Okay, so my main instrument is guitar, meaning all my focus and knowledge goes into that one instrument. But I have joined a band as their bassist and I literally have no idea how to get good tones, what equipment’s best, what basses are best, if there is a point in getting pedals etc. The band is heavy metal so any advice based around the info given would be much appreciated!
Since you’re in a heavy metal band, you should totally invest in a 5-stringed bass guitar. That B string will increase your musical range and provide you that extra rumble. A 4-string is fine as well, but you will have to downtune frequently, get heavier strings, and fix the action on your bass guitar.
The two pedals I’d recommend that any bass guitar should have is the EHX Bass Big Muff Pi and Tech 21 SansAmp VT Bass pedals. The Bass Big Muff Pi is a pretty sweet distortion pedal with several EQs to prevent you from losing any low-end. The VT Bass is a pre-amp pedal with so many tonal possibilities, it’s insane! The bass amp I use is a 50-watt combo Ampeg 1x12”. It isn’t much, but the VT bass pedal made me sound exponentially louder and better.
Depending on your amplifier, my EQ is usually 6.5 Treble, 9 Mid, and 7 Bass. I dialed back the treble and bass a bit so that I don’t sound clanky or muddy. The mids are high so that I don’t get drowned out in the mix by my bandmates, lol. After that, I do most of my toning through the VT bass. The packaging for the VT bass will come with a card that has example EQs for rock, funk, motown, etc.
As for equipment, it depends on your budget. Obviously, the best kind are expensive. I haven’t gotten to point where I am able to buy my dream bass guitar and rig! I’m still a college student! I suggest you go to Guitar Center and keep an eye on the used equipment that other bassist’s have sold. I bought one for $79 that sounds great and plays well! There’s a chance you’ll find a gem. However, shop smart whenever you’re in GC. xD
You can’t go wrong with the Classic Vibes Jazz basses for 4-string. There is a P-bass model, but it’s too heavy for me. I like the way the jazz basses feel due to its thin neck and lightness. For 5-strings, take a look at Ibanez. They also have thin necks and are light as a feather. Try out different types of bass guitars until you find one that feels good to you. Even great bass players can make a “sucky” bass guitar sound awesome. Plus, you can always change the electronics to something that isn’t generic.
Welcome to the world of the bass guitar! Remember, it is an instrument that is easy to play, but hard to master. Once you get the hang of it, I’m pretty sure you’ll have an appreciation for what bass guitarists do.