A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Bass Guitar

The bass guitar is a fun instrument to play, plus it’s an important one that adds depth and outstanding musical texture to all sorts of music, from jazz to pop.  Whether you’ve been using a rental bass guitar or if you have yet to play your first few notes, you’ll be thrilled with the sensation that comes from playing your very own bass.  Here are some tips for selecting that all important first bass guitar.

Don’t Make the Mistake of Buying a Cheap Bass

It is really important that your first bass guitar is a quality instrument, since cheaply manufactured bass guitars lack the full rich sound that makes the bass so appealing in the first place.  Another reason buying a poorly made bass is a mistake is that many of these guitars do not hold tune correctly, which leads to improper learning and frustration.  When you become frustrated, you lose your desire to play, which in the end, leads to failure.

This doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on your first bass – what it does mean is that you should stick with quality names, even if you need to buy a used bass.  As long as you have a few hundred dollars to spend, you should be able to get a well manufactured bass guitar that will function properly and sound the way it ought to.

Go With a Well-Known Brand

There are two big names in bass guitars that you can rely on for consistent quality and excellent sound.  These brands are Fender and Gibson.  Other reliable bass guitar brands are Rickenbacker, Yamaha, and Music Man, as well as Squier (a subsidiary of Fender) and Epiphone (a secondary brand offered by Gibson.

Choose Your Bass According to Discipline

The sounds various bass guitars produce vary, making some basses better for certain disciplines than others.  If you’re interested in playing rock or metal, then you should look for a bass that packs a powerful punch with plenty of resonance.  The Epiphone is a really nice bass guitar rock musicians often recommend, and as it is inexpensive even brand new, it’s a very good choice for a beginning rock bassist.

Squier guitars and those by Fender produce mellower tones that are well suited to blues, funk, or jazz.  If you know for a fact that you prefer a jazz sound to a rock sound, then look for a jazz bass guitar to begin playing since the sounds produced are going to appeal to you more than the sounds a rock bass guitar produces.

For many beginners who are not quite sure what style of music they want to play most, or for those who want to mix things up, the Fender Precision Bass is a a great choice.  This bass is often referred to as the P-Bass, and is very easy to find.

Additional Considerations

It’s a good idea to take a knowledgeable bass player with you when you go shopping for your first bass guitar, since someone like this has probably had experience playing a wide range of guitars and since he or she can help you to make a decision based on technical aspects rather than on looks alone.  This way, you’ll avoid making the mistake of buying a flashy looking bass guitar that will end up collecting dust because you don’t like the way it sounds or because it falls out of tune quickly.

Finally, consider buying a hard case for your new bass guitar – this will protect your investment and it will last for many years.

Phil Barrow

Phil Barrow

Phil discovered his passion for music in his early teens when he began learning to play the guitar. He attended the VCC School of Music where he studied jazz and contemporary guitar performance. Phil joined Resound as a guitar teacher in 2013 and has been the school’s Director since 2014.

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Resound School of Music was started in 2009 with a vision of providing the finest music instruction available from the comfort of your home. But don’t be mistaken; we’re not your typical, stuffy music conservatory, nor do we want to be. Instead, we are the music school that was designed with you in mind.

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