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looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:13 pm

Gonna splash out on a few bits ‘n’ bobs so don’t wanna spent too much. Mainly for recording, D-I’d.

I’ve only ever owned an Aria Pro 2 Cardinal Bass & Fender Squier (80’s) Jazz Bass, so I’m after a similar slim, low action neck.

Is a bass amp crucial, if so, any really cheap suggestions or is D-I’ng Ok.

Neck aside, I appreciate the p-ups will be inferior, but a bit of tweaking, plug-ins etc should compensate for that maybe? “Best sound” can be subjective so even wivout the “best” tools, I could get my own or at least a more than capable tone?

In a nutshell, I suppose it’s the best p-ups I can get for the budget price, and the cheapest (practise?) bass amp if I really need one that is.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Music Wolf » Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:29 pm

LdashD wrote: so don’t wanna spent too much.

How much is too much? It would help if you put a number on it.

I'm a fan of the Ibanez SR series. I got the SR500 last year, which you can pick up for under £500, but you can move either up or down the range according to the depth of your pockets.

Although I used to be a bass player that was a long time ago. Nowadays I'm a guitarist with puny hands so I like the slim neck on the Ibanez.

Recording wise I usually just DI, make my edits (life is too short for me to learn whole songs on bass), then use a plug-in (Cubase VST Bass Amp).
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby IvanSC » Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:12 pm

The squier (oriental) classic series jazz basses are highly regarded - check readers ads, gumtree and of course ebay.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby ore_terra » Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:15 pm

Yeah. Classic vibe and vintage modified series are great


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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby CS70 » Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:30 pm

LdashD wrote:Gonna splash out on a few bits ‘n’ bobs so don’t wanna spent too much. Mainly for recording, D-I’d.

I’ve only ever owned an Aria Pro 2 Cardinal Bass & Fender Squier (80’s) Jazz Bass, so I’m after a similar slim, low action neck.

Is a bass amp crucial, if so, any really cheap suggestions or is D-I’ng Ok.

Neck aside, I appreciate the p-ups will be inferior, but a bit of tweaking, plug-ins etc should compensate for that maybe? “Best sound” can be subjective so even wivout the “best” tools, I could get my own or at least a more than capable tone?

In a nutshell, I suppose it’s the best p-ups I can get for the budget price, and the cheapest (practise?) bass amp if I really need one that is.

The Squier classic vibe are serious bang for the money, but in general modern Squiers I've tried have been invariably very good.

For recording, about the amp, it depends a bit on what you're after. You don't need to mic one. I know many a session player who swear by the SansAmp bass driver as a good sound for little money.

But then if you already have a good preamp with an instrument input and a tweakable compressor you can just use just them. I just did it recently with an Aphex pre and a Distressor and it sounds great!
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:57 pm

Hey M-Wolf, three ‘undred squids, but, will fork out more if’n.

Made In Mexico, (MIM) is a better buy than the Asian or Classic vibe?

The Asian ones are a better buy than the latest Classic vibes?

Prob could get a Classic for 300 sobs, £100/£150 more for a MIM or Asian, is the Classic good enough for my, mainly writing needs, DI’ing only, I’ll prob be mastering in a commercial studio, and/or plug-ins should get me there, but maybe the extra dosh also gets me a much better neck into the bargain, not just p-ups?

And if some bod’s upgraded the pick-ups on any of the models, can I take it as a given that it must be an improvement?

Cheers chaps.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:10 pm

I might be way off, but I am very happy with a 2010 Hofner Ignition Beatles Bass with Pyramid flatwounds IIRC the gauges are .050 .070 .085 .105. Don't buy the flats Thomann sell, they're a rip off and are made by Pyramid anyway! The heavier E gives a much better tone. It's really joyful to play, short scale. You do need a strap if you're gonna sit down with it. It's a sound that sits really well in a mix. I use NI Guitar Rig for the "amp", watch out for computer noise, the pickups are single coil. I wouldn't be overly confident about gigging it because it really is like a violin- the bridge floats and machine heads are old school, so intonation would go. But I have gigged it a little- hard case, guitar stand and never leave it out of my sight and it worked great :) I do kinda slightly miss having a P bass type of thing around, so slightly regret selling the cheap Westfield I had. But only slightly. At the time I had first refusal on an early Warwick, which was very beautiful but not budget. My options were severely limited by being left handed!
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby jaminem » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:19 pm

I would definitely recommend you get a used bass for that money - someone will almost certainly have got it setup, and hopefully played it enough to wear it in so it plays better.
You can find Mexican Fender Jazz basses on the bay for £300-£350, but the squirrels are also pretty good...
You can also find warwick rock basses kicking around for that price also which are pretty well made...
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby ore_terra » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:02 pm

Classic vibes squirrels are (at least) at the same level than the mexicans... and prettier!


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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby zenguitar » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:17 am

Only available in Red, Grey, and Flying though.

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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:06 am

You're forgetting 'ground squirrels' a cheap alternative to mince......
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:10 pm

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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Dramatic Hammer » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:46 am

For a really cheap option, the Harley Benton bases from Thomann are surprisingly good. Ugly finishes but if it's just for the studio...
Adding a sansamp ampeg DI helps a lot with tonal variation too.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:06 pm

Tried a few out in what’s left of Denmark st, LG, budget Jazz Fenders, settled on an Overwater (Tanglewood) Classic Jazz 4, a quid shy of three ‘undred sobs/pounds, from Hanks Guitar Shop.

Real nice slim neck, fast low action, they set ‘em up pretty much in the shop, plus they throw in a year’s supply of set-ups.

This is the only one I played through an amp, it’s got a lot of tonal versatility, very easy to play, they got one left, same colour as mine.

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Weird that it don’t balance on the knee so well, bleedin ‘eadstock’s too ‘eavy innit.

Daft name?
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Wonks » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:56 pm

What, Overwater?

Overwater is a long-standing British bass maker http://overwaterbasses.com/ and they make some very nice bases indeed. Tanglewood got them to design a range of decent low-priced bases, which is why you get both names on the bass.

Glad you found a bass you liked though. I've almost bought one of them on eBay just to see what they were like.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:22 pm

Lousy logo/typeface then, looks better in this typeface already, Overwater, OVERWATER, OverWater.

Like you says Wonky, they make some nice geetars, I'd phone 'em, then we'll do a "lead bass" track together, no geetars, i'll kick it off, piece of piss innit... men of our caliber.

The ticket on the other said, '£499-Make Me An Offer, make 'im an offer under mine.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:24 pm

Er, £399.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:05 am

One fairly major niggle is the volume knob’s in the way when I rest finger there or strum over the middle pick, wonder if Hank can shift it in the price, is it a big job moving it?
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Wonks » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:54 am

The big question would be where to?

You could try swapping the smaller tone knob with the first volume knob to see if that improves matters. If so, you could get a couple of the smaller knobs and have them all small.

Another option is to get a stacked pot/knob, fit that in the bridge volume pot position and fit a rubber grommet in the hole left by removing the neck pickup volume control. The knobs for these stacked controls are the knurled types, so you'd might want to get a knurled knob for the tone control as well. Stacked pots are obviously deeper than single pots, so you may need to increase the depth of the control cavity rout behind it.

If you don't use the tone control, you could lose that, shift the two volumes down a hole, and again, use something like a rubber grommet in the first hole.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:54 pm

Yeah, I thought 'where to' as well, plus i was gonna try a smaller knob.

Lost me on the first explanation, that's one for Hanks, but the tone control? didn't think of that, haven't experimented with the tone control, just looked and it's been full on, cos i'm messing around with the pick-up combos, so if that can go, does it mean it's not in the mix at all & without it it's 'flat'? or do you mean it's on fully clockwise and thats how it will remain when it goes.

Without the tone control is it 'flat'?

You seem to be saying I don't or might not need the tone for shaping? Will experiment of course. Just didn't occur to me and when i asked the guy 'Is it flat without,' he didn't really have an answer 'cept, 'Not really flat.. well it's a tone control,' i'm happy for it to go if it's unecessary, it's a more elegant solution too.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Wonks » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:18 pm

It's a passive bass, so all the tone control does is roll off the treble when turned down. Turned up, you are basically hearing the straight tone from the pickups (though there is some softening of the sound just by having the tone circuit connected)

If you aren't using it live, then you should be able to live without the bass's own tone control and get the tone you want using pedals/amp/software. That would allow you to remove the tone pot and move the two volume pots down to give you space you need below the split pickup.

Here's a stacked pot (you'd actually want one with two 250k pots): https://www.allparts.com/EP-4585-000-CT ... _1443.html

Here's a typical set of knobs to fit on that pot: http://www.stringsdirect.co.uk/parts-c4 ... ome-p10286

So you'd use the inner knob for one volume and the outer knob for the other one.

Swapping to that would probably cost you for the parts, plus maybe £30 if the shop did it - maybe more if they had to deepen the control cavity. But it would allow you to keep the full set of controls.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:30 am

That’s wicked Wonks, picture speaks a zillion words to me, I understand perfectly now, will look more elegant too. I also seem to occasionally want to strum/sweep into that area so it really needs doing, will post results here.

The tone is for live? Must be to do with volume then? as I can’t hear any tonal change, through modest 5 inch cones, except a tiny, barely noticeable dip, half way through the turn, however, this elegant solution, as you say, retains that option, even though it’s, for now anyway, writing/recording.

‘aven’t owned a bass for donkey’s, getting a real buzz out of it, different writing tool, diff ball-game all together, me being a long serving dance bod, y’know two hands doing a synth bass line, plus been playing me Tele a lot lately, and now playing a bass where I’m not looking at chords only single notes and only one interval-finding hand, the winds of change are blowing for me man.

I’m now thinking I should’ve spent more, but then again it suits/fits me real well, so I think I’m just gonna upgrade the pick-ups, can I ask you sir, what should I consider, bearing in mind I’ll still be working with house type beats, but I’m also a budding rocker/bluesman, and I think I can have a sixties kinda feel/sound about my guitar playing style, not looking to sound like anyone, and I will be Di-ing.

Oh and anything I need to put in front, before going into a Focusrite Sapphire?

Obviously I’ll be shaping with plug-ins.

Frets will need to be shaved a tad too.

But like I said, (I’ve had a couple of days with it now) it’s dead easy to play, especially at speed, as long as you a like slim neck and a ‘low-as-it-will-go’ action.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Wonks » Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:20 pm

Without hearing the pickups (or having a jolly good look at what's under the covers, it's difficult to know what to spec for an 'upgrade'. If they are generic basic Chinese/Korean pickups, then most replacements will be an upgrade, but if they are of decent quality, then you'd need to spend a fair bit more to upgrade them. Any chance of playing it through a decent bass rig so you can hear them properly? At that price point, I'd expect them to have fitted pretty decent units, so if you still think they lack character, your next step up is probably fitting something like Bartolinis (my favourite), Seymour Duncans, or even find space for a battery in the cavity and go active with say EMGs.

It sounds like the tone has an logarithmic/audio taper pot fitted, which means that you will have to turn if a fair way to make much difference to the sound. It's more typical to fit a linear taper pot for the tone control, which means that you have to turn the pot less for a reduction in treble. You still get the same result when the pot is fully up or fully down, and you can get the same in-between tones - just at different amounts of rotation. Whilst 99.9% of volume control pots are selected to be logarithmic/audio taper to get a nice controllable volume reduction, the selection of tone pots (especially when replacing them) is more a matter of personal choice. Do you like to just knock a small amount of treble off (log pot best), or do you want to make a tone statement when you adjust the pot (linear pot best).

I'm a guitarist not a bass player, though I do have three basses, but unless you have active tone controls, you can't do much with a tone control on a bass except make the sound woollier. So you are really going to set up most of your basic live sound on your rig, and maybe knock the treble off on the bass for a couple of songs that benefit a more indistinct sound. When recording, generally the bass will be DI'd, so you may want to set the tone control and then forget about it, but I'd guess most people would leave it turned up and EQ the sound in software.

The Focusrite interfaces have a Hi-Z input setting, which in theory is all you need to plug a passive bass in to, But this input is renowned for having almost no headroom, so a strong signal can easily overload it, even on minimum input gain. If that's the case with your bass, then if you don't already have a DI box, then people like Hugh recommend the Orchid DI boxes as very good value for money. http://www.orchid-electronics.co.uk/products.htm. Micro DI if you just want to record, or the Classic DI if you want something you can use on stage to still use an amp but also send a signal to the PA.

I'm also a 'slim neck and low as it will go action' person, when it comes to bass.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:29 pm

Orchid DI boxes are great, and cheap. I have 3 x Micro's and a Classic (for bass guitar live, guitar player/PA guy BTW). The boss the PA company I did a lot of work for before I mostly retired bough 8 micro's after he tried mine.
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Re: looking for a steal, decent budget bass, new or old?

Postby LdashD » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:55 am

Hey Wonks, I was just assuming they’d be inferior pick-ups, then again thinking about it, like you hint at, it’s not a budget bass as such. I’ll see what the shop reckons, when they do the knobs, I’m happy with what I’m hearing, I’m no expert on bass sounds, but one goes wiv wot one’s got innit, software will do it for me for now.

Yeah the bass does overload the Focusrite very easily, was wondering why.

So long as you’re sure this Hugh bloke knows wot ‘e’s talkin’ about, I’ll def get a Micro then, many thanks sir.

I’ll stick with the stacked pot you suggested so I still have that option if and when.

Any pedals I should consider/try, Boss or otherwise? Not bloody compression/limiter, freaky stuff, flange or summink? Good bass whah maybe?

Slim neck prob cos we’re guitarists maybe, I don’t get on with Les Pauls or some Yamaha basses, necks too wide, yet I’ve got big ‘ands, too big for a Tele really.


Only part genius eh,

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Oh well! I can easily top that, cos I’m a clever bastard,

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offer’s still on maan, geetar + bass now though.


See your missus oot and aboot last night, no clothes on to boot...

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