Buying a bass this weekend

And my choices are down to two- an acoustic four string or an electric 5 string, solely because of budget.

I’m half way through B2B and getting somewhat p*ssed off with practicing in a tiny spare bedroom and only being able to stand in one place. To sort that problem I learned how to cast to my main TV in the lounge and have placed a spare practice amp inconspicuously under the nest of tables so I won’t get moaned at.

However, it seemed sensible to me to have an acoustic to follow B2B on so I haven’t got to plug it in each time and can just grab it and practice. This one would be £129/$163 shipped
[Harley Benton HBO-850 Black]
(Harley Benton HBO-850 Bass Black – Thomann UK)

On the other hand, I’ve already decided that I’m going to get a 5 string since most of the song I like are in drop D and I can’t be bothered with that nonsense when D is just the third fret on the B string. One of the 5 strings That’s been getting really good reviews is this one: [Harley Benton B550 QTB], which is £169/$214 delivered.
(Harley Benton B-550 QTB Progressive Series – Thomann UK)

Due to budgetary constraints these are currently my only two options.

It seems so much easier to me to buy the acoustic, but I’ve never played an acoustic bass so don’t know what they’re like. I’m going 5 string at the end of B2B regardless but there’s not a 5 string acoustic in budget that’s as cool as the 4 string. B2B is, after all, based around the 4 string.

Hive mind help needed, please!


I’m not a fan of acoustic bass guitar they are not easy to live with. The adjustment is not as easy as the electric ones. In general you would not get an awesome tone out of them either.

That said a 5 sting is not a stepping stone from a 4 string, there’s no graduating to 5 string or 6 string. A beginner can start on a 5 string if she/he wants to. You essentially gain 5 notes and more positions to play below the 5th fret.

The down side of getting the 5 string is the string spacing and the obvious notes muting, coming from 4 string it would seems like you’d trigger a harmonic and jumps everywhere, lol. Good luck.


Building and agreeing with @Al1885 a bit here.

I bought an acoustic for ‘quiet practice’.
I sold it very quickly.
It is simply too quiet (I don’t care which make/model, they are are super quiet).
They sound great plugged in, amazing actually, esp with the right strings, but unplugged - don’t even bother.

The problem here is you will tend to try to play louder/harder to compensate for the lack of volume, this is not a good thing when you are learning technique at all.

The action on el cheapo acoustics isn’t great, causing more grief in technique having to push down harder.
As @Al1885 mentions, intonation can be crap, esp in el cheapo models as there is very little you can do with these (actually, nothing).

You are better off with a headphone amp that you can broadcast B2B into either via bluetooth (preferred) or wired.

On the 5 string, another thing I did for the wrong reasons but kept for other reasons…
Drop D is very easy via a less expensive extender tuner ala Hipshot (flip of a switch - your E string is a D string), or, just retune.
I think you are underestimating how much that B string is going to throw you off with the lessons etc at this stage of the game. If you must do a 5er, then start the course over and commit to the 5 strings and fully learn it that way vs. the occasional D note you need. Jumping from 4 to 5 to 4 is not the easiest thing in the beginning.

Oddly enough, I am on the hunt for a vintage Kramer acoustic but for very specific reasons and amped. They have their place, but I would not buy one this early on. Several others here have fallen prey to the allure of these things as well too early.


Funnily enough, I was thinking of starting B2B again, but not a 4er or 5er reason. My fretting is massively slow and inaccurate- strange since I’m left handed. Was thinking of starting again and practicing a bit harder.


Chugging the low-D on the open string is an integral part of many songs in Drop-D. Think about going from something around the 7th to 9th frets back to the 3rd fret on the B-string, that just causes unnecessary work. Still doable, though.

If I were you, I wouldn’t buy the hipshot d-tuner for a cheap bass because it’s cheaper to tune down.

How about getting a clip-on tuner instead, like the unitune or the polytune? Both are accurate enough and you can use them on other instruments, too.



Theres a bit more than just 5 new notes though. The additional strings have the same amount of notes as any other. What they give you is flexibility. You may be able to play something more directly across the neck, as opposed to up or down the neck with an extra string.

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Yes absolutely as suggested that more playing positions are available after the 5th frets. Still at the end of the day the main reason to get a 5 string is pretty much the 5 money notes, lol.

When I first got my 6 string, I made a workout exercise to just play in one hand position (left hand) it’s possible to do that on almost every songs.

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From personal experience, I think that I’d get better, learn more and struggle less if I’d gone from 4 string to 6 string. Adding just one low string somehow doesn’t scare people enough to give the 5 string the respect it needs to put in the necessary hours of learning notes and position, 6 strings does that automatically. Lol.

You can find the entry level ESP and Ibanez for about the same price as the good deal on 5 string as usually people couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.


I did the course on an acoustic bass. I like it a lot and still play it half the time over my electric bass. The quick convenience of being able to just grab it and play has been really helpful to me.

I get this doesn’t work for everybody. I think most of the prople around here ended up selling or returning the ones they tried.

If you can try before you buy, it might be worth looking at something like a hollow body bass or a violin bass. Those can give enough acoustic sound to hear what your playing and do double duty by giving a good plugged in sound.

Good luck on your decision.


Exactly what I did. But and Vs or :upside_down_face:


My recent foray in to Bass, I bought a 5 string. Found one I loved, and have been happy with it. Next my CT that I bought 5 years prior finally arrived, so then had a 4 string in the house. I probably spend more time on the CT now. I’ve been wanting a 6 string, and can see your point. Its too bad that they’re so few out there. I cant find any at my local store, nor in craigs list. I can find some on Reverb. But would really like to play one that I’d consider buying. If I were to do it again, I’d definitely do 4 string, then 6 string.


I’m also a Beg to Badass user and I must admit that the set-up was quite painfull (too many cables, too short… )

my solution is, and sorry if it doesn’t answer your GAS, to use the VOX amp .

I connect the ipad with the lesson to airpods, stick them to my ears and then I use Bose headphones + VOX Amp and i put Bose over the airpods…

With this set-up, I can walk, I can stand / Sit… It. works very well for training.

Hope this helps !


My experiences with an acoustic bass is that they are thick and somewhat clumsy. The strings seem to be harder so getting a good sound takes a pretty good grip. The strings are also spread out a little more than an electric bass. I own an acoustic but I don’t play it because of these things. I would wait for a new 4 string.

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Same here. I used this cheapo HB for a lot of the course:

I have a couple of electric basses, but I live in an apartment so cranking up the volume, especially at night isn’t always an option. Plus, wearing earphones can be a hassle if I’m doing other stuff.

And I do find I practice a lot more with the acoustic bass when I’m doing other stuff, like watching tv on the sofa, or working on the computer. Being able to pick it up and bring it to another room is also handy, and not something I’d be doing with my back-breaking amp.

I was expecting to sell the acoustic bass after I bought my 2nd electric, but I use it too much to let it go, and its so cheap it hardly matters.

That said, it needs to be retuned every time I use the damn thing. Though in fairness it has a built in tuner so its not too much of a hassle.


This is true and I have also found the timbre on most B strings becomes iffy after the fifth fret and I have yet to hear one that I like above the seventh.

It kind of really is getting you five more notes and then some lesser amount of flexibility in my experience. The 5 I owned was super bright and even it sounded dull and murky on the B string above the seventh fret.


Well, the Commander-In-Chief of Finances and Liesure Facilities has talked me out of buying a bass this weekend and saving my pennies for the instrument I really want. She doesn’t get the difference between the bass I paid £25 for (including the amp that came with it) and a much nicer one.

I tried to explain the difference as similar to that between the Radley handbags she insists on and one from a charity shop, but to no avail! It’s not a problem as it’s not causing an argument, but I’m not going to try to explain it any further.


That really is good advice though :slight_smile:


It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Do what you want with this.



Get the best bass you can afford, whether your CFO gets the rationale or agrees/disagrees. Life’s too shorty for crummy basses.