I'm going to get a bass guitar for the first time. Because I've never played bass before, I want to get something as inexpensive as I reasonably can so I can take lessons and practice. But I'd like something that sounds decent, and I can't decide. The cheapest things seem to be Chinese brands, like Glarry which has bass guitars for around $100. Glarry in particular has a jazz bass that looks enticing to me, the GJazz. There's also one with double humbuckers called the GIB, which I am interested in as opposed to the single coil pickups. Above the Chinese junks are the lowest-priced offerings from name brands like Ibanez. In particular I was looking at an Ibanez GIO GSR100EX, which is around $200.1 post and 1 image reply omitted. Click reply to view.
I'm really particular about getting a sound I like, and so far I prefer the sound of jazz basses over precision basses. I'm not sure how much of that has to do with things like pickups, amps, pedals, or just playing technique. Watching videos of people demoing the basses I'm interested in, I'm unsure how much of what I'm hearing is being carried by equipment and and how much is skill. This video of the Ibanez SR 1200 Premium has a sound that I like, but would a bottom-of-the-barrel bass like the ones I'm looking at be able to even sound close? Like, is that sound I like a result of pedal or amp effects?
Also, there is the question of whether to get a 4-sting or 5-string. 4-string is the "standard" but I think I'd like the lower range from a 5-string. That's also why I'm apprehensive about a more expensive bass, in case I'd end up wanting to go for the 5-string later on. And there's also the factor of flatround vs. roundwound strings, which seem to have differences in sound and playability.
Because I am looking to spend as little as possible I am probably going to get a Chinesium amplifer. So, whatever I get, there's a good chance it will sound like trash regardless of what guitar I get.
tl;dr For spending the least possible for a bassy bass guitar, is something like the Chinese Glarry good enough, or is going up to the low-cost model from Ibanez more worth it, or maybe even a Squier? Are things like pickups, string type, number of strings even worth worrying about for my quest for a good sound from something in this price range? Amazon has a pretty lenient return policy so I can probably get away with getting it refunded if I don't like it.
To be fair, neither do I. I've just been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about this because I'm paranoid and want to get it right. I'd could spend up to $1000 on this if I really wanted to, but I'm stingy with money. Even $100 feels like a lot for the absolute cheapest option, but it doesn't look like I'm going to get much lower than that.
All this depends on what you want to do. As a first time you should focus on bargains and build up an inventory as you get more defined.
well, if you want a something that's also decorative(resellable) then that's a different deal