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craigslist bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by edmidlifecrisis, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    Hi all, I'm a refugee from the bass guitar forums. Been playing bass guitar a few years, strictly casual/amateur status. I, like many others, have been just awed by the double bass and got to play one last night in a bluegrass class/jam for the first time. Not knowing really what I was doing but staying with the roots (and open strings when possible!!) I absolutely had a ball. I usually play acoustic guitar in this class, no amplification allowed. The DB regular was playing banjo and fiddle for a couple of songs so the instructor (who is my guitar teacher) told me to get up there and play.

    Contemplating the dark side.....resistance is futile.

    This one is about 45 minutes away, it's a full size 1/1, worth a look? Can I get some input?


  2. Schoolhouse

    Schoolhouse Thomas Andres- Bass Makers

    Dec 7, 2006
    Northern Virginia
    Even if you spent the same amount for new strings , set-up, and bow re-hair it looks like a good deal. Good luck!
  3. Wallyphonic


    Jan 21, 2007
    If it's really a 40s-50s european laminate it's probably a good deal (I'd buy it) but it's hard to tell from the picture. Has it been refinished? Something about it looks modern. It's very doubtful that it's full size- 3/4 size is the standard(and it looks like 3/4 in the picture). You should check it out.
  4. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    Thanks, guys, I sent him an email about the size and he wrote back that it was full sized. But as you say, who knows.
    If I can do it I will try to go see it this weekend.

    And report back.


    PS Wally- does refinishing hurt selling price or otherwise affect it?
  5. Hmm. From that picture, I'd say it looks a whole lot like my Chinese-made Palatino.

    But who knows until you get a closer look...
  6. "Full sized" could mean 3/4. Don't be confident that the seller knows much about basses.
  7. joehaven

    joehaven Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    The price look appealing, but it's impossible to tell from a crappy photo and a craigslist description. It's certainly worth the cost of buying a bass playing buddy a few beers in return for dragging them along to check it out.
  8. I bought my double bass from a Craigslist post, and I have a beauty. The previous posts are spot on: it is 3/4 size, which most consider the "full size" although 7/8 and 4/4 do exist, but are way more rare.

    If the poster says the age and country of origin, maybe there is a sticker or stamp on the inside, or he has information that leads him/her to that conclusion. There may also be a serial number, which is sometimes hard to see, inside below the fingerboard.

    Oh, and I use the "Craigslist Conversion" whenever I see an asking price: I typically offer about half to two-thirds of the eBay equivalant, less the shipping, of course. I was able to obtain the one I own now by offering one-third the asking price, then bumping it up just a bit. After repairs and set-up, it is nearly perfect and only cost me a total of about one-fifth the value.

    (I do agree with the "buy your buddy a beer" method; it never hurts to have a second opinion, a bit more experience, and another set of eyes and playing hands!)
  9. Wallyphonic


    Jan 21, 2007
    a refinished vintage bass will generally be worth less than one with the original finish in decent condition. However if this bass is what the ad says it is then it sounds like a good deal refinished or not. Of course the main thing is "how does it sound"!
  10. Grey Dad

    Grey Dad

    Apr 14, 2007
    Somerset, UK
    Yeah, way to go Ed, I've just been through my conversion too :)

    Defo a mid-life thing ;)

    Second the advice to take along a DB player to check out a purchase, helped me out a lot to have someone who knew what they were doing play the thing before I bought it.
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    +1! Could be a good deal, could be a nightmare. One simply can't tell from a picture and brief description. Add to that that the seller doesn't seem too sophisticated when it comes to DBs ("full-size" issue). Go see it, play it, and take it to a luthier first. In addition, take a friend with you as joehaven suggested.
  12. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    Thanks for the great replies, all. You guys are terrific. This is why TB is my #1 favorite forum.

    The only problem is that I don't know anyone who plays DB!! The one at our class, he's self taught, and a beginner at DB. However, I think that I probably can make a reasonable decision myself if I see it and hear it. And if he returns my call/email, which so far he has not. I will call him tonight and see what happens.

    We have a good shop in the area that sells/repairs violins through DB's exclusively, they recently restored and upgraded a handmade violin that my wife owns and seem very knowledgeable and competent. However they are in the complete opposite direction from this guy, a heck of a long haul...But if I buy it I will take it to them.

    Stay tuned.
  13. The only thing for sure worth some money in those pics is the 1970's fender super reverb amp.
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Uh-oh. Buying it, then taking it to them is the wrong order. Just trying to help you prevent a bad situation. Although it's more likely than not that things are okay, if they are not okay, you could be throwing your money out the window. For example, let's say you pay $700 and you need a complete setup. You could easily be over $1000. Is it worth it then? What if you need a setup and a small repair? These are not rare occurrences at all. Are you in a position to evaluate things like whether the bass bar is intact? Probably not. It would be easy to end up with the actual cost being not too far from a new ply bass delivered with a fine setup and a warranty from a reputable dealer. Again, I'm not trying to scare you. I'm just suggesting that it's worth it to have it checked out before you plunk down the $$$.
  15. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    Thanks, drurb. More good advice.

    I assume you think that some new ply basses, set up properly, can be good players?
  16. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Some new ply basses are EXCELLENT as far as ply basses go. In fact, there is no general advantage to an old ply bass based on age, per se.
  17. edmidlifecrisis

    edmidlifecrisis Registered mediocre bass player

    So only carved or real wood basses improve with age, then? Why are the old Kays so popular? They are ply, right? Or am I mistaken? Or is it just a matter of price?

    Obviously I know little about them, but that will change!
  18. Wallyphonic


    Jan 21, 2007
    Whether or not ply basses get better with age is up for debate. More to the point, most old ply basses from the 30s-50s sound good(they were good then and they are good now). Later on, production quality was often not as good and a lot of the engelhardts and such were not as good as the old kays,kings,american standards etc. I think the same is true with Euro ply basses. The old ones were good but some of the eastern european basses from the 70's and 80's were built like tanks-and sounded really dead. Then came the flood of cheap chinese crap.

    Fortunately in recent years there are a bunch of high quality ply basses like Upton, New Standard, and some of the better chinese companies. I think Engelhardt has improved their quality as well.

    Of course all basses are individuals. Even laminate basses that came out of a factory vary quite a bit.
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    +1. A fine answer! Indeed, it is debatable whether ply basses improve with age. If I had to take a side, I'd say they do. Still, the amount of variance among ply basses would, I believe, swamp any variance produced by the "age factor." That is to say, one could very likely find a brand new ply bass that sounded and played far better than an older one that had improved somewhat over time.

    As to why old Kays are so popular, well, that's the result of a number of factors. They are a no-longer-produced bit of Americana. That, in and of itself, accounts for much of the value of old Kays. In addition, they do have a characteristic sound that many find especially suited to certain genres of music.
  20. wdnewman


    Apr 13, 2009
    From the pictures that bass looks exactly like my Craigslist CCB. I paid 300 for it, a gig bag and a bent bow. I then fitted on a new bridge, repaired the endpin, installed a set of EPs' had some other minor work done (and did a bunch of it myself) and, in total, have about $1,000 in the instrument which is probably worth $500 at this point. Does OK on pizz. though.
    Heres a thought: If it has a manufacturers label, offer $500 if everything else meets your needs.
    If it does NOT have a label inside, point this out and offer $400.
    If you spend $700 for this one, be sure to expect to put at least that much more into it. Then again, for $1400 the new Thompson plywoods from String Emporium come with a setup, strings of your choice and a high degree of customer satisfaction. Let us know how this turns out.