Bass newb, judging a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by FreakyStyley69, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    So my local shop has an upright bass, they were asking 700$ they agreed on 500$....

    Now I can find no information on this bass, nothing written anywhere. So while I'm going to assume its a cheaply Chinese bass, I don't know where to start in judging a bass by its construction or playability.

    I play electric bass and am very good with setups on those. This is obviously completely different
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Eric has given you great advice!
  4. Yes. Read that.

    And the short answer is forget about that bass unless you have it vetted by a experienced player/luthier.
  5. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    I have read.. Having said that.. I still think I'm going through with purchase..

    Anything look out of ordinary?

    Attached Files:

  6. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    Someone has put 1 or two fret markers on the board..which sounds like a bad idea
  7. LeoSash


    Feb 13, 2012
    I would get your teacher (you do have a teacher right?) to check it out. He(or she) can get that settled quickly. Also make sure you like it as well, not because its cheap, because if you buy it, you'll be keeping it for a while.
  8. Well, let's see. Cheap Chinese bass with bad strings, ebonized crapwood fingerboard and fittings and who knows what's going on under the hood. But it's only $500!

    What chance does the warnings of the collective centuries of experience on this forum have against that majesty?

    Seriously, my first bass was a mid-'50s German ply I bought from the widow of a local jazz bassist for $250 after 15 years of threatening to take up the doublebass.

    I played it for two years, upgraded and sold the ply to a violin shop for $1000. That was a smart deal. You dropping $500 on some nameless hunk of crap that will be hard to play, harder to repair, harder still on your hands and arms, and impossible to resell is a bad deal.
  9. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    No teacher. I'm in a band and plan on learning techniques via you tube. I'm not trying to be in some grand symphony, just merely trying to get a tone of a double bass I hear in a few of my favorite decemberists albums.
  10. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    ... Impossible to resell? I'm sure it would go like lightning for 400$ on craigslist..

    I'm not going to buy a 2500$ bass when I mainly play electric, it'll be used for restiraunts/bar gigs and mainly for looks and tone.
  11. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    Oh and the few basses that go for 1000+ around here on Craigslist just sit and sit... And sit.. There's no market for them it ses unless some uber noob like me decidedly to give it a whirle on the cheapest thing possible.

    Look I swear if I dig it ill spend the right money. On a nice one. And honestly if I bought a new one for 1800$ didn't like it and had to sell for 1200$ that's more of a loss than I could ever take on this bass..
  12. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    So, uh, why did you post? You don't know how to judge it and we led you to the knowledge that it's junk that will likely frustrate your playing and rob you of enjoyment. With that, you decide to buy it. Hey, it's your (wasted) money. I'm just not sure why you even bothered to ask.

    Kungfu, you're a gem! :)

    Learning via youtube. Good luck with that. That can be of limited benefit and even recommended when there is simply no other choice. Such videos are, perhaps, of more benefit to players with at least a few miles under their belts who would like some good pointers. Look, one doesn't have to aspire to be a "grand symphony" player to benefit greatly from a teacher and to have that teacher set him on the right path with proper technique and the avoidance of bad habits and injury.

    We've led the horse...

    P.S.-- I found this teacher for you.

    Seriously, this is the real deal!
  13. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Get a $1500 Shen that plays, sounds and looks great. And has resell value. That said, I don't buy instruments based on resale value although my carved Solano has appreciated nicely. (Not that I'd sell it!)
  14. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    As my grandmother would occasionally say, "Some people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing."
  15. Sure about that? By your own admission, you got a professional salesperson to drop their price from $700 to $500 without much trouble. You'd have to find the right sucker to buy it from you for $400, and even then you'd be out $100. Why? Are you rich, and tired of using $100 bills to light your cigars?

    Look, no one is beating up on you, so you have no reason to defend yourself. You asked us old coots for advice, decided you didn't need to listen to our warnings, and seem surprised by the result.

    We're here to help. We don't get paid to help. Heck, a few years ago I was an electric bassist in the process of falling in love with the doublebass and asked a lot of goofy questions on this forum. I let myself be straightened out, and all was well with the world.

    Save your money. It's hard enough to hold onto when you're not throwing it away. And please take at least one lesson so you don't hurt yourself.
  16. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    Basically I wanted to know what to look for In the neck, and board that would require excessive work or effect playability badly. Or a sign the bass was about to implode.
  17. FreakyStyley69

    FreakyStyley69 Banned

    Oct 19, 2012
    It's a buddy of mine that owns the shop that is just selling it for a guy. It's on consignment.

    100$ is about next to nothing. I make plenty enough. Just not trying to blow 1500$ on something I may never use.
  18. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    It's shaped just like a bass, you should be fine. Don't worry about lessons either, I'm sure you'll pick it right up.

    Glad we could help.
  19. ;)
  20. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, an experienced player looks at that bass and sees potential disaster. The fingerboard projection angle is flat, the overstand looks small, the fingerboard is likely junk, the accessories and strings are cheap. It likely won't last long. Even if it does, it'll fight you every step of the way. I doubt it is supplied with a decent setup. A good setup is of paramount importance and should be done by a qualified luthier. The bass looks to be unworthy of the $$$ that would be needed to spend on a setup. Now, you said you read the bass-buying wiki. You either missed or failed to appreciate the wisdom in this:

    Double basses can be found for around 500 USD on ebay and other places online. Before being tempted to buy one of these, consider the total cost. Approximately 200 USD shipping + 150 USD for good strings + 350 USD or more for additional setup brings the total (very conservatively) to about 1200 USD. You now have a bass of unknown, but, most likely, poor quality. "Saving money" by buying one of these instruments generally amounts to false economy. One way or the other, you're probably going to spend about $1500 for a new, properly set up double bass. If you go the eBay route, you're likely to spend that and more and end up with an instrument that, at best, is of poor quality and, at worst, will implode. The best advice we can offer is that you buy a double bass from a shop that specializes in double basses and that is staffed by a reputable luthier. Similar advice applies to buying from mass market music stores.

    Okay, the one in question is not from eBay but the major principles apply.