So I am finally getting my studio together so I can be happier with the quality of my recordings. I've been using a pitch shifter on my 7 in the mean time and it just isn't cutting it. So I am looking to grab my first bass.
Here is what I am looking for:
-not complete shit
I tried out a few at work today. We have a Squier Affinity 5 Jazz bass. It played decently. Unplugged it had some nice snap to it. The string tension was weird though and the pickups weren't very clear.
There was also an LTD that looked pretty much the same. Can't remember the model, but it had a pickguard and 2 single coil pickups just like the Squier. Unplugged it sounded a little dull, but it sounded better plugged in. Fretwork was a bit nicer, too.
Then I tried a Fender Jazz bass that was around $699. It played and sounded much nicer. The pickups were much clearer. However, this was more than I wanted to spend.
The last I tried was an Ibanez SR 4 string. The one with the maple fretboard (SR304?). I had much better string tension even though I'm pretty sure all the models I tried were 34" scales. I can't tell bass string gauges worth shit. Also, I don't know much about them. I can easily get ahold of the 5 string version.
Anyways, I was told my prices on all 4 and they are all do-able minus the Fender. Each would run me about $200-250 at my price. Which makes my wallet happy. I figured I could do pickup swaps for decently cheap to any of the models like Duncan Basslines or something. But, I'm not sure which is the better bet or if there is anything that would be even better. I hear most people say that you should get a quality bass. Would one of these be good enough with a pickup swap or would these still sound crummy?
tl;dr - Don't know shit about basses. Recommendations under $400?