Bass for professional players

Hello everyone,

I’ve seen a lot of threads here about basses for beginners. On the contrary, which is in your opinion a good bass for professional and experienced players, especially for funk/jazz/fusion music?


Professional as in studio recording or gigging?

For studio you can get your cool bass with bells and whistles something like Musicman sting ray or bongo bass, warwicks and American professional series but really even their Asian imports counterparts are more than competent to do the job.

As far as gigging, it would most likely be Asian imports, unless you’ll be playing in a room full of bassists and musicians then you bring your best axe(s). Many gigging musicians I know do not use their best instruments to play in a gig because gigging is really tough on the instruments. They usually do some upgrade to the imports to get the right vibe and tone.

I do bring some nice basses to play on a few gigs but I wouldn’t call it “getting paid” as I couldn’t even buy a set of nice string with it, lol. I do enjoy it, hanging out with friends and exchanging conversations musically with them.

High price instruments is best enjoyed at home.


Well, a beginners forum might not be the best place for that question :sweat_smile:

I’d think that a jazz-style bass with two single coils might be the most used pickup configuration, followed by two humbuckers. Split coils are certainly the least common in those genres. It will certainly depend on the sound you are looking for. It might be useful to look at what the musicians you’re looking up to sound wise are using.

There are diverging opinions on this one :wink:
If the bass is going to be your gigging workhorse, it better be a solid and reliable built with higher quality electronics, so it might not be the cheapest one. You can certainly find adequate basses in most price categories, however, the perfect one might cost a bit more, no matter where it was produced.
I wouldn’t use the rare 60s collector Fender for gigging though :grimacing:

An interesting “entry level” option might be looking at Marcus Miller Sire basses.

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My favorite bassist, Peter Hook, tours with a large number of Yamaha BB’s, mostly BB734As, and records with a BB1200S he bought in 1981.

His son (the second bassist in the band, and the touring bassist for the Smashing Pumpkins) tours with 11 BB734As.


Of course you also can’t go wrong with a Fender P-Bass.

The moral of the story is - most bands I like use high quality (but not irreplaceable) midrange-priced instruments.


For funk/jazz/fusion a Fender J or similar might be the better choice :wink:


Yep yep definitely.


If you are interested in a particular player, you can often Google their name and the word “gear” and find a lot of information on what basses and other equipment they use. This works at least for fairly well known performing artists.

For the unsung studio pros, this might be harder to find out, but they often tend to bring both a P bass, a Jazz bass and a more modern bass (modern here doesn’t mean the others need to be old) to fit the requirements of the songs they are going to record.




Equipboard is great for this.


Well Fender is definitely in a league of its own as they have Asian made, Mexican made and American made in addition, its not only acceptable but favorable when the instrument is naturally aged and relic through heavy use.

Most popular line for gigging Fender seems to be the made in Mexico ones.


Fender did start the business with their Precision… and they do have their Professional series. But depending on the budget, the Player series or MIJ models will most certainly do the job as well.

For my part, I’m satisfied with my Fender inspired Sandberg and I’m not afraid to take it to jam sessions and it still seems to be in the ballpark compared to what other bassists bring with them (Warwick, MusicMan or even acoustic double bass :grimacing:). That heavy relic look won’t come from keeping it on its stand at home :innocent:

Yep, this is also why the majority of touring acoustic guitarists play decent, mass-produced and easily replaceable Taylors and leave their uber-rare and expensive handmade customs at home.


When I was gigging back in the days I was using my Tobias and Yamaha motion bass. Fast forward to Covid there’s nothing to do so we get together a lot I started on my Leo’s children MIM and mij are the go to I do bring some Emg modded bass along as a backup nothing ever go wrong with them. Lol.

Leave these babies at home


I’m with you on this one. When I started gigging, I thought that I’d better take along a standard bass in case it gets battered, but after playing hours and hours and hours on my jazz ultra, I just have to use that now. I’m used to the neck, I’m used to the fretboard, used to the action, the sustain, it’s weight, how much I can pop before it snaps. It’s basically home.

Could absolutely use a different one if necessary, but I love my main jazz, and it took a while to pay for it, and so I’m damned if I’m not going to use it all the time!

Plus instruments need to be played - they need a bit of battering here and there for some character :slight_smile:

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That’s the collector speaking :wink:
There’s so many no frills basses around that just want to get played. Lots of choice in the 1k-3k bracket.

But I think we somehow went off-road from the OP question… And I wonder why noone raised the 4-5-6 strings question yet :sweat_smile:



That NEVER happens.


The list of basses pros used or still use is long! I mean pros use anywhere from squires and low budget Ibanez Soundgears and talmans to you name it on the high end. As long as it has a good neck and pickups rock it. I think we tend to pedestal certain basses like we do players so it’s always a case of is this good enough or am I good enough. I think you can literally use anything with good bones and electronics and play to a crowd or record music. Look at all the people who have. Whether it’s Mike Dirnt on his squier p bass or Fieldy with his pawn shop Ibanez. Or Anthony Jackson on his Smiths or Foderas I think it’s all relative to what looks and sounds good to you.


No doubt. Music is relative, as is all art.

Playability is key in choosing an instrument. But what is enjoyable, for myriad subjective reasons, is up to the player.

Yes, a Squier can be and is regularly used to play live and to record in the studio. And, when a given player is not only satisfied but happy with its feel and sound, it’s a win-win on the old playability/cost continuum.

But we’re all different. And what might be optimal for one player might/might not be for another. So it goes.

Choose your weapon(s), folks. As long as you’re satisfied with your choice(s), all’s well in the world.


This is true for us (i.e., most of us are amateurs, at the beginner to intermediate level).

If you are going to be a pro who can be hired to play on records (aka a studio musician), then you might have to go along with what the producer(s) or the one(s) hiring you prefer. If they want a P bass with flats, then that is what you will have to provide even though it might not be your preferred choice.

(Which is why I couldn’t be a studio musician :grin: )