Is there such thing as a "beginner bass"

Is the entire thing around the idea of a “best beginner bass” price? Like $<250? My first bass is a Squier Affinity PJ that I bought on recommendation of a guitarist friend in a metal band. I’ve been going through B2B with it. But the music I listen to–extreme metal, post punk, goth, darkwave–has a very different sound. My favorite bassist right now is Margaret Rosa from Kaelan Mikla, and she plays an Epiphone Thunderbird, which no one seems to like here. I just bought a Epiphone Thunderbird IV Goth, which is more in the $400-500 range, to be delivered tomorrow, to try and get a meaner sound. Should I continue B2B with the Squier though because it is maybe more versatile? I also am doing B2B with a pick, which I know is a kind of no no. Thanks for the advice!


If you want a meaner sound, roll off the J pickup and lean into the P. A precision bass is the sound of punk.

Here’s the honest truth - you can get a mean sound out of any bass.

On your Squier

  • use the neck pickup
  • lower the action and get some fret noise and buzz
  • use a pick and play hard
  • use an Overdrive pedal
  • use a Compressor
  • high gain on the amp

Picks are cool too , be proud of it. Plenty if great bassists used a pick like Dee Dee Ramone

Since you don’t have pedals, I would back off the bass a bit on the amp and crank up the treble, the gain, and lower the action.

If you look for pedals, Behringer has a line that won’t break the bank


Amazing! Thank you! I thought fret buzz was bad though?


Fret buzz is bad. If you don’t like it don’t use it, it’s your sound after all, but clanking on the strings (which Geezer does a lot) and a little fret buzz, you don’t need a lot, through overdrive is very mean.

Fret buzz is a sound. Sound is used in music. There is a place for all sounds.

Like here


I would like to subscribe to your newsletter sir😅


I think it’s more important that you like how your bass feels when you play it. My bass has a ton of clank and buzz, but not a lot of that gets picked up. This video is 30 seconds of what the camera mic picked up of me playing, then the next 30 seconds is the same clip after it has been mixed.


There are people who don’t like some of everything! :rofl:

But that’s okay. We all have our preferences and I don’t think anybody here is going tell you not to buy the thing you think is cool. That’s part of the fun in this whole process.

As for the Thunderbird specifically, I think the biggest complaint I’ve seen is people get tired of fighting the ergonomics of the instrument. But ergonomics isn’t everything. Sometimes you just have to go with what makes you want to pick it up and play!

The Thunderbird bird is iconic and plenty of folks on the forum have them.

That dirty, dirty pick! Real bass players don’t use a pick. Except for about half of all recorded bass was played with a pick. It’s a separate skill just like finger playing. It’s not about fingers or pick, it’s about choosing the right tool for the job.

All that and +1 to everything @Wombat-metal said.


Schecter basses seem to be pretty popular for these genres.

Josh encourages beginners to take the course using fingers, which I did, and I’m glad I did. For the last year or so I’ve mostly been playing with a pick because the songs I’ve been playing were originally played with a pick. But I’m still glad I learned finger style first, but if most or all the music you listen to is played with a pick then have at it.


This looks pretty sick man

I have an old Peavey Zodiac I picked up

I now have cheap Aliexpress flats on it and a low action.
I deliberately buzz and growl the frets on this and even bounce the strings off the pickup poles, the guys I play with seem to like it. I also made up some foam string mutes (like a violin mute) because it can ring for days and sound like a piano with little effort which doesn’t suit some songs (ie I Ran).
I started off strictly fingers only, but now find myself using a pick on some songs because they sound better, were recorded that way or are easier to play with a pick (Wishing Well, I Ran, Kiss or Paul Macartney).
I also use fingers on some songs because they sound better or are easier to play that way (Riders on the Storm, Love Me Two Times, Uprising)
Different tools and playing styles as needed.


Whoa! Thats cool. Thanks for the before and after!


Yeah, I was trying the notorious Billie Jean (slow workout) with a pick for a week beating my head against a wall, then used fingers and I think maybe, just maybe, I can progress to the next lesson. I’m definitely more aware of the right tools for the job.


Don’t let Billie Jean beat you up too much.
Billie Jean is a Wicked Mistress


This is going to vary a lot by band for post-punk and goth (and by extension, darkwave, as really darkwave emcompasses both of those).

  • Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order) used primarily Yamaha BB’s; He recorded every album with a BB1200S (P pickup active bass) and now currently uses mostly a BB734A (P/J) or a BBPH (P pickup). There’s also a Shergold 6-string he uses.
  • Simon Gallup (The Cure) plays P-Basses, Thunderbirds (double humbucker), and Schecter a lot (double humbucker on his Schecter signature model).
  • Steve Severin (Siouxsie and the Banshees) Played a Jazz early on and I think switched to a Stingray.
  • David J (Bauhaus) uses a J-bass, I think.
  • Dave Allen (Gang of Four, Shriekback) used P-basses and Stingrays.
  • Patricia Morrison (Floodland-era Sisters of Mercy, Gun Club) played J-basses and Rickenbackers.
  • Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) used, I think, a P-bass.
  • Will Heggie (Garlands-era Cocteau Twins, the most post-punk they got and by far my favorite) used a Rickenbacker.

Bottom line is, though, you can do those genres just fine with a P/J :slight_smile:


Playing with a pick is a Yes, yes. If it works for you.

Also don’t be furious, be happy you found bass. You can make that into a poster.


at one point I came kinda close to buying one of those goth birds, I think they’re pretty damn cool. really big though.


Also look at Fieldy from KoRn


I play with a pick 90% of the time. Nothing wrong with a pick.

Fingerstyle for the course is recommended because you should also know how to do it and it can be harder to learn; however, as far as personal style goes, you do you :slight_smile:


I find fingerstyle infinitely easier than playing with a pick. I’ve tried to learn it several times, starting from scratch and taking it slow each time, but I just can’t do it.


They each have different things they make easier. For me, muting is definitely easier with fingerstyle. Playing fast is much easier with a pick. String crossing to the next string is easier with a pick, going two strings is easier fingerstyle. It’s a mixed bag.


Both styles are difficult in their own way. Personally, I use a pick for most of my lines, but can play finger style. To Mike, I find .73 is my favorite because there is give in my hands. The stiff 1.0 and 1.14 always bothered me. Therefore, I recommend .73 tortex for small fingers and for sausage fingers: 1.0 tortex flex triangle.