high the treble is voiced, and that they add some from the 'flat' position and it gets a bit much very quickly. Most people I've met go for adding rather than taking away first, for whatever reason.

    The low end difference is a lot to do with the 3EQ having a high pass filter which the 2EQ doesn't have. So if you want maximum rumble the 2EQ will do it best. The treble on the 2EQ is voiced lower too IIRC.

    This product in theory makes it easy to get a 2EQ sound on a bass routed for the 3EQ, assuming you want to continue using the original jack position.

    http://www.east-uk.com/index.php/bass/mmsr-4-knob-3-band.html
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    popular internet opinion.
    Popular opinion had nothing to do with it. I just happen to like the result of using the stock 2-band EQ with no centre detents in the pot resistance tracks. 

    http://i.imgur.com/2rx4N7J.jpg?1
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • I'm not questioning your reasoning, just highlighting that online the consensus seems to be 2EQ sounds better. When I went testing myself, I strongly preferred the tighter and more aggressive sounding 3EQ, and felt the 2EQs were a bit too thick and polite in comparison.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32839
    I think one of the main reasons people dislike the 3EQ is how high the treble is voiced, and that they add some from the 'flat' position and it gets a bit much very quickly. Most people I've met go for adding rather than taking away first, for whatever reason.

    The low end difference is a lot to do with the 3EQ having a high pass filter which the 2EQ doesn't have. So if you want maximum rumble the 2EQ will do it best. The treble on the 2EQ is voiced lower too IIRC.
    Yes, exactly - I like low-end rumble and hate tizzy treble. Which is exactly why I disliked the Warwick in that demo so much as well… if you liked it, it makes sense that you prefer the 3-band Stingray.

    The really good thing on the 2-band is that the controls are useful through their full ranges - you can turn all the knobs up full and it still sounds great. In fact I think a lot of people do use them like that.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7025
    edited August 2017
    There is too much high end in that Warwick but that's often fixable. I don't like it when the high end takes on that pseudo piezo clackyness either, but it can usually be EQ'd to a suitable level IME.

    For whatever reason trying to introduce a scooped midrange doesn't work as well as attenuating highs, possibly because the character of the scoop from the Jazz/Warwick must be strongly linked to the phase relationships and positions of the coils (which you couldn't easily simulate with EQ).

    Which is why I'd rather start with the Jazz, or the Warwick, than the Rickenbacker. Precisions seem to work well regardless, even if you distort them. Even though my favourite is a Jazz I do think (split pickup) Precisions are probably the best overall design Leo Fender came up with and generally the safest bet for a first bass IMO.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15720
    Stop this chitter chatter about these "other" basses and get back on to the topic of recommending a Precision.


    ;)
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  • Lol, I did recommend it!
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32839
    So would I, as a first bass. There's literally no style of music or playing that doesn't sound good with a P, and you can get a perfectly usable one for as little as a hundred pounds or thereabouts.

    The problem about recommending a Rick - even if I thought they were right for everyone, which I certainly don't - is that real ones are expensive, and none of the copies are really (in my opinion) worth having. It's easier to make a Precison very cheaply and have it turn out good than any other bass.

    I completely agree about it being Leo's best design too - possibly more even than the Strat.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2930
    edited August 2017
    P bass is a safe bet, even though I prefer Rays.
    Problem in all shootouts i've seen is that they record Rays flat, the EQ is there to be added as the coils in parallel are actually quite weak in output. Add bass boost and its big and clear. 
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  • Squier VM is probably best value for money to start with
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  • menamestommenamestom Frets: 2276

    Thanks for the recommendations.  The Squier VM's do look to be where the value is so probably looking at those.

    They don't do a 'P' however, but they do have PJ's, which on paper are the best of both worlds.

    http://shop.fender.com/en-GB/squier-electric-basses/precision-bass/vintage-modified-precision-bass-pj/0306800500.html#cgid= squier-electric-basses&start=1

    Although significantly cheaper there is a Jaguar Special PJ bass which I may try.  £220 vs £355 of the Precision PJ above.

    http://shop.fender.com/en-GB/squier-electric-basses/jaguar-bass/vintage-modified-jaguar-bass-special/0328900500.html#cgid= squier-electric-basses&start=1

    I like the look of the Classic Vibe P, but it's out of budget

    Another option I'll try is the affinity series, which if they play nice could be a good base to upgrade the pickups to some OOil City or Mojo's etc.

    Ultimately I'll just get out and play some....

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  • I haven't played a Jaguar bass but I'm aware of some online complaints about neck dive with the shape, so it depends if that might be an issue for you.  Might be worth testing it out on a strap first if you can.

    Besides any minor differences caused by magnetism from an extra pickup on the strings, the P pickup should sound identical on a P vs a PJ, so you shouldn't lose anything by having the options.
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2930
    Jags are shorter scales, get the VM or a used classic vibe.
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  • menamestommenamestom Frets: 2276
    Jags are shorter scales, get the VM or a used classic vibe.

    They do 2, the special posted above is 34" full scale.  But yeah, definitely don't want short scale!
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  • menamestommenamestom Frets: 2276
    I haven't played a Jaguar bass but I'm aware of some online complaints about neck dive with the shape, so it depends if that might be an issue for you.  Might be worth testing it out on a strap first if you can.

    Thanks, yes I have read that, will check it out, It would put me off to be honest.
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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2421
    A Precision with a Jazz bass neck is a very nice instrument - best of both worlds.
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