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budget to mid level bass

Chewie5150

Experienced
I'm very close to making a decision. I'm lookin for a decent bass mainly for recording. My budget is $500-$1000. Here are the models i've been considering so far. Ibanez SR300,400, and on the higher end 500 series; If i'm up on the higher end of my budget i could also go Fender P/J around $1000. The one that im really considering that is in the middle of all that is the Sterling by Musicman Ray34 Short Scale. around $600 for this and the size would be easy transition from guitar. I'm familiar with EBMM guitars so this one looks promising.

edit: throwing a Yamaha TRBX304 in the mix. right on the low end of my budget. seems to have good reviews
 
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Fro68

Inspired
I have an Fender American Mustang bass. You should be able to find a used one in your budget.
I‘d like to have one of the Stingray short scales. The short scale is a lot easier to play for this old guy.
 

JoeW-NC

Member
You can get a used mexi P and a mexi J for $1k, or mexi PJ + sterling ray34 for variety.
If you're looking at the Fender style, I've seen a lot of budget basses transformed with a simple bridge upgrade. I've known friends and pros who have transformed cheaper, with as little as a bridge upgrade, and "fender style" defines a big market for those who make the upgrades. Hipshot is a manufacturer that jumps to my for this. They make great tuners and bridges that can really improve the sustain, tone and feel of an instrument.
If you want an instrument that "punches above its weight," you may consider allowing a couple hundred for upgrades.
 

Chewie5150

Experienced
update on my bass buying journey. So other day came across a great deal on a used Sterling ray4 stingray (newer version) and it was mint. looked great and sounds pretty great too but after a day i just couldn't bond with it. Something about the neck/string spacings was just not for me. Today popped into the guitar shop to pick up my grover roto locking tuners and thought i'd take a gander at the bass section and this jackson JS spectra just popped out at me. Plugged it in and damn, it felt and sounded great. the price is at $375 (USD) which was the low end of my initial budget. The finish and quality of this feels like its more than what it costs. I think i found the winner for me.
 

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Chewie5150

Experienced
Thanks , yeah after all my research for weeks on other models I wasn't even aware of this. When i saw it up close and the price it was a no brainer
 

RoketRdr

Inspired
update on my bass buying journey. So other day came across a great deal on a used Sterling ray4 stingray (newer version) and it was mint. looked great and sounds pretty great too but after a day i just couldn't bond with it. Something about the neck/string spacings was just not for me. Today popped into the guitar shop to pick up my grover roto locking tuners and thought i'd take a gander at the bass section and this jackson JS spectra just popped out at me. Plugged it in and damn, it felt and sounded great. the price is at $375 (USD) which was the low end of my initial budget. The finish and quality of this feels like its more than what it costs. I think i found the winner for me.
String spacing is a very real issue for us bass players. 1/2mm can make a significant change in how the bass plays and feels. Didn't even cross my mind to mention the new entry level Jackson's but the hit waaaayyy above their price range. Even a couple of touring artists that use them over a $3K+ instrument. Glad you found something that "feels right" in your hands without taking years and tons of cash to figure it out. ;)
 

Chewie5150

Experienced
String spacing is a very real issue for us bass players. 1/2mm can make a significant change in how the bass plays and feels. Didn't even cross my mind to mention the new entry level Jackson's but the hit waaaayyy above their price range. Even a couple of touring artists that use them over a $3K+ instrument. Glad you found something that "feels right" in your hands without taking years and tons of cash to figure it out. ;)
I had no idea how much a thing string spacing is for playing bass! I think some of the ibby's had bridges you could adjust the string spacings if i recall. oh and yes, this jackson def feels a league above what its price tag suggests. I"m pretty blown away actually; last night i played quite a bit with it. Just so easy to play. I love that the push/pull allows you to bypass the active preamp. There are a lot of tones the bass can cover, it's surprisingly versatile. The other comment I'd make is how comfortable it is to hold. The upper horn is really large and it balances really well when strapped on. I have never really dialed up bass presets much in the axe fx but last night made a simple preset with the SV Bass 2 with Factory 068 8x10 SV Bass (RW) and boom. it was sounding amazing.

Any tips for dialing in good bass would be much appreciated. Compression/drive etc?
 
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RoketRdr

Inspired
I had no idea how much a thing string spacing is for playing bass! I think some of the ibby's had bridges you could adjust the string spacings if i recall. oh and yes, this jackson def feels a league above what its price tag suggests. I"m pretty blown away actually; last night i played quite a bit with it. Just so easy to play. I love that the push/pull allows you to bypass the active preamp. There are a lot of tones the bass can cover, it's surprisingly versatile. The other comment I'd make is how comfortable it is to hold. The upper horn is really large and it balances really well when strapped on. I have never really dialed up bass presets much in the axe fx but last night made a simple preset with the SV Bass 2 with Factory 068 8x10 SV Bass (RW) and boom. it was sounding amazing.

Any tips for dialing in good bass would be much appreciated. Compression/drive etc?
I'm a dual amp player so my personal recommendations wont work for you. ;) But for a good basic tone set everything flat. Scoop the mids a bit and increase the highs just a touch. Dial in the bass as you need it. I'm a pick player so I always use compression and normally dial it in at an 8:1 ratio. Because I play in a heavy rock band I set my attack as slow as possible and release as fast as possible to really get the note definition through and keep it tight. If you're a finger player you probably wont need a compressor unless you play hard so in that case you will want to reverse what I do on the attack and release. The key thing on bass is to run High and Low Pass Filters. You'll want to set the HPF according to the venue but even with me being a 5 string player with a lot of bass I never go below 60hz. Between 60-80hz will just about clean up the low end at any venue and kill the muddiness. My LPF is always set at 5kHz. My cabs start to naturally roll off at 5K but I use the filter to help kill any artifacts from my fingers sliding on the strings and to not step on the guitar player. @Budda from post #2 has some good bass experience so I'm sure he'll throw in some recommendations as well. 👍
 

dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
Any tips for dialing in good bass would be much appreciated. Compression/drive etc?
I'm a big fan of having a DI path and an amp + cab path.

Any chorus or flange I insert between the amp and cab. On the effects, I always use a roll off around 250 Hz in each effect block's EQ section to preserve the low fundamentals from getting smeared.

For compression on the amp path, I always use the amp block compressor with a dynamics controller that varies compression amount from 5 on the attack to 3 on the release, so it works more like an expander to allow the low notes to bloom in a controlled manner.

On the DI path, I usually use the 5 band passive EQ, an FET Drive block set for a little character, and either the opto or JFET compressor to lightly grab signal and use its output to balance the DI with the Amp+Cab+ effects.
 
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Chewie5150

Experienced
I'm a big fan of having a DI path and an amp + cab path.
I was just watching two vids from another thread. Pete Thorn on dialing in a bass preset and he talked about this method. combining DI along with a processed signal. I never would have thought. Neat trick. I watched another youtube vid with Rick Beato discussion compression in general and spoke about Bass applications which was helpful.
 

Budda

Power User
And then Ken Andrews just runs a simple amp chain without DI.

I have a couple different bass presets, some with amp+DI and some just amp.
 

JoeW-NC

Member
The DI really helps with clarity if you're using a lot of distortion. It became much less important once I got the AF3 and could use a crossover to only apply drive to the highs (Thank you, Leon Todd).

Dialing in bass tone without context (backing tracks or bandmates) will not get you 100% where you want to be. Some of the best "mixed" sounds sound completely like a## when isolated. And tones that sound great solo'd seem to disappear in the mix. If you have a DAW, record your bass direct and reamp so you can tweak in context. This approach lets you hear the the processed tone, without the distraction of relatively loud string noise and fret clacking that a bass produces.
 

Budda

Power User
+1 to reamping to tweak. One of these days I'll learn how to do it (there's the manual and youtubr demos iirc).
 

dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
If you really want to have fun, set up a di + use the crossover block for an additional bi-amp setup.

On the low frequency amp setup, after the cab block, split the signal off to a pitch block using the virtual capo setting. Set virtual capo to down one octave.

Balance volumes between the paths to taste. You may need to use a mono delay block at 100% wet mix or two to phase align all the signals.
 

Rublalup

Inspired
A friend of mine just got a new fender player precision. Beautiful, well made, great finish, great sounds and plays amazingly well.
 

Budda

Power User
Player series are basically old usa standards, but assembled in mexico.

Some folks need to see usa on the label and thats fine. But my player series strats were great road dogs, stock. I would buy more player series models without hesitation.
 
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