Guitarist looking for a bass

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ricorico Frets: 828
During our time in the recording studio last week, I was messing around on some of the basses and had a great time noodling away - so much so that I would like to get one. What should I be looking at? I like the 'traditional' bass look (p-bass, jazz, maybe even jag) but I don't need anything expensive. Would only be used for writing/practice/learning at home and say a budget of £200 and don't mind used.

Cheers!
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 998
    The Harley Benton basses get a lot of love in that price range I think!...
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 810
    I bought an Ibanez SR300 for exactly the same reasons as you. Easy to play, records well enough direct-to-desk and has some nice sounds. I've never played it through a bass amp (since playing it in the shop) or in a band situation.  It's an active bass with lots of tonal range on the instrument itself. Now a tad over £200 new, so should easily be in budget if bought used. 
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  • ricorico Frets: 828
    I bought an Ibanez SR300 for exactly the same reasons as you. Easy to play, records well enough direct-to-desk and has some nice sounds. I've never played it through a bass amp (since playing it in the shop) or in a band situation.  It's an active bass with lots of tonal range on the instrument itself. Now a tad over £200 new, so should easily be in budget if bought used. 
    Thanks - googled the SR300 and our bassist has one of the expensive ones. I like the looks but wouldn't buy one. 
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8618
    edited June 28
    I chose an RBX375, after using a de-fretted precision copy for several years (for similar purposes). I'd noticed that it was taking up to 3 weeks for my intonation to become anything like acceptable, so I got a fretted version which would allow accurate intonation from the get-go. IIRC I paid almost £100 more than your budget but I've not regretted it. Other Yamaha basses are available ...
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • Rigid_DigitsRigid_Digits Frets: 50
    I enjoy noodling around on my Squier Jag. It's not bad at all and being a short scale is easy to play and sounds pretty good. And they don't cost much either.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2964
    Difficult to go wrong with a pre-owned Squier Vintage Modified P, J or Jag Bass. There are bound to be some listed in the Basses £ section. Also of possible interest, the Squier Dimension Bass, the Jaguar H and the elusive Mikey Way signature Mustang Bass.

    Elsewhere in this price range, pre-owned, you might find a Sterling SUB4, the Ibanez/Soundgear SRB(X), Talman and ATK. Many of these are made in Indonesia, at the Cort factory, just like the entirely worthy Action bass.

    The lower end of the Yamaha RBX series bass guitars can often be found inexpensively. The woodwork and fretting are excellent. The pickups and electronics are what let them down. My personal favourite is the (long discontinued) Attitude Plus. I habitually modify these with a Gotoh 201B bridge and a posh pickup.


    On a general level, life will be easier if you choose something with pickups that cancel noise individually rather than only when two single coils are turned up full.

    Bridgehouse usually suggests the Precision Bass. He has a point. One pickup, two pots, four strings, no distractions, get on with it.

    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6880
    Go for a used Fender type bass.  Hard to go wrong with a Precision bass.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660

    Bridgehouse usually suggests the Precision Bass. He has a point. One pickup, two pots, four strings, no distractions, get on with it.

    Dare I say it, only one pickup that hum cancels, with only two knobs (vol and tone) means less faffing, messing, twiddling and “finding the right sound” and more time getting on with actually playing (theoretically)

    A bit like a LP Junior or an Esquire - nice and simple - the bonus with a Precision is it also seems to fit most bassing situations very well
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3504

    Coming from guitar, you might find a short scale easier.  The Ibanez TMB30 is only about £170 new, so can be had for very little if you can find one second hand.  It's a superb bass for the money.

    If you are comfortable on a long scale bass, then some kind of Squier Precision is the obvious answer in your budget.

    You could try a Jazz, as the necks are slimmer and easier to play, but the Precision sounds better.

    The other option is some kind of hybrid PJ configuration.  There was an Indonesian made Squier P Bass Special that is really good if you can find one second hand.   Precision body and neck pickup, but with an added Jazz bridge pickup, and a Jazz neck.

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    A short scale does affect the tone of a bass - it is a distinct sound, so you need to know what sort of bass tone you’d like.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6880
    Personally I'd advise not getting a short scale unless you have some kind of physical reason you couldn't play a full scale. 

    It's not that difficult to get used to playing a full scale bass for most adults and the choice is far greater, and the tone will be 'as expected' given most bassists play full (34") scale basses.

    Of course if all your favourite bassists play short scale basses then it's worth considering.  But most people when they think of 'bass tone' are thinking of a 34" scale Precision, Jazz, or a Stingray tone.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    Personally I'd advise not getting a short scale unless you have some kind of physical reason you couldn't play a full scale. 

    It's not that difficult to get used to playing a full scale bass for most adults and the choice is far greater, and the tone will be 'as expected' given most bassists play full (34") scale basses.

    Of course if all your favourite bassists play short scale basses then it's worth considering.  But most people when they think of 'bass tone' are thinking of a 34" scale Precision, Jazz, or a Stingray tone.
    Absolutely agree - I don’t think getting a short scale because “it suits a guitarist better” is a good reason at all.. the longer scale really does affect feel, sound, and playability
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  • toescantalktoescantalk Frets: 76
    The Squier Jaguar Bass sounds great to me and is really fun to play.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2964
    edited June 28
    most people, when they think of 'bass tone', are thinking of a 34" scale Precision, Jazz or a Stingray tone.
    There might be somebody on this forum who thinks of neither the 34" scale nor any brand whose name does not begin and end with the letter R. 
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    most people, when they think of 'bass tone', are thinking of a 34" scale Precision, Jazz or a Stingray tone.
    There might be somebody on this forum who thinks of neither the 34" scale nor any brand whose name does not begin and end with the letter R. 
    And much as you think I’m totally obsessed with P basses, I have some short scale favourites too:

    The 60s hollowbody used by the Animals that sounds just like a hair spray
    Those Masonite and lipstick pickup lightweight awesome 60s basses
    Those see through Dan the Man basses that had the name of that massive amp manufacturer on..

    Not those Rockinbetter ones tho. No. 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2964
    Not those Rockinbetter ones, tho. No. 
    Well played, sir. :)
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 495
    I swear by my VM Jazz. The MIM isn't worth the extra £200. I didn't get on with Epiphone basses.

    Harley Benton isn't bad. Deffo need a setup. Lots of people say to try Cort.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6880
    most people, when they think of 'bass tone', are thinking of a 34" scale Precision, Jazz or a Stingray tone.
    There might be somebody on this forum who thinks of neither the 34" scale nor any brand whose name does not begin and end with the letter R. 
    IC what you are saying.

    However 33.25 is near enough 34" that I'll let it go.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    I swear by my VM Jazz. The MIM isn't worth the extra £200. I didn't get on with Epiphone basses.

    Harley Benton isn't bad. Deffo need a setup. Lots of people say to try Cort.
    If you aren’t going AVRI or other ‘murican then I see no point in getting anything more than the VM. 

    The Epi semi/hollows are good - the Jack Casady is good, as is the 90s Rivoli. More moolah tho.

    Still think the Ibanez offerings are really very good - I have one I gig regularly over US Fender offerings and it’s cracking.
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2619
    An Aria STB Series bass, second hand, is dirt cheap and a very good instrument. In bass, simple is best and you can’t get anything simpler than a Precision. 
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31193
    most people, when they think of 'bass tone', are thinking of a 34" scale Precision, Jazz or a Stingray tone.
    There might be somebody on this forum who thinks of neither the 34" scale nor any brand whose name does not begin and end with the letter R. 
    IC what you are saying.

    However 33.25 is near enough 34" that I'll let it go.
    :)

    lol

    However that can't be my answer here because no matter how you try, you aren't going to get even a worthwhile fake one for £200...

    For that money, I would either second Bridgehouse and get a Squier P-Bass, or if you do fancy a short-scale bass, the Squier VM Jaguar Bass is unbeatable value, at least new.
    "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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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2964
    ICBM said:
    no matter how you try, you aren't going to get even a worthwhile fake one for £200.
    For £200, you wouldn't even get an empty RIC case.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3504
    A short scale does affect the tone of a bass - it is a distinct sound, so you need to know what sort of bass tone you’d like.

    McCartney in the Beatles, Jack Bruce in Cream, and Andy Fraser in Cream all used short scale basses.  It's a valid option.

    The first bass I bought, I thought I'm going to keep this simple and get a Precision.  I got a second hand Fender Japan reissue of an early 60's (62?) P bass which had a really wide neck.  I've got really short fingers, and it was a struggle to play.  Playing a Jazz for the first time was a revelation.  After that I ended up selling the Precision and getting a Jazz, which I got modded to PJ specs because a Precision sounds better.

    A couple of months ago, I borrowed a friend's short scale Supro, and that was another revelation.  It was so much easier to play.  It's a different sound but short scale didn't stop McCartney selling bucket loads of records.  Not everyone is going to have my short fingers, so a long scale bass might not be an issue, but I did want to make the OP aware of short scale as an option.

    If you have a shop near you with a decent stock, then it's worth going and trying a few.  Try a Precision, but also try the Jazz to see if you like the narrower neck.  Try something like the Mustang bass to see if the short scale is better for you.  Even if you do end up buying a second hand one off of Gumtree, you will have a better idea of what you want.

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    crunchman said:
    A short scale does affect the tone of a bass - it is a distinct sound, so you need to know what sort of bass tone you’d like.

    McCartney in the Beatles, Jack Bruce in Cream, and Andy Fraser in Cream all used short scale basses.  It's a valid option.

    The first bass I bought, I thought I'm going to keep this simple and get a Precision.  I got a second hand Fender Japan reissue of an early 60's (62?) P bass which had a really wide neck.  I've got really short fingers, and it was a struggle to play.  Playing a Jazz for the first time was a revelation.  After that I ended up selling the Precision and getting a Jazz, which I got modded to PJ specs because a Precision sounds better.

    A couple of months ago, I borrowed a friend's short scale Supro, and that was another revelation.  It was so much easier to play.  It's a different sound but short scale didn't stop McCartney selling bucket loads of records.  Not everyone is going to have my short fingers, so a long scale bass might not be an issue, but I did want to make the OP aware of short scale as an option.

    If you have a shop near you with a decent stock, then it's worth going and trying a few.  Try a Precision, but also try the Jazz to see if you like the narrower neck.  Try something like the Mustang bass to see if the short scale is better for you.  Even if you do end up buying a second hand one off of Gumtree, you will have a better idea of what you want.

    Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting not going for short scale, but being aware that they can (and often do) sound different to full scale basses. But in the same way that basses can sound different through pickup choices or positions, or string choice. 

    I think if you are going to chose one bass over another it has to be on playability, tone, fit etc. My comment was in response to the suggestion that a short scale is a good choice because it will "suit a guitarist better"

    I disagree - it won't necessarily at all. A short scale may though suit a specific players needs, ear, tone requirements.
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 4623
    Used Squier VM or CV Precision or Jazz (take your pick) won’t disappoint. Plenty of pro musicians are seen playing these, which you don’t really see in the guitar world.
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  • valevale Frets: 809
    edited June 29
    if you are a guitarist looking to drift into bass, then neck & scale length will be the big things to keep at the front of your thinking. concerns around the shape & electrics may be the next stage once you have found the right neck.

    the most 'guitary' bass neck i have tried is the squier jag shortcale bass. really liked it. but i didn't like the P&J pickup combo so much. combined with the shortscale it sounded a bit dry to me. but that side depends on you are intending to process your signal (pedals & amp). i know royal blood bassman (can never remember his name) uses a shortscale jag now (squier not fender) & if you have heard that stuff, it's not light on bottom end.
    i could have put a hot neck pickup in mine & pumped/saturated the bass eq, but i have now gone semi acoustic bass in search of max phatness (whoever he is).

    the gretsch shortscale (i forget the number but they only do one) is often said to have a similar guitary neck. bridgehouse thinks they are pretty cool but i have never tried one. a highly rated bass you might get used within your budget.

    on the other hand i tried a squier bronco bass (shortscale) recently and it seemed uber chunky. entirely different animal to the squier jag (like precision v jazz).
    i had wanted to try one for a while, thinking 'squier, black, offset, shortscale... whats not to love?' but even at under £100 used i didn't take it. but then you may have loved it.

    anyway, those two above would be good starting points to try if you want shortscale & guitary. & if they are too thin maybe the bronco will be your thing. shortscale seems to be a good way for guitarists to bridge the gap either as a final destination or as a stepping stone to fullscale.

    re tone, to me shortscale basses definitely have a 'softer warmer' tone. less low end aggressive punch ('grunt' maybe the word) and more middy & muddy harmonics (in a good way).
    but again it depends on what you are doing with it. if you are playing in a very fuzzy distorted mix then a shortscale may not cut through enough. but if you are doing cleaner things, then the shortscale has a hint more warmth.
    what she said.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    After today's bass revelations for me I'm going to advise the following:

    Go to a shop with at least a dozen basses in it. Play all of them in your price range. If you can afford the time, go to a second shop and play an equally large number. 

    Ignore the label on the headstock, the scale length, the pickup arrangement and just have a play and listen to it amped up. If you have a bass playing mate take them to twiddle whilst you listen.

    Then, fuck what everyone else says and buy the one that you feel is most comfortable, sounds best and you are more likely to play. Frankly, that's about as scientific as I think it should get.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2964
    After today's bass revelations for me
    Have you finally seen the light and renounced frets?

    vale said:
    if you are a guitarist, looking to drift into bass, then ...
    ... don't.

    Either commit fully or don't bother. (You'll love it. It's a way of life.)
    vale said:
    short scale seems to be a good way for guitarists to bridge the gap either as a final destination or as a stepping stone to full scale.
    That depends on whether you consider Bass to be a larger guitar, tuned lower or to be The Final Frontier. 

    I take the view that Bass is a musical function. In a band context, the role could be fulfilled by a four-stringed instrument, a tuba or a Moog Taurus pedal. Possibly, even, all three simultaneously.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    After today's bass revelations for me
    Have you finally seen the light and renounced frets?

    Ahahahahhahahhhahhhaaa! Funny man...


    No.
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  • valevale Frets: 809
    vale said:
    if you are a guitarist, looking to drift into bass, then ...
    ... don't.

    Either commit fully or don't bother. (You'll love it. It's a way of life.)

    plus it's easier. four fat strings, hard-to-miss wide frets & you don't even have to learn chords.
    what she said.
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