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Are higher priced basses really worth it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by oldprussians, May 2, 2010.

  1. oldprussians


    Jan 7, 2008
    United Republic of Europe
    IT Professional!
    Just a simple question asked a myriad of times I bet on this forum!

    I just remembered seeing an amazing Swiss band, doing Hendrix stuff, in a Jazz/Progressive way.

    They were touring Europe, and the US.

    The bassist was playing a Cheap China Squire Precision. Well used with stickers on it. Great amp Gallien&Kruger. Thomastick strings!

    Sounded awesome! Great solos!

    So... Good amp, Good Strings, Good Cord.

    Do you need a good bass? err I mean Expensive Bass?
  2. Tim C.

    Tim C.

    Feb 4, 2010
    Nobody needs anything besides food, shelter and water. ;)

    If you want an expensive bass, buy one. If you are happy with an inexpensive bass, that's fine too. There is no single answer to this question.
  3. ysand


    Mar 26, 2005
    Do you need a Ferrari for moving around?
    Would you like using one?
  4. It gets asked plenty and many will offer opinions on basses they've never played, so always keep that in mind here and on TB in general.

    As a primarily unlined fretless 6 string player, I don't have many options of going stock.

    To be honest, some brands cost a LOT and some aren't too bad. Does that mean the really expensive ones are a lot better? Not necessarily.

    For me, the main goal is to get a bass built EXACTLY to my specs/needs. One time a guy told me that the pickups on my Conklin were in the wrong spot. :confused: I told them to put the pickups there and enjoy how it sounds.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    It is a common question and it would seem that common sense would answer it in most cases... but it doesn't. "need" has little to do with most people and their basses.

    I don't need to the majority of basses I own. I like having low B strings but I'm sure I could make an inexpensive four string work if that's all I had.

    Here's a somewhat related question that most people probably don't know the answer to... do you have to pay a lot of money for an expensive bass?

    Nope. People generally see an expensive bass and assume that it was expensive for the current owner. It's almost amazing how often they're wrong. That goes for many other items people consider expensive.
  6. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    The truth is that you reach a point of diminishing returns as you start paying more for a bass -- you pay more and more for less and less.

    Most manufacturers cynically make very little improvement cost the buyer a great deal in their ascending product lines.

    Often, the entry-level products exhibit the best dollar value. Are they the best basses? No, but they typically represent the most for the money.

    As I've pointed out many times before, the gear business is about marketing, not gear as such.
  7. i just sold a `cheap china squier' that had a wonderful neck that to be honest was better(to me) than 99% of the basses labeled Fender at the local GCenter,now i'm not saying the electricals are AS good but i'd play that bass anywhere(i have NO desire to play ANY of those that they have,at least not without some serious setup)

    of course i'm anal about necks/relief,people badmouth the MIM Fenders and i recall one guy that had issues with a MIA Fender so who can say?,,,buy what blows your skirt way up and don't worry about anybody else,i'd love to have a 60's P and hang a Squier sticker on the headstock just to fish the idiots out who have to make comments

    (and NO absolutley nothing implied at all i'm NOT bashing)

    maybe some odd brand like Dingwall,Sadowsky,Lakland would really bring out the BS'rs;)
  8. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Are they worth it? Depends on the bass and the opinion of the buyer, simple as that.
  9. My buddy, Jim, uses a $7000.00 custom bass. It is what makes him feel he is getting the best sound he can get. I use a $550.00 Fender Mark Hoppus, and I love my sound. It's all a matter of what you like. He even admitted that I get a great sound, but says it wouldn't work for him.
  10. ...but there's still a return! ;)
  11. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006

    For me, not so much. I LOVE simple P basses, and I'm just as happy, and sound just as good on a well sorted out and modestly upgraded inexpensive P as I do on my Vintage Fender.

    If you have more specialized or exotic tastes, then going with something more expensive may be a necessity.

    It all really has to do with your own personal situation an needs.

    For me, a modded SX does the job as well as anything... for the next guy/girl... maybe not so much.
  12. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Endorsed by K.B. Guitars, Nordstrand Audio Pickups, Von York Strings and Gallien-Krueger Amps.
    I say yes and no. I will give you an example. For the last 17 years, my two main basses were a 1994 and a 1995 Ibanez SR 500 Soundgear basses. I still have them and they are great basses. They were around $500.00 brand new and sounded great in the recording studio, live or just jamming at my house. They are comfortable basses to play and are well balanced. Now fast forward to this year. A few weeks back I traded my Taylor acoustic guitar for an Ernie Ball Music Man bass. It is a Sterling 4H that probably cost around $1,500.00 brand new in 2005. As soon as I played that bass, it was night and day difference to my Ibanez basses. It is just as comfortable, it is very balanced, but there is so much more to this bass than my Ibanezes have. It is way more versatile as far as getting different sounds out of it, it has a more balanced sound in that I hear all of the frequencies on this bass much more clearer, while both of my Ibanez basses and this bass both have active pickups in them, these ones are far more superior and it shows. Prior to this, I never really noticed a big difference in high end basses as opposed to let's say your mid grade basses but now that I have compared these basses side by side, I really do see a difference. I even bought a high end Ibanez bass this year too and comparing it to my Music Man, My Music Man blows it away as well. My 20th Anniversary Ibanez is a great bass and is also very noticeable on how it is better than my SR 500 Ibanez basses but even when I compare my Music Man to my Ibanez 20th Anniversary bass, the Music Man wins hands down.
  13. JTUK


    May 25, 2009
    Some are, IMV...Some aren't.

    Quite a few basses are mere blocks of wood..and not that well put together and you'll get not so great basses made by top names every now and then.

    By the same token, I'd be prepared to pay blind on one or two names... and have done.
    Well, one name, as it happens, and they weren't cheap.

    But I can say there are more than a few names that I wouldn't dare that to...not in a million.

    It does depend how you view these things but mostly you get what you pay for...you might get lucky once or twice, but they are cheap for a reason.
  14. raymondl3


    Dec 10, 2007
    Good point!
  15. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Are higher priced cars really worth it?
    I've seen great drivers driving Scions, and they totally get from point A to point B.
  16. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    If you can afford it yes, if not no. Sometimes even if you can afford it it isn't. I was trying a Sadowsky and did alternating performances without saying anything. No one new the difference between it and my modded Yamaha. Mow, not to say the Sadowsky isn't a great bass - it is - but no one knew I wasn't using it.
  17. My 2009 Scion XB is an excellent car.:smug:
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings

    Apparently for some people, not so much.

    I get what I paid for.
  19. Beginner Bass

    Beginner Bass

    Jul 8, 2009
    Round Rock, TX
    A&R, Soulless Corporation Records
    You are the judge of that.
  20. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Western NY
    If the higher price gets you what you want, then yes.

    Something like a Wal, Spector, Ric, etc are pricey but if that's the sound you want you'd be hard pressed to find it in a cheaper instrument. While a Fender P or J sound can be made by much cheaper instruments. There have been several blind SX vs. Fender threads that prove just that. But sound isn't everything. It's also a comfort thing. Neck profile, string spacing, scale length, all matter just as much as sound. Aesthetics can also play a large role.

    I personally have never paid over $200 (before tax/shipping) for any of my basses. I still manage to play out on a regular basis and bring home some coin in my pocket. My SX Jazzes, Ibanez ATK's and Squier VM P all have performed flawlessly on gigs.

    That said, I really want a Geddy Lee Jazz.

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