Realistically Speaking

I have started saving us for that big bass guitar purchase some time in the moderately distant future. My saving scheme was to set aside as much as I could; 250 Philippine Pesos (~5.95 US dollars roughly using $1 = P42) per week, without losing my sanity over starving. I still am in school and going to class with an empty stomach severely affects not only academic performance, but even simple tasks such as walking. With that set, I did a short approximation of how much money I would end up after a few years and by the time I hit graduation, I would have theoretically around 36,000+ Pesos (without possible extras) which would buy me a decent bass but not that Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass that I’ve always wanted. I’ve thought it over and it the Geddy Lee Jazz Bass won’t really suite my needs in the long run. First of all, it’s obviously a bit pricey. Secondly, it won’t offer that much variety of tone. Thirdly, it has a lot of physical limitations for me; it only has 20 frets and is a 4-stringer. Since I only have enough money for one bass guitar, it would be better if I’d buy a “Swiss-knife” bass offering a lot of features and tonal ranges than a one specialized bass guitar. Realistically, I will have no narrow down my choices.

Because of this, I had to resort to window shopping again over the some music instrument websites such as Musician’s Friend, Music123 (which recently have known to have been bought by Musician’s Friend) and Guitar Center that I could possibly drop by when I travel sometime next year. I had a lot in mind while viewing all their catalogs.

The first bass guitar the caught me was an Ibanez SR506. Yes, it’s a 6-string bass guitar which I have always wanted because of it’s extended bass range. I’ve already seen it and played with it at my last brick-and-mortar window shopping. Decent and light on the pockets with a lot of features. Most importantly, it has a 34 inch scale which I can quickly adapt to and find very comfortable than 35 inch scales. If I had the money right now, I’d purchase it right away but unfortunately, I don’t so I had to leave it. After a few days, it sank to me that 6-string basses could be more than bite I could chew. If you think about it literally, that 2 more strings to mute and deal with while playing. Also, I a huge drawback is that bass strings for 6-string basses are not locally available. This means that every time I’d want to replace my strings, I’ll have to specially import them just for me or that I’d have to reply on chance that some unknown local retailer would carry them when I needed them. In the long run, this would not be pleasant to deal with.

Naturally, it would point out that a 5-string bass or a standard 4-string bass would fit me better. I also remembered than I might not need than C string if I would get a 24 fret bass. One setback for me with my current bass it that it goes up to 20 frets only limiting my playing ability especially with chords on the upper range. A 5-string bass would be the way to go then so I could finally play most Dream Theater songs that I’ve always wanted to play.

The cheapest 5-string bass I liked were the Schecter Stilettos. They offer fine looking instruments at good prices and even have different ranges depending on what your looking for. My only gripe here is that is has a 35 inch scale which I have found are not that easy to play at times. One inch does make a lot of difference for me and can severely affect playing difficult lines such as the ones found in prog rock. Nonetheless, I went on searching. Again, Ibanez offers variety of good basses than are closely priced. I couldn’t pick a specific model as they all looked good. Over what I heard, the TRB Yamahas are exceptional instruments. They have very positive feedback and rise above all that I have mentioned so far. Again, it has a 35 inch scale but 34 inch scales are rare in 5-string basses. If my savings would reach this price range, I would be very satisfied to buying a Yamaha TRB.

If a miracle occurred and I won the lottery, my choice would be likely be a Music Man Bongo. I know it’s a far cry but that is one of the best mass produced bass guitars available. Modern (and arguably acquired) looks, a 4-band eq and on top of it all, a 34 inch scale win my heart. I’d love to own one someday.

At this point, all I can do now is save and hope that I’d end up with a Yamaha TRB or even better, that Music Man Bongo.


Window Shopping

After school, I went window shopping for a new bass guitar at Cubao. I didn’t want to travel too far as I was just window shopping anyway and I knew that I won’t find anything that would suite me for both price and sound. There were two major retailers that I was planning to go to, Perfect Pitch and Audiophile that are conveniently located in Ali Mall. To my disappointment, Ali Mall’s renovation was still on-going after months now and had temporarily removed Perfect Pitch. Because of this, Audiophile was the only shop I went to today. The second floor, which housed the guitars and basses, was vacant as usual. More interesting was that every single bass guitar I picked up to examine was literally covered with dust. There were a few basses that could my eye. All of them were Ibanez since that was what the shop carried. I finally was able to sit down and properly examine a 6-string bass for the first time. As an initial impression, the fretboard was way too chunky for me. It was nice playing the bass though since the action was low and tight, but not too much for tapping. And that was it for basses. They didn’t carry that much basses as their inventory’s about to change soon. What I did discover though was they did carry GHS Boomer bass strings. and that they had a branch here around Marikina that does repairs on guitars. I got the address and phone number after a prolonged wait since the guard of the store didn’t have the address and telephone number of the branch. Waiting was fine with me, especially since some of the staff in the shop was listening to Dream Theater.