If you could have 3 basses

I am a keyboard player who is finally “getting serious” about learning to play bass after owning a couple of basses 20 years ago. I recently purchased a Fender American Performer Jazz Bass and I’m happy with it… but I’m curious about other basses.

I notice that almost nobody owns only one bass. I suspect there are a few reasons for this:

  • Different basses sound different and a bass player wants a larger tonal palette than a single bass would provide.
  • 4 string vs. 5 string. (Sometimes you just want that low B string - but you may not always want to play a five-string.)
  • Second bass with an alternate tuning (lowered so E isn’t the lowest pitch)
  • Maybe a short-scale just to have something fun and different.
  • The addictive nature of it all as it applies to musical instruments, camera gear, guns, tatoos, bicycles, motorcycles, watches, etc. (anybody with one of those things wants more than one)
  • Other?

So, all of that to set up my question:

If you could have three (and only three) basses, what basses would you get and why?

Thanks for considering this question. I expect to learn a lot from those who care to contribute.

Cliff in TwangTown

12 Likes

Welcome to Bass Buzz @TwangTown.
My go to is a Stingray.
I have Sterling Stingrays, 3 to be exact, I have not gotten the money together for a Music Man StingRay yet, they are up to 6.5 times as much as Sterlings. and they are the same mother company, it is kind of like Fender and Squire.

So I would have to say at least one StingRay.
You said you already have a Fender Jazz

There is Warwick Corvette’s that are really cool.
ESP LTD B-4E or ESP LTD F-4E. Or ESP LTD Tom Araya Signature FRZ

And yes, I have two of those, I am missing the F-4E

Ibanez SR lines are really awesome. I have had 2

Yamaha TRBX and BB lines are very highly regarded. I have never had any

I LOVE Carvin (now Keisel). I have owned a custom ordered (for me) guitar, but not a bass, YET.

I love Schecter’s. I have owned an Elite 5. I would love an Elite-4. The Studio -4 is todays comparable, the Elite was a few years back.

So many to choose from, 3 is tough to pick. But if I could only have 3, at least 2 of mine would be Stingray’s

Peavey made really cool ones, like the Cirrus @JoshFossgreen plays in Beginner 2 Badass courses

I own a 5, but have not played it much…YET. i focus my studies around 4 string, I will convert later when I am at one with the fretboard (getting closer)

5 Likes

I think it’s different for everyone, but here’s my situation…

I see no reason to own more than one 5 string, and I have no desire to play a 4 string.

I had a 5 string fretless for awhile, simply because I wanted to try it and become proficient on it. I accomplished that and disposed of it.

I have an electric upright bass, simply for variety. The upright is a unique instrument from the bass guitar.

I currently have a Yamaha BB735 which I just got. It will be replacing my Yamaha BB235 which I have listed for sale on Reverb. The BB735 is my main axe.

I have no plans to add another bass at the moment, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of trying something different at some point.

I rode for 40 years and owned 6 different motorcycles. I never owned more than 1 at the same time.

6 Likes

Welcome to the community @TwangTown!

4 Likes

My priority at the moment is to learn to play the one bass that I already have (Ibanez SR500E), but if I ever decide that I deserve a second one, then it’s most likely going to be a 5-string. If I had to buy now then it would be a Warwick Corvette GPS 5.

My third one would be the Duff McKagan Fender P bass, because it looks mean, and because Paradise City was the song that got me into rock music. And then I’d go and set my Ibanez to low action and use it for slapping.

5 Likes

That is a really tricky question, @TwangTown - but, I guess, you know that :grin:

There are a few people that one bass only and are happy with it. Perhaps they have one extra bass for one of the first couple of reasons you mentioned in your list.

However, once you go beyond two, once you go to three… you might as well go to five, six, … Why restrict yourself to three exactly? There are so many cool basses out there, and you have listed all the reasons why people want to have more…

And, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either (at first…). Also, a lot of people like buying and selling these babies almost better than playing them :wink:

Long story short: I am nowhere close to having tried or owned enough basses to be able to present my ultimate list yet, and perhaps (hopefully?) I never will.

Please don’t get me wrong: it’s an interesting question to ponder, but I can’t give you any good answer!

8 Likes

“Why restrict yourself to three exactly?”

In my mind, that’s where the spousal line might be drawn. :slight_smile:

You’re right that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Besides, nobody would think twice if you owned, say, a jet-ski. And for the price of a jet-ski, you could have a killer bass setup with multiple basses and amplifiers (unless you were getting some exotic basses).

I also think you have a good point in that “a lot of people like buying and selling these babies almost better than playing them”. Most of us aren’t going to make a living playing bass… it’s our music hobby. And who’s to say that the enjoyment we get from studying the gear and day-dreaming about someday putting together our ultimate kit isn’t a valid and pleasurable component of someone’s hobby? Also, given the state of the world right now, the distraction of obsessing over pickups, etc. might not be the worst thing for our mental health. (or is it just me?)

Thank you for your thoughts! - Cliff

8 Likes

Wow! You’ve given me a lot of things to study!

A lot of people seem to love their Stingrays. That seems like one I’d need to try sometime.

You mentioned the Ibanez SR series. I have to admit having my eye on the Ibanez SR2405. I would like to have that 5th string and it seems to have a lot of tonal possibilities.

Thanks for taking the time to response. I appreciate it. - Cliff

5 Likes

Greeting
I only play short-scale because of injury i got. But I do love Stingray bass guitars. That one be one. I have a custom built by CBbasses.com that would actually my 1st choice. When I did have 34" scale bass I had i Schecter Stietto studio - 4 bass in Satin Honey, I loved that bass. It also come in 5 string. I hated to get rid of it but I had too. Those would be my top 3. There so many great basses out there. It depends on how much you want to spend. Every one will have different options. But the one that matters the most is yours. You need to go out and try them and see which one your ears like and feels good in your hands. Its all about personal taste. Good luck finding that baby.

5 Likes

I am also curious about an upright. I like jazz and, as primarily a piano player, it would be so cool to be able to play upright acoustic bass in a jazz trio. You mentioned yours is electric, is the sound somewhere in-between an electric bass guitar and an acoustic upright?

That Yamaha BB735 looks like it would check off many boxes on anyone’s wish list. Very nice.

Same here on motorcycles… I’m on my 5th one but I’ve never had more than one at a time. (But, of course I would like to!)

5 Likes

Thank you. -Cliff

5 Likes

Haha, yes, conceded! But… as a smart man once said: it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. And, once that spousal line is crossed, the next basses will come in much quicker :grin:

Anyway, you make some good points, and I would agree with you about this being our hobby and whatever makes us enjoy it we should do, whether that is just playing, or buying/selling, studying hardware reviews, daydreaming, test-driving in stores (when possible) and so on!

4 Likes

Yes and no…

There is no way to exactly duplicate the distinctive tone of a double bass with an EUB (just ask @Gio). With that said, the NS Designs electric upright bass that I have comes darn close, especially if set my reverb pedal just right.
I like the EUB because:

  • It didn’t cost an arm and a leg like a double bass would have,
  • It’s smaller and lighter, making it more space efficient and easier to transport.
5 Likes

if I had 3 basses I would probably choose 2 Precision Bass (for different string gauge / different tuning) and one with a more Jazz Bass-y configuration (2 single coils), which is exactly what my Yamaha SBV 500 is.

5 Likes

Hmm. 70’s fender precision. A rickenbacker 4004LK.,and a fretles fender jazz. But there are plenty of others I’d love to have just to mess with. And tbh if I wound up with a 4004LK I’d probably ruin its value by playing the thing into oblivion.

6 Likes

Welcome aboard @TwangTown,
Enjoy the ride.
Cheers Brian

5 Likes

Welcome @TwangTown.
I reckon I’d go for an American made Fender P , a top of the line Ibanez and then a custom short scale like @BigAl has . But that’s my choices today. Tomorrow could be a whole different story :joy:

Only one bike at a time @PamPurrs! Just sold one of mine which I’m already regretting leaving me with my old girl . You can never have too many basses, Harley’s or tattoos :joy:

6 Likes

Thanks, Mac.

5 Likes

Thank you for showing us that company @BigAl :+1:
I’d never heard of them and seeing such craftsmanship being used on short scale basses really got me thinking especially after the few days I’ve had the Mikro.

4 Likes

Cliff make awesome bass guitars and there all handcrafted. You can get what ever you want on it even make your own design… Highly recommend him . His web site has prices and and different models he makes. Im glad you like it. Short scale so much easier to play. With or without handicaps. Dont think you can find handcrafted bass for his prices.

4 Likes