best cheap bass

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

User avatar
lyman
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 667
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2004 5:14 pm
Location: Plymouth Rock City, MA

Post by lyman » Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:09 pm

Harry wrote:another vote for the Fender Mexicans....NOT the Squire.
Look for the M on the serial#
hmm. I have an 80's japanese bullet squire which i love. i assume you mean the newer squires though.

Catoogie
buyin' a studio
Posts: 930
Joined: Thu May 22, 2003 12:28 pm

Post by Catoogie » Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:48 pm

This Johnson Viola bass got an amazing review in Bass Player Magazine a month or so ago, it's pretty inexpensive.

http://www.johnsongtr.com/Viola_Bass.1084.0.html

the brill bedroom
pushin' record
Posts: 233
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:44 am
Location: Cambridge
Contact:

Post by the brill bedroom » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:22 am

The above suggestions are all worthy, but as someone who spends a lot of time thinking about bass tones, let me throw my 2 cents in.

The problem with a lot of contemporary bass tracks is that there's not enough bass. So many bass players go for more of a full- range sound these days. i suppose it's not inherently a problem except that I find that full- range basses mixed with full-range guitars, full-range drums in stereo and giant vocal tones lead to a cluttered mix. Obviously, highly skilled mixers find a way to make everything fit.

If, however, you want a really quick route to making your basses sit ina mix, i would suggest getting a cheap Hofner copy and putting flatwound strings on it. Of course, it's not perfect for every style of music, but i think you would find yourself smiling as soon as you hear the way that tone sits in a track; it's rock solid low end that anchors a mix and doesn't get in the way of other instruments.

tsw
steve albini likes it
Posts: 385
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: inner space
Contact:

Post by tsw » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:45 pm

Thanks everyone. I lucked out and got a used P-bass in really good shape for $180. In the process of shopping around, I really fell in love with a couple of J-basses, but I just couldn't pass up the P for $180.

If anyone is up for changing this thread over to Bass Recording 101, I'd love to hear it, though. I've lucked out on a few tracks and gotten some acceptable bass sounds (bass straight into RNP into Distressor), but it's really hit or miss.

I wish I could figure out how to get that really warm (sorry for using "warm") sound that has virtually no attack. It's a sound that sits really well under acoustic guitar and brushed drums. Kind of a 70s FM folk rock sound. I'm sure it's more in the fingers than the recording.

Anyone?

0xeneye
pushin' record
Posts: 206
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by 0xeneye » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:54 pm

One thing in basses that no one has mentioned is active electronics. I hate active electronics in basses, but they certainlly have their fans.

My cheap-o DBX 160 is a perfect ROCK compressor for bass, I suggest using that for adjusting attack and decay. Also, my Eden head was made in heaven...They have a decent thread for help with recorded bass sounds.

Finally, the recent TO Carol Kay article was of course very relevant....

I don't think the KIND of bass you play matters nearly as much as these points.
0x

tsw
steve albini likes it
Posts: 385
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: inner space
Contact:

Post by tsw » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:58 pm

0xeneye wrote:Finally, the recent TO Carol Kay article was of course very relevant....
Yeah, I was going through that article last night, thinking it would teach me everything I need to know. Thing is, she's so into that "click" sound. I dig that sound, but I want to know how to get a smooth, no-attack kind of sound too.

Winstontaneous
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:37 am
Location: Berkeley, CA

Post by Winstontaneous » Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:00 pm

ajb wrote:
0xeneye wrote:Finally, the recent TO Carol Kay article was of course very relevant....
Yeah, I was going through that article last night, thinking it would teach me everything I need to know. Thing is, she's so into that "click" sound. I dig that sound, but I want to know how to get a smooth, no-attack kind of sound too.
For a smooth sound, be sure you have the bass set up well (truss adjusted to combat buzzing, strings at proper heights, intonation OK). Like others have said, (and I agree) passive electronics will often get you a fatter sound that's not too twangy or spread out. Flatwounds are also good--I love Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats, which have a layer of dampening silk between the inner core and outer wrap (like orchestral strings) that filters out a lot of top-end gunk. They're expensive (about $55 for a 4-string set, $75 for 5, $95 for 6) but they last forever--I've had a set on one bass that I play often for over 3 years and they still sound great.

The key to a smooth sound is to turn up the amp (or preamp or board channel) so that you can use a light right-hand attack. This also gives you more dynamic range and reduces the need for compression. Think of "grabbing" the string lightly with your finger, and then releasing it--as opposed to percussively hitting it. This is how you produce a big fat tone on upright bass, and since I started playing upright my tone on electric has improved 1000%. Obviously playing closer to the neck helps reduce the attack.

It is possible to get a big sound with a pick (Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead comes to mind)--I find playing with one of the two rounded ends and almost brushing the strings lightly at an angle (as opposed to smacking it dead-on like many punk bassists do) does the trick.

Be aware that it is your left hand that determines note lengths (exept on open strings--unless you damp them) so keep notes held for their full intended value. Play right up next to (but not on top of!) the fret.

Budget bass wise, I found a used passive Godin SD-4 for $190. It sounds phenomenal--it smoked the Mexican Fenders in the store and actually had as much detail, depth and complexity as the American Fenders. The new Yamaha BB basses (400 series passives, 600 series actives) sound great and are a good deal, starting at $400.

tsw
steve albini likes it
Posts: 385
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: inner space
Contact:

Post by tsw » Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:10 pm

Wubbeneezer Garibaldi wrote:
ajb wrote:
0xeneye wrote:Finally, the recent TO Carol Kay article was of course very relevant....
Yeah, I was going through that article last night, thinking it would teach me everything I need to know. Thing is, she's so into that "click" sound. I dig that sound, but I want to know how to get a smooth, no-attack kind of sound too.
For a smooth sound, be sure you have the bass set up well (truss adjusted to combat buzzing, strings at proper heights, intonation OK). Like others have said, (and I agree) passive electronics will often get you a fatter sound that's not too twangy or spread out. Flatwounds are also good--I love Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats, which have a layer of dampening silk between the inner core and outer wrap (like orchestral strings) that filters out a lot of top-end gunk. They're expensive (about $55 for a 4-string set, $75 for 5, $95 for 6) but they last forever--I've had a set on one bass that I play often for over 3 years and they still sound great.

The key to a smooth sound is to turn up the amp (or preamp or board channel) so that you can use a light right-hand attack. This also gives you more dynamic range and reduces the need for compression. Think of "grabbing" the string lightly with your finger, and then releasing it--as opposed to percussively hitting it. This is how you produce a big fat tone on upright bass, and since I started playing upright my tone on electric has improved 1000%. Obviously playing closer to the neck helps reduce the attack.

It is possible to get a big sound with a pick (Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead comes to mind)--I find playing with one of the two rounded ends and almost brushing the strings lightly at an angle (as opposed to smacking it dead-on like many punk bassists do) does the trick.

Be aware that it is your left hand that determines note lengths (exept on open strings--unless you damp them) so keep notes held for their full intended value. Play right up next to (but not on top of!) the fret.

Budget bass wise, I found a used passive Godin SD-4 for $190. It sounds phenomenal--it smoked the Mexican Fenders in the store and actually had as much detail, depth and complexity as the American Fenders. The new Yamaha BB basses (400 series passives, 600 series actives) sound great and are a good deal, starting at $400.
wow. Thanks a lot. Seriously. This is very helpful. What you said about turning up the gain makes a lot of sense, as does your advice on "grabbing." Can't wait to get home and try this stuff out.

blakbeltjonez
gimme a little kick & snare
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 3:00 pm
Location: florida

Post by blakbeltjonez » Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:20 pm

the brill bedroom wrote:The above suggestions are all worthy, but as someone who spends a lot of time thinking about bass tones, let me throw my 2 cents in.

The problem with a lot of contemporary bass tracks is that there's not enough bass. So many bass players go for more of a full- range sound these days. i suppose it's not inherently a problem except that I find that full- range basses mixed with full-range guitars, full-range drums in stereo and giant vocal tones lead to a cluttered mix. Obviously, highly skilled mixers find a way to make everything fit.

If, however, you want a really quick route to making your basses sit ina mix, i would suggest getting a cheap Hofner copy and putting flatwound strings on it. Of course, it's not perfect for every style of music, but i think you would find yourself smiling as soon as you hear the way that tone sits in a track; it's rock solid low end that anchors a mix and doesn't get in the way of other instruments.

funny you should mention that, i worked a show this past weekend wher e hte bass player had a sub-$200 Hofner copy (can't remember the brand, had some guy's name up on the headstock) played through an SVT....it sounded phenomenal.

the brill bedroom
pushin' record
Posts: 233
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:44 am
Location: Cambridge
Contact:

Post by the brill bedroom » Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:51 pm

congrats on your P bass. You can't go wrong for that price. A lot of bass technique comes down to muting; right hand, left hand, forearm whatever it takes. Again, try some flats. They're awesome for recording.

tsw
steve albini likes it
Posts: 385
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: inner space
Contact:

Post by tsw » Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:16 pm

the brill bedroom wrote:congrats on your P bass. You can't go wrong for that price. A lot of bass technique comes down to muting; right hand, left hand, forearm whatever it takes. Again, try some flats. They're awesome for recording.
Yup. As much as I was digging the J's, I couldn't pass that deal up. I will have to try some flats. Whatever is on there right now is zinging way too much for my tastes.

Thanks again for all the input. Very cool.

nestle
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:11 pm
Location: around somewhere

Post by nestle » Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:49 am

PEAVY-
the guitars suck, but the old T40 or 20 BAsses are excellent. The neck is so dead on, you can always change the pick ups. They are made of Ash so they are very dense. can be found for about $150-

good enuff for the Fall AND Molly Hatchet !!!!!!!!!

d-bolan
gettin' sounds
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Post by d-bolan » Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:54 am

I got this bass that I love to death. I got it brand new at Sam Ash for 99 bucks. It's a Carlo Robellio or something like that. I know Sam Ash always has them. It looks like a cheeseball bass but man I love the thing. It plays great and I plug it right into my 02 all the time. Can't beat 99 bucks.
call me rabbit fighter

daede
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 197
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 7:14 am
Contact:

Post by daede » Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:10 am

blakbeltjonez wrote:funny you should mention that, i worked a show this past weekend wher e hte bass player had a sub-$200 Hofner copy (can't remember the brand, had some guy's name up on the headstock) played through an SVT....it sounded phenomenal.
Maybe a Jay Turser? I played one a week ago that was pretty cool, and it was $300 new. Sounded pretty nice, and it has had me jonesing for a bass.

I never shoulda traded my '68 PBass for a '59 Jazzmaster. Sounded good at the time, but that Jazzmaster had some serious issues. Now my bass is behind the glass display at Guitar Showcase in San Jose. Boo.
"There's nothing noble in being better than your fellow man. True nobility comes from being better than your former self." Or something like that.

www.dreamachinemusic.com

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests