Bass Purchase Advice

I have been scouring my local FB Marketplace, Craigslist, and LetGo for several days now looking for good deals on my next bass (I quickly realized they are pack animals and need friends). I came across a few deals that caught my eye and was wondering if I could get some input from the people that know:

Deal 1: ESP Ltd F4E (asking price $500; Retail seems to be around $600)

Deal 2: Listed as “Ibanez Bass guitar with Boss CEB bass pedal and Boss DS1 Distortion pedal. Also comes with soft case, cables, guitar stand, and strap.” (Asking Price $150)

Finally, Deal 3: Red is Ibanez, woodgrain is Washburn, Amp is Vox Pathfinder Bass 10. No other info yet. I asked and the seller said he could get me model numbers tonight. He did say the Ibanez had active pickups and the Washburn was passive. (Asking Price $315 for everything)

Deal 1 does not seem that that great of a deal, but it is a stunning looking instrument; the kind I think of when I think of what the coolest bass would look like. Deal 2 seems like more value (or at least a more palatable price), but also like a lower quality instrument. Deal 3 seems like it might be the best value of them all; two basses and an amp, but until I know what the models are, I don’t know how to tell if these are $150 brand new or not. Additionally, my current bass has double humbucker pickups just like the ESP, so I imagine that tone options would be quite similar…so will I end up wanting a P-Bass/Jazz bass/PJ Bass later on anyway?

And to make it more difficult, all of them are quite a distance away, so getting my hands on them before I go pick them up really isn’t much of an option.

I feel like I know what I SHOULD do…but I also know what I WANT to do…

WWJFD? (What Would @JoshFossgreen Do?)


These are quite different deals/styles/basses, so it almost seems like you really want to buy something/anything :rofl:

That is probably where you want to start your “journey to the next bass” - by really looking at what you think you need (and don’t already have) with respect to style and tone etc. Or, you know that you just want one more of the same - that is cool to, as long you are Ok with your decision to only need one type of bass. (Perhaps, you’d want to consider a 5-string!?!)

Personally, I also go for the “looks” of an instrument. The ESP is probably hands-down the best instrument here, and has awesome materials, but, unless you play metal, I wouldn’t go for it (personally) :smile:

For the other “deals”: if you have the cash, you might want to buy the two basses (deal3; one gives you a PJ-type and the other a P-type), test drive them and then decide if you like the style/tone. Then, I am sure you could always sell them (or one of them) again without much loss.


I think you might be right about this.

That’s the thing…I just don’t know. I don’t see myself ever actually playing any paid gigs or trying to record music. I only want to play because I think it’s cool. I will probably end up playing very, very simple bass lines a few times a month at church on Sundays, but nothing beyond that.

I also am big on the aesthetics of the instrument and I just can’t get over how much I love the ESP. I will probably play some metal/rock at home (Korn, Slipknot, System of a Down, Skillet, P.O.D., Disciple) but again, since I don’t plan to play in public much, I am not too concerned with the bass style matching the music style. As long as I like the way it looks I am happy…and I really like the way this looks. As for a 5-String…I think I need to finish B2B before I even think about adding another string! If I could learn to play on a one string first, I think it would be more my skill level…

I think that right now
Deal 1: Best for what I want/Worst for what I can afford
Deal 2: Best for what I can afford/Worst for what I want
Deal 3: Best for what I need

So I feel like they over all quality (to me at least) is sort of tied and I was hoping to try and find the tie breaker.

Could anyone provide a sort of simple explanation/description of the differences in the bass types? Or link to an existing explanation that gets it right? Maybe that will help me determine if I might ever really feel a need for another style or if I am ok having two basses that are the same style. Since those two seem to have the most tone options, can they sort of emulate the sounds I could get from a P-Bass or Jazz bass?


nobody should care about this. the point is to find an instrument that pleases you aesthetically, sound-wise and playability-wise. how many metal bands play with a Jazz Bass ? way too much to count :sweat_smile:


From what I hear you saying… I’d say “go for the ESP”!

It is probably an upgrade from what you have now and you might for the first time experience the feel of playing a “better” instrument.

Worry about the Ps and Js later. A lot of it is “religion”, if you get my drift!


I know nothing about the bass as I am a complete noob but that esp is the sexiest thing I have seen in a long time
As you were


This was pretty much my exact statement as well


ESP makes high quality instruments, both their very high end and their midrange instruments are good. They tempt me every time I go to the district their workshop is in.

Ibanez are generally really solid too but out of those you listed, unless cash was the primary deciding factor, I’d check out the ESP for sure.

For reference that ESP is closer to $700 new and has some very nice features - the 5-piece neck, the neck-through design, 35" scale (very nice for alternate tunings), etc. It looks like a very nice bass to me.

Look at it this way. You already have a bass. You don’t need to get just any other bass.


oh yeah :sunglasses:

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What does this mean exactly? I recently saw some tabs for Duality by Slipknot and it says that Paul Grey has his bass tuned to

In an interview he said they “tune a half step down and then drop the E down to a B”.

From my limited understanding of how musical notes work, I would imagine that this would have a pretty significant change to the way the instrument sounds (not to mention changing the location of what notes are on which frets/strings). Is this why many professional musicians have multiple instruments they use for a single show?

Are there any considerations to be made for how it changes the difficulty in playing when you use different tunings? What I mean is that I would think that dropping an E to a B would make the string quite lose, and cause a lot of fret noise, meaning it is harder to play and sound good. Is this accurate? And would there be alternate tuning methods that do the reverse (making it easier to play some things)?

Sorry for always asking so many questions, I am just really getting into this bass thing a LOT more than I thought I would, and when I enjoy something, I want to absorb as much about it as I can!

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that’s one reason, yes. we have a thread here for alternate tuning, you could look at it :slight_smile:

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awesome! I will check it out!

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Okay everybody, it’s intervention time. @brandoncmurphy Has contracted GAS!

It will be okay. You’re among friends now. GAS affects all of us and you’re not alone.

Hi. My name is Eric and I have… Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
[Group] Hi Eric.
Thanks… thanks. I uh… obsess over gear. Not just some gear. All of the gear. And uh (chokes up) I want two copies of everything. So, I can take one apart.
[Group] Oh, that’s hard. Yeah, rough place to find yourself. Stay strong, brother.

I joke but there is a lot of truth in that joking.

Deal 1 - Beautiful but for that amount of money I would have to be positive it’s what I wanted.

Deal 2 - This actually looks like a pretty good deal. The Boss DS-1 is a guitar distortion pedal but you could resell it for $30. The Boss CEB-3 would be fun but you could sell it for $70. So that leaves you with a $50 for a bass you can experiment on and not feel bad if you completely destroy it.

Deal 3 - I’m pretty sure the Washburn is an XB100. They sell used for $125. The Vox amp sells for $50+ and I can’t tell what the Ibanez is. This seems like the worst deal to me. There is a huge amount of cheap gear on the used market and spending $315 for this seems unnecessary when you could probably buy it piecemeal.

If you have a guitar store near you, I highly recommend going there and playing everything you can get your hands on. If playing in a guitar store makes you nervous, check out this thread. WHAT TO “PLAY” IN A GUITAR STORE?

Everything sounds good till you have a chance to play it yourself.


Yeah that’s true. I would also see if they would come down in price a little bit - never hurts to ask.

There’s a lot (a lot) of amazing basses in that price range though. So be sure that’s the one you want.

That said if it is truly what you want and it turns out to be as clean as it looks, out of the options you presented it’s the one I personally would go for. YMMV.


I honestly think it might be. It checks all the boxes…



That’s dark, man!!


So as it turns out, I don’t think they actually make the ESP LTD F4E in this finish any longer. The models they currently make do not have the Ebony top on the body, but are instead the single mahogany through the entire body. So you don’t get that really cool two tone effect.

Unfortunately , the seller is not responding to any messages, so I am not sure what I should think. Originally I asked him if he could be a little flexible on price, which I can tell he saw, but got no response. Then I sent him another last night just asking if it was still for sale and letting him know I was really interested and he has not even viewed the message. So this might be slipping through my fingers!! Wish me luck!


I keep meaning to make a topic about the used market for musical gear but for now just trust me: this is not your last amazing guitar buying opportunity, there will be more :slight_smile:


That’s what my wife said as well. Patience is not a strong point for me; especially when I make a decision that I want to do something.

I am weird in that I will procrastinate until the last minute if I can, but once I make a decision that things need to happen, I want it done yesterday. And unfortunately, I have convinced myself that the ESP LTD F4E-NS (that’s the model with the ebony top on the body) is my holy grail of basses.

Unless anyone knows of something else I might like!

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Well, you could try and hold off for a little while longer (risking, of course, that the ESP is gone by then), and see what kind of Black Friday deals are going to pop up!