Stedman Pro (Amazon) - First Bass

Hello! I am new to the site, and the bass guitar! I am 62 years young and have chosen to follow my dream to learn the bass guitar! Since I am a complete noob, and not sure if the bass and I could play together, I opted to purchase a cheap (very) starter bass setup on Amazon. I purchased a Stedman Pro 4-string bass with amp, tuner, strap, and gig bag. I must admit, all the gear was crap and has since been replaced since following the advice of Josh.

My question now is this, I am not thrilled with the Stedman Pro. It does not want to stay in tune, I get a lot of vibration from the strings on the fret board, and the first fret sounds horrid. I am okay with using it for practice while I am learning, but I already know I want a better instrument. Right now I am curious with the difference between precision and jazz bass, and pickups vs humbachers.

Can you give some advice on what may be a decent bass to learn and grow on? I am really enjoying learning and looking forward to becoming a bass badass!

Thank you, Josh, for making the learning fun and enjoyable!

Mark A. (BassBull), Peoria, AZ


Greetings, @BassBull, and welcome to the BassBuzz universe.

For questions like this, I advise checking the @eric.kiser index to Bass Buzz YouTube videos, (BassBuzz YouTube Video Guide) Josh has put together some excellent reviews of beginner basses. You will also get some valuable opinions here in the forum, although several of us have been infected with serious GAS–Gear Acquisition Syndrome–and will innocently attempt to steer you towards US$1000+ basses. For your own good. :grinning:

Seriously, there are some very informed folks here. But definitely check Josh’s reviews.


Hey @BassBull - I was just out your way last week in Goodyear!

First question - has your cheap bass been set up properly? Or tried to be? If not, start there.

I started on a Squier Jazz and still have and love it (although heavily upgraded now. Josh’s video on starter gear is very good.


Yamaha TRBX304. Fantastic four string base for the money. Started on one, and I still play it today even though I have two others.


Excellent choice!


Have one but upgraded to the TRBX504 shortly afterwards, primarily for the active/passive feature and upgraded PUPS and electronics. Never regretted the decision. :+1:


There are a couple of videos on the BassBuzz YouTube channel on this exact topic, they’re all good views. But Yamaha, Ibanez, Squier, they all make great starter “entry level” basses.

And “entry level” is a bit of a misnomer… low price does not always a bad bass make, nor does high price always make a good bass.

My three “entry level” basses - an Epiphone Accu-Bass, a Yamaha RBX260, and an Ibanez SR300 - were all great basses that I’d be proud to be still playing today… had GAS Guy not taken up residence in my head.


I would look at all the recommendations you get here and pick the one you like the looks of. All the recommendations will be pretty darn good.
This is my Squier Classic Vibe 70s P bass. It was my first “real” bass after buying a cheap Amazon bass. And it’s still my favorite to play. Second picture is of most my other basses. Which are all really good too.


Welcome @BassBull !


You aren’t alone here, many of us-myself included bought a cheap rig to start. I would take a close look at your setup, and check the bridge screws are tight. This is one that’s way easy to miss. Typically cheaper instruments are made of basswood, so it’s really soft. They can get sloppy over time.
As for your bass upgrade? I wish you all the best in choosing. Everyone here is right, check out josh’s video on entry level basses. It can clarify a lot.
The Yamaha trbx is a fine rig.
The Ibanez es300 is great ( i still love mine and play it frequently)
Never played the fender squier, but lots of folks here swear they are great for the money.

Best of luck, and be sure to post some pictures when you get the sweet new bass!


My starter bass was a Squier Affinity. Decent enough quality wise, especially once set up. Plenty of aftermarket upgrades available.


Check out your local Offerup, you should be able to find great deal on squires jazz bass or p bass. They are great starter basses. If you take your time you can get them for $150 or less. For example, this is a great deal. A Squier classic vibe are about $500 new this one is $200 with amp. Check out this item on OfferUp.

Looking for bass brands and models used or new can be overwhelming because the learning curve is steep. It takes time to learn the differences. If you have a budget in mind we can help you spend it, lol.

To answer your original question about single coil vs humbucker, in a nut shell, the humbucker will have less or no hum (60 cycles hum) the sound thicker and usually louder than single coil jazz pickups. Which usually would offer some great classic tone but would be more prone to external noises.


The best thing is to try and get your hands on the bass you think you want to buy. Hold it, play it a little and most importantly make sure you like the feel of the neck. If you don’t like the feel pass it up or you will be looking for another one soon. Pick ups and all that can be changed easily but the neck is a little more difficult. Trust me. I didn’t do this at first and went through 13 basses before I found one I stuck with.


This is true. This is very important. Feel is the most important aspect. It separates the good bass from the cheap ones feeling wise, of course.

Last thing you have to worry is how it sounds. That’s not only easy to fix but also the cheapest fix as well.

Here are a few listings I found in your neck of the wood.

Also this one from guitar center.

Note the newer model comes with roasted maple neck and narrow tall frets similar features offer in their Fender’s high end basses. Here are mine jazz and pj

Let us know what you need many of us have been through this before and can help out.


Welcome Mark. I’m 67 and started learning bass just a few months ago. I think with age comes the patience to take the time to learn stuff as compared to the teen age dream of immediately jumping on the stage.

There are multiple YouTube videos on cheap vs good bass guitars. A lot of the time it just depends on what you feel comfortable with. The J bass has a narrower neck, so if you have smaller hands that might be something to look at. The P is a little larger and only has the one split pickup, but that sound is killer, so either one would do you well.

A Fender Squire is the entry level. Get one and have a professional setup done and play your heart out. You can upgrade components when you feel the need. The Made In Mexico basses are better quality and a good middle of the road. The American made Fenders are usually beautiful but you are paying for the Made in America part.

Ibanez and Yamaha also seem to have a good reputation. I’m a snob, so an American made J bass is what I got and I know it is good for the long run. J bass also makes more different sounds.


Fully agree with @bfrederi1 's suggestion about the Video Guide, and the Beginning Bass shootout Josh did (with some, ahem, very special guests) was great.

I’d say it depends most on:

  1. Budget

and then…
2. What you think looks coolest.

And thennnnn

  1. What has decent reviews and is a reliable instrument.

I think you can get all of that info from the videos and the lovely comments above.


Not that I’m disagreeing with you, but I would change that to “what feels best when played”, or at least add that as a 2.5 or summat.

I spent almost a grand on a Warmoth body and neck because I thought they looked cool. Assembled, I really do not like the way they feel. It’s great stuff, for sure, and I’m sure it’ll be awesome for someone, but it just doesn’t… jibe with me.


Oh, disagree away!
I disagree with me!
I’m just remembering how I bought (ahem) all but the last 2 of my basses.
My first 3 basses in my life were purchased 100% based on what I like the look of.
Maybe unconsciously I liked how they felt?
Who knows.

But yes, how it plays/feels should certainly be number 2.
Ideally, how it looks is a distant #4… but… it never is.


You probably WILLED them into feeling good :grin: I know I have tried that on occasion :joy:


I disagree to your disagree :joy:

Look is everything for me. If I don’t like the looks I hate playing on it. So far I never played on a bass where I “hated” the feel. Feel is more like a preference to me. For example a Warwick body has a different feel vs Fender. Or a j bass neck vs p bass neck. So if you have 1 bass only it does matter, with more I rather have options.

So I stand strong with your first suggestion. :face_with_hand_over_mouth: