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Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Raka, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. Raka


    Aug 28, 2008
    Is there any kind of breakup in an upright bass?
    I have received one new (carved 2,1k€) with spirocore and the sound is no deep at all. Can I expect a breakup? Is this normal?
  2. PsychoScout


    Mar 18, 2008
    what's a breakup?
  3. I think the op means a break in period.
  4. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Welcome to the dark side.
    If you are asking whether the bass will mellow in the near future, I would say no. The strings will lose some brightness over the next few weeks, but if you are looking for a deeper tone I would recommend something like Evah Pirazzi weich. Soundpost adjustment may help somewhat, but your bass will still sound like your bass.
    There are several threads here about this very subject of helping new basses develop that mellow warmth and openness we often find in old instruments. New basses can sound bright, nasal and tight, but each bass is different so you never really know.
    I seem to remember Ken Smith recommending just buying and old bass to begin with and I think he may be right.
    Sorry if this sounds discouraging, but it has been my experience.
  5. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    You say you "received" the bass, so does that mean you ordered it and you never had a chance to try it out first? If so, this is the perfect example of why not to buy a bass without trying it. Anyway, you need to take it to a good bass luthier and see what they can do to wake it up.
  6. CellarDweller

    CellarDweller Supporting Member

    May 24, 2008
    Cleveland, Ohio
    +1 on going to a good bass luthier. You really can't believe how different the same bass can sound when properly set up, until you see it yourself. Most luthiers do not charge a lot in comparison to what they do for the bass.
    Also, spiros are optimum jazz strings, but can be a little harsh and bright under the bow.
  7. Only way to tell with spiros is to get the bass in a nice big room, have someone else play it, and stand back 5-8 meters and listen from there. It's probably making a nice deep tone, you just can't hear it over the near-field brightness; but that's actually a good thing, it means you can hear what you're doing easily.
  8. Raka


    Aug 28, 2008
    I got the problem solved: I gave back the bass to the seller.

    I was aware that buying something without trying is not optimal at all. I studied violin, and when I bought mine I was given three violins for testing at home for a week.

    But for me it's imposible to find somewhere to try some basses. So I bought from a local luthier, which is "specialized" in violins and cellos. I thought that if something was wrong with the bass, she should be able to fix it.

    I couldn't be more wrong.

    We agreed that the price included a complete setup and the fitting of the Revolution solo pick up. "I don't buy internet or from a regular music because they are cheaper, but I want a complete setup done and the availability of servicing the bass"

    This is what happened:

    - She told me it will be 7 to 10 days to deliver the bass, including set up. 15 days later she phoned me "I finished, it's ready for you".
    Happy as I was, I got there to give the welcome of the new member of the family:
    - The endpin was not possible to move, but this was fixed.
    - The junction of bridge and bass body was deplorable. You could see easily through the junction. When I asked her if she considered that a good fit, she told "Err... well, I saw it, was kind of ok so I left it that way. No problem, I'll do it". I repeat, it was deplorable.
    - the nut was high, so the strings were very high. I bet she did nothing with the nut.
    - The fingerboard had irregularities, so there was buzzing everywhere. "No problem, I'll fix those". I thought :"What the **** has she done so far??????"

    "Ok, no problem, fix those, fit the revolution solo I'm giving you with the instructions, and call me when it's ready"

    One week later:

    - The nut: The G string was a bit lower in the nut, but the rest I bet were not touched.
    - the fingerboard was fixed. Some strong irregularities of the wood became apparent, but the fingerboard was ok.
    - The pick up was there, but the fitting was average to say the least. The surfaces were not flat!, and the fitting was too soft. She took off more of wood than necessary.
    - The bridge was now dirty, with black shades. Like if the work was done by a garage operator.

    At that time, I just wanted to pick the bass, go home, forget her and play some walking lines.

    The sound of the bass was not good, but she told me it was the strings, that were factory strings.

    I got home, put some spirocores, but the sound was not improved at all. In fact I have at home a loaned laminated bass (1200 euro paid more than 15 years ago) that sounded better in every respect. More round, more body, etc... Even my wife noticed the difference.

    "Oh my..., what have I bought..." I started checked internet and saw that probably there was something wrong with the setup, probably the sound post which was too tight". Started to get nervous, "I know it's not a 150k€, but a 2k€ instrument is not a 400€ one and should sound something. Decided to give the luthier another chance, and ask her to check the sound post. I was puting the bass on the bag, and suddendly noticed that the fingerboard was not in line with the strings!!! There was more than 3cm off the G string to the edge (measured at the end of the fingerboard), and less than 1cm from the E string to the edge!!!

    "that is not ok..., on monday I'll bring it back"

    On monday I went to the luthier and when I explained her the fingerboard thing she told me something that broke all the confidence I could have on her: "Yeah, I noticed that"

    !?!?!?!?!?!? "You noticed that????"

    I asked her to bring the bass back, and recover the money. After checking with her supplier, she finally agreed to give me back 90% of the money.

    I had a really bad time there. I know it's not a 150k€ bass, but I don't spend 2k€ every day.

    So, I have 200€ less than in the beginning of my search for an upright. I have done nothing wrong, but this has cost me 200€.
  9. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    I hope your next experience leads to a satisfactory result.
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    One thing to note, while it certainly doesn't explain the problems you had with that bass, is that brand new Spiro's start out sounding really "twangy" and take a few days to settle down.

    You deserve much better than that for any price.

    By way of comparison, my friendly neighborhood luthier has basses in the under-$2000 range. For that price, you get a flawless setup, high quality strings, the chance to see several basses at different stages of repair, and hear a good story or two. He'll let you take the bass home on trial. All of this is stuff that he does up front at his own expense.

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