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Buying before playing

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Widow1942, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Widow1942

    Widow1942

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    As an acoustic guitarist, I would never, ever buy a guitar from an online retailer before playing it. Even if I knew I wanted a particular model, I wouldn't do it, I'd have to feel that particular instrument.

    Is the same true for bass? I would have thought so, but two pals say that buying on line is common, easy, and almost risk-free. You find a bass with the specs you want, and you get what you expect. I'd much rather support a local and independently owned shop, but I'm still curious if they're right?

    Thanks.
  2. kcole4001

    kcole4001

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    Of my 6 basses, I've bought 3 without playing them first.
    No issues, but you have to know exactly what you're looking for first and be looking at a rather consistent brand.
  3. BulbousMoses

    BulbousMoses

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    As long as the retailer had a generous return policy, I would (and have) bought without trying. I've also used that return policy a couple of times...
  4. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah

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    It also helps a lot of you like to or are open to modding minor things on a bass for the sake of making it fit just right.

    Bought a Douglas Spector 5 online without ever playing one. Love the neck on it as far as 5'ers go, but the nut and bridge are pretty crappy, to the point of making the action unadjustable to a comfortable height. Some nut filing and a new bridge that's coming soon should fix it. The things I look for in a bass I can't play is neck specs, reviews from others, weight, pickup placement (sound clips are ideal) and what I could easily change on it if I so chose to.

    So many more variables to acoustic guitar though, I can see why you would prefer to play before you pay.
  5. MrTaff

    MrTaff

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    I've bought most of my basses online without an issue, it's hard to get anything but Fender around here, so I don't have much choice.
  6. mark beem

    mark beem Supporting Member

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    Every bass I currently have I purchased without playing it first. However, I either had prior experience with the model (Peavey Millennium) and knew what I was getting or purchased from a reputable dealer who offered a return option (Bass Central / Zzounds).
  7. Ironbar

    Ironbar

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    I would never buy a bass without playing it first. I'd buy online, but not without trying it out locally.
  8. wideload

    wideload

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    The only instrument I bought without playing first was my Alembic. But I felt I was fairly safe with that...
  9. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    They're not wrong, but I wouldn't say they're right either. It's certainly not risk free.

    If you went and played a bunch of a Taylor 7xx's or higher you could pretty much expect them to play and sound very similar to each other within the same exact model/specs. If you went and played a bunch of entry level acoustics you would have a very different experience.
  10. pfox14

    pfox14

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    I am usually so unimpressed with the basses I see at stores like GC, that I am fine with buying online. GC's stuff is usually so badly maintained, that it can ruin your experience playing the bass in person. I'd rather get something online for the price I'm looking for and take my chances. So far so good.
  11. gumbynotpokey

    gumbynotpokey

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    Go to the Carvin website and look around.

    As to your basic question, I totally get it as it applies to an acoustic guitar. I think you're right that a solid body bass is a different matter. And yet, a builder like Larrivee or some others are a known level of quality, and with the right return policy, no fear.

    Carvin built both of my basses and I'm more than delighted. There are other builders besides them that do the same sort of thing. As to major retailers on line retailers of major name manufacturers, I would feel confident rather than overly worried.
  12. djaydjay

    djaydjay

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    but if you found something you like locally, why buy online?


    I've never tried a bass befor buying it (but I can relate to acoustic guitars: I tried all those I bought). 1 gift and 2 used basses bought on ebay.

    There are no big store in my whole country (switzerland). I went last week to a medium sized store 2 hours away from my place. I looked at their basses: 15 fenders and 1 yamaha. I talked to the staff, said I wanted a modern/aggressiv tone with strong mids, their answer? "No we don't have that. You have to understand we don't have enough space to have that much choice. But we do have some nice fenders". I needed a jack cable (with one "angle") and some picks. The cable cost me $25 and the picks $8.
    Prices in store around here are so high that basses on the USED markt cost MORE than a new bass on thomann.

    There is just no way to be satisfied with shops around here, so I just buy "blind". It's not great, but it's better than music shops.
  13. Pet Sounds

    Pet Sounds

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    I've occasionally bought basses online with no real issues. Usually, they've been basses I couldn't find, or even order, through a local store. Got a German Hofner, NYC Sadowsky and a nice used EBMM Sterling, as well as my Lakland Duck Dunn online, sometimes through actual stores like Elderly or Bass NW. I also got a Fender Sting signature bass that I never would've bought had I played it first. I do try to support local stores when possible, though.
  14. DwaynieAD

    DwaynieAD

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    my fender was bought on the tb classifieds and i love it, but as a generalization it's good advice.
  15. Widow1942

    Widow1942

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    Thanks folks. What brought this up is that the bass I've been borrowing feels exactly right compared to all the others I've tried out. My go-to local shops don't have any in stock, at the moment anyway, though may be able to order one (which, frankly, is probably what I'll do anyway). It was suggested that essentially, a P-Bass is a P-Bass, so long as I ordered it with the specs I wanted from Sweetwater or the like. The concept is just so foreign to me.
  16. Itzayana

    Itzayana

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    And here is our next monthly installment of the "buying without playing" discussion.
    Oh boy.
  17. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum. Supporting Member

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    Generally you should always play before you buy. Then again, I bought my current bass sight unseen, and it's fantastic. So sometimes the gamble can pay off, but it's a gamble to be sure.
  18. Red_Label

    Red_Label

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    Meh... life is a crap shoot. I've bought a lot of instruments locally, and a lot online. I takes me my chances, but that's usually because I can find a killer deal with I widen my scope to the world from my own humble city. I bought two Sterling basses from my local shop that I really like. And then I followed that up with another (used) Sterling from an ebay seller. It's as good as the two that I was able to demo from my dealer before buying. I've been pretty lucky overall regarding my internet purchases. I try to buy from sellers with perfect feedback or forum members with longstanding, good reputations. That's also the kind of seller I try to be when I sell.
  19. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

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    They are right. All of the basses I've bought new in the last 10 years have been on line, and I've not been disappointed. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. Supporting a local store is a nice thought, but most don't care about that. They care about great selection and the lowest possible price, which you'll always get on line.
  20. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

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    For me its a no. I started as a guitar player and played both acoustics and hardbody guitars before bass....still do.

    To me in the musical frequency of a guitar is much more defined and important to the wood of the instrument than bass.
    I know this might be frowned upon here ...don't care its all IMO.

    Bass gets lost so easily in the mix in most cases and in a live event even more so. Bass just becomes bass. :meh:

    I have had few soundman care about my bass tone. They just dial it in ask me what I think and move on. For our fiddle player, guitar players they work hard on their live tone.

    So for me I must always play and instrument unless it is low cost. I need to hear and feel it it but much less with bass. For guitar it is a must.

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