Help selecting first upright...

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Exemonium, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Exemonium

    Exemonium Supporting Member

    May 13, 2010
    I just lost a gig playing for a theatre because I didn't also play upright bass. It was requested for 2 songs in a 30 song show...but I guess it is what it is.

    That being said, I need an upright bass to learn and play! I have a Guitar Center discount and see they sell uprights now. I was wondering if someone could guide me as to what would be a nice intermediate upright I could start with. I'm by no means well off financially which is why I feel this would be my best route. I don't need something high end, but I would like something that's not junk and that I won't be embarrassed to gig with.

    Also, what about these places that rent the student quality ones, any opinions there?

    Any and all help would be appreciated.
  2. Look for a Shen. It's a decent entry level instrument. After you purchase one, have it set up correctly by a reputable BASS SHOP. Done deal.
  3. MaxJohnson


    Jan 29, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I agree with Jason. Many known bass shops sell Shen's with a full setup with bridge adjusters and a real fingerboard.
  4. Not to sound like a snob, but...

    You're honestly not going to find a worthwhile DB at Guitar Center.
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  6. Exemonium

    Exemonium Supporting Member

    May 13, 2010
    I agree. But I'm thinking at my income level the dB's they sell with my cost might beat what I can afford elsewhere at full price. They do sell band and orchestra stuff now. Figure maybe could get me through til I can afford and be skilled enough for a higher end one
  7. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I don't know anything about the basses that GC sells or who sets them up, if you can find someone to go with you to check them out, it would make a difference. Aside from that, you're listing some pretty big markets, find the place that sells/rents orchestra instruments and teaches high school kids. Someplace like Long and McQuade in Canada or Brook Mays in Texas. They'll have functional student instruments and some type of experienced luthery help.

    If you were in Seattle, I'd be happy to go with you to check them out, maybe someone in your area(s) will.
  8. Exemonium

    Exemonium Supporting Member

    May 13, 2010
    Sadly GC only sells them online. But there is a place that rents out here. I'm going to check them out. Hopefully they'll have the bass brand suggested in this thread. It's too bad that the woodwind and Brasswind that was in South Bend which is nearby me has closed
  9. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Your location says Chicago and Kalamazoo.
    For the Chicago area see Michele at Classic Contrabass at
    She sells Shens and sets every one up before it leaves her shop.

    In Michigan I'd contact Aaron Reiley of Aaron's Instruments.
  10. Exemonium

    Exemonium Supporting Member

    May 13, 2010
    Awesome thanks. I'm south bend, in as my base. But travel out somewhat regularly. I should change that.
  11. Something to keep in mind that usually gets brought up at some point or another regarding these questions: for a lot of the low-cost basses out there being sold, the amount of money you will have to spend after the initial purchase just to get the bass set up so that it's both gig-worthy and you won't injure yourself trying to play it can add up to the point where you're really better off buying a slightly more expensive but better quality bass.

    There's been a few recent threads on this subject, but definitely take the advice of the other guys who have and will chime in on this subject.
  12. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I would make the drive to Classic Contrabass in Wheeling. Her setup Shen basses are excellent. Several of my students and my school has purchased her instruments.

    Aaron is an amazing luthier (he's the son of Steven Reiley and was won awards at ISB conventions for his instruments) but I don't know if he carries Shens as extensively as Michele.
  13. Exemonium

    Exemonium Supporting Member

    May 13, 2010
    Cheapest sten these guys had was. $3800. But custom setup and payment plans. Was hoping for a tad cheaper. I may take that drive after the holidays.
  14. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Michele's are around 1700ish fully setup. Give her a call.
  15. jmacdbass


    you can find used christophers in the 1000$ range on craigslist

    similar to the shen, good, if not great entry level bass, I am using one and just sold 2 others this year while waiting for upton to finish my bass

    orchestra, jazz, whatever, pretty consistent

    not perfect or awesome, just works
  16. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Christophers were suggested to another bassist in a similar thread. I have a Christopher and a Shen here at the middle school I teach at. The Shen is much better. The Christopher has thick lacquer which has flaked off the and the bridge seems to be made of a lesser quality and softer maple which has not withstood the test of time. The overall production on the Shen is better as well as sounding richer.

    Please ask away! As a classical bassist and orchestra director I see a lot of basses!!!
  17. Exemonium

    Exemonium Supporting Member

    May 13, 2010
    OK wow. Not as bad as I was fearing for cost. Sadly I'd have to do a payment plan. That's why I was originally attracted to the rent to own plans
  18. Find someone who will accept paypal and put it on the credit card.
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    You've gotten some fine advice but reading THIS is a good first step. :)