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Better, or just different, for $16K?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BobDeRosa, Aug 10, 2020.


  1. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
     
    GlennRH, Remyd, jhfishn and 2 others like this.
  2. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Objectively, it'll probably hold it's tuning better. It'll probably withstand damage better. The electronics are probably objectively better in a way I don't really understand....the quality of wires and magnets and such. The quality and stability of the wood and the craftsmanship that went into it is better. Besides that I don't think it's objectively better in any way. The rest of the price is the brand name, IMO, and to many people it's subjectively worth it.
     
    TH63, rmayer, leamdav and 14 others like this.
  3. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    As a strange co-incidence, every bass I have ever owned has cost me more than $73, but less than $16,000.
     
  4. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    When you inspect enough of those cheap instruments, you will find one that's pretty decent (among many terrible ones).
    When you inspect enough of those off-the-mill US made Fenders, you will find one that has a few flaws.
    When you inspect enough of those Fodera basses, you will eventually give up.
     
  5. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Define "better". I think we both know that, by most objective standards, the Fodera is the winner there. Subjectively, though? Then, IMO, you could make a pretty good case for the Harley Benton. But, also IMO, the Fodera probably wins there, too... Then, "better" - for who? Me, for example? If so, then the answer is... neither. The Harley Benton? I already have a P-Bass. A real one, from a time when all Fender P-Basses (all Fenders, for that matter) were made in Fullerton, and with an optional "A" contour neck. I have no need - and certainly no desire - for an inexpensive copy. Which, by the way, doesn't cost $73 - for me. Like most manufacturers, HB has a Lefty Surcharge; and, a comparatively steep one, too - 21% . For me, one of those is $88. But, I digress...
    The Fodera? Nah... It's pretty much everything I don't want in a bass, anyway. Even assuming I could get a lefty (and it's very disappointing how many boutique/custom makers won't make one), it holds no appeal for me. And besides; I have a lefty Alembic, anyway. I really don't think a Fodera would be "better" - by any standard...:whistle:
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  6. Gsnorgathon

    Gsnorgathon

    Jan 15, 2020
    It occurs to me that one respect in which the Harley Benton is objectively better than the Fodera is the cost to insure it, especially if you plan on gigging with it.
     
    bassicg and BobDeRosa like this.
  7. Buy and play whatever makes you happy.
     
  8. barginkov

    barginkov

    Feb 1, 2012
    L.I. New York
    My Kia gets me to work just as good as your 150000. Dollar Porsche
     
  9. barginkov

    barginkov

    Feb 1, 2012
    L.I. New York
    if you're happy with your 30 dollar bass then play it if you .are happy with 20000 fodera than play that.
     
    fleabitten, Jon Moody and BobDeRosa like this.
  10. I would never buy a ~ $16,000 bass guitar because I’d be too paranoid about dinging it. I’d never play it in a club for fear of theft, flying potatoes and beer bottles.
     
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I drove from Denver to Austin last week and took the scenic off-interstate route. Hypothetically there are speed limits in west Texas and hypothetically a tropper could be airlifted from 100 miles away to enforce them. But driving over 135 m/h without fear, pretty fun. Some differences are quantifiable.
    But some are esoteric to your point.
    In my estimate there is a blurry line around $5-600 above which you pay for details that are more costly and harder to objectively define. Yes, we can buy a nicer bass than a Glarry. There's no sonic difference between hand shaped and machine shaped bodies, but the hand made experience can be worth paying for. Assuming similar electronics, the minor cost delta is in the materials of the neck and body, hardware, the major cost delta is labor and uniqueness / rarity.
    Personally I don't need a Glarry but I am glad on some level that they exist because a low cost of entry means more kids can come in.
     
  12. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Please elaborate on flying potatoes. That sounds awesome.
     
  13. Baked potatoes usually.. I imagine the a peel is decent accuracy and velocity. Tough to clean out of the pickup routs however.
     
  14. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    none
    Every old man everywhere: "kids these days with their fancy _______ . All I ever needed was a _______!"
     
  15. Vinny_G

    Vinny_G

    Dec 1, 2011
    Neustria
    If I had $16K to spend between the two, I'd rather buy 220 Harley Benton and use them as garden gnomes. What a magnificent scenery :)
     
    Erable, timplog, canuckshort and 9 others like this.
  16. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"...

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Is a rare gem better than a regular old rock?
     
  17. Relayer71

    Relayer71 Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    NYC
    Better? No, but rarer. Some people pay for rarer.

    That's why an action figure, comic book, decorative piece can command a lot of cash; because there only exists a few of them.

    With instruments, part of the cost is materials and labor. Part of it, obviously. After 5 or 6 grand, I have trouble understanding where the hell the money is going, but that's my threshold, yours may be different.
     
  18. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"...

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Exactly, which is why I find arguing over the price of a given “boutique” instrument kind of pointless. I would suspect that, when it comes right down to it, an instrument’s being objectively “better” has little to do with why a person might choose a $10,000 bass over a $3000 bass.
     
  19. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    We are mere mortals and should be happy with sub $500 basses. It's for the bass Gods who can afford $16,000 basses that understand why they need such pricey instruments. Ours is not to question and to push on with the grindstone. Now get back to work.
     
  20. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I used to own a BMW Z4. It was an awesome car, very fun to drive and beautiful. Everytime I heard a strange noise, or it performed in some way I did not expect, it sent a fear into my brain that sometimes ruined my day. I couldn't really afford to repair it.
    Today I drive a used cheap Mazda. It drives "pretty well". It looks "pretty nice". Neither one anywhere near the Z4. And yet, when I get a scratch or hear a strange noise I actually laugh with relief because I'm not worried about it anymore.
    I still think the Z4 (1st gen) is one of the coolest looking cars on the road and complement owners when I see 'em, but I'm a happier person with the Mazda. Different strokes for different folks and I'm not a folk who ever needs to own a Fodera...my sub-$750 parts builds are perfect for me.
     

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