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Am I a 'Brand name' snob?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheDepths, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. TheDepths


    Mar 4, 2014
    Hello esteemed fellows of TalkBass!

    Apologies if this is a much flogged dead horse...

    I have noticed that many of you own and speak highly of instruments made by the 'cheaper' brands of major manufacturers (eg. Squier, Epiphone, Stirling) Whilst I have lots of respect for the instruments these makers are putting out these days (in particular Squier) I always wanted the 'real thing'.

    When I was looking for a Jazz bass (I've wanted one since I started playing in school) I saved up and bought my MIM 70's Jazz (which they'll have to pry from my cold dead hands....) Now, I've played Squiers in the past which were pretty good, but I gave a CV Jazz a serious play and it is pretty darn close...not quite....but close. So I tried a Stirling.....again, pretty close to my Musicman Stingray.

    So I guess you can see what I'm getting at here, Is the extra money for the 'Name' worth it? Would I be happier with cheaper basses but more of them?

    Either way, I stand behind my choices.....as a young bassist starting out I never thought I'd own either of these...but I'm glad I do.

    Any thoughts or opinions?


  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    If you're a snob then they probably haven't invented a word to describe me. You said you wanted a "real" jazz but bought an MIM. For me, the only real jazz is MIA. I have never and will never buy an MIM Fender. You can buy a used MIA for a little more than a new MIM. I'm not saying that they are bad instruments but they are not of the same quality in terms of materials and workmanship. Yes, that makes me a gear snob and I'm fine with that. However, I also believe that each of us should play what we like and can afford regardless of what other people think or say.
  3. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    The only reason the name means anything is for resale;
    My mode of operation has been to buy nice basses used and then sell them when I get bored. It's more like renting than buying, really.

    But as far as actually playing goes? I couldn't care. I gigged for years with a warmoth frankenbass that did the job just fine (until I got bored and tried to sell it - yowch I ate some $$ on that one).

    THAT SAID, you do get what you pay for, but there is what you could call an ROI (Return on Investment) curve. But if you buy used and hunt for a decent deal, you'll never lose money.
  4. bassie12


    Aug 23, 2008
    You like what you like. Nothing wrong with that.

    After 40 years of playing and owning one of almost everything, I find that, with one exception, no bass I own was made before 1983. Oh, and I just don't like SX and Squire basses. I have my reasons.

    Does this make me a vintage snob? According to some, maybe. Or, maybe I know what I like after all these years. Play what you like to play.
  5. In my case:

    I have a couple of nice contemporary MIM's, and they are a lot of bang for the buck. But when I play a USA Fender, I can feel and hear a difference. Both good instruments, different price points, different levels of quality.

    I have a nice Music Man SUB, but when I play a Music Man Classic, I can feel and hear a difference. The SUB is badass, I had it re-finished sparkle gold and it kicks balls live. But the Classic is the better bass.

    You could go on down the line like that. I think it's great that a manufacturer can offer nice basses at a lower price point, and even nicer basses at the higher price point.

    To each his own. It's a great time to be a buyer in the musical instrument area, because the competition is so fierce, the quality is so high, and most manufacturers are trying very hard to attract customers to all price points. I have a couple of new students who acquired Squier Paks for Christmas. That used to be the bane of my existence. Lately, even the Squier line is pretty darn good at that price point.
  6. There IS a difference between MIA instruments and those made overseas with the intent to cut costs. I think you're quite right to value American craftsmanship. And, no, I don't see why you'd be happier with lots of cheap basses than one or two great ones.
    I learned the hard way that you can throw good money after bad by trying to cheap out instead of getting what you really want right out of the chute. I could always tell the difference, and it bothered me. Of course, not everybody feels this way, and I respect others' views. As others have said, to each his own.
  7. AndyW83


    Feb 18, 2009
    I myself am a gear snob as well.. Buy it nice or buy it twice. I'm never happy when I settle for less. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the finer toys.
  8. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    I personally don't care but tend to play higher end stuff. On many of my recent gigs I played a Fodera and a Squier. I like playing the best, but sometimes the best is unnecessary (open jams, rough bars, etc.)

    I own high end guitars such as Foderas, American Fenders, a Taylor acoustic as well as cheapies including 3 Squiers, a Lyon (cheap Washburn) and an Epiphone.

    Maybe I am too old to care (45 last week) but I don't see why anyone cares what is on the headstock if the player can play. If you are 18-19, maybe it is a status thing.
  9. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Never thought I'd see the day when wanting an actual Fender bass might be considered being a "gear snob".

    It's just a Fender, for God's sake. Could it get more common than that?

    Just goes to show how wack Talkbass has gotten. Some sort of weird political correctness?

  10. TheDepths


    Mar 4, 2014
    Hi fellas,

    Thanks for the replies!

    I agree with what you guys are saying, I wouldn't do anything different. I think that my original post wasn't worded as well as I could have done (we had a leaving do after work....it was how you say...Miller time) but it's good to know that you guys feel the same.

    Hi Templar, Fender's are more expensive in the UK so they are not as common.

    I agree with Kmonk, no doubt MIA is a step above MIM but out of my price range for now...I bought the 'Ray off a friend used for about the price of a new Stirling (great deal IMHO).

    I do feel a bit guilty that I went straight for the 'name' rather than try out other options but I'd been wanting them since forever and am happy with them.....also, Jazz and a Stingray.....can you tell Timmy C is one of my favorite bass players?

  11. pudgychef

    pudgychef Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    but not all overseas instruments are bargain priced or built to a price point..the idea that 'American Craftmanship' is the pinnacle of instrument manufacturing is flawed..plenty of high end, well made instruments from other countries..

    like G&L or Musicman - good brands but not 'high end' or strictly the purvey of brand snobs..good, well made USA production instruments
  12. darrenmt


    Dec 15, 2004
    Interesting viewpoints although IMO not entirely true. The MIA Fender isn't necessarily better in build quality nor tone than the Fender Road Worn series which is MIM. Also, a Lakland Skyline is the 'budget' Lakland and even though it isn't as finely crafted as it's US counterpart, it is still on par with other US built basses.

    I don't think everyone is brand conscious only because of snob factor, brand name association plays a major role, that being a means to achieve a particularly favored tone or feel.
  13. True that. Korea springs to mind. And the Chinese factories have really stepped up their game too.

    I can afford USA Fenders. But I won't usually buy them, because I am frugal and the tone/playability difference between contemporary (2009 on) MIM and Fender USA is usually not great enough to warrant the cost difference.

    But to some, there is a tangible difference that warrants the increased price. To each his own.
  14. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    Is Danelectro a name you can be snobby about ?
  15. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    It would seem fewer of quality trumps many of lesser quality, to me. One good bass can be adaptable to many settings because the quality of components and craftsmanship make a bass that more likely responds to touch. That bass will be there when your touch changes and won't throttle back new sounds you're now producing.

    YMMV. :)
  16. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I buy instruments because I like how they feel and how they sound.
    Part of the feel includes the finish and if I believe it will stand the test of time.
    I can care less about who made it, where it was made, if it is a no-name or a brand name.
    If I like it and it fills my needs, I will buy it/play it.
  17. blue4


    Feb 3, 2013
    St. Louis area
    I just look for a price/quality balance that I'm comfortable with. Right now that's mid grade Ibanez and Squier VM/CV. I can afford MIA, but I can't justify it with everything else going on. Not when those two brands are doing well as is for me. I can tell a difference, but not enough of one to get the wallet out.
  18. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    I'm the opposite.

    The older I get the less the name on the headstock means.

    Ironic, now that I'm able to afford pretty much anything I want.

    Headstock name? Other musicians don't care much, the audience doesn't care at all.

    From an "investment" perspective maybe, but that's not my priority with music.

    Also, technically, a "real" Fender hasn't been made since Leo sold his company. Food for thought. :)
  19. pudgychef

    pudgychef Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China

    also Japan, Czech Republic, Europe etc....heck even Dingwalls and Kinals aren't MIA

    And ftr i love MIA gear
  20. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    You're not a snob for liking what you like.

    You would be a snob if you judged others for playing what they play, just because of the name on the headstock. I met a bassist playing a jazz bass at Kingston Mines in Chicago. His tone was delicious and he was grooving beautifully. Afterwards I asked him what he was playing - it was a VM Squier. He kind of laughed and quasi-apologized when he told me. Now, if I'd thought less of him for playing a Squier, THEN I'd be a gear snob. But the proof is in the pudding - he sounded great. No more discussion necessary.