THE RIGHT GUITAR
You need to have the right guitar in your hands. If you’re a beginner, then anything will do. And I mean anything. And THAT is the right guitar for you. When I started out, it was a beat up, short scale Hondo bass. I bought it off a friend of a friend for 60 bucks. It was not pretty. It was not cool looking. It was short and stubby and a little neglected. But I didn’t care.. I loved it. It was a revelation to me, because of what it meant. It meant expressing myself. It meant songs. It meant meeting people and possibly jamming and forming a band. It meant learning to communicate better and developing my social habits and possibly putting my secret writings and journals into songs. Yes. It meant all that.
If you’ve been playing some time, and you shred, then you may still be looking for it. Your playing has been refined and you don’t need just ANYTHING, you want THE ONE. You will be a bit more selective than I. But still, when you get in in your hands you’ll know. It’s just a feeling that you get - like it’s an extension of yourself when you find the one.
For practical purposes, find something that makes sense for what you’re into. If you can’t afford to do this, then do like I did- ANYTHING WILL DO.
But if you can, then find a bass that might be popular for a certain style of music. It’s probably true that basses, amongst all other types of guitars, are the most chameleon of all instruments. You can play a Fender P-Bass in a blues bar band, and also a death metal band. But still, look into what your favorite bands are playing. There is so much information online now, dig into Google and find out who’s playing what. There’s a lot of signature models too. Hell, if Flea is your favorite bassist I know what bass you need. The Flea bass. Fender made a signature model of his favorite 63 Fender Jazz bass. Yes, it'll be pricy, but imagine saving up for it, then going to pick it up. The joy... you wouldn’t be able to wipe the smile off your face for a week.
There are many other signature models from various manufacturers to look into. Keep looking. Used basses are awesome. Especially if it’s quality. I once owned a 61 Fender P-Bass. I bought it for $4,500 and sold it (about 5-ish years later) for $6,100. I wasn’t trying to make money off it. I just loved playing and owning it. I’m sure now it’s probably worth 7 or 8 grand. Vintage guitars and basses only go up in value. They don’t make ‘em anymore. But even if you can’t afford an expensive one now, maybe someday you will, and that's something to look forward to. It’s also proof that often... you get what you pay for.
Get something that fits your personality. Are you bright and colorful? There are pink, green, red and yellow guitars. Maybe you’re into a classic look… there are sunburst colors, more tame but still super cool.
All guitars have personalities. Sure they don’t have heartbeats and veins and hands and toes, but they are living breathing organisms in their own way. They’re connected by wires and wood and metal and plastic. And we plug them into amplifiers and we draw up sounds out of them… They all bend, feel and sound different.
If you have small hands, don’t buy the biggest gauge strings. Buy light gauge. I used to play heavy gauge strings on my basses, 110’s on the low E. Just massive.... Now I only play 100 gauge. Lighter, easier to play. I only use 100’s now.
The big 110’s I used to play worked for my time touring with Sugar Ray. They would withstand anything I threw at them. Big, heavy strings and I could beat the crap out of them and they had a big, loud sound. I played them hard. They worked perfect for that. But now I’m onto something different, and I’m using what suites me now.
If you were buying a car, and you live in the city, would you buy the mountaineering package with big 4X4 tires, ski racks if you only needed it to drive to work and back? Maybe you want that look, but it doesn’t serve your purpose
Find one to serve your purpose.
Find the right guitar for you.