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Bass to donate to kids' middle school

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by caboose1966, Mar 19, 2013.


  1. caboose1966

    caboose1966

    Mar 19, 2013
    Hi all,
    The local middle school (aka Junior High) that my kids attend is in need of an additional upright (double?) bass for the 5 various bands to share - they currently have only one and it's painful to watch them shlep that thing around from floor to stage during performances - not to mention, they could use another one for rehearsal/practice time.
    I am considering purchasing one to donate - this program and , in particular, the two directors, have been very good to my kids and the aspiring-musicians in general. I wonder if I could trouble y'all for some input?
    questions:
    - What is an appropriate upright bass for use by a host of Middle School bands (5th and 6th grade development bands, 7th and 8th grade bands and a "swing" band)?
    - Expected cost for a suitable, fit-for-purpose bass?
    - Brands/models to steer clear of?

    I'm in the Seattle, WA area. Would be interested in sources close to this area since I can only imagine that shipping one of these beasts would be costly.

    Thanks very much, Dean
     
  2. caboose1966

    caboose1966

    Mar 19, 2013
    First - apologies for the double thread - rookie mistake
    Second - apologies for the questions that, had I read a little first, I would have seen are likely answered in the Wiki. In my rush to get the question asked, I just posted away without the requisite research.

    I'm a somewhat-seasoned instrument forum visitor and poster - I should not have made these rookie mistakes :)

    I'll go read some well-thought out previous posts now.

    Regards, Dean
     
  3. I think your vision to buy the students of that school an Double Bass is a noble one and don't worry about asking the question here. Yes, the Wiki does have a lot of information but I find that whole "Read the Wiki First" stuff to be tremendously restrictive and stifles conversation. I doubt there's more than a handfull of never before seen questions on here each year and most if not all topics have been done to death. By that logic, no one should ever post a new thread again as it has all been said before in one form or another.

    I say blarg to that and you should feel free to post what you want. Of course, the "Buying a Bass" wiki has some great info so definately take a look at that too.

    Now, with that rant over, I'll comment.

    I play in a wind ensemble that is attached to a school and we use that school's music room. In it there is a DB that was donated by some very awesome parents of one of our players.

    It is in dire shape. It is played often by young children who treat it very poorly. It has huge scratches on the bottom, multiple dents on the finger board and a massive seperation of the left rib from the back plate.

    So when looking for a DB to donate keep in mind that these kids are not likely to treat the instrument with as much caution and reverence as we treat our own much beloved intrustments.

    I'd recommend a well set-up all ply bass. If you can fine one in the thousand doller mark you'd be ok I think.

    Of course, this school of yours might have kids who have more respect for instruments so YMMV. :)

    Jason
     
  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    There's a Thompson Ply on Seattle Craig's List currently for $1250 and I think there's a Strunal, too. If its in good shape it might be just what you need.

    Please take an experienced DB player with you to look at any prospective basses, to help keep you from stubbing your toe! ;)

    A great idea Dean and good luck! ;)
     
  5. caboose1966

    caboose1966

    Mar 19, 2013
    Bin and Jake,
    Thank you very much for the thoughtful ansers and the valuable info (and for the forgiveness and undestanding of my "transgression" ;)).

    Bin, I suspect that the students at my kids' school are really no different than those in any other public middle school - not bad kids (at least not ALL of them) just not as aware as we might like them to be. I expect that any instrument not owned or rented by them or their parents might see it's share of bumps and bruises (for which they are unlikely to be held accountable). I would like to give them a useful instrument that is fit for purpose, but not an heirloom that will not get the treatment it deserves. I appreciate your input that an all-ply bass would be suitable. Per the direction I've read so far in the Wiki, The Shen all-ply may be a viable consideration. The ones I've seen so far have been a little north of $1K, but between $1K and $1.5 K is within what I was considering.

    Jake, Thank you for the leads on the Seattle CL... I hadn't got that far yet. I really was considering a used bass but am leary of that market and not sure I will be able to find a knowledgeable DB-player to accompany me - That's one reason why I was considering new. Believe me, as a guitar/uke/mando "player", I believe in the used market and have gone that way many times. That being said, an instrument of this type and size is quite new to me and my comfort level with buying used is much less.

    Again, thank you both for your thougtful replies. I will do some more digging into my options with your advice in mind and see what I can do.

    Regards, Dean
     
  6. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Get a 1/2 size Shen SB80. Got one at the middle school I teach at and it's perfect. Don't overlook strings either. A softer string like Pirastro Obligatos make a huge difference in playability.
     
  7. caboose1966

    caboose1966

    Mar 19, 2013
    MostlyBass, Thank you for your suggestion - both of size and make/model.
    I didn't want to go snooping around at the bass that the school currently has as this will be an anonymous gift and I don't want to raise suspicion. I was unsure of the size of make/model of their current bass, so this helps. I also appreciate that you are a teacher (music?) at a similar school so have some "insider" info.

    Thanks all for helpin' a guy out. :)

    Dean
     
  8. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I volunteer. Feel free to contact me through PM and I'll share direct contact information with you.

    Troy
     
  9. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Yup - I'm an orchestra teacher in suburban Chicago. Feel free to send me any questions!
     
  10. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I'd recommend buying it new from a shop that does a setup on it.
     
  11. caboose1966

    caboose1966

    Mar 19, 2013
    Troy, thanks very much for the offer. If I decide to pursue a used model in the Seattle area, I may just take you up on it.

    As much as I understand and appreciate the recommendation for used, I just don't have the warm fuzzies - even with capable input such as that offered by Troy. For the trouble involved, especially to another party, and the fear of the unknown, I think I am most likely to go with new from a shop as local as I can find. Still have not delved far enough to get solid shipping quotes.

    MostlyBass - thank you again for your informed input. I will likely take you up on your offer and PM a question or two.

    Thanks to everyone who provided their advice and offers to help. You really exceeded my expectations - especially with such a common question. This is one of the nicer, more helpful experiences I have had on a instrument-related forum. Your courtesy and consideration is most appreciated.

    Keep the "shiny side up" (oops, wrong forum :p)

    Dean
     
  12. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    No problem. Happy to help!!
     
  13. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Dean-- Welcome and I applaud your noble efforts! In terms of bang for the buck, I think your wisest move might just be to take up Troy on his extraordinarily generous offer. You could end up with a solid, seasoned instrument for lower cost and not have to worry about shipping at all.

    There's an aluminum foil forum? :D


    I disagree-- strongly. The wiki provides the foundation for anyone new to all of this. Rather than stifle conversation, it promotes meaningful and informed conversation. Rather than being restrictive, it opens up the discussion so that members here can provide targeted advice about the subtleties rather than have to re-hash the basics over and over and over again. Those who don't like to read the wiki or be told to read it are, most often, part of the "I want it now and I don't want to work for it" generation. Now I sound like the older guy that I am. :)
     
  14. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Hammond-Ashley and The Bass Church are the only local options that I know of at this point. Both very solid and trustworthy, both work with schools and rentals. Hammond-Ashley is much bigger and more formal. Bass Church is run by a very nice, local player/teacher out of an adjunct to her house.

    Seattle is a big and good market for this type of thing, I would not be thinking about having instruments shipped in until you've exhausted local options. Getting something cheaper that shows up in a box is not likely to save you money or get you a better result. It is something that sometimes people without the local resources that we have need to settle for.

    If I can help, let me know.
     
  15. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Dean, Troy is placing pearls before you. My advice: Take them. :)
     
  16. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    +1
     
  17. caboose1966

    caboose1966

    Mar 19, 2013
    Thank you very much for the pearls!!
    I appreciate and understand the advice to search for a local, quality used instrument and I have followed that path a number of times.

    Please don't take my hesitation as not valuing input or true appreciation of the offer - I appreciate the kind gesture on Troy's part. If I go the local, used route, I have to consider how I am going to have the instrument evaulated and then get it to the school whilst preserving anonymity - without putting anyone out.

    I haven't ruled out the used avenue... just need to do some thinking about how I could make it work.

    Thank you again for all of the great input, information and offers.

    Dean
     
  18. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I think it's great what you're doing. If I can help in any way, I'm happy to. I think I'm a fair judge of the quality and serviceability of a bass and if we wanted to get something checked out by a local luthier and a seller was agreeable, then I'd be happy to broker that as well. If you want to donate anonymously, then I imagine that I could front that for you too, since we don't actually know each other, I don't give much away.

    It's not that I'm not busy, I am, but I'm happy to help a good cause.

    Jake, who replied earlier is a tremendous resource too. If something shows up in BC, I'm sure we could count on him to assess it as well. Just reach out if you'd like to get me involved.
     
  19. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Absolutely! I'd be more than willing to help address setup issues in those used basses. I'm not exactly in the neighbourhood, but I do feel connected to the region as a whole. ;)
     
  20. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Well, great! But that's not what I was volunteering you for. I was just suggesting that if something serviceable popped it's head up in BC, you would likely know about it.
     

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