Questions about DB's
So after reading through the newbie section and several related posts it would seem that some of the information is several years old so not sure how accurate it is.
My Daughter has played the Violin for several years and her School Orchestra does not have a full time Bass, one of the instructor's play one from time to time, so she has decided to play both. The Teacher is supportive in this and he even goes against his policy and lets her take home a School bass on the weekends. She has been doing this now for a couple weeks and is really enjoying it.
We went and looked at some Shen's from the only store we have here locally in Utah. She was really excited and tried out the SB180 and SB200. She fell in love with the SB200. I knew that buying a new instrument was not going to be cheap, I did some research before we went. But when they quoted me $5995, that I wasn't really prepared for. I had told them that money really wasn't a consideration, but since we are talking about the price of a car I had to rethink that opinion.
So after getting home I looked up prices online for a Shen SB200 and was shocked to see them going for $3100 - 3600, almost HALF of what I was quoted. Granted the one locally comes with some accessories, I know they aren't $3000 worth of accessories. SO I guess my question is, what is a good price to pay for a Shen SB200?
We live in a dry climate so I would really like to purchase one that has been in the area for awhile. Even though I'm not excluding buying one online, I know there may be some additional costs because it has to be seasoned for our area. I called a local luthier and he did say that this company does mark up the price, but almost 100% is ridiculous.
So I guess what I'm asking is the following:
1 - what is a good price to pay for a Shen SB200?
2 - should I look to buy one new or used?
3 - should I look for one that has been in the area for awhile or is buying online a good option?
Thank you in advance for any assistance.
If you decide to do the buy-on-line thing, a friend who runs a small string shop in Massachusetts has a very nice new Shen SB-200 for sale under $2500. I see them sell used for more. He is able to ship nationwide for $100 or so. Feel free to private message me for his contact information.
2) If you find a used one in good shape at lower price, fine. If it has lived in your locale for a while, that's good, too. However you still may have setup costs as it has been adjusted for the previous owner. And poor setups are very common.
3) I would speak with the two referrals I gave you above about caring for the bass in your climate to avoid cracks and other issues due to dryness. You will probably want to keep the bass' living space at 40% humidity to be safe.
A lot of the stuff in the stickies about buying a first bass is a little dated, but probably 98% of it still holds ground. THANK YOU for reading it. Very few people do, and it is there because we get a lot of people that say "I'm new, what do I buy for a bass?" not the specific and educated questions you have.
Shop around as much as you can. This could mean on-line. From what I've gathered there are quite a few shops/makers in and around Salt Lake City because of the violin making school. http://www.lemurmusic.com/ is in San Juan Capistrano, CA. They don't carry Shen but they do carry a lot of options that would be appropriate, and would be worth at least a phone call. I'm guessing (I really don't know) that both have closer climate to you than places in New England. Both "options" might not be options for you if they exceed your desired driving distance, but having a chance to physically shop around is really preferred.
Some basses travel really well, and can handle shifts in climate. Some do not. If you can find a bass that has lived in a similar climate it would be safer. The bigger the climate shift the bigger the risk, but you never really know.
You can find a lot of great used bases, and often get a good deal. You can also find lemons. If you know a bassist who knows gear (some of us are better shopping buddies than others) and can take them with you to get advice and opinions if you are considering a private sale do so. If possible, take them along to the shop(s) too as their insight can be valuable. I would stick with a shop (new or used) if you don't have that option as they should be selling basses in good stable condition, and setting them up to meet your needs.
I would go back to the shop and have a conversation with them. You will likely want to establish a relationship with them regardless if they are your only local option. You will need rehairs, repairs, rosin, sheet music etc. in the future. This can all be done shipping things in both directions, but a brick and mortar shop comes in handy and can save the day in emergencies. Explain to them that you have seen Shen SB200's offered by plenty of other shops that could sell and ship them to you for approximately half the price they are asking. Make them an offer. Instruments and used cars are two of the only things left in North America where negotiating a price is not only an option, but expected. From what I've seen $3 500 everything in (taxes if applicable in your state, and at least a decent bag) would be a good place to start. If they laugh at that or tell you to get stuffed, tell them you would like to support their local business and establish a relationship with them, but you feel like they are trying to take advantage of you. If they counter offer, use the old "I'll need a day to think about it" and possibly come back with a second offer. See what happens.
Best of luck.
Thank you all VERY much for the information and the support. The one thing I was worried most about from the other posts was I saw alot go read the newbie sticky and then not really much after that. Thank you all.
Mike - thank you very much for the information. You know, now that you say something about San Juan Capistrano, my Wife has family in that area and we are going down there in just a couple weeks. We wanted to go to disneyland, but that didn't work out so we have a couple extra days, I think I know what we can do :-)
And yes, we had planned on going back to talk with the Owner since he was in China at a Trade show buying some merchandise and see what we could work out.
Eric - it's funny, I had already looked at Nick's sight and I had some other refer to him as well.
I know this is most likely going to be a life long commitment, who knows one day she might start talking about joining the Symphony or maybe even Juilliard . . .
I agree that there is a lot of "go read first" but it stems a lot from people who are brand new here and ask questions that have been asked countless times before because they haven't read. It has been a while since I've read through them, but there should definitely be an "after you have read, feel free to start a discussion" somewhere. Good questions get better answers, and you nailed that.
I am not at all familiar with that part of the world (I have visited/travelled through Eastern Canada and New England a bit, but have never been west in Canada or America) but I am sure there are other options out there too that haven't been mentioned. If there is a symphony, college with a music program that is close by, conservatory etc. close by it would be worth a shot contacting them and finding out where they go for basses as well. Often professional players have connections to instruments that are for sale through students etc, and that might help broaden your search as well. If private lessons are on the horizon, this is also a good way to get to meet potential teachers and see if their personality is a good fit for your daughter too.
I would LOVE to go to Lemur, or David Gage, Kolstein, Upton etc. for a trip instead of Disneyland, but I'm guessing your daughter might feel differently. As for sticker shock, it comes with the territory. Take a look at some of the instruments and bows listed by big shops, and you will see another zero (or two) in some cases... Just like most things in life, the sky is the limit.
Mike - thank you very much for the info about Lemur Music. We stopped by there today and Joel and Chris were awesome. And yes, our daughter is the owner of a new Lemur Liberty Bell Bass. The next few months will be exciting getting it acclimatized to the Utah climate.
I am really glad that Lemur was a positive experience. I am sure your daughter is very happy, and I hope you are as well.
I am sure that you have heard talk here about the importance of a humidifier, and I would definitely agree that for the first few months it is a necessity. Basses have problems when there are big shifts, and most cracks/open seams happen as seasons change (in climates where that means humidity shifts) and the bass will likely be experiencing similar changes from Lemur to your home.
Don't go overboard with the humidifier. While "safe" bass humidity is generally agreed to be around 40% if this is unrealistic in your environment, I would wean your bass off of higher humidity to something more appropriate in your area. If you have a lot better chance of maintaining a home for you bass around 30%, do that. It's often far more feasible to humidify a bedroom or small space where it will be staying than your entire house.
Most of all, enjoy! A new bass is very exciting, and we all wish your daughter well. Don't be a stranger around here, and if she has any questions or concerns along the way, we are here to help.
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