Looking to find a bass for my teenager

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by Badfrog, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. Badfrog

    Badfrog Member

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    Long story short, my soon to be 13yr old daughter wants to learn to play bass and would like one for her birthday. I'm a guitar guy and know next to nothing about bass guitars so I need some help.

    I mainly just want something that's decent and useable. Preferably I don't want to spend more than $400 on the bass and amp altogether. I figure that if she really starts to get into it then we can pick up a used higher powered amp down the road but I'm assuming something 10W should be just fine for learning at home?

    Her intentions are to play with friends and start a band that would play some sort of punk rock type material. Don't know if that makes a difference in what type or brand of bass to pick out? Mainly, I just need some advice, tips and direction right now on what to look for or pick out. Thanks
     
  2. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    might want to look into a short scale bass.. would be easier for her to play. I would check the used section of the local GC or musicgoround if you have one. I'm not sure a 10 watt will keep up with a drummer., but you can get something like an ampeg BA110 for $150 . I used to do bass gigs with the BA115 and loved it.
     
  3. TheClev

    TheClev As seen on TV

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    Basses require a higher wattage for volume than a guitar does. 10 watts wouldn't get you very much volume, even for practicing. I'd spring for at least 100. As for the bass, I'd go with a used Fender P or J bass if you can afford it, or new Squier if not. (Older Squiers can be awful, but recent ones seem to be pretty high quality for their price range)
     
  4. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    Old voice of experience here, been playing bass since '67. I agree, a 13 year old girl would find a short scale bass easier to learn on ... many pro's use short scale basses all the time (ie, it's not just a "student" bass). I have a 30" scale bass ... as well as 32" and 34" ... and an upright.

    If you're buying new (and I suggest it since you're not experienced) I'd consider a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar SS bass (nice bass, short 30" scale, about $200) and an Ampeg BA108v2 (~$100)or BA110v2 (better choice, ~$150.) You should also get a tuner (I'd recommend Korg PitchBlack or Boss TU3) and cables. Easy to find (eg, at Guitar Center and other stores), good reliable stuff ... and most important when buying for a kid ... it will have some resale value!
     
  5. Badfrog

    Badfrog Member

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    Really appreciate the advice. This really gives me something to work with. Also, thanks to others as well. I'll go ahead and up the size of the amp. Just for reference, is it possible to get an amp that could work at home as well as with a drummer and a guitar player? I'm not talking about playing for a show but rather for practice in someone's garage. What kind of size/speaker/power would I need to look at to be able to keep up with a drummer and guitar player?
     
  6. crackbass

    crackbass Member

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    Spend most of the money on the bass. The short scale squire isn't a bad suggestion. I might look for a good deal on a used Mexi Jazz or P-bass. Full size, but kids learn to play piano without resorting to a smaller keyboard. A Mexican Fender will be a bass that she can play for quite a while and eventually gig with if she wants. The amp can be the smallest POS that will physically make a sound. Don't try to get her an amp that will hold up to a drummer yet. Let her learn to play on a quality instrument, then, when she gets a little skill, get her a worthy amp. Skimping on both the instrument and amp will only get her a bass that she will want to replace sooner. You're going to replace the amp later regardless. Spend the money on the bass. Buy a bigger amp later.
     
  7. lostpoet2

    lostpoet2 Supporting Member

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    I would recommend looking for a 200w 1x15" combo for garage jamming, although personally for bass, I like to have about 5x the wattage of the guitar amp/s so that I have enough headroom to play dynamically. It's really fun on bass to have enough power to play lightly through most of a song but have the reserve power to really dig in with a drummer.
     
  8. Mark 63

    Mark 63 Silver Supporting Member

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    The size of her hands should be taken into consideration. A p-bass width neck might be a lot for her to get her fingers around.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. gumtown

    gumtown Member

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    I 2nd that ++

    and this
     
  10. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    Yeah ... but what can you get and remain within budget? I wouldn't send someone who doesn't know anything about basses to find a used bass and amp on Craigslist or eBay. The kid hasn't even learned one note yet. Plenty of time for her to learn, and eventually (maybe) get good enough to become a gear head. Or maybe she'll practice on what she has and actually become a bass player, instead. ;)
     
  11. Otto Tune

    Otto Tune Member

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    The fact that your daughter wants to play (along with you) makes you a winner already. Enjoy it while you can.
     
  12. randomhitz

    randomhitz Member

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    low end ibanez bass. Full scale but smaller neck, light and great playability.
     
  13. dconeill

    dconeill Member

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    I agree with RustyAxe, locate a Squier and an amp.

    But be particularly careful of the weight of the instrument. My wife, who as an adult is 5'4" tall, bought an all-ash Precision Bass and she can't play it because it weighs too much.

    And buy a wide (3") strap.
     
  14. Badfrog

    Badfrog Member

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    I was a little saddened by the bass thing because she was finally starting to get somewhere on guitar. Of course it's not like she can't play guitar anymore if we guy a bass. I think the bass will likely end up simply being another option. I wouldn't mind playing around on the bass a little bit myself.

    Thanks for all the advice gang. I feel I have a much better starting point now. Hopefully musician's friend or another place will have a sale going on for Easter and we can buy at that time.
     
  15. crackbass

    crackbass Member

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    I didn't know she already plays guitar. That changes things a little, shows a little drive and motivation. I thought she was a stone cold beginner. The amp might be more important as she could probably get by jamming with her friends after a week of adjustment. I'd look on craigslist for an old Peavey TKO or TNT with a 15" speaker. They are bulletproof amps with OK tone and a lot of volume for the money. You can jam in the garage with one of those all day. The Ampeg that was suggested is a nice amp, and probably has a bit nicer tone than the Peavey, but won't begin to compete with drums. Especially teenager drums.
     
  16. Badfrog

    Badfrog Member

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    She had messed around on the guitar before but recently she started taking it more seriously and started to actually learn chords and it took no time at all for her to remember them and switch back and forth. She's picking guitar up easier than I ever did. She also has been playing cello for two years now in the middle school orchestra so I'm sure that has helped as well. I don't think there's any doubt she'll play something down the road, it's just a matter or what she'll play.

    She wants to get a band going but I haven't seen her other friends play yet and I'm not sure how serious the other kids are about it (talk is one thing, putting in serious practice time is another). However, she does have myself (a proud guitar hack) and her uncle (decent drummer) to hang out with and practice with. I just want to get her started and to pick up a song or two so she can play along with us. Worst case scenario she jams with her dad and her uncle for a year or so and builds some good timing and touch on the bass.
     
  17. lostpoet2

    lostpoet2 Supporting Member

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    If buying a new amp, I would look at a Peavey MAX 1x15 300w combo for $299. Since the girl's father is posting on TGP and her uncle is a drummer, I would think that between the two of them they might be comfortable kicking the tires on some used equipment.

    I liked your recommendation of the Squier VM bass-my Dad has one and it is pretty solid. I have a Squier classic vibe P-bass that I play more often than my USA G&L. A lot of the SX basses from Rondo music are really decent as well. Check out their reviews on Talbass.
     
  18. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    I play both ... and I've had MANY more gigs on bass than on guitar. I do at least 70-80 gigs a year on bass, and play maybe half a dozen concerts on solo guitar.
     
  19. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Member

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    To give her the best chance at succeeding, get a quality bass she can grow into. It should be well set up, not too heavy, and create no extra noise. Basically you want to avoid anything take takes away from the enjoyment of playing and practicing. A minor annoyance becomes a major annoyance later on.

    Playing a bass is different than playing a guitar, in that it demands more from the player's hands. It takes more force to pluck a string, and more force to fret a string as well. A quality, well set up bass can feel smooth as silk and be seemingly effortless to play. A poorly set up bass puts a lot of strain on one's hands in a very short time.
     
  20. Badfrog

    Badfrog Member

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    Just figured I'd give an update. Finally settled on a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar bass with short scale and got a Fender Rumble 100 amp. I really like the amp since it only weighs 22lbs which makes it easier for her to carry. Should arrive tomorrow. Shell get to open it Saturday. Also was able to get 10% off thru musiciansfriend.com and snag it all for $431. I'm stoked to hook up my looper pedal and setup something I can play to with my guitar (when she's not home or in the mood to practice)
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015

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