Six Basses - A Test Drive

I have a borrowed Fender Jazz Bass that I’m just not crazy about. It’s about 30 years old and I get a lot of noise from the pickups - no, they don’t cancel each other out and no, I’m not paying any more for repairs on a borrowed bass. When I first got it, the tone knob would not adjust. After several lessons on BassBuzz, I took it to the local shop and had a setup performed and the tone knob fixed. I know the neck is adjusted about as far as can be adjusted.

…but, it was “free.” It’s what I have to learn on. I’m only into module 9 in the BadAss Bass Lessons and I still have a lot to learn.

Today, I had some errands to run on the other side of town and thought I’d go by that store. They had advertised a used Ibanez SR-300e and I wanted to see if I liked it. Well, it was already sold…

While there, I tried several other basses - Yamaha TRBX174 and TRBX505; a Squier 5-string Jazz Bass; several Sterlings including a Ray 4HH, a Ray 4H, and a RAY 4SS.

I discovered several things doing this…

  1. I definitely prefer two pickups. If for no other reason than a place to rest my thumb. :wink:

  2. While I get it about 5-string basses for beginners, I wasn’t that uncomfortable with one. Yes, I had to think about it but, just noodling around, I didn’t mind it.

  3. I like a satin-finish neck. I cannot stand the polished necks. They’re “sticky.”

  4. While I had a hard time getting used to the short scale Sterling, I finally got it down where I could play a few tunes. I could live with the SS.

  5. I like natural or stained wood - not painted. That’s just me. It has nothing to do with sound but those natural or stained wood basses are pretty (in my eyes).

I like the feel of the Yamaha and Sterling necks. Those satin finishes are just nice to touch.

Which one did I buy? None of them. I walked out without one. I realized that if I can learn to play on the Fender Jazz Bass I have, I will enjoy something nicer even more. So, I decided I’ll wait until I’m completely done with all 16 modules before I decide on anything.

Still, it was a lot of fun.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. :slight_smile:



I am the same. I kind of mentally have to earn the next instrument. Otherwise, it is just pure GAS and that won’t change much in my playing (in my eyes).
I didn’t have the opportunity to go and try many basses before my first one. I also didn’t have any desire to do that, as I wouldn’t even know what is my preference.
I am pretty sure that will be completely different when I go to try new instruments in a couple of months (maybe a year) time. To put it in different words, I will be able to make better decision and appreciate the new instrument more. In my eyes :wink:


Pickups on a Jazz bass are normally single coil. So depending on how much electrical background you have in your house there’ll be some noise.

There are ways to minimize this 60 cycle hum like turning around 360 degrees in your chair to find the quietest spot.

The pickups are positioned too far apart in the body to cancel out this hum.
I think if they’re placed next to each other they cancel the hum ie humbuckers


Okay, I thought I was losing my mind. I have actually turned in my chair (the amp sits behind me) and the hum has decreased dramatically. It doesn’t happen all the time but it does happen.


Yeah I don’t fully understand the science (there are lovely people on here who can explain it better) but yes it’s to do with the magnetic fields of the pickups and the thing that’s interfering with that field.

You can also try plugging in to different rooms in the house if you’re bored to try out this theory :sunglasses:

And welcome. It’s a nice bunch of folks here.


Just an fyi, a high gloss neck shouldn’t be a deterrent. Easily remedied with a light touch for a few seconds with a green 3M pad. Don’t do it very long or you’ll take off some finish.

But a couple swipes and you have a satin neck


Never let this be a show stopper.
You are one green 3-M pad away from a satin neck on any bass you like.
Very easy, takes less than 5 minutes (longer to tape off or take off the neck).

I have done this on over a dozen basses.


They don’t have to be fancy or $$$ to learn. Just comfortable. I am learning on a 2014 Sterling S.U.B. R4 that I paid $100 for. It was a great shape and a young guy just didn’t want it anymore.

Does the job just fine for what I am doing right now.


I had a Gibson 13 EB with humbuckers for 9 years and it was wall decorations for that long. Great bass but it wasn’t my vibe. So I traded for a Sterling 34HH that I love how it feels and look. I keep daydreaming about my new bass and the time I will get home to play it.
I take 3 to 4 hours of practice time easily just because I enjoy that bass (actually I’m sending this message with the bass strapped to my neck while I take a break from the lessons).
What I’m trying to say is buy what you like. Not what people tell you if it’s gonna be better. Of course, some research about durability and issues the instrument may present is important but that’s all. Go to the store, play whatever is your favorite song, and the one that makes you feel like a rockstar, that makes the sound you are pleased, buy it!
If you buy from GC they have a 45 days policy to return the product so if after a few days you have buyer’s remorse, switch to something else.
Again, my old Gibson was much more expensive than the Sterling I got but there was no connection between me and the instrument to make me feel that I want to play.
I’m a big Iron Maiden fan but P-basses like Stevie Harries plays aren’t my thing.


Don’t worry, they will be eventually :rofl:

I’ve always been a big double humbucker fan and have always gone for really “nontraditional” basses, but I eventually got a P and it ended up my favorite bass. I totally did not expect that. I’m down to two basses now and it’s one of them.


LOL. I can see that happening in the future… once I can prove to my wife I need more than one bass.
Originally I wanted a jazz bass and I completely changed my mind at the store.


Yeah. It’s amazing how that works. Go in with a solid idea, like something else much better in the store once it is in your hands. I never buy models I have not tried in person because of this.

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glossy necks are horrible and I cannot stand them. Sandpaper 3m green pads are a thing XD

…FYI play the satin ones enough, and you’ll start polishing them to more of a gloss :joy:


Both types are great. Poly or Nitro neck grips better so it requires less pressure on both your thumb and fretting fingers if you precisely move up and down the neck like a cnc machine then this type of neck would be great for you. Not to mention that they look awesome especially when you can spare 15-20 years of aging(Nitro).

On the other hand, silky smooth satin finish is deliciously buttery when you slide up and down the neck but thumb fatigue can creep up on you on a longer session. If your hand sweat a lot the smooth neck might be a better choice.

I’m quite gullible I love them both. I do use the stickiness to gauge my pressure, I may have gripping the back of the neck too hard.


What’s wrong with Steve Harris’s bass? It’s not only play great it’s also a great back and legs workout tool.


Disclaimer: I haven’t watched it yet, so I don’t know what the verdict is :joy:

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not the best not the worst rating. still, I dont want a football club sticker on my bass no matter whose signature axe it is. lol


It’s lobster, so the opinions in the review literally don’t matter :rofl:

tl;dr: he rates it 2/5, mostly he’s hung up on a MIM P-bass costing $1300. Has valid complaints about the weight and the dumb Fender “vintage” truss rod situation. Couldn’t figure out how to set it up with a decent action height.

All in all not the worst Lobster take but it’s really highly subjective, and fans of that bass will likely disagree. I would probably disagree (you can’t compare a signature bass with normal basses in the range for price; they always cost more, for the unique look.)

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I did watch it. Not a bad review. The most important point is that access to the truss rod is under the pickguard so very inconvenient and heavy (11 1/2lbs)


Yeah - the weight would be a showstopper or me, as would the truss rod access. Which is too bad because it’s a looker for sure.