Does this seem like a good DB to consider?
I'm still seeking the elusive good quality beginner/intermediate bass that I'll be proud to own/play. Of course I know that I'll need to play it, have it inspected by a luthier, get a good teacher, etc., etc. but I wanted feedback from you more knowledgeable players about whether or not its worth it to consider this bass. I'll have to travel quite far to inspect it personally so before I waste the airfare, room, etc. can you tell me what you think?
Here's the description and a photo:
"1963 Hofner German-made. Beautiful. Plays very easily. No flaws. Recently set up with adjustible bridge and soundpost adjustment. No chips on any edge. Like new condition. Before you get that Kay, you should check this one out. Ebony fingerboard. Laminate bass with original laquer finish. 41/5 inch string length."
I'm not sure it's worth the long trip to check out a ply bass, but the owner is a great Chicago jazz player, so it may be a special bass.
Thanks Eric. I appreciate knowing that.
Does anyone know anything about the quality of Hofner Upright plys in general then?
You are very wise to ask some questions before making the trip.
Thanks. The asking price is $2800. I was wondering about the lacquer too but I assume it was the original finish.
Since you live in Annapolis, have you talked to Bob Kurz at Bob's House of Bass? Bob is a bassist with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as proprietor of his shop. He'll probably have several options for you in your price range.
I have not been to Bob's House of Bass yet, but I will plan a visit. I spoke with Bob on the phone and he primarily deals with either higher end instruments geared towards Orchestral players, or new student ply basses (Shen). I know a new Shen is probably the best bet overall but I was hoping for something with a little vintage history. I'm exploring if that's possible before I jump in for a new instrument.
The other "close" places to me seem to be Mike Shank's shop in PA (about a 2 hour drive), and Fretwell (probably closer to 3 or 4 hours). Am I missing any other?
I've also gotten some PMs about this bass. I have to say that I am completely impressed with everyone's willingness to help and the invaluable feedback.
For those interested, here's a compilation of the other comments about the bass:
1. Price is too high - could get a nice Shen Hybrid for the same price
2. Check the Gollihur directory and go visit some closer shops to avoid the travel/shipping, etc.
3. The reference to "laquer" probably indicates that the finish is not original and that the bass has been "French Polished"
4. Try to get the bass for around $1200-$1500 and have the seller ship to you and even then I might be better off with a new Shen 80.
I'm worried I'd insult the guy if I offered $1200 and asked him to ship it, but who knows...
In any case, this has all been greatly helpful and appreciated feedback.
Please keep the ideas coming!
Tom Wolf in The Plains, VA is a builder and does a lot of the work for the National Symphony. He gets used basses in from time to time and may be a good resource for you.
Shens are good basses, and a new one will come with the support of the shop from which you bought it. Some shops will even give you credit towards another bass when it's time to upgrade.
You should absolutely visit Mike Shanks shop. Mike is a great guy and a top-notch bass luthier.
At $2800 for a budget you should probably buy local esp since there are more shops around you. It's too low a price to go out your way for that bass especially since you can't even play it beforehand.
Not to mention that you need to budget for a setup and any potential repair work on a used bass. Too much trouble. Would be different if the bass was nearby.
I really wouldn't worry about "vintage vibe." Buy a Shen locally.
Hofner DBs from the era tend to have nice ebony fingerboards, fake flame on the nicely shaped plain maple neck, real purfling, thick-ish plywood top and back plates and yes, lacquer finishes.
Many Hofner (and other) student instruments made in Germany at that time were lacquered. It was a transition period between spirit varnish and the newer poly finishes. They can sound pretty good when well set up - I have a young client with one. She's a terrific player and sounds great on it - and she loves it! ;)
The price will depend on sound, condition and location - only you can decide if its the right bass for you.
Good Luck! ;)
OK. Thanks folks. I think I'll plan two outings to get started. I guess I'll forget about the Hofner for now. I'll go hit Bob's House of Basses since it's close to get a feel for a new Shen. Then I'll go to Mike Shanks to try some other, possibly vintage(ish) instruments and we'll go from there.
I'm guessing I'll probably end up with a Shen based on the overwhelming support these get. I'm leaning towards the SB 100 because I don't like how shiny the 80 is.
Any thoughts about the 100 that I need to think about?
80 or 100 would be good- the best sellers are the 80 and the 200.
200 Willow is about what you would have spent $2800 plus the trip - -getting the bass back...and no telling what else expense you would have run in to.
whether you get s Shen or not, you are going at this very wisely and my guess is that you will end up very happy with your purchase.
Finding the right bass is hard, and it takes patience. BTW, I got my first carved bass in DC are at Weavers- I beleive that he is still there.
I looked for two years and traveled probably 5000 miles before finding the right one. This was back before the days of anything except a phone.
let us know what you come up with.
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