When I started this program I received a message by a guy who asked me about those who’d like to learn but don’t have any instrument. It made me think “what can I do for these people?”
So I decided to write some tips that may help them to find a good instrument with a few money, and it seemed the perfect topic where to start.
The first bass is always an important choice, and I hope to be helpful in making it less tricky to you!
So, let’s start from the most obvious point:
If you want to get an instrument easily and quickly the best choice is to get a new one, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money for it.
There’re many brands that produce instruments for every price range and most of them have models that are perfect for beginners.
Cort, Yamaha, Ibanez and Squier are some of them, but there’re many more that have models you can easily find in stores in the 150$-300$ range. They also often have the bass+amplifier+cable formula to be ready to play as soon as you get home!
If you’re getting a new bass there’re just a few things you have to consider:
- If it’s your first bass, it’s better to buy it in a store. Ask to shop assistants to help you, they’re there for you;
- You have to feel comfortable. Your bass must allow you to play for a long time without feeling tired after five minutes. The best shape and weight of the bass are very personal so try different models and pay attention on how you feel playing it. If it’s possible try it sitting and standing;
- Be sure every fret sounds good. Even new instruments may have manufacturing faults. I got a bass once that had a serious issue with the neck and I discovered it at home. I had to return it and I waited a month for a new one!
Used instruments are always a valid option, but there’re some things you have to pay attention to. First of all, it’s different if the bass is a used by store or a private one.
Stores have quality standards on their used instruments and they often apply a warranty on them. You will probably pay a little more, but you’ll be sure you’re buying an instrument ready to be used and to have some customer care on it.
If you decide to buy from a private, here are some tips that may help you to make a good choice:
- Ask for the reason of the sell: if the bass is sold for a gear improvement it’s probably been recently used and it could be in a better condition that if it’s been stuck in a garage for years. If it’s sold for inactivity it will probably need a setup;
- Ask for pictures: make sure they’re not stock pictures and the instrument you see is actually the one you’re going to buy;
- Compare the price with the same model in the store or in the brand’s website and consider if the bag and the strap are included;
- Try it in person before to buy it: this rule is mostly true for used instruments. Check the status of the bass, put an eye on the neck and the electronic if it’s an active bass. Make sure the jack entrance works well;
- Accessories: some models need their own keys to do the maintenance. If the seller doesn’t have any you’ll have to buy them in a store so it could change the price of the bass;
- Buying from a professional musician or a music teacher is a warranty of more reliability.
Basses for rent
If you’re still not ready to buy a bass there’re some ways you can try to play anyway and decide if it’s the right instrument for you. Of course the first is to ask people you know if they have a bass they can land to you. It seems obvious but it isn’t.
- Music schools sometimes have instruments for students, ask if they’re willing to make you try;
- Music stores and rehearsals rooms may have a rent service, so you can bring home an instrument for a week or two and decide later;
- Rehearsals rooms also have instruments available for customers;
Sometimes governments give special bonuses for students so they can get an instrument for a special price, check on it too if you are a student!
Ex demo basses
Ex demo are instruments that’ve been used for demonstrations and masterclasses. They’re sold for a lower price to the public because they’re not considered new anymore. If you find one it could be a good deal.
A separate category is for instruments that reported aesthetic damages from transport like scratches or dents, but are still perfectly usable. They’re often sold in stores for a much lower price, but they’re not always exposed so you may have to ask. My first bass was one of these!
I hope this short guide can help you to find your new bass, if it does leave a comment and let me know!
The most important thing is you have to feel comfortable with your bass and you have to like it! If you can’t wait to play it, it’s the right one. If you feel good when you pull it out the bag, it’s the right one.
Always remember that playing an instrument has to be funny!