Buying in Europe vs. US

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by AMUNC, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. AMUNC


    Jan 22, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    I'll be spending a semester in Vienna to study bass this fall, and am also just beginning to get into the market for a grad school bass. I have some peers that claim that buying an instrument is cheaper in Europe because the market is more saturated, although I don't know how informed their ideas are.

    Would someone be able to shed some light on this subject? If it helps, I'm a classical player looking to spend 10-15k
  2. sonix


    Dec 3, 2007
  3. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Start looking here before you go to Europe. Lots of shops on the East coast. Then, when you get to Vienna, check out basses there. You'll be able to make an educated comparison. The important thing is to find a bass you like, wherever you buy it.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  4. i dont think buying a bass in europe is cheaper than buying it in the u.s. (especially if you have to bring it back to the u.s. after one semester).. but that is just my subjective observation.. there is a really nice place in vienna to check some basses: Kanzian&Traunsteiner Kontrabassbau
    and there are some really great places to try and buy a good amount of basses in the south of germany which is not very far from vienna.. there is poellmann in mittenwald, gruenert in penzberg, world of basses in reutlingen just to name a few.. Pöllmann Contrabass , , World Of Basses ...
    MIKMAN and geoffbassist like this.
  5. PaulCannon


    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design / AER Endorsing Artist
    Try the convention in Prague this September.

    In general, the prices for older instruments is a little bit lower than American shops. If you really know what to look for, you can find some very good deals. The other thing to consider is that most European orchestras own their basses, so there isn't as much demand for high quality orchestral instruments as in the US.
  6. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Insofar as consumer prices are concerned, that may or may not be so, depending on RoE, but financially you need to include the total cost of ownership, that is: total cost to you. In this case, and certainly at that price level, you need to consider issues like US import duties & taxes, transport & handling costs, refunds on MwSt/VAT/TVA/(sales tax). Research the rules & regulations and calculate carefully. And maybe learn to negotiate in German (/French/Hungarian/Czech/Romanian/...).

    Functionally Eric's advice is wise.
    AMUNC likes this.
  7. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Learning German between now and September seems optimistic, especially if you're trying to learn while in the US, but yes, any little bit you can absorb before you go will be invaluable. Bass2016 in Prague is a good suggestion, and there are many shops within a day's trip of Vienna. German VAT is 19%, but this only applies to new instruments, and you can claim it back if you leave within some specified time. I would say it's partly true that basses are cheaper here. What is definitely true is that there are way more instruments to choose from, and the older instrument tend to be in better condition. Also, I imagine air-freighting a bass from EU to US is cheaper than the reverse. Good Luck!
  8. AMUNC


    Jan 22, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    Thanks for the help everyone! Luckily, I do speak German (part of the reason I chose the program), so hopefully I know enough to negotiate. I'll absolutely be going to the Prague Exhibition and checking out some of these shops. Does anyone know if it's possible for me to get into any of these master classes? Or are they reserved for Czech students?
  9. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I'm pretty sure the master classes are open to all. They were last time in Almere, at least.

Share This Page