The journey to my own first Bass Guitar

I decided to learn the bass guitar. A friend of mine was kind enough to lend me one of his. It is a Traben Array. I guess this model is no longer in production. It seems to be a nice bass. I enjoy it enough to continue moving through the online videos in this course on a daily basis, but it’s not mine, and I do not think it is the one I would have chosen for my first bass.

The first bass to really get my attention was the Fender American Professional Series II Precision Bass. I like American made guitars. I like the sound of the P bass as well, but was not ready to pull the trigger on a bass that expensive until I had really spent some time trying as many basses as I could.

So, I have been on a bass playing journey. I go to guitar stores in the area and try all the basses that catch my eye and quiz the salespeople. I use the lessons I have been practicing from this site to see how I like hearing them on the different basses I encounter. This has lead me to the PRS SE Kestrel Bass Guitar. This is not an American made guitar, but it is very nice. I really enjoy playing it and I enjoy the sound. An American made PRS bass is way out my my range right now, so maybe this will be the one.

Inventory is low right now in most stores after the holidays and I do not have a time limit on my friend’s Traben, so I will continue on my journey to my own personal bass. New inventory should be coming in soon, right?


Had to look it up:

Not a P(recision) but a J(azz) bass, but who cares? Looks great, bet it plays great as well!


I would research a new bass carefully. PRS has a fantastic rep for guitars; for bass it’s rep is kinda meh and I’ve not figured out why.

With cnc production it comes down to quality control, so country of origin isn’t as big a deal as it used to be. You can get fine instruments from anywhere.

The best Fender instruments seem to come from Japan these days. A great one in your price range is the Fender Aerodyne. @John_E can wax poetic on Aerodynes, he has several.

G&L makes some nice Jazz and Ps. It is the last company founded by Leo Gender.


It’s a journey and I am enjoying the journey so far. The PRS just felt comfortable in my hands and I liked the sound it made when I played it. We’ll see where it leads.

I have tried lots of different Fenders, but not Aerodyne that I can remember. I did try the G&L though. Nice bass, but did not grab me like the PRS did. There was another PRS in the same price range, the Kingfisher, just a little more expensive with Humbuckers. I did not like that one at all really.


This is the way.


The right bass is the right bass


LOVE Aerodynes, however, mine are all Fender Japan made. I played a US Aerodyne (made in MEXICO maybe?) for a couple minutes in a GC and liked it fine but don’t really remember it. Fender Japan quality rivals US made Fenders for sure, and if used can cost loads less.


Way better model diversity too IMO. Some amazing colors available here.


I’m up to 5 MIJ Fenders now, 1 US, 1 MIM - I see a trend


That’s about all that can be said. It’s all subjective. The reason for why something is manufactured somewhere comes down to one thing, profit. Is the Japanese Fenders better than US or Mexican? Are German basses better than Asian and American basses? Is handmade better than CNC’d? Is custom better than standard? Are signature models any better? Depending on a person’s experience and other attributes in their life you will get different answers. Is there any definitive scale that dictates what is better? Nope.

I normally ask people for their opinions to weed out problems that I may not know of from the limited time we get to spend with all the variations there are for us to enjoy.

In the end the right bass is the right best, for you.


nit: these are not mutually exclusive :slight_smile:



I’m not sure there is any right or wrong path. When I started out, I would go a used store, play a few, buy one, play it for a few months. If I liked it great, if not I would sell it and buy something else. The only one I regret giving up was a Sterling Music man Sub 4. Im sure someday I will correct that mistake. I have four now, but my fav is a Squier J bass, that I replaced all the hardware with Geddy Lee signature hdwr and pickups. Its been fun, but it drives my wife crazy.

The best advice I’ve been given here is pretty simple… Play, just play.

I’ll be curious to see where your journey leads you.



Yup. All my Warwicks (including the early 90s models) are CNC’d to some degree, even though their literature and videos stress all the ‘handmade’ work. Not common to find completely handmade but there are. Personally I don’t care either way.

Right on the money. Something I should be putting into practice a lot more.


Yep. Much like I wouldn’t care if a sculptor were to chisel away the bulk of a stone block with a small chisel or a jackhammer. All that matters is the finishing work she would do by hand to form the work into a statue.


I would actually love to see Michelangelo with a jackhammer creating the statue of David. :smiley:



The image I got in my head :joy:


After all, the Sagrada Familia is now being built using CNC-shaped stone blocks, even though it had been started in a very traditional way.

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Do you want people hand building your car and airplane parts too? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: CNC machines can do a much “better” job than people. If you think having a human touch your stuff adds value, that’s up to you :slight_smile:


I disagree. CNC machines can do as good a job as people, just more consistently and repeatably. The quality of the job they do is hugely dependent on a myriad variables. The benefit is that once you dial them in, they can get the same quality time and time again, conssistently without the human error/variation which makes handmade things one-offs, with all their little individual idiosyncrasies.

EDIT: That said, even the repeatability of CNC milling fails when working with dead tree carcasses. Wood is just such an inherently idiosyncratic and variable material.