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Sejin K

Beginner Bass Player

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I am looking to buy a bass that is under $500, preferably 5-string. I am a beginner that only has slight experience playing the bass

but am wondering what are the best options for bass guitars in that price range? I am looking to play in my church's worship team,

but am not sure what kinds of basses are the best suited for that, if there are any.

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Any brand may or may not be a good one. Without testing several, you get no idea of a suitable bass for yourself. My preference may have nothing to do with your preferences. Take a walk to local and distant stores and try many different ones. Try higher price categories, too. Then think about the price again. Cost may limit your choices, but it is also reasonable to ask yourself if you need to spare a bit longer to get that first reasonable instrument.

An instrument is not functional without a good quality silicone cable (3 meters / 10 feet should be fine), a wide strap, and if it is low impedance (active), buy a set of spare batteries. If you need to carry the bass around, a decent case or thick padded bag is in order, too. Last, but not least is the spare set of strings. If you are new with bass, you may consider a bit lighter 40 - 120, or a basic 45 - 130 set.

The complete minimum set costs some more than you thought in the first place, but you need to be able to change a string or a battery in a hurry, when shops are not open or just too far.

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$500 should get you something nice, especially if you buy used. Have a look at the usual suspects/brands. Steer clear of anything off-the-wall or unusual. You will find something conventional much easier to sell come upgrade time. If you're playing gospel music (which it appears you may be), a Squier P or J bass is a good starting point. Plenty available used at reasonable prices.

Do you have any musician friends who can help or advise you? If not, then visit as many shops as you can, try plenty of instruments and ask a lot of questions to help inform your search. Unless you need a wide variety of tones, I'd get a passive instrument - less to go wrong, no batteries to fail in the middle of a gig and cheaper. itu's string recommendations above appear to be for a 5 string. Think 40-100 or so for a 4 string. You don't need silicone cables. A plain one will be fine and 10 feet is a little short, unless you are standing right next to your amp on a small stage. 

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There are lots of good basses in your budget but as @itu says what suits me doesn't necessarily suit you. 

I'd post you location or find another BCer locally to visit a well stocked shop and try what's available. A better option is the next Bash Bash where attendees will have a range of gear, much of which isn't available in your local store.

Its important that for your first bass you, or somebody with a bit more experience, try before you buy.

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Do you absolutely have to have a 5er? You'll find a much larger variety of 4-stringers within your budget. You could pay hundreds of dollars more for that extra B-string, and then discover that it's a very expensive thumb-rest. 😜 If that low B is essential, you could use the bottom four strings from a set of 5, and tune your bass B-E-A-D.

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4 hours ago, Dan Dare said:

itu's string recommendations above appear to be for a 5 string. Think 40-100 or so for a 4 string. You don't need silicone cables. A plain one will be fine and 10 feet is a little short, unless you are standing right next to your amp on a small stage. 

In the text there was a note on a 5-string bass, so my answer should covers the question.

OK, a decent cable is expensive? Check these:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/guitar_cables.html?feature-11507-first=3&feature-11507-last=5&feature-47036[0]=Jack&feature-52381[0]=Jack&filter=true&manufacturer[0]=Cordial&manufacturer[1]=Sommer Cable&oa=pra&price-first=0

The selection is limited to jack-jack (both straight ones) and length is between 3 to 5 meters. Anything else than Cordial, and Sommer Cable are left out. These cost between £6 and £35.

You will use it for the next ten years. Not a big, but an important investment. I always carry at least two with me. You know those g-word players and their so-called cables...

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