Help choosing a second bass

I’ve already talked about it here (GREAT GEAR - mediocre player) and mentioned in other posts that I actually just have borrowed my bass. I like playing on it and think it is overall a good enough bass.
I borrowed the bass from my father. It was a birthday gift from his wife and me to him. With our upcoming birthdays (august, september) I have planned to return the bass together with some kind of self made coupon for bass lessons with me.
Of course I don’t want to stand there without a bass afterwards and also it probably would be easier if we both have a bass for the lessons.

So off to buy a new bass!
Like with every purchase I start with a budget. 300-900€
Allright let’s have a look of what I can get in the music store in cologne. Set up the price range. The only thing where I have a tendency is that I seem to like passive basses more. I did not have a chance to compare directly but from what I’ve seen/heard I would prefer a passive one overall. Okay. Price range and passive as filters for the search. Go: 235 Articles

Question/Asking for help
So here I am now.
I know I want a passive bass and have a budget. Where to go from here?
I plan on going to the store either thursday or friday to get some basses in my hands but I would still like to have it narrowed down a little more.

Any suggestion of what I might check out for information or personal opinions that might help me narrow it down?
Of course I’ve watched the gear video about basses. Still… In my mind I would go one step up in budget. Or hey… maybe tell me it’s not worth because quality doesn’t improve that much in the budget range and I should stick to the ones in the video.


It was mentioned in a Harry Potter movie that you don’t choose your bass, your bass chooses you.

…or maybe they were referring to a broom :thinking:
It’s been awhile since I saw that movie.


So I’ll just wait for an owl to deliver me the Bassus 2000?


Play every used bass in your price range within driving distance. When you find it, you will know. Even if you don’t know it that very second, you might know it when you try 10 more but can’t get that one out of your head. When I found mine I couldn’t sleep that night, just sat there thinking about going back to play it again. Bought it the next day and love it still. I say used because there are so much gently used gear out there, and it gets you a better quality instrument at the same price range. I knew I wanted a Jazz bass, and couldn’t be more thrilled that I chose the used Mexican Fender over the new Squire. To each their own, there are many valid answers here, but that’s my take on it. Good luck and happy hunting. It is a fun process if you let it be.


Yes. I’m a bit of a control freak. It’s not that I have to boss everyone around but if my friends and me made a schedule I get pissed when it’s thrown overboard (without reason). Just annoyed if it’s with reason.
No, seriously. Thanks for the comment. I already guessed that the answer I’ll get here would be “You’ll have to find out yourself.”
I decided to post it anyway because your comment alone is already helpful. I like your idea of just trying out used ones. Makes sense that it virtually bumps up the budget.


Try to narrow down what you’re looking for in a bass guitar.
OK, if you have limited experience, that may be hard. You’ll have to learn about the parameters that matter to you, but you may not be aware of those yet.

Here’s a hint.
Try playing a Fender Jazz (or a wannabe Fender jazz). The Fender Jazz has a neck with a D-profile.
Next, try a relatively modern Ibanez, or a Yamaha. You’ll notice that these have a noticeably different neck profile. The neck is much ‘flatter’; that’s called a Modern D-profile.

Most people like that better than the classic D profile from Fender. If you find that the neck feel of an Ibanez is nicer than that of a Fender, that may well be it.
I have a Gregg Bennet J, with a classic D-profile neck, and a Cort Action with a flatter Modern D-profile neck, and while the Gregg Bennett sounds nicer, I find myself reaching for the Cort quite often.

Or this: try a Fender P-bass, and then a J-bass. If you like the P better, you have a preference for more distance between the strings, OR for a wider fretboard. Now, try a 5-string. If you like the P better, you like the string wider spacing better.

Those are just a few examples. Try as much as you can get your hands on. When in doubt, get back to this forum and ask the Powers That Be what they think.


Nice! Thanks for that writeup.
Again: this helps!

I liked the idea of narrowing down the choices by simply narrowing down the choices to just used ones.
I think I will go both ways now. A bit exploring on the new ones to check the different styles and my preferences and once I checked a few boxes of what I like go hunting for a used one.

I feel better and less overwhelmed already.


Hi @peterhuppertz,
If a person’s preference is a 5 string over a 4 string but the find the neck to wide an option is the 5 string j-bass that is not much difference to a 4 string p-bass.
I agree with your thoughts regardless of the thickness of the neck or the shape of the neck in that it comes down to what feels good in your hands.
If it feels good you are going to enjoy using it.
Cheers Brian


My feeling is that very many 5-string basses have a neck width that is similar to the neck width of a 4-string P-bass. We don’t call the P-bass “the ironing board” for nothing. :grin:


I suggest watching the gear videos as well, it will give you a good idea for beginner basses


It’s a lot to read, but…


Hi @peterhuppertz,
It just doesn’t have the low B :sunglasses:
Cheers Brian


The P that is :+1:


Oh yeah, I forgot about this:


Please be aware of the fact that you have two kinds of active basses:

  1. The variety with passive pickups, such as the Harley-Benton B-450, and active electronics, and
  2. The variety with active pickups.

If your battery runs out of juice on the second variety, you are left without a functioning bass. If your battery dies on the first variety, you pull up the volume control knob, and you have a functioning passive bass.


Never seen the appeal for any reason and liked the sound that most passive basses create better from what I can tell. Sure I can get an active and only/mainly use it passive but then it’s my turn saying: Why? (and isn’t it likely it increases the price)

Although I asked help in narrowing it down it doesn’t mean not questioning something I exclude so thank you for bringing that up.

What reasons are there for chosing an active bass? / Where is the appeal?


… because, all things considered, you like it?
That’s what counted for me when I got my HB-550 (which is the five-string version of the HB-450).
I just want to make sure you don’t rule out a bass with passive pickups and active electronics just because.


Good point.

It wasn’t completely “just because” and more like “If I already have any preferences as far as I can tell it’s that I like the passive ones better”.
I will still at least pick up one active bass to see if it was just weird coincidence or if I have been on to something already about my preferences.


I totally get the passive thing. I prefer passive sound as well. I have a straight passive, a passive/active, and an active. I hardly ever touch the active. It never made sense to me to have a bunch of controls on your bass to modify tone, then have pedals to modify tone, then run to an amp with controls to modify tone. I just start with something I like the natural, unamplified sound of and go from there. BTW, I have an Ibanez SR655, an Ibanez SR 1805 premium, and a Yamaha BB435.



The one I currently have is the Ibanez Gio SR190 - I tried to find out the exact model before but I finally found the starter set that we bought together with a model number for the bass. From what I’ve gathered this bass is only available as a starter pack.

I am currently going through the shop page again comparing prices and so on. I think I will reduce my budget for this purchase down to 300-600. Actually thinking about just going with one of the gear videos again now. On the other hand I don’t have to rush it and it will be a good experience and I will feel more connected to the bass that has chosen me :wink:


Hi @juli0r,
Are you guys still in lockdown or are you able to get into your music shop to check out the gear?
Cheers Brian