Advice needed: "practice" bass for taking to work

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Basschair, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Hi all,

    I've got a Wilfer upright that I've been taking back and forth to work (music teacher) for a few years now, and have been lucky enough not to have damaged it in any way while making the tight fit into my VW vehicle. It's no Pollman, but it does represent a substantial investment, and it always makes me a bit nervous to transport. No, there's no way I'd just leave it at school.

    Now, I'm considering putting aside money to purchase a practice bass. Basically, a bass that I could take to school and leave it there without worrying...well, at least I won't have to worry about the more expensive one.

    I was considering either searching long and hard for a carved-top bass at a great price, or perhaps an electric upright. The latter is attractive for its size, but I can't get over the lack of the bass body. I love the true bass tone.

    So, I guess I'm looking for suggestions as to where to look for less expensive basses. I won't list a specific price, as I'm willing to put aside more cash, within reason. I'm on the west coast, and am accustomed to using Lemur for all my bass needs...what else is out there? Again, it doesn't need to be a concert-worthy bass. Just something that I don't need to be worried about, something that is playable.

    While waiting for replies, I will be scanning TB and the internet as well...thanks for your help!

  2. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    I guess that all depends on what you would like to spend. The Shen SB-180 is a very good bass for the money, but it's no wilfer. The New Standards are very nice plywood bassses for the money. You could always save and buy a wilfer again for the offfice. The biggest thing is if you are a music teacher then you should have a bass that you are able to show the kids how to play on. That should be a very importannt trait.
  3. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    If I understand you correctly, you are looking for something durable, inexpensive, and easily replaceable. You want the feel of a real bass, but tone isn't top priority. Seems to me that the low end laminates from Christopher, Shen, and Upton are the basses meeting those criteria that get mentioned around here the most.

    I wouldn't try to "move up." It's a good thing to have a "no tears" instrument that can be played outdoors when rain is threatening or leant to a student in a pinch.
  4. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Exactly! "No tears" is a great way to put it. I should probably revise my previous statement about "carved." I wouldn't mind a plywood bass if it got a decent tone. Although I am a music teacher, I'm not teaching upright bass. So, when I have the bass here, it's to demonstrate certain things for classroom music study and music history. I'd like to be able to leave it here to do this more often, as well as to get more practice time in.

    I'll look into those brands...thanks!
  5. dbgal


    Nov 28, 2005
    You might also consider an Englehardt- mine's bullet-proof & has good tone for a ply, but expect to spend several hundred dollars (or more) on set-up after you receive it. At a minimum, you'll need a new bridge & strings; mine also needed a new sound post & to have the fingerboard dressed to remove a buzz. Only thing I don't like about it is that the broad shoulders make it hard for me to play thumb position (I'm 5'4").
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Tell us then something you do like about it then and what he won’t have to do to it. Sounds like Shen, Schnitzer or Upton is a better bet since they won’t have any of the problems you mentioned. Theirs come set-up with good strings and a proper fit post and they both sell Shens as well. You can fix just about anything on the set-up of a Bass but the Shoulders unless it's a high $ Bass and you can pay 1000s to have it cut down.
  7. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Seeing as you're on the west coast, I don't if this is possible, but what about a Checzh-ease from Gage. They have a nice tone for what they are, are not too expensive and are almost like EUB with w real bass feel. Again, I don't know about the logistics, but it's something to look into.
  8. dbgal


    Nov 28, 2005

    As I stated, I like the tone (realizing the limitations of the instrument) & the fact it's darn near indestructable. I don't have experience with the others you mention, but do know they have received favorable reviews by many on this forum. My only point was that Basschair consider expanding his list of possibilities, especially if he finds an Engle that's already been properly set up. The Engles certainly meet Basschair's criteria for being inexpensive and "no tears." I have had several people knowledgeable about basses remark that my bass has a really good sound for a ply. I didn't mean to imply, nor do I think that my post suggests that Engles are the best thing out there in laminates. But speaking from MY admittedly limited experience, they can be made into a decent bass depending on a person's needs. Do I plan to replace it? Yes, but because of the shape, not the sound. Will I buy another ply? No, but I intend to keep the Engle and set it up for pizz, and also keep for those hot/cold/wet gigs where I don't want to use an instrument of higher quality.

    'Nuff said.. :)