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Can I get a decent start w/ my budget?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by degroove, Feb 17, 2004.


  1. degroove

    degroove

    Jun 5, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    Greetings!

    I am a newbie propsect. I have checked out the newbie links and am considering renting un URB to see if I am going to be interested in learning the instrument. I will most likely take some lessons to get the fundamentals while renting, as I have been playing electric bass for 10 years now, but realize the technique is vastly different.

    I am looking for a basss that would be fairly versatile (rock, blues, folk, jazz), would be decent quality-wise, and would be a good "starter" upright. I realize that I may be able to land a low level hybrid, but most likely not a carved.

    My budget for an URB would be about $2,000 if I decided to get one. I know that I could get a top-of-the-line ES9 Swing Master set up (by Lemur) for about $2,000. A lot of people comment about not wasting money on a bass that will be tough to unload if you don't like or play it and need tons of money poured into it to get it to sound good. Would this be considered a bass in this not a smart idea class?

    Would the Swing Master be a good choice for me? How much, rule of thumb, does one have to spend to get a decent starter instrument?

    Thanks, so much! Matt...
     
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Nothing wrong with a Swingmaster. I had one. After all the setup was done, it was a fine bass. I just listened to a live recording I did with it last year. I was reminded that was a good sounding plywood. I will say this: You stick out like a sore thumb with a giant, shiny blond bass. Whether that is a good thing or bad, only you can decide.

    Engelhardts are also a joy to play.

    But for $2k, you have options. I just bought a Samuel Shen that is an excellent upgrade from the Engelhardt. It was more than $2k, but Shen offers an all-laminate model that could be bought with a good setup for less than $2k. It seems well thought of. I also recently bought a well-setup Strunal used for my church. It is a good bass as well.

    There are plenty of basses that'll get you going for $2k.

    I might consider trying to get started for $1,500-1,600 and save the rest to start building a relationship with a teacher. Ten lessons from a good teacher will do more for your sound than an extra $500 worth of bass ever could.
     
  3. degroove

    degroove

    Jun 5, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    Glad to hear about the Swingmaster. The color is different, but the Sumpreme is the same build with a more traditionalk color. I do like the honey color!

    I also agree on the importance of lessons. There are some music places in my state that provide string bass lessons for a moderate cost. Having an instructor is nice, becuase they keep you honest and make sure your doing things right! :)

    You have a link to the Shen Basses for me to check out?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Have you checked out the Newbie link? There is an unbelievable amount of information there about virtually every brand of bass.

    I too have a swingmaster and am very pleased with it. Certainly it is not a 19th century carved bass but for bluegrass festival conditions it is excellent. It also sounds as good an any Kay I have heard or played.

    As far as the Shen basses go, find a post by John Sprague, a regular on TB. John is a Shen distributer and could fill you in on lots of information if you PM him.
     
  5. degroove

    degroove

    Jun 5, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    Thank you steve! Does the Swingmaster come with an adjustable bridge?

    Also, sent email about to John...thanks for the lead.
     
  6. No to the adjustable bridge. The stock e'hardt bridges are not very good. You will have to spend some money on a good setup--one major complaint a lot of TB guys have about the brand--but it is well worth it. I had an adjustable bridge installed, fingerboard planed, nut adjustment, and decent strings installed in my setup. It made a big difference.

    Don't hesitate to ask a lot of questions here. There are many people here who can offer extremely valuable advice. BUT first make sure to read the newbie links. Some TB members get a little testy at being asked questions that have been answered innumerable times and are archived in those links.
     
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm sure it was mentioned a billion times in the newbie links, but my recommendation is that you snag a well respected teacher and have him pick out a good rental bass. This will give you more time to find a good bass, and also the time to develop some kind of idea of what you are (or will be) looking for in a bass.
     
  8. degroove

    degroove

    Jun 5, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    I am not sure if I have time for lessons right now. As a part-time grad schooler, I already have class 2x per week and band rehearsal 1x per week. My gf would kill me if I was out another night with lessons.

    I have been looking at alternatives to lessons. I have Rufus' Reids book and if I got the DVD, I think it would be good for some fundamentals on a rental. I do understand the importance of lessons though as I have gained a lot from electric lessons.

    I am in NO rush to buy a bass. I want to make as informed a decision as possible and my band is electric, so no need to get it right away for that neither.
     
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I would still recommend contacting someone. Explain your situation. I'm sure that they would be glad to help pick a bass, give you a primer lesson, etc. I know I would have no problem doing the same.
     
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    I'm with Ray; just take one lesson (at least), so you don't hurt yourself.
     
  11. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
  12. degroove

    degroove

    Jun 5, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    Progress:

    Called around. Found a place that if they can find a bass, will rent it to me for 4.5 months for only $99!!

    I can also get lessons for $78 possibly with this guy who teaches double bass and plays electric, so it looks to be a good deal.

    Jazzbo - I read your link of your lessons. I am thinking they would be a good for me even when renting the bass.

    Will post if I get a rental and more progress. :)
     
  13. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    you should check and see if your school offers you some type of lessons as a class...mine does and i found out about, it is a music performance class, for the contrabass of course, my teacher is great, and i am supposed to pay some amount for taking the course but my teacher said "i'll just forget about that and you can too, if they ask me about it, i'll say i forgot, then you'll have to pay."
    well its been six semesters i haven't payed anything, i've learned a huge amount.
    i have a 30 minute private lesson each week, not a huge amount of time, but we can usually cover a good amount.
    scales, technique, jazz theory, reading.....everything.
    i also played for three years in middle school so i wasn't a complete newbie to the bass and my teacher was/still is a great source of knowledge.

    i play the schools bass too, so when i do get my own bass, i will know what i am looking for and how it should feel.
    i would check into that first, and see if you can fit it in your schedule somehow.
    the teacher will be the absolute best part of the whole thing, plus if you decide its not for you. you won't have to try to sell a bass.
    only drawback is i don't have a car my bass will fit in, so i have to go up to the music building at the school to practice.
     
  14. degroove

    degroove

    Jun 5, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    Only problem is that my masters is not music related...its public administration. Also, I don't live on campus, I communte and work full time fairly far from campus.

    That is a good suggestion, though. Glad it works for you :)
     
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Now you're talkin'.
     
  16. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    yeah its good if you can find the time.
    also one of the requirements of the class is that you cannot be a music major.
    i guess its designed to allow nonmusic majors an opportunity to take advantage of the schools music department, pretty cool.
     
  17. degroove

    degroove

    Jun 5, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    :bassist: ALLRIGHT :bassist:

    The store has a bass for me and I can pick it up today!!

    Whoo -hoo!

    $99 for 4.5 months is a good deal I think. He said its a $2,000 bass, so they are doing a credit check!! Guess to make sure they can sue me if I make off with it, or ruin it!! :)

    I do have to say thanks for all your advice, becuase left to my own impulsive devices, I WOULD NOT have even thought to rent first!! :D

    Next Step - lessons.
     
  18. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    It seems to me that you're on the right path. May to Force be with you, Grasshopper.
     
  19. degroove

    degroove

    Jun 5, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    Thank you. I am hoping to make the transition to washtub slapper soon!!

    ;)
     
  20. Just be aware that you are embarking on the road to addiction.