Since August last year I have been taking bass lessons together with my 7 year old daughter. We both like it very much. So far we have been renting a bass but I am now on the lookout for my own bass. Currently I have three basses at home to try out. Quite possible I'll buy one of those. It is a selection of three totally different basses, but nevertheless I like them all. Below some pictures (click to enlarge) I took this afternoon
In the left of all pictures is a Hungarian flatback, gamba model, supposedly made by Gyemant Janos in 1984. I write supposedly as the bass looks like it is younger. It has been made to look a bit older but this is nicely done. The bass has a gloss laquer finish and the workmanship on the bass is good and it sounds very direct. It has an adjustable bridge and is currently strung with Pirazzis regular. I also seems to have a pin in the neck? See last picture. This bass I just picked up this week at a respectable luthier to try out. It has a D neck and 41" string length.
In the middle of the pictures is an East German Eberhard Meinel of at least 25 years old. It is a fully carved bass, gamba model, made of nice wood but finished in a very reddish paint. Last November the bass got a new bridge, the fingerboard was re-glued and planed and it got a new set of Spiros. I bought this bass on an impulse as it was not expensive, came with a new very good bag, a stand and the already mentioned recent work done. It does need a new endpin though and the neck could do with a bit of trimming down as it is very thick. Also the (new) bridge and fingerboard need to be altered a bit as those do not have enough curve for bowing (the bass was set up as a jazz bass). The bass itself does not have the most delicate form (see for instance the large hump at the bottom of the scroll) and seems a bit rudimentary (or ugly if you want...
). But it is well setup and plays and sounds very nice. And after a while the kind of strange edges (very sturdy!) start to grow on you. I do not like the orange/reddish paint but I could refinish it (I like a good challenge). It has a D neck and 41.75" string length.
On the right in the pictures is my rental. It is a fully carved, violin corners, Chinese bass from 2010, imported by a local luthier. She imports the bare bodies and prepares the basses herself. It is currently strung with Pirazzis weich. This is the bass I have played on since August and despite being "only a Chinese" I really like its tone, playability and appearance (very nice wood and finish). I do however have worries about a dent at the bottom (see post
here). For me, being my first bass, this is kind of my reference point. It has a D neck and 41.75" string length.
Pricewise the basses are not so far apart. The German is cheapest, even with the work that needs to be done. The Chinese comes second and the Hungarian last. But the differences are not that large. All basses are within my price range and I want to make a choice that is not based on money.
Below some more pictures (click to enlarge)
During the last days I have been playing an comparing all three basses and I find it very, very difficult to decide which one I like best. Keeping them all is not an option... The Hungarian and the Chinese are the easiest to compare soundwise as they have very similar strings but the Pirazzis weich seem to sound a bit warmer than the regulars. All basses play well and comfortably (although the German neck is pretty thick). The Chinese has the warmest, more mellow tone. The Hungarian is close by but sounds a little more direct and louder. The German with its Spiros sounds quite different with a kind of everlasting sustain. It is also the loudest. They are all so different but I like them all!
I realise this is a kind of "rubbish post" as I am obviously the only one who can decide which one I like best but I would still welcome all ideas on the subject...