Buying a Bass that's Overseas

Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by Richard Simon, Jun 24, 2020.


  1. Richard Simon

    Richard Simon Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hello,
    A friend living in the Middle East, whose bass I played and liked several times, is now selling it.
    The up side: It's a beautiful 1884 3/4 from a reputable maker, with a label, maintained by a qualified luthier over the owner's 30 years of ownership.
    The downers: It's got an Eb neck (and I'm more comfortable with D); it has cello-like rounded shoulders that could pose a challenge going in and out of thumb position. Oh - and after a 13-hour flight to get to the States, it will require two more plane rides to get from the East to the West Coast of the US.
    The seller is holding out for $18k.

    To pick up the bass, I'd have to fly to the East Coast with my (empty) Gage trunk - in the middle of the spiking coronavirus (next month). That means three airports and two planes in each direction - with folks packed in and with varying degrees of concern over possible infection - and an overnight hotel stay.

    I guess you'll say I have to really love this bass to run that gauntlet and take that risk.

    Not to mention, there are no gigs in sight, and the Pandemic Assistance is to due expire at the end of July. I've done the math, and I think I can afford it without going broke.

    One more upside consideration is the bass, assuming it arrives home in one piece, sounds great, and should appreciate in value - if I live long enough to enjoy it.

    Re-reading this, it seems pretty crazy to even consider, but it'd be helpful to hear some input from experienced players.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    Richard, That seems like a lot of trouble to buy a bass that you said you are challenged by the shoulders and the neck. The cost of the plane tickets and baggage charges would add considerable expense. If there was a chance you would like a different bass someday and are not in a hurry, consider visiting some of the bigger bass shops and attending the International Society of Bassist convention. You will find a lot a basses for sale in those places. If the bass really "speaks to you" and you would say " I wish I had bought that bass!" in the future, then you have a choice to make.
     
  3. Richard Simon

    Richard Simon Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Lynn,

    Thank you. I needed a "voice of reason" to go up against the noise in my head. Its appeal is largely irrational: having borrowed it on several non-playing visits to the Holy Land, I attached some sentimental value to it. Besides the transport issues and its unusual construction, there's many a baggage handler between its take-off and eventual landing. With my luck I'd bring it home and notice a crack somewhere. There's no real urgency about buying another bass; instead, I think I'll stay home and practice "I COVID the Waterfront." Thanks again for your sage advice. -ricardo
     
  4. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    I love puns! All the best in this interesting time!
     
  5. Richard Simon

    Richard Simon Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Your input regarding the overseas bass has resonated favorably into the dawn of a new day. With its old age, bulbous shoulders and Eb neck, this would be more of a 'novelty' than an everyday bass - a conversation piece, an outlier, a quirk to acquire in a favorable deal, not something to be pursued by dashing carelessly across a pandemic-torn continent.
    So, since you like puns, here's the rest of my coronavirus-inspired, imaginary CD tune list:
    - Lung Ago and Far Away
    - Lysol You Last Night (and got that old feeling)
    - Oyé Cuomo Va
    - This Mask, You Raid
    - A Test Kit, a Task-it
    - Vaccinatin' Rhythm

    With all this isolation, small wonder one begins to de-compose.

    Virus con Dios,
    -ricardo
     
  6. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    Haha! Stay well.
     
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