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Should a guitar player own a bass guitar? Yes.
In my videos you periodically see a keyboard in view. Sometimes when I'm writing songs I use that for drum and bass tracks. However with certain songs, I need the real-deal electric bass guitar, and that's why I own one.
If you know how to play guitar, even if you're just a beginner, playing the bass isn't that difficult. The reason you want a bass guitar is the same reason I did - because it sounds better compared to a keyboard or detuning your electric guitar way down for the bass notes (which will sound awful).
My suggestion to anyone who wants to put a bass guitar in their collection is to buy the cheapest one that sounds good. It's not like you're going to play it very often, so it makes no sense to put any real money into it.
The only thing you really have to be concerned with is the pickup configuration. In my experience, the configuration to go for is either straight/straight or straight/split-coil.
If the bass only has split-coil or only straight, don't buy it because you'll hate it, and it will sound "loggy" to you. The combination of straight/straight or straight/split-coil makes a world of difference because it covers the most range of tones that a guitar player would want. You can do anything from blues to rock to metal to country and everything else when you have one of the two bass pickup configurations.
Also, don't talk to bass players about buying a bass. You're a guitar player, and you want something that plays easy, won't wreck your fingers and can be played with a pick.
The best bass guitar for a guitar player is a cheap 4-string with one of the two pickup configurations listed above. This will be a bass you can record with easily.
4-string bass guitars that you'll like as a guitar player
(5-string models will be listed after these for those who want one of those)
- Yamaha RBX170 - I own a Yamaha RBX personally. Feels good in the hand and the neck isn't too long. The straight/split-coil pickup configuration fits any style I throw at it and it works great. This is not the cheapest bass there is, but in my opinion is the best low-priced electric bass that exists. The design hasn't changed in years because it was done right the first time.
- Squier Affinity Jazz Bass - This one has a straight/straight pickup configuration and is a very comfortable player.
- Ibanez GSRM20 - This is a "Mikro" short-scale bass, which for a guitar player is preferred because we play on shorter necks. This one in particular is the next best thing to a Yamaha RBX170.
- Dean EVO XM - This one has a bit of a "fat Les Paul" look to it and gets the job done.
- ESP LTD B-50 - I'd have to say this is the best-looking inexpensive 4-string. If looks matter to you, this bass looks really expensive, but it isn't.
5-string bass guitars that you'll like as a guitar player
The only reason you'd want a 5-string is for the low B on top. Rock and metal players particularly like having that super-low B note, so if that's your thing, here's some 5-strings to check out:
- Squier Affinity Jazz Bass V - Has the classic Fender look.
- Dean Edge 1 - At this point we're already probably getting into more than you want to spend. 5-strings do command a higher price.
- ESP LTD B-55 - Same thing as the B-50 4-string mentioned above, except in a 5-string version. If I were to buy a 5-string, it would probably be this one.
- Peavey Millennium 5 BXP - Peavey makes a good showing here with their straight/straight pickup configuration model.
- Ibanez GSR205 - If comfort is a big deal for you, this one probably has the most comfortable shape when playing.
- Schecter Riot Deluxe - This is one badass looking bass and has the hardware to match.
Published 2012 Jan 19
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