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cheap starter bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by emielow, May 24, 2005.


  1. emielow

    emielow

    Jan 18, 2004
    i know there are many threads are about this, but i have a question...

    i play bassguitar for 6/7 years now, and i want to play double bass.. i'm a student and i have to eat also... so i'm thinking about buying the cheapest double bass, to learn it (and take some lessons also) ( if i buy a more expensive bass, i cannot afford lessons...)

    so here is my question. I can buy this bass, with bow and cover for 449 euros.. thats about 550/600 USdollars i guess.

    [​IMG]

    can i buy this one, just to practice a lot, and take lessons, and buy a better one if i have a job etc. and sell this one... or is this bass just some wooden box with 4 strings, that doesn't even play/sound like a bass... ?

    for example, i have a fender jazz bass, i can image that i can still learn the bassguitar skills on a cheap-ass jazzbass like this one for 200 euro's

    [​IMG]


    can i also learn to play double bass on the double bass in the picture?
     
  2. At least it looks like a bass in the photo. What more can one say?
     
  3. M_A_T_T

    M_A_T_T

    Mar 4, 2004
    Canada
    Those cheapo basses aren't that bad. It'll definately need a proper setup, which can cost $100's of dollars unless you can do that yourself.

    To me basses are like any other musical instrument: Why spend thousands of dollars on an instrument you don't even know you'll enjoy playing? Buy a cheap beginner instrument to take your first year or so of lessons on, and if you find you really enjoy the instrument, sell your cheapo (or keep it as a backup) and upgrade.
     
  4. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    I would just caution that a good intrument at least retains its value, and more often increases in value while a cheap intrument loses its value. I sold my first bass at a 300% profit and will soon sell another at about a 150% profit. That's not going to happen with the one above. Not to mention that playing a bad bass will not be enjoyable, providing a strong probability that this $500 bass will soon be sold and emielow will think it's just not his bag. That would be a shame if someone quits because they got a bad bass.
     
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    emielow- I've been going over to The Netherlands for three years now, playing gigs and making friends. There is a great guy in De Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam named Lucas Suringar. He has some affordable beginner basses that are professionally setup. Most of the cheapo online basses (anything under $1000 USD) need setup work. You can really mess up your arms and hands, as well as your technique, if you try to "learn" on a bad setup.

    Contact Lucas... his info is:
    Amsterdam, Atelier voor Contrabas, Lucas Suringar, +31-20 6276293, l.suringar@wolmail.nl
     
  6. Any instrument badly set up, double bass or otherwise, can be a major impediment to a new player. It doesn't have to be fancy materials or carved to be playable, but for the price that this instrument is sold for you just know it won't be playable as it comes. You'll have to spend the difference anyway to get it close to playable. At the price it is, you wonder if it could even be structurally sound. It kind of reminds me of the really bad, really cheap, plywood guitars that sold in hardware stores and dime stores during the 1960's for $10. They were not playable instruments.

    Saving up a little more money here will save you a hassle in the long run.
     
  7. emielow

    emielow

    Jan 18, 2004
    Thanx! i've watched his site, and saw a chineze bass, with simpele cover, setup by himself for 500 Euros... so, that will be better then?
     
  8. emielow

    emielow

    Jan 18, 2004
    it's a 3/4 plywood bass:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. #1
    Also, I get the impression that you're thinking of just buying on-line. Don't do that. You should try to bring someone with you who knows a bit about basses. You need to see and try.
    Good luck.
    Try Nicks friend!
     
  10. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    It is always perferable to buy from someone that can service what they sell. As you get better, you may want a pickup, or different strings, or have questions about your instrument/setup, etc. An online clearing-house store isn't going to call you back and "talk bass" with you! (Hell, they don't even know how to do simple setup work...)

    You might spend more money at a bass shop, but it will definitely pay off down the road. Buying electric basses is different than buying upright basses.
     
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    IMO, forget about buying for the time being. You're wasting money buying a crappy bass for < $1000. Just RENT one. That way you're not committed to a big purchase. And if the luthier/DB seller is cool, they probably will allow you to put that rent money toward buying a bass when the time comes.

    That'll also allow you to build some playing skills and get you an idea what you want in bass for when you do the real shopping for a decent one.
     
  12. emielow

    emielow

    Jan 18, 2004
    yes, but if i rent a bass for two years, i can buy one.... (cheap one..)

    and after 2 years i can sell it again for the same price.
     
  13. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    No offense, but I think you're point of view is skewed.

    Completely independent of your train of thought, my recommendation would also be to rent to see if it's really for you. You'll rent a much better bass than you'd be able to buy, not to mention, that buying the bass would cost a couple hundred USD more than expected, don't know how that translates over there. You're likely going to need new strings and a good setup. Those two alone cost me $300 in the states, and that's on a $1000 instrument.

    Definately consider renting one for a couple months just to be safe, a well setup bass will be much more friendly for a beginner.
     
  14. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Good luck selling it at the same price after two years. A crappy bass under $1000 will hardly hold it's value. You'll be lucky if you get rid of it for $800. And that's if that crappy bass holds up long enough for you to sell it. And not to mention that you'll be banging it up transporting it here and there and beating it up some more. It's impossible not to scratch or dent the bass if you're playing for any length of time. If it breaks down before then (which is quite likely for a bass of that quality), the repairs will cost you even more $$$. There are stories on this forum about CCB's that go for about a year or so before they implode. Caveat Emptor. I think you're being way too optimistic.

    On the other hand, by renting you would be in a noncommital relationship with owning the bass. If after 4 months you find out that you hate it, you would just lose the rental money for those 4 months instead of stuck with an albatross around your neck. You'd be set back a fraction of what it costs to own a bass and chances are, the rental bass will be much much better than the bass you're considering. If you end up liking it after a year or so, chances are that you something decent that sounds good and holds up. In which case, hopefully that rental money could be used as a deposit on a good bass. And like everybody else says, chances are that you will learn faster and enjoy playing a better instrument from a reputable source.
     
  15. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    What gets me about this cheap bass packages if that the bass is hardly worth anything. I'll try to analyze the value conservatively.

    Lets say we start with a bass package for $500. $100 of what you're paying is gonna go to outright profit for the distributor, the seller, and the factory that built that bass. I think that's being quite generous to the basses value. Wholesale value of the bass? around $400.

    Now lets consider all of the hard parts and things going into the package:

    cheap bass bow... $15?
    bass bag............. $15?
    End Pin.............. $10?
    Tuners and plates $15?
    Strings............... $15 (ha!)
    Bridge................ $5
    Tailpiece............ $2
    Total: $77. Round up to $80.

    Which means that the cost of the wood and the labor of the bass total about $320. Now I think it's a safe assumption that bass making is highly labor intensive.... I'm gonna guess that 50% of that $320 is labor for a conservative figure (ya know... chinese labor) which gives us $160 for the cost of ALL the wood on this bass. That means all the ribs, top, back, bouts, and NECK are worth $160 total.

    Everybody feel free to adjust my numbers. :D

    Now that's assuming that everybody involved from building to shipping ot selling the bass is profiting $100 on the bass. In reality it's probably more like $250 or more, in which case the bass is $250 or less wholesale. IMO, it's sobering looking at it from this perspective.
     
  16. emielow

    emielow

    Jan 18, 2004
    yes, i understand..

    but i have not much money, and this bass is set up by a bass-manufacturer, so the set up will be quit good i guess? i understand the wood etc. is crappy, but if i buy a cheap bass, i have money to take lessons
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Would you drive a cheap car with bad breaks, no power steeing, no airconditioning, no windows.......

    Learning Bass like this is like sky diving without a Parachute.. Ouch.. I would rather play Tennis.. Tennis racquets are cheaper than Basses and you don't need lessons to have fun.. I play with my Wife n Sons on occassion and have no clue what I am doing.. But it's fun..

    Playing on a Cheap Bass is like being in "Bass Hell" !!

    If yo don't know much about Basses, then get a Good teacher and follow his advise. If he steers you into the wrong direction, you have someone to blame but it is less likely. You will not become a bass player by teaching yourself. It's worse punishment that learning Golf withour someone helping you.
     
  18. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I can't necessarily agree on renting because you can have the same set up problems. If Nick's friend rents and has set up the bass that's another thing. I go with Nick's advice, and I think you can get it at your price. The difference between the $500 online and ebay basses and a shop's $1000 bass is the set up, professional strings etc. plus probably a guarantee and full trade in value. We buy those cheap basses for beginners who don't have a lot of cash to invest in their
    first bass, or don't want to until they know it's their thing. The body of the bass is fine, it's nearly everything else that's wrong. Here's what your shop will do for you that you won't get on the $500 bass:
    replace the Chinese strings(better suited for clothe's lines) with Helicore Orchestras or similar quality professional strings,
    plane the fingerboard, lower the nut, replace the tailwire and sometimes the endpin, fit and set the soundpost, put adjusters in the bridge, fit the bridge feet, height, curve and thickness, sometimes replace the bridge, and one or more professional bass players will play it to check out the playability and sound, making adjustments where necessary. If you want the strings a little lower the shop will do it, if you like Spirocore's instead of Helicore's we'll change them. We'll guarantee the bass for
    a year against defects and give a 100 percent
    trade-in value on your next bass. I'm reasonably sure that
    other reputable shops have a similar process. Our basses
    like these start at $980. Edit if you think this is a sales pitch, it's not. I just want first time buyers to see the difference between the $500 unplayable outfit and something that they can learn on and will retain it's value. It's well worth the extra money.
     
  19. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Nope. I highly doubt it. And if it set up, it won't be where it's to it's at it's most best playabable. This is not an electric bass guitar. You can't just buy it off it the internet and expect it to play "good enough". Basses are near-living things. They expand and shrink depending on the weather. That's why we're serious about saying that a bass at that level might implode after a year. I hate to say this but double bass is an expensive hobby even for starting players, and in the beginning, it's practically all or nothing. Maybe you should just wait and save up til you can afford something decent. It will probably hurt you in the long run being in a hurry and buying the cheap bass. My $.02.

    Yeah, I was referring to buying or renting from someone reputable like Nnick's Ffriend.
     
  20. joe_sorren

    joe_sorren

    Apr 7, 2005
    arizona
    emielow,


    If you rent a decent bass with a good set-up or save up more money to buy a better DB with a proper set up, the journey of learning this instrument will be enjoyable. If you buy a crappy bass that cannot produce a sound that is pleasing to hear, then all your practice will still leave you unsatisfied. You will start to think that maybe it's you, and maybe this instrument isn't for you.

    Begin this love affair properly.

    If you must buy first, Save up more $ and do it right. And while you save up the necessary funds, contact your future teacher. Perhaps he has a bass you could rent/borrow. Also, he will probably have some excersizes and scales, fingerings etc. you could start working on. Heck, a piece of properly sanded wood to the right dimensions, with nut and octave markings could even get you going on scale fingerings and would probably sound as good as this bass above. ;)

    Also, you could get out the books and get near a piano and work on theory while you get the money together. If you choose to do this, by the time you have reached your target $ goal and order your instrument, you would be ready to approach the instrument with your mind already two steps ahead.


    sorry to ramble, and good luck to you, whatever you decide to do.