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  #1  
Old 07-08-2017, 09:44 AM
Skip Ellis Skip Ellis is offline
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Default Cheap Bass

Been getting set up to do some recording with my acoustic guitar and want to do some backing tracks to record over - nothing elaborate. just some rhythm guitar and bass. The rhythm part I've, obviously, got covered, but I'd like suggestions for a decent cheap bass for these tracks - new or used and preferably around $100. Pawn shop used variety would be fine. Would really like a U-Bass but they're a little out of my budget range. Suggestions?
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:22 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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For $100 you'll have to look around and take the best you can find for that money. I was looking for an "open mic bass"; one that I could put on stage for all comers and not worry about it. I snagged a mint (yes, really mint) Squier Jaguar long scale for $85. I set it up, dressed some frets, and it's a beauty. Plays and sounds so good I'd use it for any of my gigs (but prefer my Jazz and Precision basses).

I've never shopped for basses at this level of the spectrum, so can't recommend any brands or models.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:42 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Stretch your budget to $200 used - the market really begins to open up in terms of both selection and quality - and since you're a guitarist first and foremost, IME you'll find a short-scale (~30") instrument not only easier/faster to play but lighter on the shoulder as well...
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:44 AM
blue blue is offline
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You know the deal Steve

Assuming you're going to record direct, and with what you're talking about you better, the electronics don't matter that much.

As long as find a playable one, and you can easily do that in the one to one-fifty range, you're golden

Option 2 is something like a POG pedal or a whammy. Jack White doesn't have a bass track on one of the most famous bass riffs ever recorded. seven nation army.

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Old 07-08-2017, 12:19 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Steve and I seem to have different luck or different expectations with cheap electric guitars/basses, but we agree that new and $100 is low. Used, yes, you can get something that may work for you, but I can't tell you what you'll find available.

My bass gateway drug was short-scale too, though I've now moved over to playing conventional 34" "long scale" slightly more than half the time. The short-scale new model that I bought, played and enjoyed was a Squier SS Jaguar bass, which is still available new for less than $200. I've had two of those Jaguars (one was stolen) and they both worked for me. But I also used an 90s DeArmond short scale with flatwounds (rare, you'll never find one used) and a really crappy old Japanese bass from the 70s that I got from an old band-mate 35 years ago and still had laying around.

Short scale tends to have mushier and less punchy lower E string. I find this less of a problem playing with pieces featuring acoustic guitar than I'd have in a loud rock band context. Flatwounds mask some of this effect, as they have less top end cut in general. Short scale is easier for guitar players to adapt to the stretches and the string tension can be lower.

The inexpensive conventional (long) scale basses I play the most are an Epiphone Jack Casady hollowbody bass, which I bought used and will blow your budget (used more like $400 to $500, new currently $800). I mention this only because it really can work nicely with acoustic guitar (gee, Hot Tuna anyone). I also really like my Squier fretess Jazz bass, which I bought used for less than $200 last year. New they are $300. The fretless does that fretless sound (this model is a cheap nod to the $1800 Fender Jaco Pastorius model) and so if you want to sound like Jaco and Joni on Hejira you can do this (well maybe a few notes will sound like that, as most of us are minus the chops and songwriting genius).

Besides scale length, you'll need to decide on flat-wound vs. round-wound strings. Flats are a more traditional, 1960's sound. The notes have more fundamental and have a softer thud. Round-wound have more harmonic overtones, cut better though the mix or in some live electric band situations, and have a more aggressive edge. I use both playing with acoustic guitar, and in fact have both a short scale and long scale with each on hand when recording. So for example, that fretless Squier Jazz has round wounds for those brighter up the neck Jaco sounds, while the Casady has flats for those more warm thuddy tones. Unless you're lucky in the used market, your cheap bass will come with round-wound strings. If you want to change to flats you may be shocked what a good set of bass strings cost. I like TI flats myself, but I have guitars that cost less than set of them. The good thing is that bass strings last longer for most players than I have left on a life-insurance actuaries' table.

I love playing bass in a recording context, much more than I ever thought I would, and there are times now in a band context when I grab the "bass chair" and let someone else handle all the widdly treble stuff.
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:01 PM
blue blue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
Steve and I seem to have different luck or different expectations with cheap electric guitars/basses, but we agree that new and $100 is low. Used, yes, you can get something that may work for you, but I can't tell you what you'll find available.
Well, you can find used squire by Fender basses all day long for between $80 and $150. P-Bass, Jazz, Jag bass. No problem. Heck go to Ebay right now and pick up 5 of them. Or go to GC on the last friday of the month and see what they have lying around.

$100 to $150 used is not a problem to buy a playable bass for direct, hobbyist recording. No porblem at all. Jack Bruce would turn his nose up, be we ain't him. Buying a better one that will sound good live for a performance situation that will porbably never happen? No need.

finding a used pog mini in that price range is just as easy, and you don't have to learn anything new if you have an electric, or an acoustic with a pickup.
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Old 07-08-2017, 02:58 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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I went on a mission to find a $100 bass and came home with an Ibanez GSR 200 in mint condition....Thank you Sam Ash....
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Old 07-08-2017, 03:09 PM
DanR DanR is offline
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Awhile back, I picked up a Squire Bronco Bass for about $125 at Guitar Center. It plays fine and sounds fine. I wanted a short scale bass because I don't play bass regularly and it translates better (the feel) when I switch between it and guitar. I use it solely for recording.
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  #9  
Old 07-10-2017, 02:33 PM
paulp1960 paulp1960 is offline
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My Yamaha BB414 was cheap second hand and is a nice player. Sounds great with flat wound strings.
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  #10  
Old 07-10-2017, 02:50 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanR View Post
...I wanted a short scale bass because I don't play bass regularly and it translates better (the feel) when I switch between it and guitar. I use it solely for recording.
My thoughts exactly...
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:30 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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I did the ebay thing a few years ago, found a Squire J bass with a few dings for $90 including shipping. Needed strings and a set up, but it serves me well.
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2017, 06:51 PM
Beachrunner Beachrunner is offline
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How about one of these for 80 bucks??...

I saw this used Epi EB-0 bass at GC a few years ago, snapped the pic, and then promptly just left it hanging on the wall... What was I thinking?...

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  #13  
Old 07-27-2017, 09:13 AM
Duffyw794 Duffyw794 is offline
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there are squier jaguar shortscale bass's for 129 on guitar center's website used.

Another good resource for bass talk is talkbass.com. Kind of the bass equivalent of agf.



https://www.talkbass.com/threads/the...ned-is.611427/

a good thread

Last edited by Duffyw794; 07-27-2017 at 09:14 AM. Reason: update
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  #14  
Old 07-27-2017, 09:30 AM
Multicellular Multicellular is offline
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Look for used
Squier Vintage Modified
Ibanez GSR 200
Yamaha

Look for similar things as a guitar. Neck relief even, no buzz or dead frets at reasonable relief and action, intonatable...

Pickups in the above are good enough.

Even at under $100 I would not personally get a
Dean
Rogue

I replaced the pickups for a guy in a Squier Vintage Modified fretless with some higher end ones. He was happy. I frankly didn't hear a huge difference. (And I am a major pickup, etc. tweaker).

But I've done setups on Deans and Rogues and they just had no life. I assume it is the pickups, but I have not modded them.
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:37 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duffyw794 View Post
...there are Squier Jaguar short-scale basses for $129 on Guitar Center's website used...
Tried a couple of those - sound good/play well but extremely heavy for their size (~9 lbs. - that's full-size P-Bass territory). The Epi EB-0's I've played come in between 7-8 lbs., and if you swap in a DiMarzio Model One pickup with a 3-way switch and a set of flatwound strings (knew a guy who set up a Korean-made one this way when they first came out) they're excellent recording basses for acoustic music - they won't get in the way of your guitar's low E and A strings when you take things up the neck, and you can draw a variety of useful tones from the 3-way (the stock setup tends to be a one-trick pony - gut-shaking low end, with a stand-up bass feel when you roll off the volume, but not much else). The current Chinese production isn't quite up to the same level of quality as the earlier MIK versions - the devil is in the details - but if you can get a used one for a good price (I would've been all over that one at $79) it'll make an easy-playing project platform...
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