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Do inexpensive basses last the test of time?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KayXero, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. KayXero

    KayXero

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    We see people praise the bang-for-buck of cheaper basses all the time. Many are able to get good tone, quality, and feel for a relatively good price. But what about standing the test of time.

    We've seen plenty of more expensive brands (say 500 or better yet 1000 bucks and up) stand the test of time. But what about the basses that are mega affordable (say 300 and below). We know that much of what people pay for with expensive gear is knowing that their purchase will last years and years with minimal repairs.

    Anyone have examples of their cheapies or knockoffs actually still kicking around well after 10 years or more? Itd be interesting to see how inexpensive brands like Squier, SX, Jay Turser, lower level Ibanezes, Epiphones, certain ESPs, etc, hold up over the years. Most of the older basses I see though are more "brand name" types, despite all the praise that cheaper brands can get at times.
  2. bassteban

    bassteban

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    10 yrs ain't long. I have a MIM/parts mutt that has served me well for 6 or 6, & Im pretty sure it's older than that. I have a 96 Jazz 5 that I would enter a burning building to save; although technically not really a cheapo, it cost me $425. I've had it at least 10 yrs. Case by case, but for a bass not to last 10 would indicate to me that it is a POS.
  3. bassramos

    bassramos Supporting Member

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    I believe Fender used to be a cheap instrument at an early point.
  4. KayXero

    KayXero

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    Im not saying 10 years is long, Im just saying that I hardly ever see inexpensive basses over 10 years old be mentioned here. Which had me wondering if many lasted that long without needing important repairs or modifications.

    Id love to see more examples of these basses lasting at least 15 years.
  5. RandomBox

    RandomBox

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    I bought a fretless Fernandes for 200 bucks recently, and it seems to be at least 10 years or older. (Can't track the serial no., but it has quite a bit of wear and tarnish and still plays fine)
  6. KayXero

    KayXero

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    Do share some pics if you ever get the chance. I love basses that show their age.
  7. Twocan

    Twocan Supporting Member

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    There are a lot of Tiesco, Global, Hondo etc basses usually floating around on CL & pawnshop walls. From the ones I've played, they appear to have held up well - at least up to their original expectations.
  8. Woofer

    Woofer

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    My 95 MIM Squier Series Jazz is still going strong for me nearly 18 years on. Haven't replaced anything on it besides some straplocks and a high mass bridge.
  9. headband

    headband Supporting Member

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    This was not necessarily true in the mid/late 60's. I remember going to McMurray music in St. Louis with my parents in the late 60's looking at basses, and weren't too many decent choices - at that time there was a Gibson EB-3, a Hagstrom 4 string, a Fender P and a Fender J bass guitar. The salesman steered us away from the Gibson, and said he sells P basses 10 to 1 over the jazz. The Hagstrom was a cheaper instrument, with a pretty decent neck. Point being, the Fenders were not cheap and considered to be the preferred choice (and this was my experience as a musician back then, too). Yes, there were a few others, but they were rare.
    And then there was a ton of cheap instruments, sold by Sears, Montgomery Ward, and others like Kay and Teisco, generally pretty cheap electronics, no truss rod, bowed necks etc. This is what a lot of my friends had, because they couldn't afford a quality instrument. And I think a lot of then quit playing because a lot of those cheap instruments really sucked to play.
    I am truly amazed at the quality of inexpensive instruments today. Epi's and Squires are pretty darn good, and the gap between high end and entry level has narrowed a lot. Most have pretty good feeling necks with excellent action. I would expect them to last a long time. I wish we had these instruments when I was young.
  10. shwabilly

    shwabilly

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    I bought this Teisco at a pawn shop about a year ago. I did some research and it was made between 1962—66. It plays well, but needs a set up. I had to replace the volume and tone pots, but it sounds pretty good now. I paid $65 for it.

    Attached Files:

  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

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    Depends on how well you take care of them. I know a guy who's been gigging a Squier guitar for well over 25 years! Maybe longer than that. And yeah, 10 years isn't very long.
  12. DwaynieAD

    DwaynieAD

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    My Cort P-copy is now 12 years old and still sounds and plays great. I regret replacing the stock pups with quarter pounders.
  13. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    Endorsing Artist: Fender and Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    Fender wasn't really a cheap or inexpensive instrument until it started making instruments in foreign countries. I bought my first Fender, a used 1974 Precision in the late 1970s for around $250, which was about the average weekly wage for an experienced adult worker at the time. A new Fender would have cost me close to $400.

    I think any instrument will hold up if it is taken care of properly. My son has had a Squier Jazz bass for over 10 years that still looks like new.
  14. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree Supporting Member

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    A $250 Fender in 1960 is roughly $2000 in today's dollars. They were not cheap.

    Any bass that's at least playable should be equally playable in 25 years depending on how it's taken care of. That's not going to be a function of original cost.
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird Supporter Supporting Member

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    So it seems that some guys think that a piece of maple on a cheap bass is inferior to a bass 4 times the price. Wood is durable. If you get a good piece and tie care of it, it can last centuries. Initial price has nothing to do with it.

    Hardware. Metal. It corrodes but if you clean it, it lasts centuries. My 1962 jazz bridge has always had its cover on. Other than surface patina, it is like new and free of rust or wear. Those were cheap bridges; as cheap as a Fender could make them. As for tuners, mild steel cut into gears and plated with nickel or chrome: my cheap Squier CV basses have very nice chrome tuners and I can see them never letting anyone down with a bit of lubricant here and there; no reason they won't last as long as my 1962 jazz tuners.

    Sealed type tuners on a cheap instrument are what concern me. Small gears and cast parts instead of huge gear open frame machined parts. Some older Affinity Squiers had suspect tuners, but it stands that if you got a good piece of maple for the neck, it can easily last centuries if cared for.

    There is nothing outstanding about the neck of my 1962, it's just an average chunk of maple and a nice piece of rosewood. It has been transported to hundreds of gigs over all those years, in pickup trucks through the Canadian prairie winter, freezing and quickly thawing once unloaded at the bar or hall by the old tyme country bass player I bought it from. It is straight as an arrow. It's a good piece of wood.

    Maple is used for one reason. Once it is cured, it is really tough stable wood. If a neck survives five years without warping and is kept dry, chances are it can last centuries if kept from extremes. Cheap instruments included.
  16. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN" Supporting Member

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    i'd love to see a real road worn boutique. any pics?!!
  17. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

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    They're all made from wood and hardware so no reason the cheaper ones wouldn't last as long as more expensive.
  18. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

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    +1
  19. gregmon79

    gregmon79 We've come to kill gods...... Supporting Member

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    I bought my first bass back in '99. It is a Squier P that I believe cost me about $150. I have since changed the pups out 4 times, swapped knobs, bridges, tuners, pickguard and stripped the body poly and paint and refinished it. She is still holding up extremely strong. Im not sure how good the electronics wouldve held up but I do know that all the work Ive done on it, how many times Ive taken er apart and assembled again, the neck and body are still as solid as the first day I bought it. So, yes, IMO, they are great values that last for years.
  20. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work Supporting Member

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    I have a 12 year old Squier MB4 that has held up well considering. It was my first bass and I really didn't know how to treat it in the first year or two so it currently has a jacked up nut and a TON of swirls in the finish. But it still plays fine and the electronics are in mint condition.

    I also have a 93 Ibanez SR400. Idk how much it went for new but it was a budget model at the time. I bought it used in 04 i think and is in pretty great shape. There are a couple tiny dings in the neck and body but I'd say it looks pretty good for its age. I did have to replace all 3 of the pots when I got it though. Other than that I've never had any issues with it.

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