In this day and age I would say you need a way to record yourself, preferably with a personal music workstation. (DAW – Digital Audio Workstation). You don’t need to be a technology geek or audiophile but it does help if have some sort of computer. (hey you can get something from craigslist for free somethimes…)
Recently I helped someone out (Upright bassist) with some basic instructions, perhaps these will be useful to you. (The mic info is only relevant if you are an upright bassist, vocalist, hornplayer, well probably any acoustic instrument really…) otherwise you can save time and hassle going direct.
I would suggest using a DAW, which is just a way to save/edit recorded audio.
There are several good free (or low cost) options.
If you have a Mac then GarageBand may be your easiest bet (or Ardour http://ardour.org/ – free)
If you have a PC then probably Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net (free)
(I would highly suggest Reaper – http://www.reaper.fm/purchase.php which is highly rated, I believe you could get for $60)
Then you’ll need an audio interface (the easiest would be USB)
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 ($150) (there are many of these and some very cheap, you need one with xlr or 1/4″ inch and some kind or pre amp)
If you have a pickup on your bass you could try using that by plugging directly
into you usb audio interface. Otherwise you could get a decent mic and try that.
Mics: (large diaphragm mic I’ve read is best for recording acoustic bass)
CAD E-200 ($200)
AKG D112 ($200)
Sennheiser e602 ($160)
CAD M179 ($130)
“placed about two feet in front of the bridge, pointed right at the bridge. This seems to be a good compromise between getting the “boom” of the f-holes and the attack of the fingerboard.”
Sennheiser HD-280 ($100)
If you don’t want to do any of the above you may be able to get away with
just using a handhelp recorder the Zoom H4N ($150 used on eBay) or
Zoom Q4 – $300 Audio/Video
Don’t get daunted, remember you pick it knowledge up in bits.
If you already have a bass pickup and laptop for example you can get started very inexpensivly.
DAW: Audacity (free)
USB audio interface: M-Audio Fast Track Pro ($50 used eBay)
Headphones: Behringer HPS3000 ($20 new)