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Bass Shopping Woes

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bobbykokinos, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. I've been in the market for a new 4 string for a while now. I've found several nice basses at a shop here in Indianapolis but there are two problems.

    First, the basses were NICE but the strings were dead. When I say dead, I mean like they have been on the bass for a year and have been beaten to death.

    Second, I dont know if this store was having humidity problems or what, but 4 of the 5 basses I tried had HORRIBLE fret buzz.

    I was ready to buy a bass that night but nothing was sounding right. I even asked if they could slap on some new strings and adjust the truss on a bass I was really interested in buying and they said no unless I paid for the strings and a setup.

    Is this too much for me to ask? What would you guys do? I'm not sure if Im too picky, but Id rather take my business elsewhere than buy from some place that can't take care of their instruments.
  2. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Which shop are you dealing with? When I lived in Indy the guys at Guitars & More always took good care of me and so did Guitarworks.

    I don't think any shop unless you have a really good relationship with them would do a setup and new strings so you could try it out.

    I would just buy a cheap set of strings and get them put on. Then try it. If your really serious about that bass, then its actually a cheap investment IMO. Think about how much it would cost you if down the road you decide you really don't like it and decide to sell it. You'll get more depreciation than the cost of a set of strings, maybe enough that it would even pay to do the setup. I don't know for sure. You have to decide how serious you are about I guess.
  3. Hey man I sympathize with you, but I know that there are usually 2 types of music stores. One that sells basses cheap and will not put on new strings or set up basses unless you pay (that is why their basses are cheaper than the second type of store), and the second type which would give you more time and attention and usually include taking the time to set up the bass for your needs, but they will not discount the bass. know that for most people cheaper is better, but I believe that this second type of music store is cheaper in the long run as the care to detail and set up becomes evident very quickly.
    Just my HO.
    Good luck with your quest.

  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    To me, these are non-issues. The first thing I do when I buy a new bass is put new strings on it, MY favorite strings, my favorite guage, etc. Nice and fresh.

    Second thing I do is set the intonation, saddle height and truss rod tension to get it to play the way "I" prefer. Everyone's tastes on playability is different, so I set it to my personal tastes. Besides, during shipping from factory to your local store - and sometimes while sitting in the store when the seasons change - the neck reacts and needs readjustment in any event.

    To me, fresh strings and a fresh setup are necessary when buying ANY new bass.
  5. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I totally agree, but the original poster makes it sound like the bass is unplayable to begin with. A bass should be somewhere in a playable range so you can get an idea of its tone, don't you think?

    To the original poster:

    Be glad you found a music store that actually does setups in house. The two music stores in my area (GC & Daddy's) ship basses out for setup. I have to drive over an hour to get to a music store that actually has skilled staff.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    This is the problem with "try before you buy": even if you can get your hands on the bass, you won't necessarily know how well it plays or sounds.

    This leads to another concern I have: a lot of times I'll hear, "I played a Brand X bass and it had a floppy B string". But if the bass was played at, say, Guitar Center, then the bass most likely had a *dead* B string! IME fatter strings die quicker.
  7. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I've gone as far as to bring my own string to store and
    replace on bass I was considering buying.
    Also setup to my specs.
    Any store should let you do this.
    If they don't I walk. You can always come back.
  8. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I happen to live a block away from Low Down Sound ( well it's a big block but I'm close) in Detroit Area. First Decide what you want and then call some BASS STORES! I'm sure the Chicago guys can name some for you, It can't be more then 2-3 hrs. , take a day load up the family truckster and go bass shopping. In between Chicago and Detroit there has to be some shops that will have the instruments you want, set up to play, with some great rigs to play them thru. Plus they'll probably have some stuff you haven't thought about because your local GC dosen't have any basses that a high school kid couldn't explain the features of. Low Down Sound has at least 2-3 Smiths, 3 high end Warwicks, Some F basses, a couple of Metros, usually and MTD or 2 and a great Lakland selection, Plus some Quality used stuff . I'm sure there are stores in the chicago area of the same quality.
  9. I have found that good basses will sound good (amplified) even with ancient strings. The strings on my Hanewinckel 7-string bolt-on have been on for over a year and are actually getting rusty. Yet, the bass still sounds fantastic. Of course, Pete (Hanewinckel) told me that many years ago but I didn't believe him. I'm a believer now!

    It's probably better to try out basses in the store with dead strings since you know that the tone you are getting is not due to having brand new strings but due to the construction of the instrument.

    - Dave