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advice

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by arose11, Feb 19, 2003.


  1. arose11

    arose11

    Sep 30, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    hello,
    I am more of a regular in the electric, and am quite a jazz enthusiast and am sliding along w/ an electric bass, its going pretty good but i'd really prefer upright for jazz stuff. I would like to know if there are decent uprights for <$1000. I was looking on ebay and found lots for $500 i would appreciate your help!!
     
  2. First thing is that you should check out the Newbie Links, where Bass Buying is addressed pretty thoroughly.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=43093

    Those $500 basses (Cremona, Palatino, Brownstone, etc.) on Ebay come from a single Crap Factory in China, and are notorius for having their necks come off during their first year, or arriving in need of $500 in neck/fingerboard work. Sometimes the backs or tops come off.

    Some have no such problems, but every bass you ever hear will sound better, and no amount of luthier work will fix that, as it's caused by choice of materials and construction technique. You want to get ONLY an ebony or rosewood fingerboard. "Ebonized Hardwood" is a bad deal.

    Cremona etc. also makes fully-carved (they claim) versions for about $800-$900, which are an even WORSE decision. Carved basses are more subject to damage in the first place, so you're talking about paying 2/3 more $$$ for an instrument that's twice as likely to turn into un-playable trash before you can even learn to play it.

    BTW, some CCB (Cheap Chinese Basses) are actually priced at $350 or less, because shipping should run somewhere between $150-$250 and shipping is included. That still isn't a bargain...

    Figure an average of $200 shipping on any mail-ordered bass.

    You can mail-order a Strunal for $1100 plus about $150 shipping, from www.cutting-edgemusic.com, or get an Engelhardt from www.urbbob.com for about $1100-$1500 (depending on model), delivered.

    Engelhardt is on the verge of coming out with a whole line of nicer finishes, if they haven't already. I guess prices may go up a little when that happens.

    Either one of those (and ANY bass that isn't hand-made) will need a set of strings, and a soundpost check/adjustment, minimum. Figure on $150 this, and maybe another $50-$150 for other set-up things that you may or may not want done, like a new adjustable bridge or soundpost, or setting string-height at the nut.

    In addition, if you look around long enough, you can probably find a used Strunal or Engelhardt in the $850-$1000, either on Ebay or locally.
    Be careful about used basses with an un-familiar or No name bass, because the Palatino factory also puts out un-labeled basses, or will put your own name into them if you place an order for several at once.

    If you get a used bass, insist on an approval period. Get a committment from the seller for a 100% refund if you take it to a luthier who says it's a bad deal, then bring an outside luthier into it. You aren't likely to be a good judge of whether repairs were make correctly, or be needed currently. For instance, Kay Basses have always had a tendency for the necks to break down by the heel. If repaired right, it de-values the bass, but not much.

    If repaired wrong, it may tend to break again, or even have been put on a little crooked, the latter being pretty serious stuff.

    I wouldn't be too concerned about a new bass mail-ordered from a known name, but when you get into used basses that you can't inspect first, that's a somewhat different proposition.

    New basses are waranteed, and by companies that have reputations to worry about. They aren't likely to have problems, beyond normal set-up requirements, and the makers are likely to want to make you happy in some way if it has something wrong with it.