Been offered a trade, this upright bass for my Lakland

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by dnp41, Nov 3, 2021.

  1. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    Hi guys,

    I'm an electric bass player and I've developed an interest in the upright. I have a bass up for sale on a local version of craigslist (Marktplaats, the Netherlands) and now this guy offers me a trade for an upright. I have no idea if this is a fair deal and if there are any red flags for this bass. Any help or advice would be much appreciated!

    His add text:
    Old Czechoslovakian contrabass. Very comfortable to play with, perfect for beginners since the action is low and it's easy to play. Don't play this one anymore and it takes too much space. Will give you realist pickup as a present if you take it.

    And some pictures:
    Screenshot_20211103-084516.png Screenshot_20211103-084511.png Screenshot_20211103-084540.png Screenshot_20211103-084528.png Screenshot_20211103-084516.png Screenshot_20211103-084511.png Screenshot_20211103-084540.png Screenshot_20211103-084528.png
  2. Slaphound

    Slaphound Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    Nah. I'd stay away. Because. You don't know anything about the Double Bass. A luthier would. Maybe you can ask the seller to allow you to take the bass to a luthier to have checked out and see if its worth what your Lakeland is valued. I'll tell you what I see from the pics. No adjustable bridge. Most basses have one and Its expensive to install. Second, the neck joint looks weird. Like its been repaired. Maybe a big thing. Maybe not. But like I said, a luthier would know if its a problem. Just my .02 cents worth of knowledge. Aint much.
  3. Matthijs

    Matthijs Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    At least that mess around the heel of the neck needs to be looked at by someone who knows what is what. Where in the Netherlands do you live? There is a very good double bass luthier in Almere: Lucas Suringar. He also has a collection of basses for sale.
    There are quite a few cheap Double basses for sale on marktplaats at the moment. A lot of them seem pretty iffy. But some might be playable after being looked over by a luthier. The cost of a luthier in the Netherlands might be lower than you’d expect.
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Let's see . . .

    The neck heel is indeed a mess and any decision about the bass requires luthier input.
    The questions are whether the goobed-up joint is stable ("Can I play this now?") and whether it's reversible ("Can I fix this later?"). There is always some way to fix it later -- but going from one ugly, gooby repair to another obvious repair is not the ideal solution.

    If you're the kind of gearhead who thinks about selling when you're thinking about buying, note that this DB will be harder and slower to sell unless the neck-joint is straightened out -- maybe afterward too.

    An adjustable bridge is a help because string height often shifts with the seasons, and always shifts as players' taste changes. It's a modest cost -- the parts show on the internet for $25 and, to cite one example, the Uptons charge $75 for installation. Luthiers ship bridges, too.

    The next question is what Lakland you're giving up. I'm seeing them on Reverb for prices ranging from $600 to $5k+. At the lower end, your profile pic shows that you've got a bunch of BGs and no DB, so take a try -- you have little to lose and much to gain. At the higher end, there are a wide selection of new and used DBs for $5k+

    Hope this is some help.
  5. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    A luthier definitely should see this before any transaction is made. Also, "developing an interest" in upright also requires developing an interest in diligent, daily practice, just to maintain good intonation, and an interest in lugging the thing around town. It's a commitment not to be taken lightly. Think about it.
  6. Matthijs

    Matthijs Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    I doubt any of us has really developed an interest in lugging our instruments around. my development seems to go the other way…

    but your point is valid.
    Slaphound and AGCurry like this.
  7. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Hear, hear.

    While there are SOME self-taught double bassists who progressed quickly and without developing bad habits or injuring their hands, the fastest and most reliable path to gaining competency on the DB is to get a bow and engage a qualified instruction who will take you through one of the standard DB methods (Simandl, Nanny, etc.). This means daily practice (I'd say most people would need min. 45 min/day, 5 days/week, for a year or so) to get a handle on the thing. Yes, you can fiddly-dick around with the thing and take 5 years of desultory fooling around to get somewhat half-arsed on it, but if you want to move along and start playing the thing without totally sucking, that there's the fastest most reliable path - in my opinion.

    So if you imagine the DB not as an occasional toy but as a real musical instrument that you can use for real musical purposes, as noted you're also in for a course of lessons and some real practicing.
    Ross Kratter, dnp41, eh_train and 2 others like this.
  8. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    That neck joint repair looks pretty rough, and it's also got a headstock repair which is not encouraging (I hope the owner came out of the car crash in better condition), but it might actually be structurally sound. You really need a luthier to put hands on stuff like this to give you an opinion, because even minor repairs to DB's cost a lot. If the luthier says it's good, then it is a bass worth hundreds of dollars, and the Realist is worth another c-note.
    Ross Kratter and dnp41 like this.
  9. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    How come someone asking about a bass trade turns into "warnings" about how to learn the instrument properly? Come on people, quit trying to stop folks from picking up the instrument. It strikes me as very arrogant, which is pretty common here i guess amongst the DB players.
    Reiska, tzohn, Matunuck and 10 others like this.
  10. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Because the EB and DB are completely different, technique-wise. And as mentioned above, improper DB technique can cause injuries and health issues. And those things can make a beginner dislike the experience. I don't think they're trying to discourage the OP from taking up the DB, just cautioning them on (1) the state of the DB in question, and (2) the safest way to approach the instrument.
  11. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    I don't see how it's arrogant, but I sure hope it's helpful. Believe me, I've got nothing to be arrogant about.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2021
  12. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    We'll just have to agree to disagree. I think the dangers of learning the instrument are overblown pretty frequently, and don't think it's appropriate to mention when the OP is not remotely asking about it. It's also very assuming on the OP's current experience and knowledge, which is not a good look IMO.
  13. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Agreed, with many, that you need to assess whether the neck join is stable. Whoever "repaired" it though, poured on as much glue and filler as possible. So it's difficult to evaluate without taking it apart. IF the neck is still loose despite all the hack repairing, you have your answer. But if it seems secure you still don't know how secure. Maybe try asking the current owner whether they "fixed" it and, if so, what did they do?

    Regarding reversible, it was probably a $1500 bass when new. It's now a refinished bass with lots of wear and damage. How much more time and money would you want to throw at it? If the answer is "I want it repaired properly", maybe you should start with a better bass and save yourself the heartache.

    If you're new to luthiery, as well as to playing a DB, DON'T think that adjuster wheels will be easy to put into a bridge yourself! IF the existing bridge isn't warped, a luthier can put in the wheels for not much money. That way you save trying to do it yourself, ruining the bridge, and having a luthier fit a whole new bridge.
    Sam Sherry and Ross Kratter like this.
  14. WG Plum

    WG Plum

    Apr 9, 2021
    I would say no, that is not a good trade. If you're really interested in upright, I'd find one you can afford and keep your Lakland.
  15. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    When someone says, "I've developed an interest in the upright," my assumption is that he has had very little experience with or interest in one before. Again, I'm just trying to introduce some reality in the hope that the OP doesn't waste a lot of time and effort on a whim.
  16. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    Here's a really helpful video, published today, about some things you can do to evaluate the bass you're thinking about trading for. However, a visit with a luthier would still be safer.
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    As others have said: it depends on the Lakland and it depends on the condition of this doublebass, which based on these pictures, there is cause for concern.

    Repairs are normal and necessary on DBs, but they need to be done properly or at least well. In most cases and definitely in this case, you need expert eyes to determine what you are working with here.

    And as others have said and Seanto has checked us on: learning DB is a great idea and if it calls you, welcome, but make sure that you understand that you can't port what you do on BG over to DB. It is the start of a process that will require a lot from you. So, "is it worth it?" also depends on whether you're on-board for doing that work. It's okay if you are and it's okay if you're not, but it's less likely to be a good trade for you (assuming all repairs) if it's going to sit in the corner.
    Ross Kratter and dnp41 like this.
  18. neddyrow

    neddyrow @TeddyPlaysBass - Instagram Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    I think the OP got the information needed which is to take it to a luthier first. It'd be a hard pass for me as the pegbox doesn't look very secure to the neck either.

    As for taking up the DB, you gotta have a bass to learn on and the OP never said he wasn't going to find a teacher. DB instructors aren't outlawed from operating in the Netherlands are they?

    Unless you know this guy on a personal level it's pretty rough to say this is a "whim" for the OP
  19. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    As a beginner you want to start off with the fewest possible issues to interfere with your learning. Upright is a tough instrument at the beginning and it is easy to get frustrated. The bass you are considering has a lot of potential issues, such as the neck joint repair and the repair at the scroll (neither of which look like they were done by a pro).
    I would suggest that you get a teacher, rent a bass, and after a few months when you know a lot more and have someone to help you, go looking for a bass.
  20. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    That repair is *very* rough.
    I play a banged up old plywood Czech “Juzek” and had a banged up old Kay before that. Niether looked that bad.

    I recommend passing on it.
    Ross Kratter and salcott like this.
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