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No such thing as "best"...


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We see many, many threads starting with "what's the best..." which then leads to us recommending what WE think is the best item fitting the description. I've often done it. Thankfully today there are very few poor examples of basses, amps, electronics - certainly less than when I started playing back in the 80s.

However I'm sure there are brands which continue to churn out less than good equipment - I'd like to hear from the experience of others what I should avoid.

Good "for instance" - the Fender Infinity range - they sell for bird seed - yet they bear the Fender name. Why would F allow this if they are "bad" basses?

What about the "entry models" for big brands - the real Warwicks are held with great esteem (despite the company's poor CS) yet the Rockbasses seem to be view with disdain. I need more information.

Share your experiences?

 

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I'd agree for all that the opinion of a relatively new bedroom bassist matters.

My visual preference is the Ibanez SR range, and they seem to suit me, I have a fretted and a fretless 4s, I plan to add a 5er later this year, maybe next and will probably go for another Ibanez but I'll need to travel a bit so I can try them out mainly so I cxan see how the fretboard suits my left hand

Strings are another area where it's totally down to personal preference, Bass and Guitar strings everyone and their dog has an opinion. Uke bass strings you're on you're own, after a lot of experimenting I've finally settled on Aquila Thunderblacks and am still not entirely satisfied with the 'E' but I prefer it, by a long way, over anything else.

I bow down in worship before anyone who knows anything about cabs amps, pups, EQs or any of the technical stuff. I know I could do to upgrade my amp/cab whatever but haven't really got a clue where to start.

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As with another thread not a million miles away, 'best' is subjective. I'd actually go further and say 'value for money' (which is what you appear to be asking about) is largely subjective too. I guess most people around here could spot a dud or a gem at need, but between those extremes there is a yawning chasm filled with gear that will suit somebody (and hence be good value from their perspective).

That said (and to answer your question), I've had numerous amps from several makers (PJB, GB, TCE...) that have suited my needs at different times. I don't gig anymore so the little PJB BG110 currently sitting behind me is more than enough for my current needs. As for basses, I've owned a wide variety at different times (although, interestingly, not a Fender P bass - not an original anyway). Some of them have been pretty cheap (as in less than £200) and some of them have been rather expensive custom built jobbies (such as the Seibass Original 5er that is - and is likely to remain - my only current bass). They've almost all seen action on a stage or in a studio, so in that sense they all served their purpose at the time. I've tried never to be a headstock snob, and I don't think I've ever bought either an instrument or an amp that I genuinely couldn't work with - at least for a while.

TL;DR Beyond obvious duds, if it  works like it should and sounds good to you, use it.

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What I was really looking at was " gear I wouldn't take even if given to me?"

For example Encore, even after all these years, seem still to be turning out poorly built, lowly regarded gear which changes hands on Ebay for very little. You'd think the gear would be worth more in parts. 

H&H amps are still in business I believe - again poorly regarded. I often see basses from John Hornby Skewes selling for not much - I don't know anything about them.

 

 

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1 hour ago, TheGreek said:

What I was really looking at was " gear I wouldn't take even if given to me?"

Funny you should say that, the guy who dropped my fretless off yesterday suggested that he has an instrument he was thinking of giving me as (or was it for) a charitable contribution - a fretted, Bamboo, Uke Bass, it's 'B' grade (couple of fine cracks near the tuner block but all fixed) but. "It'll really nice, fun and complement your other (fretless) Uke bass".

Why then am I thinking, hmmm?

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yeah, but...

There are lots of amps & basses out there that can do a Modern sound & be dialed back for Vintage sounds,

and there are no Vintage-sounding instruments & amps that can be dialed UP for Modern sounds, IME

one exception for me was a EVH amp that I tried to use as a bass amp, just too much Gain, & I LOVE Gain

 

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Even the gear that I would turn down would suit someone. 
again, it’s all subjective. 
personally I wouldn’t touch trace gear with a very long stick, but others here almost fall over themselves to get it. 
I don’t know if any others remember ‘axe’ branded instruments, but in the late 80’s I pored over every advert I saw, but now I realise what they were- cheap and cheerful instruments aimed at rock fans that wanted ‘some of the action’

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19 minutes ago, Killed_by_Death said:

... & I LOVE Gain

... and I'm the opposite. All I want from an amp/cab is 'clean' as far as I need to go. No 'break-up', no 'disto', no 'grind', no 'dirt'. 200w Hiwatt ex-PA head, with 4x KT88's, and a choice of cabs, such as Ampeg 4x10, HH 2x15, Fender Bassman 2x15... Bass plugged into amp, amp plugged into cab: bingo.

Before getting my bass cabs, this was the rig I played bass through (x 2, as a pair, as below...)...

e8XLMpY.jpge8XLMpY.jpg

We're all different, it would seem. :friends:

Edited by Dad3353
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If it has Harley Benton written on it buy it, was my motto. Not any more obvs. 

The Sandberg Electra bass I bought here is alleged to be from their budget range but it's as good as anything I've played. 

As to must avoid that tends to be any bass over £500 second hand.

I say tends to be because I just broke that rule... twice. 

I don't avoid any brand, they're all quite capable of producing a gem. Having said that, I have yet to find an MXR pedal I like, and I know they're highly and widely respected. 

Oh and Ashdown is a great company and a fine builder of amps and cabs but can't seem to make an envelope filter I like. 

In the end, buy second hand, do your research to ensure you're not paying over the odds, sell it if it's not to taste. Use reviews to discover products you might not otherwise hear about but don't trust other people's opinion. 

 

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I've long ago come to the conclusion that I am just not like 99% of the other bass players.

I dislike a lot of the stuff that gets touted as GREAT by everyone else.

Even when other people were enjoying their Ergonomic Headless basses, I can't recall any of them raving about how comfortable they are, but the BEST attribute for ME.

So basically, everyone else is enjoying their stuff incorrectly!

😀

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Good: Quite liked a Rockbass Fortress 5 I had many moons ago. It was heavy but not much else wrong with it. 

Bad: Dislike a Squier VMJ I’m looking after. Frets are sharp as anything and the pickups have no warmth and little low end.

Very Good: Sire V7 version 1. Bought it as a home away from home bass and it was excellent. Sold it as I needed to raise cash quickly.

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1 hour ago, Killed_by_Death said:

I've long ago come to the conclusion that I am just not like 99% of the other bass players...

I think this is true of 100% of bass players, and, indeed, folk on the Planet..! We are all, in our own way, 'not like anyone else'. In fact, it's so much the case that we're all the same in being different..! xD

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3 hours ago, Killed_by_Death said:

I've long ago come to the conclusion that I am just not like 99% of the other bass players.

I dislike a lot of the stuff that gets touted as GREAT by everyone else.

Even when other people were enjoying their Ergonomic Headless basses, I can't recall any of them raving about how comfortable they are, but the BEST attribute for ME.

So basically, everyone else is enjoying their stuff incorrectly!

😀

I dipped my toe into the world of headless basses a couple of years ago and it was one of the the best things I ever did.

I was looking for a 5’er that would be more suited to my 80’s band and came across this beauty. It’s shorter scale and headlessness makes for a supremely comfortable playing experience. You’d never think it by just looking at it, but it’s an absolute joy to play.

 

B6BBC621-419E-437B-87FF-34EE9F345D79.jpeg

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6 hours ago, Killed_by_Death said:

 

yeah, but...

There are lots of amps & basses out there that can do a Modern sound & be dialed back for Vintage sounds,

and there are no Vintage-sounding instruments & amps that can be dialed UP for Modern sounds, IME

one exception for me was a EVH amp that I tried to use as a bass amp, just too much Gain, & I LOVE Gain

 

Depends on your definition of vintage.

A lot of today's musicians weren't even born when Trace Elliot hit the news. Vintage enough for you?

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, TheGreek said:

 Thankfully today there are very few poor examples of basses, amps, electronics - certainly less than when I started playing back in the 80s.

However I'm sure there are brands which continue to churn out less than good equipment - I'd like to hear from the experience of others what I should avoid.

Share your experiences?

I think we’re about the same age with similar experiences of trying to find budget instruments in the ‘80s. Not only were the instruments cheap and nasty but the outlets to buy them were severely limited. No internet and a small selection of second hand shops that stocked instruments alongside other brick-a-brac made finding a decent cheap bass tricky.

I don’t think I have played anything in recent years that a couple of hours worth of setup wouldn’t sort out to be playable if not loveable.
Nowadays it would boil down to a bit of brand snobbery, aesthetics as well knowing that for a little more cash there is a better quality instrument that can be bought quickly and researched from the comfort of your home (online reviews, you tube demos etc),

It’s  the same with cars. There are loads of cheap models out there now that are more reliable than top makes back in the 80’s but feel cheap and nasty and are utterly bland to drive. Why bother unless you have to?

 

Edited by tegs07
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Posted (edited)

As others have already said, but in different words, one man's meat is another's murder. I wouldn't give Stagg or Vintage house room, but many on here certainly rate the latter. 

LTD/ESP is the one I don't understand. There are some very high quality, high priced LTD models, yet the ESP brand is kept minimal.

Edited by Mykesbass
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The best is relative, and a better word could be "suitable".

I have been thinking that there should be a diagram of prices. The rising part of the curve should show the subjective change in quality up to a price where the quality does not change so much anymore. Where the sweet spot should be?

I do not understand questions like: "What's the best xxxx?" and then there's a limit in the price later in the text. "What's available in this pricepoint £xx?" is more relevant, as the most suitable is also so subjective.

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9 hours ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

I dipped my toe into the world of headless basses a couple of years ago and it was one of the the best things I ever did.

I was looking for a 5’er that would be more suited to my 80’s band and came across this beauty. It’s shorter scale and headlessness makes for a supremely comfortable playing experience. You’d never think it by just looking at it, but it’s an absolute joy to play.

And there was me thinking that almost every Status is likely to be a joy to play.

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11 hours ago, Dad3353 said:

I think this is true of 100% of bass players, and, indeed, folk on the Planet..! We are all, in our own way, 'not like anyone else'. In fact, it's so much the case that we're all the same in being different..! xD

Remember, you are unique - just like everyone else.

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There are definitely a lot of things most bass players stick to, traditional stuff, I'm not one of those people.

I see guitar-players asking in bass forums, "How do I think like a bass player?", just be yourself is my advice, LOL!

 

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10 hours ago, itu said:

I have been thinking that there should be a diagram of prices. The rising part of the curve should show the subjective change in quality up to a price where the quality does not change so much anymore. Where the sweet spot should be?

I’d welcome more people posting replies with a graph.

Or a nice Venn diagram.

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10 hours ago, itu said:

I have been thinking that there should be a diagram of prices. The rising part of the curve should show the subjective change in quality up to a price where the quality does not change so much anymore. Where the sweet spot should be?

There are quite a few (OK, lots!) graphs like that in economics. normally with the law of diminishing returns:

image.png.f0b49cfe5fdbada331e0d3aa106d3850.png

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51 minutes ago, Nail Soup said:

image.png.f0b49cfe5fdbada331e0d3aa106d3850.png

Exactly. This is it.

Only thing we need anymore is the costs for those points R-x. These could be certain pieces of equipment, as well as a set, like a bass and an amp.

I can see that this would be helpful to those trying to understand wattage, too. Like R-13 is 300 W, R-19 is 500 W and R-38 is anything above the previous mentioned. (NOTE: Numbers above are purely fictional and random, and they have nothing to do with real life events whatsoever. JOKE ends.)

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