What was your second bass? (assuming your first one was an entry level one)

I play a Yamaha TRBX-174. It’s my first bass. It costs around 250 US dollars.

I’ve been playing for around 10 months now and play every single day. And now I start to wonder. Apart from the different tone from different basses what else do I get from buying a more expensive one?

Does it play better? Sound better? Better build quality? Less static noise? Etc. etc.

So for those of you who bought a sub 250 dollar bass as your first one and then upgraded later on…what model did you buy and what’s your experience?


My second bass was a Yamaha TRBX604FM that was my main bass for years, great instruments.


My first bass was This less than $100 no name, but I only kept it for about a week. Once I had confirmed that I was hooked on bass (and wanted to take the B2B course on a 5 string) , I returned it and bought a Yamaha BB235. I went through the course on that bass, and later upgraded to my current go-to, the BB735.


My first bass was a Squier CV Jaguar.

Somewhat embarrassingly, my second was a Dingwall NG3 Nolly Sig.4 in Ferrari Green.

And yes, it sounds better, plays better, feels better, looks better, stays in adjustment better and basically is better in every way.

It didn’t make me a better player though, and people kind of make assumptions about your ability when you pull something like that out of a gig bag.

I did find myself being a bit precious with it initially and was hesitant about using it outside of the house. I got over it though. :wink:


My first bass was an Epiphone Accu-Bass, circa 1990. My second bass was a Yamaha RBX 260, circa 2000. My third bass was an Ibanez SR300, circa 2010. None of those were bought as an upgrade to the previous, they were all bought (excepting the Epiphone, of course) because I’d sold the prior bass thinking I was never going to play bass again.

It wasn’t until 2021 that I decided to get serious about bass. At that point I bought my first actual upgrade: an Ibanez SR500 EPB. It played about the same as the SR300, and the build quality was about the same. However, it had better components than the SR300 and sounded a lot better.

It’s all been downhill since then. I will say this: my average cost per bass (CPB) raised almost exponentially in 2021; it went from about $250 to about $1000. And each one purchased after 2021 has been “better” in some way than my pre-2021 basses.


My first bass was Yamaha Motion bass I, it’s now a little cult bass. My second was the USA Tobias Renegade. Built quality is about the same excellence but I jumped on both width and length from 4 string to 5 and 32” scale to 34”.

Tobias with the signature Asymmetrical neck and super light weight and aggressive tone was just an awesome way to get spoiled.


My first bass was a mid-70s Fender Jazz. My second one was a 1975 Rickenbacker 4001.

They each played and sounded differently enough that I alternated between the two until GAS caused me to trade them in for a guitar and Fender Rhodes piano, respectively.

I later “traded down” and bought a Danelectro Longhorn that played better in my hands than either of my first two basses, and sounded killer in my band’s mix.

All of the basses I’ve bought since then have been so I could achieve particular tones and/or enhanced build quality and playability.


Honestly after around the $500 + mark there’s not really any major jump in quality no matter what brand you buy. Sure you can get bells and whistles all day and the most exotic woods that nobody can pronounce but that’s all cosmetics and it’s a smaller tonal difference than we care to admit. What you’re really paying for with whatever brand you buy is electronics. MEC with Warwick is a central part of tone as is Tobias’s custom electronics or Ken Smith, etc. Yes the build quality is overall superb from any of these guys but it’s not a leap and bound over production model or mass production basses thanks to how accurate cnc machines are. Personal taste is going to be everything when you’re looking for a bass. There’s something for every style and every musical want out there. Finding what feels the best and what sounds the way you want is easier than ever before. That’s why we have such light basses and some heavy ones too. Lots of electronics choices, aftermarket up the wazoo, if you’re in 1 part of the world it’s easier to have access to basses from other parts than ever. So anyway, personally my second bass was a fender precision. It was a good learning bass but not exactly the sound I wanted. I actually preferred the tone of a cheap rogue bass that was my first and sold the precision later on. I also had a Rickenbacker for a while and sold it too because it was righty and I’m lefty. Sounded good though. I came across a Warwick and when I got it I found my favorite bass company after how the bass felt and the lovely Warwick tone that they all share. Really rich and thick sounding. All you can do is keep buying and selling until you land on what inspires you. Buy bass, play bass, see how bass reacts with your amps and equipment, if it won’t cooperate then sell bass and find what does. Sometimes you find a bass you love so much that it inspires you to make an amp change to accommodate that. Or in my case it makes me keep around a couple preamp pedals just in case I want to try different things. But that’s all down the road. If you’re just looking for a good bass there’s a ton of them and you can get something 300$+ that would serve you well from at home to even bringing to shows/ the studio if you were playing gigs or recording. 300$ for the bare essentials or a good deal on used, 500$ and up just about anything is going to be good.


That categorically has not been my experience. I have basses ranging from $500 to several thousands of dollars. There are universes between them in terms of build quality, electronics, tone and playability.


:point_up: this


I have to agree with @MikeC on this. I have owned many basses, and the build quality differs greatly. A “good” bass is so much better to play.

To answer the OP, my first bass was a Schecter CV 4, which is a good bass bought from a shop going out of business due to Covid, so a steal, but it had a preamp, and switches to change modes on the pickups, really too much going on for a starter bass. My second bass was a Fender Player Jazz which served me well.


My first guitar was a Cort Action PJ, a perfectly serviceable instrument.
When i saw a suitable improvement in my playing i decided to treat myself to an upgrade and bought a Yamaha TRBX504.
This continues to be my favourite despite buying a Fender Jazz and desperately wanting to love it and costing twice as much it just isn’t as good. To me anyway.
The Yamaha sees the majority of the playing time, it’s lighter, feels so natural and sounds really good.
I’d quite happily sell the Fender but i don’t think i will ever part with the Yamaha


I agree with @MikeC , while I won’t argue with the sound and tone differences as tone can be cheaply reproduce but the feel it’s vastly different. Premium bass just feel a world of difference when it comes to feel. It’s superficial really but it’s the last 10% of the experience and as you know from school, the difference from B to A is only 10% but it requires 200% of effort to achieve.

Company like Sterling by MusicMan tries to close the gap of feel by offering roasted maple neck when offer satin smooth neck feel found in their premium line ups. If I’m only doing recording indoors I’d be more than happy using my Asian Imports. They would delivered the tone I can be satisfied.

Even the difference between the premium can be seen and felt. Below are German made Warwick one is a MasterBuilt. It’s definitely different.


Gelling with a bass usually comes down to having an affinity with its playability and/or tone.

The Jazz neck profile and signature tones are unique to it, and Jazzes are typically heavy. If any of those things don’t hit you, you likely won’t dig a Jazz. Some love ‘em, some don’t.

Glad your Yamaha checks all the boxes for you. :+1:


Yes, Yammies are great basses!


Damn, those look nice! :heart_eyes:

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I started with the classic mistake of not wanting to pay much for a hobby i might give up. So i bought the 90 or so dollar no-name fender knockoff on Amazon. It came in a pretty much unplayable state.
It took a lot of effort to get right. Bridge was moving around, Solder broken, No shielding, action super high, intonation completely off, and about 20 razor sharp frets.
While it was a wonderful learning experience and gave me a nice challenge, i knew within 2 weeks i was hooked and needed better. So i got the Ibanez es300-I’ve never once regretted that decision. 6 months later after seeing some improvement, i got the schecter custom 4 which is still my daily player.

As for no quality differences around 500 dollars? That’s not my experience. While the Ibanez does a lot of things ok and none super-well, it’s build quality is light years from the no name models. And it was stock priced at 375.00

there are definite good and bad buys for low money. I’ve found that typically “starter instruments” or " student models" are badly built and poorly set up- but there are also really good models out there for a person on a budget (me) who fancies a solid-playing bass.


You guys are right about good deals vs bad deals. And having custom specs are going to go a long way for getting your bass to feel the best for the individual. If you’re just starting out though I wouldn’t even be looking down that rabbit hole too far though. But bare minimum if your bass is cnc routed and had decent hardware and electronics and is set up well it’ll be great.


Just to clarify on the 500$ remark I was referring to mostly reputable brands and not Chinese copies. However they are typically who does most of the builds for all the brands we’ve heard of. Everything is really cross pollinated these days.


I’m pretty sure i can blame Malaysia for a few bass shaped objects in my garage…