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Bass for recording, will be rarely used and heavily processed...
Old 23rd March 2021
  #1
Bass for recording, will be rarely used and heavily processed...

That being said... I'm still looking for something that tracks well, I just don't want to spend more than I need to. I'm not trying to get the cheapest bass guitar, just that sweet spot of "bang for your buck."

P-Bass all the way, I see the advantage of the PJ styles. At this point I'm leaning to the Squire Deluxe. It has an active electronic PJ setup, but supposedly can be turned off.

Wondering if there's anything better value wise?

Most of these recordings are going to be for industrial music and other stuff where the signals are processed and distorted to high hell. So I just want it to cut primarily. I don't have a budget, just don't want to spend more than I need to.

And please.... the "anything will do, it's about how you play" guys... not here, please....

I'm also considering what I think was the old American standard (they made standards MIA right?), because that stuff seems to hold its value better than Squire. Appeciate the input fellow penny pinchers.
Old 23rd March 2021
  #2
The higher end Squiers can be really nice. If you like it, can't go too far wrong.

The other brand that comes to mind is Slick, if you can get them where you live. The Slick SLPB for your requirement. Stripped back to the essentials, but for the few components left they are all quality parts.

There are some Yamaha basses in the same price range that are good value too. Starting to drift away from the P-Bass style a bit there though.
Old 23rd March 2021
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Gideon K's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickerz ➡️
And please.... the "anything will do, it's about how you play" guys... not here, please....
It's more a case of "given your intention and applications, there won't be a lot of noticeable difference to the end result once you get out of the very bottom price bracket".

Stick with passive if you want 'that' P Bass sound (and budget active electronics are usually junk). P or PJ will both be fine. The P Bass is such a simple, easy to construct instrument that price is not a major obstacle to very usable tone.

Most modern squiers will be decent quality and nowadays they keep most of their value if they have been looked after. Squier is an entirely respectable brand if you are looking for an instrument to have around the studio for those occasions when you need one. Look for used and make sure you try it out before buying.
Old 23rd March 2021 | Show parent
  #4
I guess the best way to phrase the post would have been something like "what is the least expensive P-bass a studio would proudly carry in its roster." I typed this up at like 3am so I couldn't really do anything but regurgitate my use case lol.
Old 23rd March 2021 | Show parent
  #5
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Gideon K's Avatar
I get what you mean, but I honestly don't think that the way you phrase it changes the basic question. Price isn't an issue really.

Bass is my main instrument, I record it all the time in all manner of styles and tones. My current P Bass is a nameless copy that I rewired and put a Dimarzio pickup in. All-in it cost £200-250. I'll take the pepsi challenge with pretty much any other P Bass on the market that retails for £500-800. Besides, once it's mixed with all the other instruments any marginal differences between basses of the same model and pickup configuration tend to diminish.

Avoid the chinese copies, avoid the company own-brand models from music sites (you know the ones). Perhaps even avoid the Squier Affinity series if you're self-conscious about it.

After that, pretty much any Squier in production in the last 10 years will do just fine. There really isn't as much quality difference in it as there used to be. I know a number of professional studios that have a Squier P or J Bass as their main in-house bass.

There are lots of videos on youtube doing comparisons between P Basses from varying price points. I would recommend checking out a few and making your own mind up if I can't convince you.
Old 23rd March 2021 | Show parent
  #6
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickerz ➡️
I guess the best way to phrase the post would have been something like "what is the least expensive P-bass a studio would proudly carry in its roster." I typed this up at like 3am so I couldn't really do anything but regurgitate my use case lol.
"... would proudly carry in its roster." So is this bass a bass for playing bass with, or a bass for marketing your studio with?
Old 23rd March 2021
  #7
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 
The Fender Squires can be set up to play well, and produce a decent "standard" bass tone. Pretty much every common set-up for bass recording assumes the player will be using a passive Fender. I remember the dirty looks from the engineers every time I uncased my Rickenbacker 4001.

If you get a new one, the only thing to watch for is that the truss rod will likley require tightening after less than six months. I've adjusted dozens of them in the last 10 years.

If you know to check the relief in an instrument neck, you will be able to tell when the relief is getting a bit much. a 1/4 turn clockwise is usually enough to straighten it back up, if you haven't let it sit too long with too much relief.
Old 23rd March 2021 | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
"... would proudly carry in its roster." So is this bass a bass for playing bass with, or a bass for marketing your studio with?
More of a pride of ownership thing. I have racks full of guitars and the most expensive one I own is probably worth $1800. Most of them are around $750, and a couple $300 guitars. All of them are there because they are special in some way AND they have mojo.

In general I just do not like owning bargain bin stuff unless it is special in some way. e.g. I have a grassroots strat with a floyd that is S-S-S. Super cheap guitar, plays pretty good, but it's hard to find literal S-S-S shred guitars with a floyd. So it earned it's way in.

I am averse to the idea of pointing at a guitar in a rack and going "this is just a cheap XYZ."

It's a balancing act. I'm averse to the other extreme too, $10k guitars and the like.
Old 24th March 2021 | Show parent
  #9
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Gideon K's Avatar
I'm equally averse to owning junk, but does your pride of ownership rest on the utility and quality of work that the tool lets you produce, or is it tied to a name on a headstock, or a receipt for the price tag? They're not mutually exclusive, but they neither are they mutually inclusive.

If you are keen to expand your budget that you spend on a bass, you could look at Japanese-made basses, including Fenders. Also Tokai, Yamaha, old Ibanez basses. Then there are G&L, Schecter, plenty of respectable basses around.

In my experience of buying guitars and basses, the price and quality are not always directly related to each other in a linear way.
Old 24th March 2021
  #10
Lives for gear
The point of a studio offering instruments to clients is to have instruments that are better or different than what the musicians show up with themselves.

Sometimes better doesn't have to be some rare vintage instrument that costs a ton but simply a solid player that is set up really well, intonated properly, and gets a great sound if put into the hands of someone capable.

Buying a cheap bass to simply have one on the wall seems foolish if it isn't able to provide something more than the instrument the bass player showed up with.

Squiers can be set up properly and you can do some basic mods to them to make a pretty decent bass but they will always have the stigma of not being a "real Fender" to some people. If you can deal with that then get a Squier but make sure it plays amazingly before you put it on your wall.

If you want to have less chance of complaints and impress a bit more then spring for a bass that says Fender on it and probably made in USA would be a good idea as well. Even if you spend a bit more and go this route don't overlook the setup and that the bass plays and sounds excellent.

Like I said the point here is to be able to solve problems like when the bass players instrument isn't really capable of being recorded because the intonation is terrible, it has fret buzz, or electrical issues and you can simply point to the bass you have on the wall and get on with recording... that's what makes a real impression.

Oh yeah, and passive pickups... good ones.
Old 24th March 2021 | Show parent
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K ➡️
I'm equally averse to owning junk, but does your pride of ownership rest on the utility and quality of work that the tool lets you produce, or is it tied to a name on a headstock, or a receipt for the price tag? They're not mutually exclusive, but they neither are they mutually inclusive.

If you are keen to expand your budget that you spend on a bass, you could look at Japanese-made basses, including Fenders. Also Tokai, Yamaha, old Ibanez basses. Then there are G&L, Schecter, plenty of respectable basses around.

In my experience of buying guitars and basses, the price and quality are not always directly related to each other in a linear way.
It's not at all tied to price tag or the name on the headstock. Let me put this another way. In our household, there is a rule. If you want a minivan, get a divorce. All of the cars in our driveway, must be special. This doesn't mean expensive.

So vehicles that have sat in the driveway are a GMC Syclone, 03 Cobra, Mercury Marauder etc etc. Some of these were sub $6k or $10k vehicles, but still people have chased us down to chat about them.

There are some people that argue "why don't you just buy the cheapest car you can find" or "any Camry is good enough" and then some that say "only Ferrari is the best" or "Porsche is the best engineered" etc.

In the middle, you have what I'm talking about. Things that are special, make you happy, that you can have some pride of ownership with, that aren't necessarily too expensive.

But I don't know enough about basses to figure that out. The Zakk Wylde epiphone of basses really. That's what I'm looking for.
Old 24th March 2021 | Show parent
  #12
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Gideon K's Avatar
Cool. That's a good place to start.

So aside from Squiers, which you still ought to consider, you are looking in the $4-600-ish bracket, maybe higher.

Some options:
Japanese Fender Precision (if you find used)
80s Ibanez Blazer Bass (if you can find, or something similar)
G&L Tribute series
Yamaha BB series
Schecter make some nice instruments too

But seeing as your requirements are sort of general, pretty much any 4 string bass you like with passive electronics in that price range will be solid. Stick to full scale basses rather than shorter ones. Any P/J/PJ style bass with roundwound strings will have plenty of cut you are after.

My advice would be to aim in that ballpark and try a bunch of basses out in a shop if possible, and try to find one that speaks to you. The thing about finding instruments with 'mojo' I find is that apart from some really expensive guitars (like Dusenbergs for example), most electric instruments do not have any of that character fresh off the shelf. They tend to acquire it from having been broken in. I'm sure you have experienced this with guitars and it's the same for bass in my opinion.

The fact that you mentioned that Epiphone guitar makes me think that a Squier or maybe an Epiphone Thunderbird should still be your starting reference point.
Old 24th March 2021
  #13
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Gideon K's Avatar
All that aside, the best bass that epiphone makes in my opinion is the Jack Casady Bass. It's hollowbody but it's a killer bass with real character, and highly versatile. You could do a lot worse than one of those, and it is definitely a serious player's instrument.
Old 24th March 2021
  #14
If I were to have a single studio bass to use for clients whose own bass isn't all that great - and to ensure it had the flexibility and credibility and dependability to walk the talk, it would be a Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special. Active/passive, low noise P and J pickups, with flexible EQ. Robust hardware. Will play well in the hands of most bassists if set up well. Relatively easy to care for and should age well.
Old 24th March 2021 | Show parent
  #15
It's high on the list. Only thing I'm shy about is active, even though you can take it out, I have to assume a straight passive bass is a better bet.
Old 24th March 2021
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
The Marcus Miller basses get very good reviews and are quite versatile.
With the non Fender headstock and all those knobs it should get attention from people who pay attention to basses.
https://www.thomannmusic.com/marcus_...al_2nd_gen.htm
Old 24th March 2021 | Show parent
  #17
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambiguous signal ➡️
If I were to have a single studio bass...
Here's the thing about those P + J basses, whether modded or factory. The "scoop" of the tone on a J is entirely because of the placement of the two pickups, the distance between them, and the lo-mid cancellation that it causes. You can't get that with a P+J because the neck (P) pickup is in the wrong place. Some styles and some tracks need the P thing (solid, punchy, all-frequencies-included) and some need the J (brights+deeps+notch). You don't get both in one instrument.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 24th March 2021 at 06:32 PM..
Old 24th March 2021
  #18
Lives for gear
The P+J will offer more high end and detail with it's bridge pickup but it is of course a compromise and isn't going to quite pull off being a Jazz bass.
Old 24th March 2021 | Show parent
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Here's the thing about those P + J basses, whether modded or factory. The "scoop" of the tone on a J is entirely because of the placement of the two pickups, the distance between them, and the lo-mid cancellation that it causes. You can't get that with a P+J because the neck (P) pickup is in the wrong place. Some styles and some tracks need the P thing (solid, punchy, all-frequencies-included) and some need the J (brights+deeps+notch). You don't get both in one instrument.
Figured as much, no free lunch. So I'll start out with a nice passive P-bass. So far the one that I like the most is the Pro II in silverburst. But I think realistically I want to go with a 5 string to cover a larger range of tunings. I play guitar from mostly drop B to drop D. Sometimes A\F. So kinda bummed they didn't offer that in a 5.
Old 24th March 2021
  #20
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Actually, seems to me that the main issue with people who know where the notes are but aren't everyday bass players is clean playing. As in, they can't do it. You wind up with playing you have to find a way to hide, or in your case "process and distort to high hell." The J neck is a little easier for those folks to get around on than the P neck. Don't know if Squier has one, but there's a Fender model that's a P body and electronics with a J neck. Maybe look into that.
Old 24th March 2021
  #21
Gear Nut
 
The old Fender. Yes, we always had one of those kicking around. Totally beat-up and ancient, but it always sounds like a classic bass every time.
Old 24th March 2021 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickerz ➡️
Figured as much, no free lunch. So I'll start out with a nice passive P-bass. So far the one that I like the most is the Pro II in silverburst. But I think realistically I want to go with a 5 string to cover a larger range of tunings. I play guitar from mostly drop B to drop D. Sometimes A\F. So kinda bummed they didn't offer that in a 5.
From the start of this thread I haven't really understood the goal.

It seemed to me at first that this was about purchasing a bass for a studio for musicians who might need a solid basic instrument but now it seems more about a bass that you will be using.

If it's for you then get whatever you like but if it's a general studio instrument then a five string isn't going to cover most situations/players as well as a standard four string would.
Old 25th March 2021
  #23
Here for the gear
 
I love Ibanez basses - not the Soundgears which have pencil necks but are reasonable instruments, but things like the ATKs (pseudo-Stingray, not P-like but great basses which would work for your intended use) and the TMB (active PJ, cheap is chips, the ones I've played have played well and sounded great). They've been much more consistent the the Fenders/Squiers I've played.

Bugsmasher
Old 25th March 2021 | Show parent
  #24
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K ➡️
Stick with passive if you want 'that' P Bass sound (and budget active electronics are usually junk).
That’s low frequency, low budget wisdom.
Old 25th March 2021 | Show parent
  #25
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Gideon K's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman ➡️
That’s low frequency, low budget wisdom.
Not really. It's a generalisation based on personal preference, aesthetics, years of experience playing and listening, and basic economics around the cost of production.

A passive bass circuit is very cheap to produce and the only part of the signal chain that requires a potentially expensive component would be the pickup or pickups themselves. Relatively speaking, they are not expensive to produce or replace.

By contrast, the same type of bass with active electronics needs an on board preamp, eq circuitry and slightly more expensive components for active boost/cut controls. These are going to be an area where cut corners on cheaper instruments will impart more tonal differences between active instruments at different price points. It seems like a fairly obvious point, in the same way that I am comfortable making the generalisation that the pickups on cheaper basses are usually junk too.

Subjectively, I think active electronics are an over complication on most instruments that are not intended for specialist use. They require more maintenance than passive basses and given the intended use of the instrument, I do not see that active electronics would greatly benefit the user enough to justify the additional outlay.

Feel free to make more of a rational argument as to why you disagree.

Last edited by Gideon K; 25th March 2021 at 01:36 PM.. Reason: Autospell is as destructive as it is useful.
Old 25th March 2021
  #26
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1 Review written
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Gideon K,
I see that my remark wasn’t clear enough.
Passive pickups and specifically a single pickup bass is the most inexpensive way to get a quality bass recording.
So I think your suggestions were a wise bass guitar solution in terms of both economy and quality... thus “low frequency low budget wisdom”.
That wasn’t intended as criticism.
Old 25th March 2021
  #27
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
We have a Korean Squier that I think I traded some 1/4 phone cables for a couple decades ago. I can't get a decent sound out of it. My wife can't get a decent sound out of it. But my wife's bass teacher can play crazy runs on that thing and it sounds amazing.
--scott
Old 25th March 2021 | Show parent
  #28
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Actually, seems to me that the main issue with people who know where the notes are but aren't everyday bass players is clean playing. As in, they can't do it. You wind up with playing you have to find a way to hide, or in your case "process and distort to high hell." The J neck is a little easier for those folks to get around on than the P neck. Don't know if Squier has one, but there's a Fender model that's a P body and electronics with a J neck. Maybe look into that.
yea. IMO, Proper damping of individual strings is an essential part of a clean recordable bass sound, especially since round-wound bass strings became the norm. Its a technique that isn't learnt much by just playing guitar.
Old 25th March 2021 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Addict
 
Gideon K's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman ➡️
Gideon K,
I see that my remark wasn’t clear enough.
Passive pickups and specifically a single pickup bass is the most inexpensive way to get a quality bass recording.
So I think your suggestions were a wise bass guitar solution in terms of both economy and quality... thus “low frequency low budget wisdom”.
That wasn’t intended as criticism.
Thanks for clarifying and apologies if I was jumping the gun. It's so often that one gets berated by active bass enthusiasts when trying to rationally discuss this subject that I assumed it was indeed a criticism.
Old 25th March 2021
  #30
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🎧 10 years
I didn’t read all the responses sorry, but bang for buck to me means something like Ibanez or Schecter...I would easily put any I’ve played over a Squier. Squier might be fine but I believe they are less consistent. Easy to find a good deal on a second hand Ibanez or Schecter.

Something like a Schecter C4 or Ultra (or similar...I’m not familiar with all models) would be my pick, I think humbuckers will be better for “distorted to hell.”
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