Points To Remember When Buying New Bass
New bass day is probably the happiest day for every bassist. You’ll be spending weeks and even months preparing for this day. In the process you’ll spend lots of time reading reviews, watching youtube videos and comparing prices and specs. Here’s how not to lose your path along the way…
This should be your number one priority when shopping for a new bass. You want your bass to feel good in your hands as you’ll be spending a lot of time playing it. This is why shopping for a new bass online is not a good solution. You just can't feel it first hand to see how it fits you and your body. Bass should sit nicely in your lap and you should feel good holding it. The weight distribution of each instrument is different, some are head heavy, some are body heavy and some are in between. You can only judge this if you actually hold it and try playing it. To make it simple: if it doesn’t feel comfortable - don’t buy it! Simple as that, as you’ll surely regret it later.
This is one characteristic that separates well made from poorly made basses. I’m saying well made as this doesn’t always have to do with the price of the instrument but more on that later. String action is a term that defines how much space there is between the strings and the fretboard. Lower action means less effort is needed to fret the notes and play the instrument. This is crucial as I remember buying an instrument with high string action when I was starting out and I almost quit playing for that reason alone as I didn’t know there we instruments with more comfortable action available on the market. Try out different basses in the store to find the one with lower action. This way it will be more playable and you’ll enjoy playing on it. If you do prefer high string action, keep in mind that you can always raise the action easily using saddle adjustments, but rarely can make adjustments go the opposite way!
More expensive is not always better
I’ve tried so many basses and what I learned is that price doesn’t always dictate the quality of an instrument. Okay, there are some price points and ranges out there which can impact the build quality and playability, but at certain price point, those differences start to decay, especially the higher we go in price. To make it easy to understand: the more expensive bass will not always be the better bass for you! This is important to note in order not to get sucked in the vortex of: “if I just bump my budget a little but, I’ll be able to get a much better bass”. Wrong, you won’t! (unless your budget is unlimited)
Instead, look for the bass that talks to you. The one that you like the sound of. The one that feels good in your hands. The one that plays well. The one YOU like and can afford. Each bass is different, even when it comes to exactly same model. They are made from different wood, set up and put together by different people. They all sound slightly different.
Don’t look at the brands
The logo on the bass shouldn’t be your decisive factor when choosing the instrument. At one time, I really wanted a Musicman bass. I tried a lot of bases but just couldn’t pull the trigger. Something just wasn’t right even though we all know that’s a premium brand. I ended up with a Fender bass, the only one available in stores (out of dozens of other fender, musicman and other basses), that I really, really liked. I’m still playing it every day as my main bass. Back when I was starting I was playing an unknown brand, jazz bass copy type of instrument. I was playing major gigs with it and got compliments on the tone. When I would tell people that it’s a $100 bass, they couldn’t believe it. It’s not just in the brand of the bass, it’s how it works in your hands. There are other factors of course that influence the sound but I’ll leave that for another post.
Finish and looks
Finally, you need to buy a bass that looks beautiful to you! Don’t buy an ugly bass. Don’t do it. The looks are indeed important and you need to feel good when playing the bass and be ready to show it off to others in youtube videos or at the gigs. Bass that looks cool will inspire you to pick it up and practice more often. You’ll enjoy every minute of it. This is why you need to pay attention to looks and finish of the instrument.
Hope these tips were helpful and that my thoughts inspired you to re-think your strategy when purchasing a new instrument and help you avoid getting lost in the process. Enjoy your bass hunt and let me know in the comments below which one did you buy.
I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to check out my premium video bass guitar courses, if you’re up for learning something new. Just check them out to see if you like the content and if it's something for you. You don’t need to buy, just check it out. If you do decide to buy one of my courses, I want you to know that you’ll be supporting me make a living as a musician as well as help with keeping this website up and running and allow me to post new lessons and videos in the future. I’ve included personal discount links that make the courses cheaper than a pack of strings, to make them affordable and valuable to you as much as possible. I didn’t compromise on quality though and spent months making each one.