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2 questions

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by PorphyaPlayer14, Nov 24, 2002.

  1. PorphyaPlayer14

    PorphyaPlayer14 Guest

    Feb 2, 2002
    Well I have 2 questions. The first is Is there any differences between a stand up bass, an upright bass or a double bass or are they just called different things? and What would be a good upright bass to purchase with a good sound reliability and a good price? how is a used bass?

    Sorry If I sound like a total alien because I'm asking these questions its just yesterday I tried out an Upright bass and it was like falling in love with bass all over again, I didn't look at the brand because I was to amazed by the sound (but then again thats the only upright bass I've played so there could be better sounding ones) The price was 600 dollars though, no dents scratches it was real shiny! I might buy one in like 4 months but I think its better to plan ahead. Sorrry if I cause any trouble.

    Your Bass Player Friend, Erik
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  3. jugband


    Jan 16, 2001
    Yep. The most common names are:
    Double Bass
    Upright Bass
    Stand-up Bass
    String Bass
    Doghouse Bass
    Bass Fiddle
    Bull Fiddle

    "Double Bass" is the term that most actual bass players use with each other, and "Upright Bass" is what most non-bassists seem to recognize the best.

    There is an extensive list of other less-used names for the instruments somehere on the net. These are just the most commonly-used names.

    Used bass?? You'll probably have to get a new bass... you can't afford a used one.

    A used bass is a trickier proposition than a new one, but purchase of a new bass isn't a guarantee that you're getting a good one, either.

    The #1 answer to your second question is going to be "Decide who your bass teacher will be, and get him to help you pick out a bass".

    Another answer is to visit www.cutting-edgemusic.com and check out the Strunal basses. If you're going to mail-order a bass, they have the best prices I've seen on Strunals, and Strunal basses are nice, for the price.

    Stay away from "ebonized" fingerboards (on any bass) if you can. They are painted black, and don't stay painted all that long.
    If you find a bass that has good playability, and a sound you like, those are the main considerations.

    The part about how a bass sounds is a little tricky.

    A potentially nice-sounding bass can sound pretty sorry if it isn't set-up well. An un-purchased bass sitting around a store might have a minimal, or no set-up done on it when you try it out on the sales floor, especially if it's a big chain store, rather than a small string shop.

    A used bass might have had a lot of "Shadetree Mechanic" work done on it, which could be corrected by someone who knows what they're doing.

    A little work with the bridge feet, strings, and soundpost MIGHT turn what sounds like a real dog into the gem that it actually is.

    One of the benefits of finding a bass teacher is that he can tell you whether a bass ACTUALLY sounds outstanding, or whether you're just easily impressed, because of inexperience. Even a bad double bass has an awesome sound compared to a bass guitar.

    If you aren't planning to buy for 4 months, I'd say "don't rush things". Go ahead and spend the 4 months researching basses on the internet, and playing all of the local basses you can get close to, whether they're for sale or not.

    Also, there's a "Newbies" section on this very discussion board which you should spend a lot of time reading. That should be your very next step.

    It has a lot of good information on basses, and on buying basses, collected from threads in the past.

    If you like that $600 bass, and there's nothing wrong with it, and it isn't new, it's probably a good one to get.

    If it's brand new and $600, then it's Chinese and it may or may not be a total piece of junk, but in any case will be a long way from best quality.

    If it's a Cremona, Palatino, or Brownstone, those all come from the same Crap Factory in China, and have an increased liklihood of being un-playable from the get-go, or of falling apart in their first year. They've given a black eye, which is often un-deserved, to ALL Chinese basses.

    I believe the merits/drawbacks of getting a China bass as your Entry Bass is one of the things discussed in the Newbie threads. Check them out.

    Personally, *I* have a China bass, which cost $465 and isn't a Cremona/Palatino, etc. and it's just fine, for the money.

    That isn't to say it's an excellent bass, but it does sound pretty good (after new strings & countouring the bridge-feet), it looks reasonably good, and in the 11 months I've had it, no defects or problems have shown up.

    I'd recommend it to you (http://www.topads.com/sgi/index.html), if you were going the China Bass route, though I might not necessarily recommend getting a Chinese bass in general, if you have the money to do otherwise.

    You might be better off trying to do a rent-to-buy deal from a local music store that caters to high-school bands.

    A year later, I still feel that I made the right choice for me, personally, on my China bass, though I'm waiting right now for shipment on a much better bass being built in Bulgaria. I'll keep the China bass as a "Beater".

    Also spend your 4 months learning about fully-laminated basses (also called "plywood"), Hybrid basses, and fully-carved basses.

    You can get a fully-carved bass for somewhere between $2000 and $4000, new. They sound better than plywoods, and increase in value as they age (because they continue to sound better each year for the first several years of their lives), but plywoods are more rugged, less temperamental, cheaper, and their sound improves with age too, though not as much, and it takes about 6 years for them to begin improving.

    I've noticed that plywoods increase in value too, but only at about the same rate as inflation.

    That is to say that if you bought an Engelhardt Swingmaster for $1000 5 years ago, it seems to be worth about $1700-2400 today. However, NEW Swingmasters sell for $1400-1800 today. The used Swingmaster will PROBABLY sell for the same as, or a little more than, a new one.

    If you bought a fully-carved bass 5 years ago for $2000, you could probably get $5000 or more for it today, though that particular bass might sell for $3000 new, today.

    Of course those are just illustrative figures. I'm no expert on bass prices, but I'm sure you get the idea. Carved basses are a better investment, if you have any thoughts of selling it later on down the line.

    There are also basses which are solid wood, but not carved. Rather than starting out with an inch-thick piece of wood and carving it to shape, thinning down to about 1/8 inch in the process, they start with a 1/8 inch sheet of wood, steam it, then form it into a swell.

    This isn't as good, sound-wise, and some places (notably Lemur Music) carry basses that are "Solid Wood", but not "Carved".

    Subtle difference in description, there...

    All fully-carved basses are "Solid Wood", but not all "Solid Wood" basses are "Fully Carved".
  4. Mr. RC

    Mr. RC

    Oct 31, 2002
    New York, NY
    Does anyone know about the Chinease basses on the site recommended above (http://www.topads.com/sgi/string.htm)? They carry a hybrid bass for only $565 and a fully carved bass for only $995.
  5. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Chinese bass'
    Search for posts on Christopher basses on this site. There are a ton of posts bout them.

    Like any other bass they come in all grades and qualities.

    I own one and love it.

  6. jugband


    Jan 16, 2001
    My experience with their all-plywood bass was been pretty good, though I don't know if the carved & hybrid basses would be the same.

    Quality of the wood that's used comes into play much more strongly when you get away from plywood.

    The situation on a carved bass could be better or worse than plywood, as they MIGHT not get their carved basses from the same source as the plywoods, though my assumption is that they probably do.

    One of their carved models might not sound as good as a European carved bass, or be more likely to develop cracks. People who already own carved basses tell me that cracks usually make a bass sound better after repair than it did before the crack, so more cracks may be a bad thing, or a good thing. <grin>

    As Chinese instruments go, this is certainly not going to be a Shen, Eastman or Christopher, though the price alone probably already told you that.

    I'm waiting for shipment right now on a fully-carved Bulgarian bass ($2200 delivered), and I didn't even consider one of these Chinese carved basses at half the price, instead. It came down to the Strunal 5/5 and the Bulgarian from www.gollihur.com.

    As for my all-plywood that I got from them, it sounds good, has nothing wrong with it, and all I had to do was replace the strings and contour the bridge-feet better. Just about every factory-built bass comes with sorry Shipping Strings, so replacing them was a given, anyway.

    I feel that it's a better China bass than the Cremona/Palatino/Brownstone, or whatever else comes from that same factory in China. I think Cremora makes fully-carved, or at least solid wood basses too, and probably at a similar price.

    The fit & finish could have been better on mine (though probably not for $465). The finish looks like it was sprayed on. Of course it WAS, and so is Engelhardt and many other Plywoods, but it LOOKS sprayed-on to me. It's sole redeeming feature is that it isn't shiny. I don't like a mirror finish on a bass, especially on a cheap bass.

    The finish, even though low-gloss, appears to be kind of fragile. I have a few places on the edges where it's chipped off, leaving bare wood, and I can't remember any special knocks, so they must have been pretty minor.

    It uses two-per-plate tuners, and one of the plates doesn't line up with the pegbox all that well. The pointed top of one plate sticks out beyond the side of the wood by about a 16th of an inch.

    I had the bass for over a month before I noticed it, and nobody else has ever noticed it. But still, it's not what I'd call a GOOD thing, and every time I remember it, I get a little bothered.

    If I was looking for absolutely the least expensive carved bass I could find, I WOULD buy one of these basses before I bought a Cremora.

    If I could scrape up twice the price, though, I would (and already did) go for a Bulgarian. They are hand-fitted, and THAT can be a factor in tone also, rather than being factory-fitted on an assembly line.

    Bob Gollihur is hooked in with a small two-man string shop in Bulgaria, gets their entire bass output, and gets them shipped with decent strings already on them.

    The bass you're looking at has a rosewood fingerboard, which people tell me makes the bass sound a little warmer, though I'd prefer ebony, for durability. However, even some Rockabilly players prefer rosewood, and Rockabilly slap-bass is about as extreme as fingerboard-wear gets.

    The bass bag I got was a real stinker. I went for a $68 bass bag, so I'd be sure to have something to keep it in from the very start.

    I knew it wouldn't be all that good, for $68, but I got it in and out of my car less than a dozen times before it's seams started ripping. That was my only dissatisfaction with the whole deal. My present $200 bass bag has been a lot more durable <Duh!>

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