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hamfist

Cheap basses .... I've seen the light !

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I've owned 3 USA Fenders, two German Warwicks, a Status S2 and numerous other decent quality (and reasonably expensive) basses. Admittedly, these are not top top dollar basses but for most of us I guess we would describe them as high quality, relatively expensive instruments.

Anyway, After much chopping and changing and actually listening with my ears rather than with my eyes I have ended up with a main bass (an old Aria Pro II) , which cost me £70 (and I use "as is", unmodded) and a backup (Yamaha RBX270) costing £223 (brand new). Tonally, these instruments are every bit as good as all the more expensive basses I have played and owned. they also both play beautifully, with punch on every string, no dead spots etc. THey don't look "cool" to other musos and they have the "wrong" names on the headstock but I care not.

I have found that putting my money into quality amps, cabs and pedals gets me far nearer my tonal objectives than putting it into basses.

So, simply an encourangement to all to hunt around and play a lot of cheaper basses, as there are some absolute bargains out there which sound and play stunningly. And yes, I also mean some of the mass-produced Indonesian/Korean basses out there too.

Warning ...... there are also many absolutely awful cheap basses out there too.

Anyone else found the same ?

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Yes and no.

Personally I think the RX270 is a dreadful bass. Pickups are crap and it feels cheap (tone knobs are stiff/grind and the woods feel cheap). However, I agree to some extent as every Jap Fender I've ever played has been far better than a similarly spec'd US equivilant and there are a LOT of inexpensive basses these days that really hold their own.

The Ibanez SR300 range is unbelievable quality for under £300 (and is the reason that I dislike the RBX270, because in comparison the Ibanez is much better). Also, one of the nicest basses I've played in the 12 months was an Allen Woody Rumblekat, which retails at about £279 and its an Epiphone Custom Shop model! Great value for money.

I'm not sure I can agree with you that an RBX270 is as good as a Fender though. It's not even as good as a VM Squier IMO. Sorry!

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YES my Peavey has been my main gigging bass for quite a few years now. It's not perfect and doesn't really have a strong characteristic sound. But it's light, ergonomic, no real dead spots, no weird resonances etc. I fall about laughing when I hear about £1000 basses with all kinds of problems and bits falling off :o

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My best friend is a full time writer/session musician and has done really well over the last couple of years. He records a lot of bass himself and for years used a Yamaha RBX model that was about £170 used. Quite simply it was one of the best sounding basses recorded, with little to no tweaking needed when he was mixing and producing tracks.

One of the pickups broke I seem to remember and it wasn't worth the effort and cost to repair so he went and bought a Lakland 55-02 Deluxe. Sadly he has had nothing but grief with it, it is a solid bass but he struggles getting good sound from it. I thought it was him so we both sat for an afternoon checking it over, fiddling with the switches in the cavity and still it sounds thin and lifeless in comparison to the Yamaha. Even my Squier CV sounded better into the desk and in a mix.

Conclusion.....god bless cheap basses but, pick carefully.

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Rasta on here traded me this old Aria thing, beaten to hell, different pups in, messy looking.


sounded glorious.


rather than selling it on i should have just had the frets put back on

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My main Bass is now a Squier VM Jazz...totally stock. Fantastic Instrument once set up properly....and the Squier Logo stays, no gear snobbery here :)

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Always believe your ears.

If yours tell you that a bass sounds right then it is.

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No, haven't found that..but the £1500 plus doesn't garauntee you anything either.

Depends also on your reference of sound and do you put much credenence in it.
I would put more store in gettings reviews from a keyb player or gtr who had his own sound right down,
and a few X pro players and engrs.
But...again...depends if you buy into what they are selling/saying.

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[quote name='hamfist' timestamp='1370761571' post='2105125']
I've owned 3 USA Fenders, two German Warwicks, a Status S2 and numerous other decent quality (and reasonably expensive) basses. Admittedly, these are not top top dollar basses but for most of us I guess we would describe them as high quality, relatively expensive instruments.

Anyway, After much chopping and changing and actually listening with my ears rather than with my eyes I have ended up with a main bass (an old Aria Pro II) , which cost me £70 (and I use "as is", unmodded) and a backup (Yamaha RBX270) costing £223 (brand new). Tonally, these instruments are every bit as good as all the more expensive basses I have played and owned. they also both play beautifully, with punch on every string, no dead spots etc. THey don't look "cool" to other musos and they have the "wrong" names on the headstock but I care not.

I have found that putting my money into quality amps, cabs and pedals gets me far nearer my tonal objectives than putting it into basses.

So, simply an encourangement to all to hunt around and play a lot of cheaper basses, as there are some absolute bargains out there which sound and play stunningly. And yes, I also mean some of the mass-produced Indonesian/Korean basses out there too.

Warning ...... there are also many absolutely awful cheap basses out there too.

Anyone else found the same ?
[/quote]


I'm on board too. There is far too much of the "emperors clothes" regarding headstock logo's

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I would like to wholeheartedly endorse Hamfist's position , but my own dalliances with less expensive instruments have always led to me very quickly going back to high - end basses . There are undoubtedly some excellent less expensive basses out there if you choose well , and whatever works for you is fine by me , but my own personal experience is that a well - chosen better quality bass yields better long-term satisfaction for myself . A lot depends on what you mean by cheap , of course . If you mean a bass that currently costs £200 new then that will , by neccessity, be a cheap bass with certain compromises , but if you mean an old and well -used bass of better quality that you picked up second - hand at a bargain price then that could easily be an excellent instrument . Most cheaper basses I try lack a depth and richness in their sound that I have become accustomed to during the last thirty- odd years of playing better quality basses . That said , I don't go out of my way to play that many , so I am ready and waiting to be told how wrong I am , but I can only tell you what I think is true . That said , things like Squire Vintage Modified and the less expensive Yamaha BB's that I have tried are very good instruments , regardless of price , so I can see how they would do just fine for most people in any musical situation , and I would be quite happy playing them myself . The good news is that cheaper basses are better than ever before , and you seem to get more for your money . When I started playing lower price basses were usually unspeakably awful and often very poor quality . By comparison , many starter basses are very useable nowadays . I've had lousy basses that cost lots of money too , so as JTUK says , there are no guarantees of satisfaction at any price unless you use your judgement and experience .

Edited by Dingus

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I might also suggest that higher-end basses have a higher level of functionality and greater flexibility due to higher quality EQs or more pickups etc etc. That's worth a lot of money to some people!

Truckstop

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[quote name='Talon' timestamp='1370772658' post='2105254']
My main Bass is now a Squier VM Jazz...totally stock. Fantastic Instrument once set up properly....and the Squier Logo stays, no gear snobbery here :)
[/quote]

Same, gigged a 4 string VM Jazz for a year but replaced the pickups with EMGs. Then upgraded to a 5 string VM Jazz over a year ago and still gigging it completely stock.

Bought several basses during that time including Fenders, G&L etc. Just something about the VM Jazz that feels right to play and sounds great. Also if it was involved in a freak accident at a gig and was broken beyond repair I'd just buy another one without breaking the bank

NB I am eventually upgrading to a Lakland at tsome point though I will probably use that for the classier gigs.

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[quote name='Truckstop' timestamp='1370782647' post='2105427']
I might also suggest that higher-end basses have a higher level of functionality and greater flexibility due to higher quality EQs or more pickups etc etc. That's worth a lot of money to some people!

Truckstop
[/quote]

It may surprise you to know that even bargain instruments often come with more than one pup and a volume control. :P But I can see your point, serious professional musicians require high-end instruments manufactured to the highest standards with the best materials available to get "that" tone

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It's also worth pointing out , how good a bass sounds depends a great deal on who is playing it ! I've heard fantastic players pick up a Squire and sound like Pino and I've heard poor players on basses that cost £3000 sound like poor players . You have to have reached a certain level of ability to make any bass sound good .

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[quote name='Dingus' timestamp='1370785811' post='2105470']
It's also worth pointing out , how good a bass sounds depends a great deal on who is playing it ! I've heard fantastic players pick up a Squire and sound like Pino and I've heard poor players on basses that cost £3000 sound like poor players . You have to have reached a certain level of ability to make any bass sound good .
[/quote]

Good post! Although I the only reason why I can play as well as I can is in no small part due to my "charity shop basses"! :unsure: :D

Edited by mentalextra

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[quote name='Dingus' timestamp='1370785811' post='2105470']
You have to have reached a certain level of ability to make any bass sound good .
[/quote]
You've just saved me 1K.

No Stingray for me then. :(

Edited by BetaFunk

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[quote name='mentalextra' timestamp='1370786260' post='2105478']
Good post! Although I the only reason why I can play as well as I can is in no small part due to my "charity shop basses"! :unsure: :D
[/quote]

Are they selling basses in charity shops now ? The bastards ! That means that poor people will be able to afford them . No wonder pop music is going to the dogs .

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[quote name='BetaFunk' timestamp='1370786928' post='2105488']
You've just saved me 1K.

No Stingray for me then. :(
[/quote]

A Stingray is actually a great bass even for people who can't play . It's probably even a good bass for those who can't hear - the sound cuts through a mix so well that even the profoundly deaf can be seen skillfully disco dancing in response to it's irresistable funk force . Do you honestly think the 1970's would have happened the way it did were it not for the Stingray ? What's more , I'm sorry to have to tell you that under new Government guidelines for mental health care in the community , those found questioning the supremacy of the Stingray are likley to be Sectioned for their own protection and the safety of society as a whole .

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Why does anyone buy a Mercedes or BMW when there are perfectly good Fords and Vauxhalls out there?


A lot of players can't hear or feel the difference between a Sadowsky and a Squier.

That's fine. Their buying decisions should be based on what the can hear. Any more would be a waste of money.

On the other hand I'm a fan of the "because you can" approach to life.

One-upmanship exists for a reason!

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[quote name='hamfist' timestamp='1370761571' post='2105125']
I've owned 3 USA Fenders, two German Warwicks, a Status S2 and numerous other decent quality (and reasonably expensive) basses. Admittedly, these are not top top dollar basses but for most of us I guess we would describe them as high quality, relatively expensive instruments.

Anyway, After much chopping and changing and actually listening with my ears rather than with my eyes I have ended up with a main bass (an old Aria Pro II) , which cost me £70 (and I use "as is", unmodded) and a backup (Yamaha RBX270) costing £223 (brand new). Tonally, these instruments are every bit as good as all the more expensive basses I have played and owned. they also both play beautifully, with punch on every string, no dead spots etc. THey don't look "cool" to other musos and they have the "wrong" names on the headstock but I care not.

I have found that putting my money into quality amps, cabs and pedals gets me far nearer my tonal objectives than putting it into basses.

So, simply an encourangement to all to hunt around and play a lot of cheaper basses, as there are some absolute bargains out there which sound and play stunningly. And yes, I also mean some of the mass-produced Indonesian/Korean basses out there too.

Warning ...... there are also many absolutely awful cheap basses out there too.

Anyone else found the same ?
[/quote]

this week......................................

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Agreed as to the part of there existing lots of great cheap basses, and I love that aspect. I love quirky and I love cheap.

But a noob like me is more secure picking up a new Fodera or Music Man than picking up a new Squier or Epiphone.
(mind ya, I have three Squiers that I'm very, very enthusiastic about)

Also, while us noobs will not make a high quality bass sound consistently well, from that notion there's no logical line that commands that we're deaf, stupid and without ability to notice stuff in addition.
Whilst I love my Daisy Rock, it is clearly the lesser bass compared to my Bongo, and that goes for sound, pre-setup playability, ergonomics, feel, the smoothness of the knobs ... everything.

My cheapest bass was £69.
Great!
My most expensive one was slightly more ... er ... expensive though ....
Great, that too.


best,
bert

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[quote name='Dingus' timestamp='1370788384' post='2105501']
Are they selling basses in charity shops now ? The bastards ! That means that poor people will be able to afford them . No wonder pop music is going to the dogs .
[/quote]

Too late, I'm poor and I've got one.

But I'm not concerned, as no amount of fancy tv's or flash cars makes up for breeding or of a true gentleman! :D

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[quote name='mentalextra' timestamp='1370791628' post='2105539']


But I'm not concerned, as no amount of fancy tv's or flash cars makes up for breeding or of a true gentleman! :D
[/quote]

True :

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