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Bass Guitars: A buying guide for newbies

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Music

So you have always wanted to be like them, those stylist and vivacious rock stars! Well, now that you have decided to buy a guitar it seems you are going in the right direction for fulfilling your ambition. The only thing is that you should begin with the right instrument that will help you to take off in your music career with a bang! Go through the article to know what points you should consider while buying the first bass guitar of your life. 

It is the level of your skill that becomes the most important criteria for buying a guitar. Next comes the consideration of playing style and lastly the budget factor.  

A bass guitar is just ideal for a beginner like you; on the one hand its deep rich tone will help to hide the amateurish approaches of a beginner, on the other hand, the overtly stylish bass will provide a highly rhythmic background to your notes. It is on the whole a simple instrument which comes with basic construction as described below:

Bass guitar body: No two bass guitars are same and you can never find an industry specified standard for shaping or designing of bass guitars. Generally electric bass guitars come with solid body and magnetic pickups which create an electronic pulse.
Usually Bass guitar pickups are of two varieties: single-coil and humbucker; while the former is susceptible to interference, Humbucker pickups are more resistant to interference. But single-coil pickups produce clearer sound than the Humbucker pickups.

Bass guitar neck: The neck of a bass guitar is the area where the fingerboard rests. You will find metal frets studded on Fingerboards to indicate the corresponding notes it produces. Notes in bass guitar are produced by plucking or slapping.

Bass guitar head: The bass guitar's head is the area where you will find the strings are connected with tuning pegs which helps to adjust tone by changing the tension.

To begin with you must know about the basic features that a quality Bass Guitar comes with.
You are a beginner it does not mean that you will go for anything. On the contrary, the rich tones of a quality bass guitar can prepare you for accomplishing your big dream of going pro. And it will fetch you good money if you happen to sell it in future to invest in a more professional guitar. They are also less likely to get damaged easily. You can choose from a number of brands of quality bass guitars. There are Fender bass guitar or Ibanez bass guitar, there are also Gibson and Epiphone to choose from. Peavy bass guitar, Warwick bass guitar, and Squire bass guitar are also not bad choice.
One thing you must remember, that is quality of bass guitar varies considerably with the skills of respective manufacturers. You have two options; either you buy from a big manufacturer and repackage it or buy from small craftsmen, who as a  result of their years long experience no less good at their job of quality bass guitar making.

Do not forget the factors of materials and construction while purchasing your bass guitar

A quality bass guitar is always made of high quality woods of maple, ash, alder, or mahogany. The exterior parts are however covered with lamination.
Since you are a beginner, go for a bass guitar whose neck is fretted as fret indicates the corresponding notes and your learning process becomes much easier. You will find difficulty in tuning the fretless guitar.
Also check out whether the fingerboard is made of such fine woods as maple, rosewood, or ebony.
Check out the bridge that lets you adjust the strings individually. With this type of bridge you get more control over buzz and tone  and you sound more professional while playing.

Check out the Bass guitar condition if you choose to buy a used one.

Before buying a used bass guitar be sure of the age of the guitar,   how and where it was stored and its previous uses. Carefully examine its neck to see whether it is warped have been any splits, or if it had any repairing history. Look whether heads are firmly attached and tuning posts turn freely. The nut should be in a secure position. You need not bother about strings as such as they can be easily replaced.

As a last note of advice, trust your musician's instinct while buying a bass guitar. If you feel the sound is perfect, then just grab it.  Always remember, it is not the look, but the wood and craftsmanship that makes a good quality bass guitar.