Ok, the gear acquisition syndrome wheel is spinning for me. I just sold off one of my accordions to fund the purchase of bass stuff.

I know that I want to replace my Hartke B150 with a Fender Rumble 40. A 6" woofer with a 15 watt amp just isn’t cutting it for me.

Beyond that… my current bass is a 2009 Ibanez SR300, an instrument I love dearly. But it’s a low middle-end/high low-end instrument. I’m torn between stepping up to a higher quality 4 string, or making the jump to an equivalent-level 5 string.

I don’t play a lot of stuff that would require a 5 string right now, but I don’t know if that’s because I’m shying away from 5 string music because I don’t have one, or really because I don’t play a lot of stuff that needs a 5 string.

Any recommendations?


So many options. What pickup configuration do you prefer?

One option is to keep the SR300, change the strings for BEAD tuning, basically string it like a 5 string minus the G string. And then buy a second instrument as an upgrade. All sorts of possibilities so price range and preferences would help sort it out.


I would personally try to focus on either 4 or 5 strings if you are still learning but not both. I would say 4 strings would be a better choice if you are a beginner.

I use a 5 for specific songs only, not to learn on, and therefore have learned very little about how to actually play it in general.
Agree focus on 4 or 5, if you want to focus on 4, and have a 5 just for those few songs that require it, then go inexpensive but decent quality until you really decide you want to go ‘all in’, which is where I am at now….sold the 5, awaiting a replacement that will take months, but good with that.

You know, I don’t really have a preferred pickup configuration. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t say I’m a beginner per se. I’ve had my current setup since 2009, and started “playing” bass well before that (I had two different multi-year stints when I didn’t have a bass prior). My problem is that I’ve had precious little instruction on playing bass, and I’m lacking a lot of knowledge and full of bad playing habits. I would say I’m much more… untrained than I am a beginner.

Yeah, that is good advice. I think I’ll stick with 4 for the time being.

More on the story… last night I went and picked up my Rumble 40 (ohmygod, so much better than my Hartke, and I’m shocked at how lightweight it is) and while browsing Offer Up I came across a mid-90s Carvin LB20 for sale.

For as long as I’ve been “playing” bass, I’ve always wanted a Carvin. Specifically from that era. The way they’re made, the shape of the instruments… I can remember going to the Carvin store in Santa Ana, CA., and just drooling over all their basses.

I’m going to check it out tonight, and if it’s in even decent shape, I’m going to pick it up. :slight_smile:

The Rumbles are quality amps.

Hope the bass works out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Carvin, looking forward to it

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I bought a Carvin 5 string eons ago. I liked the many sounds the 3 (!) pickups provided but the body was damn uncomfortable. I had a luthier modify the body so it didn’t at least cut into my right arm.


So I picked it up last night. As far as I can tell, it’s a 1998 LB20. Although it could be anywhere from 1998 to 2005, as - according to the Carvin museum - the LB20s were unchanged in those years.

I love it already. there’s just something about the look and feel of Carvin basses that have always just… clicked for me.

That said, it’s definitely in need of some TLC. It looks like it was played a lot and then sat for a while. It works and plays beautifully, but is in need of some cleaning, some new strings, and probably an intonation/setup. I’m working on the cleaning today, as soon as I’m all done with that I’ll post some pictures in the “Show us your Basses!” thread.

I totally enjoy the cleaning and TLC of a used bass when I first get it.
Chance to bond.