What new bass to buy?

A forum devoted to the discussion of playing bass with the blues.

What new bass to buy?

Postby godinguy » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:10 am

OK, I'm an older Kiwi, learning bass guitar. I love the sound (I'm getting the odd musical note right now and then too).
So, I have my old Aria, and fairly new Ibanez GSR200FM. Both are 4 string.
My muso cobber has offered me his USA Fender Deluxe 5 string (early 90's, white with red pickguard... looks so nice!!), and I have also been offered a G&L L2000 (USA made) 4 string (honeyburst).
I like the sound, look, and feel of both.
So, my heart tells me the Fender, my head says the G&L. My ears say both are sweet.
Is the transition to 5 string a big leap? Is it worth having that lower string for blues?
I also want (I figure), to have a decent resale one day when I get too arthritic in the hands to be able to play.
Maybe some of you have faced a similar dilemma?
I guess what I really want to know is if there is a reason NOT to buy either of these. Your thoughts (as always) much appreciated.
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby bigdaddy » Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:45 pm

Fender is good but the G&L is probally better. Ibanez? I'm a Fender fan so I'll stick with the Fender and G&L over the Ibanez but that's just me. Between the Fender and the G&L, which one is the better deal dollar wise?
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby godinguy » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:50 pm

Thanks for the quick reply.
Both of these are the same price ($1500).
That's Kiwi $$ which are about 75 - 76 cents USA at the moment.
That would be about $1100 USA I guess.
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby lpdeluxe » Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:25 pm

I gigged for a couple of years with an L2000, and it was a fine bass. It got traded away after I acquired a Fender Classic '50s P and the band wouldn't let me play anything else.

The G&L was 'way more versatile than the Fender, but it didn't have the personality. I could get a wide variety of tones out of it, but, with the P, I just had to plug into an amp to get a great tone.

I'm now the owner of 4 Fenders, so I'm possibly prejudiced -- but I bought them despite a natural inclination to avoid the "popular" brand.

Anyhow, my BIG reason for not keeping the L2000 was that it only had four strings. I kept encountering situations where a B string would have made a song much easier to play (I know, this sounds odd, since all my Fenders are fours). Perhaps it was the fact that the tone was so even up and down the neck and across the strings...in any case, I got so far as ordering an L2500 from Musician's Friend (which I had to return since it came in the wrong finish/fingerboard and I was told my choice had been discontinued), and also tried unsuccessfully to trade some other gear for another one (dealer wouldn't budge on his offer) and in the event I went over to the Fender side.

All this makes me think that, if I were in your position, I'd get the 5.
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby lpdeluxe » Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:37 pm

Now I've re-read your original post, and I'll add something about the musical usefulness of 5 strings.

I owned an Ibanez ABG for a while, and gigged with it. It got sold because it wasn't really suited, sound-wise, to the material I was playing. I have also extensively played a borrowed G&L L2500.

I really like the 5. Especially when playing in C or D, it's great being able to reach down (instead of up) for those roots and fives. If you play in a variety of keys (most of my experience is in playing in bands where the singer played rhythm guitar and used a capo to pitch the song to his voice) the 5 quickly becomes indispensable. I just ended a two-year position in a working band, playing bass in all keys, and I many times wished for a 5. Why didn't I get one? The tone of my Precision killed, and I didn't want to take a chance on getting a bass that wouldn't live up to its sound.

When playing a 5 for the first time, I found the B string awkward, but I very quickly adjusted. Be aware that string spacing can be quite important on a 5, buy the way.

You're in a different situation, and you have the advantage of not having learned a lot of 4-string habits to break. I'd say, go for the 5. If you find yourself in a musical venue where it's not appropriate to go down the 'way bottom, why, the rest of the bass is an ordinary 4-string!
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby mike932 » Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:25 am

I like Fenders, I own 4, three 4s and a 5. I am currently sidemanning for a Country Blues guy who likes me to play more chords and double stops, so I use the 5. Three of my basses are Jazz and on P. I have never had the dead spot problem and all of my bassses are passive, but I do want to buy the new Jazz 5 with the active pu's, very nice, a friend has one, the thing is incredible.
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby godinguy » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:40 am

Thanks for all the input.
I do like the G&L, it is a very nice guitar, but as you folk mention, the 5 string does give a bit more versatility.
So, I think I will probably go with the Fender.
It's a '96 Deluxe (active pickups), and is mint condition.
If I knew how to do it I would put up a piccy on here.
Cheers.
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby lpdeluxe » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:27 am

Let us know what you get and how you like it.
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby godinguy » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:10 am

Wow, nearly 2 years have gone by since I started this thread.
Been busy earning a crust!
Currently driving tanker/trailer units through top of NZ's South Island.
Well, I did buy a new bass. It's an Ibanez SRX700, 4 string, natural finish, neck through.
Playing through my Ashdown 180/15 combo I can now get that nice deep sound that the GSR200 wasn't giving me.
Maybe not your first choice for a Blues bass?
The price was right, and it was available close to home.
I don't really know enough about musical genres to say if it's a good or bad bass for Blues (I'm certainly not into Metal!).
Sounds fine to me and very nice to play.
Ibanez do make a great neck (very playable).
So, I'm happy. I have a good looking, good sounding bass (it can certainly growl when you give it a whack).
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Re: What new bass to buy?

Postby Laker » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:43 am

Glad you decided on the bass of your choice. For me, there is no bass that is good for blues or good for something else, they all are what you make them sound like. To me, blues comes from the player, not the bass.

I've played old Fenders for nearly 50 years and tossed in a Musicman along the way, but my favorite basses at the moment are my Lakland Deluxe 55-94 basses that I've played for a bit over 10 years now. They offer flexibility and allow you to really dial in your sound you are looking for while offering a neck that feels as "at home" as any old Fender I've played.
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