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Bass Guitar Buying Guide

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Bass Guitar Buying Guide
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Bass Guitar Buying Guide

The bass guitar is considered to be the glue that holds the rhythm section of any band together and its sound forms the bare bones of any piece of music. Not to be underappreciated as a backing instrument, however, the bass guitar makes an impressive solo instrument, too. Many people enjoy playing the bass guitar and many others have a secret desire to learn to play.

Whether a beginner looking for their first instrument, or a more experienced player looking to upgrade, the purchase of a bass guitar is an important moment in anyone's musical career. It is one which should be given a great deal of thought in advance to make sure that the instrument chosen is the right one for the individual musician.

Origins of the Bass Guitar

The bass guitar is essentially a modern version of the orchestral instrument called the double bass. In the 1950s, Leo Fender created the first mass-production bass guitar, and many other guitar companies soon followed suit. Since the 1960s, with that decade's development of modern ‘pop' music, the bass guitar has constantly been at the heart of the rhythm section of most popular music, providing many immediately recognisable bass lines in innumerable hit songs.

Over the decades there have been many notable bass guitar players who have created many well-known and well-loved bass lines, including John Deacon of Queen, Mark King of Level 42, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and, of course, Sir Paul McCartney of The Beatles.

What to Look for When Buying a Bass Guitar

Once the decision has been made to buy a bass guitar, there are a great deal of options to be looked into and decisions to be made. There are several different kinds of bass guitar in many different styles. It is well worth spending quite some time researching the different varieties of bass guitar available before deciding which instrument is suitable. Here are some of the key features and options to look out for when researching the different types of bass guitar available.

Main Types of Bass Guitar

There are generally agreed to be three main types of bass guitar to choose from. Firstly, and most commonly, is the electric bass guitar. This guitar has a solid body and needs to be plugged into some form of electric bass amplifier in order for the sounds from the strings to be heard. An electric bass guitar will have separate dials on the body to control both the volume and tone of the sound from the instrument.

An acoustic bass guitar is a guitar which does not require amplification. It has a hollow body with a sound hole where the sound from the strings will come out. It has no volume control - the volume can only be changed by the guitar player changing the strength with which he or she picks at or slaps the strings.

Finally, there is also a hybrid acoustic electric bass which, as the name suggests, is an acoustic guitar that can also be plugged into to a bass amplifier if required, enabling the sound to be heard better in larger spaces.

It is interesting to note that bass guitars generally come in a configuration that assumes the player is right handed - left handed guitars are available, although many left handed people simply teach themselves to use a standard guitar.

Number of Strings

Although it is technically possible to have any number of strings on a bass guitar, the most popular and commonly found option is four strings. The original bass guitars were created with four strings and for many years, four strings was the only option. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, bass guitars with 5 or 6 strings were created and became more popular with professional musicians looking for a greater range for their instrument. It is generally agreed that, for beginners, a four stringed bass guitar will be the most suitable.

Frets or Fretless

The frets on a bass guitar are the short raised wires on the neck of the guitar underneath the strings. Their primary purpose is to guide the players in where to place their fingers to achieve an accurate note. It is recommended that beginner players buy a fretted bass guitar as it will help with the finger positioning and, therefore, the likelihood of hitting the correct note. More experienced players may wish to switch to a fretless bass once they are confident in their playing.

Construction Material

Bass guitars are generally made from wood with a lacquer, wax, or varnish finish. Many musicians believe that the different kinds of wood available produce a different sound or tone from the instrument. The type of wood used in the construction of the bass guitar will have a direct bearing on the price and weight of the finished instrument.

Bass Guitar Accessories

When buying a bass guitar, there are a number of accessories that may prove a useful addition to the guitar itself. If buying either an electric or acoustic electric guitar, the purchaser should also bear in mind that they will also need a suitable amplifier in order to hear the sound from the instrument. It is also worth considering purchasing a set of headphones to enable playing to take place with minimal disruption to housemates and/or neighbours. Also, a stand is a good idea for keeping a guitar safely stored when not in use, and a guitar case or bag to protect the instrument in transit is useful. There are a wide variety of straps for holding the guitar on the shoulder, in a wide variety of lengths and materials. Finally, a guitar tuner will help beginners to keep their instrument in tune at all times.

How to Buy a Bass Guitar

Bass guitars are available from a number of outlets, ranging from large general retailers to more specialised music shops. They can be purchased either online or in stores. Alternatively, a huge range of both new and used bass guitars can be found at all times on eBay.

Find a Bass Guitar on eBay

When looking for a bass guitar on eBay, it is best to look first in the music instruments section. Click on the headingAll Categories and then select Musical Instruments.. Select Guitars, and then from the options on the left hand side of the page, select Bass..

Within the bass guitar section, options are given to select from the different types of bass guitar as listed above. An option is also available to select a starter package , which usually includes a guitar, amplifier and other selected accessories.

If a particular make or model of guitar is sought, then it is also possible to select listings only for a particular model or manufacturer of guitar. It is also possible to select from a variety of conditions of bass guitar such as new, used, manufacturer refurbished instruments, or even broken instruments to be used for spare or repair.

Any purchasers looking specifically for a left-handed bass guitar should also check the listings under Left Handed in the Guitars section. It also goes without saying that it is often worth simply typing ‘bass guitar' into the general search box to look for any instruments that may have been put in categories other than musical instruments.

Conclusion

When looking for a bass guitar, there are many choices to be taken into account, many of which will be very personal choices from the person buying the guitar. Any prospective purchaser should spend time deciding what is important to them and what they want from their bass guitar. Using the information given in this guide, alongside any additional research from other sources, should ensure that the right guitar for the right situation is purchased.

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Depending on where the synthesizer is advertised for sale, it is worth checking if it is possible to find out any information about the seller such as if they have sold anything before and is there any feedback available about them.

Packaging and Delivery

If a synthesizer is not local and cannot be collected, it is worth checking how the seller intends to dispatch it. A synthesizer could be easily damaged in transit unless it is packaged in a way that will offer sufficient protection.

To Find a Used Synthesizer on eBay

The first thing to do when looking for a used synthesizer that is for sale on eBay is to open the eBay homepage and then click on the All Categories link that is situated near the top left of the eBay homepage. Every category of items that are listed on eBay will then be displayed and the next step is to click on the category link for Musical Instruments.. A list of sub categories will then be displayed including one which is titled Pro Audio Equipment.. Clicking on this will then display a further list of sub categories on the left of the screen which includes Synthesizers & Sound Modules.. The final step is to click on the link for Synthesizer that appears in the next list. This will pull up a list of all of the synthesizers that are currently available to buy.

Conclusion

There is a wide range of different types of synthesizer. Choosing a suitable used synthesizer is mainly dependant on the intended use and whether the synthesizer will need to be able to be programmed and whether the programming will be complex or simple. The other main point is the number of different voices that the synthesizer will need to be able to produce. A beginner may be better off looking for a simpler type of analogue synthesizer in order to gain experience rather than starting with a complex model.

Used synthesizers can vary greatly in quality especially if they have been subjected to continual heavy usage. It is important to go and inspect and test the synthesizer if it is located locally. If this is not possible because the synthesizer is located too far away then it is useful to ask to hear sample sound and see a video of the synthesizer being played before agreeing to buy it.

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Maple

There are four main types of maple used in guitar construction: hard rock, flame, quilted and birdseye. Guitar necks and fretboards typically use maple for its density and strength. It is easy to identify because of its typical grain patterns and clear sound. It produces a good strong tone with a bit of an edge.


Mahogany

The two main sources of mahogany are South America and Kenya. Kenyan mahogany is much rarer and heavily protected.

Mahogany is physically very similar to maple, however, Kenyan mahogany is much more expensive. It has good sustain and it carries a soft and warm tone. Due to its price, mahogany isn't used in factory produced Stratocasters, however, it is sometimes used in custom builds; with the correct finish, it can make a very attractive guitar body


Rosewood

Rosewood is one of the densest and heaviest woods used in guitar construction. Due to its fairly high price, Rosewood is usually only used in fretboard construction, but it has been known to be used in guitar bodies. It also has a very attractive rose-tinted colour and produces an uncommonly warm sound.


Ebony

Ebony is largely used in fingerboards. It is a very dark material and it is quite heavy, but has a very bright sound with good sustain. It is also very tough and lasts longer than materials like rosewood.


Stratocaster Budget

New Fender Stratocasters are very expensive guitars, so buying a used instrument can result in making a large saving. This allows players, who wouldn't necessarily have access to the funds needed to buy a new model, to sample the quality of sound produced by a Fender guitar.

A used beginner's Stratocaster should cost no more than a couple of hundred pounds, a mid-range Stratocaster typically costs between three hundred and a thousand pounds. The rare Custom Shop or artist-specific models can reach a couple of thousand pounds in cost. When spending such a large amount of money, it is always important for the buyer to satisfy themselves that the item they are buying matches the seller's description; one way of doing this is to test the instrument before purchasing. For collectors hunting for bargains, a good indication of a genuine product is the inclusion of the official Fender manual. Clearly this isn't a guarantee of a genuine product, but it can be a positive sign.

Aftermarket components installed on the guitar provide another consideration to be taken into account when searching for a potential purchase. The combination of these additions can often create unpredictable and guitar-specific results. If the buyer is confident in their ability to swap components on and off their guitar, then it can be a very rewarding experience, too.

Find Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitars on eBay

To browse the current listings of Fender Stratocaster guitars, start at the eBay homepage. Firstly, navigate to the All Categories button, from there click the Musical Instruments link followed by the Guitars option. Then use the options listed at the side of the page to highlight Electric and then Fender. If a specific model of Stratocaster is being searched for, then it is simple to use the search bar present at the top of every eBay webpage. In order to find all the auction lots for Artist Stratocasters, simply type in 'Fender Stratocaster Artist new' and press the Search button.

Conclusion

Buying a Stratocaster is a big step for a musician or a collector. Every musician's attitude to purchasing a used instrument will be different - some artists and collectors will have a very clear idea of what they are looking for, whereas others will be less sure. To ensure the right guitar is chosen each of these approaches should be respected. Despite all of this information and range of choice it is important to relax and enjoy the process of choosing a new instrument. Whether a Stratocaster has been bought to be played or admired everyday, once the instrument has arrived all of the effort and thought that has gone into the purchase will be fully realised.

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Fender Telecasters are some of the most expensive guitars available to buy new, so buying a second hand instrument can result in making a significant saving. A used beginner's Telecaster should cost in the region of one or two hundred pounds, an intermediate Telecaster can cost from three hundred pounds to almost a thousand, and the rarer Custom Shop models can easily fetch a couple of thousand. When parting with that amount of money, it is a good idea to ask the seller several questions or even arrange to test the instrument before purchasing. Aftermarket additions can also affect the price and performance of a guitar, another consideration to be made when buying a guitar.

Find Fender Electric Guitars on eBay

To view the current auctions of Fender Telecaster guitars, begin at the eBay homepage. Firstly, click on the All Categories tab and select the link for Musical Instruments and then Guitars. Then select Electric and Fender. It is then easy to search for a specific item or refine the displayed listings by highlighting some of the options on the left side of the page. If a particular make of electric guitar is already known, then it is a simple matter of using the search bar available on every eBay web page to find the desired item. For example, to view all of the listings for a used Classic Telecaster, it is possible to simply search for 'Fender Classic Telecaster new'.

Conclusion

Buying a Telecaster is a big undertaking, both financially and artistically. Every musician's path to buying a new instrument will be different: some artists know exactly what they want, others are less sure. It is important to research the different options that are available so that an informed choice is made. However, it is also equally important to enjoy the process of selecting a new instrument. If due consideration is taken, then the right guitar is a privilege to use. Fender Telecasters are instruments of the highest quality that have been used by some of the most gifted musicians.

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