I’m in Dallas with work for the next 3 months and spotted a Guitar Center on my drive back from the supermarket today, so thought I’d pop in. They didn’t have a huge selection of new basses (although there were a couple of nice vintage P and J basses high up out of reach in their Premium section), but I sat down and grabbed a few to try.
First one was a Yamaha BBP34. I’m a big fan of Yamaha basses and this is one of their relatively high end models (I think it was $1499). Played it for a couple of mins and it did absolutely nothing for me - I was quite disappointed. I couldn’t have told the difference between it and a $250 bass to be honest. Finish was fine but the setup was lousy, and it just felt disappointing.
Next up was a Fender American Professional II Precision. This I absolutely loved, and it instantly felt comfortable. Great sounding too. Neck was very comfy - slim front to back but traditional P bass but width. Setup nicely straight out of the box and surprisingly light. This was up for $1500, and if I was in the market for a P bass (haha, which is pretty much all the time!), I’d definitely be considering one of these.
Finally, and probably the most surprising to me, was a cheapo Sterling by Stingray SUB. Sticker price was $299, and I had very low expectations from it. Bear in mind that I’ve owned a couple of “proper” Stingrays in the past and have never really got on with them. Well, I plugged this in and was blown away. Build quality was great, it was setup nicely and neck was slim and frets were very well finished. No dead spots, 2 band eq worked perfectly, and it sounded great! All for the equivalent of £218, in a choice of a few colours (including a really nice powder blue which is actually called chopping blue for some reason). Quite taken with it, and I think I might grab one for the time that I’m out here for, and then donate it at the end of the trip to a local music group or something. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have given a cheapo bass like that a second look. Just goes to prove something we probably all know - you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a decent bass.