Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Carved Rumanian Bass a Good Deal ?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Mar 6, 2002.


  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    OK, so I am finally thinking of "biting the bullet" and getting the right instrument for playing in small Jazz groups - which is what I think I really want to do.

    Talked to a very, very good Jazz DB player last Friday night and he recommended Foote's in Golden Square in London.

    http://www.footesmusic.com

    They have "Andreas Zeller" carved Rumanian basses at about £1300 - £1400 in stock with Thomastik Spirocores, bow and vinyl carrying bag.

    I searched here, but found nothing about these particular basses - does this sound like a good deal? It's well within my price range - there are about 1.45 $ to the £ . Anybody have any idea about or experience of these?

    Any other tips, hints - things I should ask or look out for? I will be in London this week sometime to have a look and I phoned - they mentioned they usually also have more expensive German basses but these are currently sold out - they sold 3 in a week! Should I wait and try one of these for comparison or get the Rumanian one if I like it?

    Oh well I can think of hundreds of questions, but I don't want to tax everyone's patience - any help will be gratefully accepted! :D
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I would think that there would be quite a few luthiers in the greater London area. Why not dig a few up and see what they have to offer? You might be able to get into an older bass for the same dough.
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have been doing that for the past 2 years or so ;)
    My problem is that the basses available seem to be either very cheap laminated items or very expensive - so like the "older" basses you mention seem to start at £5,000 or more. There are very few shops that actually stock anything at all - so I have rung a few and said what have you got and it's like - well we can order you a great bass and set it up etc....

    I think the point is that Double Basses are comparatively expensive - say to a violin - and are not going to be bought for students in the same quantity - so most shops you see advertising string instruments don't have any stocks for you to try.

    But the "Andreas Zeller" basses seem to be more widely available - they have a distributor in Reigate (I think) - not far from London and where I live - so you can actually get to see one before comitting. Plus - they are offering a fully-carved instrument at a price I can put on my credit card. Whereas £5,000 (translates as about $7,000 - $7,500) is something I would have trouble finding.

    Footes actually has these in stock - so I am very likely to go along tomorrow and try one - I imagine my enthusiasm will carry me away and I will want to buy it there and then.......:D
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    A luthier will have different eyes when looking at a bass. Maybe the shop will give you a week with the bass so that you can have someone look at it to make sure that it's structurally sound, etc.

    Some makers will make the things too thin so that they sound good fast, but the price is paid when the bass starts falling apart after a year or two. Shank gets a lot of those in, particularly Chinese.
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Bruce,

    Here in the states, if you're serious about buying a bass, you can often take it out "on approval", which means you leave some collateral of some sort (or not, if you are known by the seller) and then can try the bass out on your gigs, etc. In your case, you could take it to a luthier dring this time. Another option would be to take an experienced DB playing friend with you to help you check them out. It's not foolproof, but it would be an easy way to help spot a potential lemon.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - I have asked about this - but it seems to work the other way round here - you can put money down but can't actually take the bass away until you have paid in full! I have asked a few shops about this kind of thing! :(

    The DB players I know and whose opinions I would respect are all really busy with gigs/treaching etc - I was talking to one player last week at he local Jazz club and that was what set me on this course - I think the conclusion is that Footes are a long-established shop who will be around to deal with any problems and I can trust them to sell me something for my needs...?

    Central Europe seems to be in an emerging economic resurgence due to its craftsmen and low costs - I'm treating this as an experiment or first foray and like with BGs am sure I will buy others in future! ;) I'm resigned to losing money on gear...:D
     
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Bruce, that sounds like a good deal to me. I have had a lot of experience with that type of bass in my former employ. The woods are usually quite plain and the basses are often on the heavy side. But they usually sound decent and the resale value should be pretty good. You don't buy a wood bass for $2500 and then have to sell it a year later for $1500. Two obvious things to look out for-one, if it's a flatback you could have problems. Certain aspects of the Rumanian joinery are suspect. I encountered many of these in flatback form that had reoccurring problems with the crossbars coming loose. This can lead to expensive repairs. If you are offered a flatback take a real good look inside. Second, look out for basses that have a very heavy finish. Some of these are sprayed with a nitrocellulose or a poly finish and this can really inhibit the tone. It also is chippy and will add very substantial weight to the bass. Hope this helps!
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Thanks Jeff - that's very encouraging and helpful - I'm only looking to get started on this - I've put off the decision for about 4 year now as it has been obvious that in Jazz people expect a DB and nearly all the music I like best is played on DBs! :D

    Thanks for all the other replies as well!
     
  9. Just a word of warning Bruce,the last time i went on a DB hunt i got seriously distracted by the other basses that were for sale,especially the nicer old basses and the higher end ones.
    Be careful out there.
     
  10. Bruce,
    What's the exchange rate between the Pound and the Euro? And how are things priced, comparatively, between the Continent and England. You might able to find much more bass for your money if you check out some of those other markets.
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    Well I went to have a look at one of these basses yesterday and far from being carried away by enthusiasm, I was totally uninspired - both by the Bass and the shop!

    The things that Jeff mentioned in his post do seem to apply - it was a flatback with a heavy finish - I looked at all the joints and don't think I would have been happy if it was a piece of furniture - didn't inspire confidence!

    It was very "yellow", didn't like the sound it made and I just didn't want to buy this!

    I think the whole experience of trying to buy a Double Bass in England has decidedly put me off - it's like the shops don't want to sell you anything. So the staff just didn't seem to be bothered - I asked loads of questions about other basses and got blank looks and very little information!

    So this was the only shop out of all those I had phoned which actually admitted to having basses in stock that you could try - and then it was a total of 3 in a dingy basement!

    I think I am about to give up and buy an electric upright from the Bass Centre - mainly because I feel they actually deserve my custom! So the Bass Centre and Gallery in London sell mostly bass guitars but have some EUBs - but they almost inhabit a different world. So they have friendly, knowledgeable staff who are extremely helpful, make you coffee an actually talk to you!

    They want to help you get what you want - whereas my impression of the "DB" world is that they don't really want to sell me anything that I want - but rather want to keep what little stock they have for themselves!

    I have been looking and researching for about 2 years now and I feel this has held me back - so I am just about ready to buy an EUB as this seems to be my only feasible choice!
     
  12. Klimbim

    Klimbim

    Mar 3, 2001
    Why not ask your jazz bassist friend about others shops that they might know about....or ask him if he knows anyone selling. Also, maybe trying contacting the many symphony orchestras in England for players who might be selling their 2nd basses.

    Also - how about David K's suggestion? Sounds good to me...
     
  13. mflaherty

    mflaherty Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2001
    Have you talked to these people?

    http://www.gallerystrings.com/

    They seem to specialize in high end orchestral basses, but if they really have the stock they show in the picture gallery, you would at least get to look at and play some nice instruments.

    I discovered them on the links page from this site:

    http://www.thomasmartin.co.uk/

    Thomas Martin is a frequent contributor to the 2xBass mailing list, and is a very helpful person. You can get his email address here:

    http://www.gollihur.com/kkbass/luthiers.html
     
  14. mflaherty

    mflaherty Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2001
    Have you talked to these people?

    http://www.gallerystrings.com/

    They seem to specialize in high end orchestral basses, but if they really have the stock they show in the picture gallery, you would at least get to look at and play some nice instruments.

    I discovered them on the links page from this site:

    http://www.thomasmartin.co.uk/

    Thomas Martin is a frequent contributor to the 2xBass mailing list, and is a very helpful person. You can get his email address here:

    http://www.gollihur.com/kkbass/luthiers.html
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have looked at all these and have phoned up Gallery strings. As you say - if I had £20,000 then it might be worth a visit! :(
     
  16. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Be quite sure the EUB will be everything you want it to be before you buy one. It is not a DB. If it's a DB you want, dial up the patience, and keep your eyes and ears open.

    Mark
    (who in one week in December drove 3,900 miles, spent almost $8,000 -- not all of it on the bass -- and found what he was looking for ...but only after 3 months of online research)
     
  17. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    PLEASE don't buy an EUB out of frustration. I own one for touring, and I do use it here at home, but it is NOT the same as even a low end DB. Let the guys on this forum and elsewhere help you hook up with someone who can give you the service you need. I live in Maui, and the bass that I play now was ordered from Lemur, and it eventually made its way to me. There aren't lots of basses to choose from out here! You can make it happen.
     
  18. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I can't help but get the feeling that Bruce isn't really convinced at heart that he wants to get into the big bass and has gone out of the way to convince himself that his inability to aquire a bass is indeed fact so that he can lay blame for his not getting a bass on environmental detail rather than himself. He has stated himself what he needs to do get a bass and then claims that this is impossible for him. Saving a bit and getting to know how the Bass market works are overwhelming? I don't buy it. I believe this and the other thread that he has started are an attempt to gain acceptance for his self-inflicted predicament and further place the blame of his bass-lessness elsewhere.

    Sorry, Bruce. I don't intend this as any kind of personal attack. I'm only suggesting that you do a little soul-searching and decide what it is that you really want and then feel confident in that decision.

    [Asbestos suit: on]
     
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I suspect this is the sort of tenacity and outlay that is needed, but I just don't think I have it. I admire you and all the others DBers I have seen even more now - knowing what goes into it! ;)

    I do have other reasons for playing EUB - in that my main band is a Salsa/Latin band where this sort of thing is far more prevalent. I would like to get into straight ahead Jazz more, but just buying an instrument is probably not going to make any difference to my situation in that respect - much as I'd like to think so! ;)

    For the sort of gigs I am playing the EUB is probably more appropriate - the Double Bass would only have been for me to learn on at home for several years.
     
  20. twig

    twig

    Aug 5, 2001
    London UK
    Bruce

    Have you tried Thwaites (01923 232 412) or Peter Tyler (01628 621 560) if you're still after a doublebass I would highly recommend these two. They both do basses from £600 upwards and they are both very helpful, they are located on the outskirts of London but well worth the drive.

    I have got one of those "shiny" Romanian basses and I am happy with it, it's got a very full, loud sound and it's serves me very well for my first carved bass.

    I do have details of other doublebass dealers/luthiers in and around the London area just in case.

    Ray