Having talked about Gifts and Presents for a Bassist, you’d generally put a bass guitar and an amp as a bit on the pricey side. But what about the bassist just starting out? Maybe it is a sign of my old age, but of late I’ve had a number of conversations with friends that run along the lines “My son/daughter wants to take up bass. What should I get them?” Hmmm… A bass starter kit.
The friendly folks at Get Musical pointed us to their bass starter kit. Get Musical are based in the UK and part of the Thompson and Newman group, so they are no strangers to the music instrument and accessories space. A couple of days later and a sunburst version of the Bismak Bass Guitar Pack was in our hands. If you want to giggle at my unpacking capabilities, then here is a video of the unboxing:
Inside the box:
- A Bass Guitar – Sunburst, with P style split pick up.
- A 15 Watt Amp – closed back, with tone controls and headphone socket.
- A softcase/gigbag.
- A Tuner – which can be used in-line and batteries included.
- A black strap.
- A lead.
- Allen Keys – for adjusting neck/bridge sadles.
- A few Picks
- A spare set of strings.
That is a lot of stuff for £110 (about twice what I paid for my first bass, second hand, over 30 years ago). Now, if you’ve come from the world of MTD, Ken Smith and high end Yamaha basses, then this lot clearly isn’t going to blow you away. But that’s not what it is about. This is a way for a beginner to get started at a tenth to a twentieth of that sort of money. With that in mind, I’d say “wow”. Yes, the lead is a bit thin and plasticy and the set up could be fine tuned, but I would have loved to have had this as my first bass set up. A quick walk though and you’ll see why:
The guitar is solidly made. A rosewood fingerboard on a maple neck, with well finished fretwork and a sunburst body with three-ply pick guard gives a pleasing appearance. The bass is passive, with a single tone control and a volume knob. That is probably a bonus for a beginner, since it means no battery to go flat and need changing when (not if) the bass is left plugged in. The bridge is a straight forward set up, much like the Fender bridges of old.
The winding on the low E was slightly over the bridge saddle on our bass, but that was easily changed, and once done the bass played remarkably well. If you know what you are doing, you could even set up the intonation using the included tools and tuner.
Tuning the bass with the included tuner was straight forward. Simple sharp/flat LEDs and an LED that confirmed which string, combined with the chunky tuning heads, soon had everything in tune. The truss rod adjustment can be accessed at the head-stock, but was set about right out of the box.
So, enough of all the goodies, time to plug in!
The 15 Watt amp really surprised me. My youngest son actually said it was too loud and told me to turn it down! I’m not sure how it would do against a large drum kit played by a pro and a metal guitarist, but against a learning drummer on a cheap kit and a similar starter guitar amp it would probably hold its own. It is certainly more than loud enough to practice with and had much more low end than I would have expected for the size – just as well that it has a headphone socket!