Bringing it Home: Beginner and Intermediate Bass Recommendations

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Whether you are totally new to bass or if you are just looking for another piece to add to your arsenal, here are three basses you should know about.

Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Jazz Bass

As a devout Fender Jazz Bass player, I felt it was necessary to start with this one. Initially launched in 2012 as an exceptionally affordable Fender alternative, the new and improved Squier Classic Vibe series just re-launched at Winter NAMM 2019. These guitars and basses are a nod to the popular instruments used in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. The new 70’s Jazz Bass, in particular, is one that all beginners should test-drive. The super slim C-shaped neck profile paired with the comfortable 9.5” radius fingerboard makes it easy to really dig into every note, especially some of those more difficult ones those closest to the nut. The knob configuration – neck volume, bridge volume, master tone – is simple enough for all beginners to use yet it still gives players enough flexibility to dial in their desired tone; from bright and twangy to warm and booming, and all the sounds in between. This bass is a versatile workhorse and serves as a foundational piece to any bass collection.

Ibanez SR300E Electric Bass

The Ibanez SR Standard series is another excellent entry point for new bassists. For thirty years, SR basses have offered comfort, tone, sleekness, and playability at a competitive price point. The SR300E is an ideal model for players looking for something a little more lightweight without compromising their low end. The neck profile of this bass is thin with a satin finish, making it a great instrument to practice faster bass licks on. SR300E basses come with passive PowerSpan dual coil pickups and a Power Tap switch to go back and forth between articulate single coil and warm humbucking tones– this, along with the 3-band EQ, gives players ultimate versatility in shaping their desired sound. Last but not least, this bass comes in a variety of beautiful colors, ranging from Charred Champagne Burst to Metallic Sage Green.

 

Fender Mustang Bass PJ

Though it is a little more expensive than the other two basses, I felt it completely necessary to include this iconic piece. Initially introduced in 1964, the Mustang bass has been utilized in a wide variety of genres. The 30-inch scale length is not only more comfortable and accommodating for smaller hands, but it also helps to reduce string tension, which creates a more relaxed playing feel; as a result, lower notes seem to have a more “full” quality while the higher notes appear to be a little sweeter. The lightweight, offset body is a bit more comfortable for players with a smaller frame. The “PJ” in the model name refers to the Precision-Jazz pickup configuration, bringing the best of both classic Fender bass tones to the playing field. Make no mistake about the size – this little bass still rips!

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