I was asked by a student of mine what I look for when buying a new bass. Excellent question. This will vary from bassist to bassist, but here is what I look for.
1. Playability, playability plyability.
- If the bass isn't easy to play under my fingers, I put it down about as fast as I picked it up.
- Playability includes things like a straight neck (no warping or twists), low action and accurate intonation.
- Sometimes I will overlook the action and intonation on a bass is the neck is in good working order, as these can be adjusted on your my own.
2. Fit and finish
- Is the bass in good condition? Does it have a tight neck pocket?
- This too can be subjective, depending on the bass I'm checking out. If its a vintage fender, a few scuffs and scrapes add character to it and I rather like that. If its a brand new MTD or Warrior, that thing better be in pristine condition.
- How does the bass sound unplugged? How does it sound plugged in?
- This is pretty self explanatory. If the bass doesn't sound good to you, chances are it won't sound good to others. Put it back.
- How much does it cost?
- Is it a good deal given the components, fit, finish and condition?
- Price is honestly the last thing I look at as f you find a bass that 'speaks' to you, its well worth the extra investment.