DIRT cheap bass for folk-punk

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by gooberford, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. gooberford


    Jan 4, 2009
    Found this online, traced it from ebay listings to the manufacturer's site:

    Crystalcello MB400U 3/4 Size Unpainted Upright Bass with Bag and Bow

    It's unfinished, which means I can paint it some obnoxious color. It's got a maple fretboard. And most importantly, it's dirt dirt dirt cheap.

    I play aggressive folk-punk music (Think of most punk music, but with open guitar chords instead of distorted electric power chords) and I'm looking for something that goes "thump" and nothing more. With a decent pickup, I think I could just plug it into the house PA and get a decent sound.

    Mind you, when I say "decent" I mean thump. No complex tone, no woody texture, just thump. This is a very utilitarian purchase for the purpose of nothing more than root-fifth progressions and a visual aspect.

    What do you guys think?
  2. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    I think the wooden box is mainly for show in this case, and an EUB with suitable strings would probably be easier all round, price wise, reliability and ease of transport.

    The ad says its all wood. Prepare for the possibility of major cracks appearing at this price range.
  3. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    Its not dirt cheap ,you can do better. Why get something that you might end up selling in 2 months or you are stuck with. I say look around for used basses and you might end up with something better. Students are always selling their instrumenst in order to trade up for something better. Also some of the on-line stores might have a better intrument at a low price that would be what you are looking for. Good luck.....:cool:
  4. Roger Davis

    Roger Davis

    May 24, 2006
    You're probably made for each other.
  5. Hi.

    First of all, the CCB's I'm familiar with have been a great value. Perhaps I've been lucky?

    That said, I wouldn't pay that much for an unknown CCB, and for Your (and mine) intended purpose, a ply would be much better. And way cheaper.

    A wise dark-side TBer once said in a thread not much unlike this one here that it's "better to benefit from some others mistake than make your own", so You can halve that price or more if you can fix a CCB that someone else has grewn tired of.

    Fixing it yourself is the key here, because more likely than not, You have to be able to perform at least a basic setup and minor repairs yourself, otherwise you're SOL.

    Why not a coffin bass with weedwhackers?
    That would fit the theme even better, and be dirt cheap. IMHO anyway.

  6. You want a plywood bass for that kind of music, not this thing.
  7. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Krivo Pickups
    Student-grade plywood basses by reputable makers/factories can make great roots music instruments after a pro setup. Honestly, there is no free lunch in DB land.

    You might find a quality used bass already setup for under 1k, if you keep your eyes open.
  8. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    An Engelhardt would probably be the best thing for your needs.
  9. Get a used bass that has already been set up to play and may already have a pickup on it. Search craigslist, eBay and ask anyone you know if they've seen any DB's for sale. I do this all the time and just last week got a hybrid flatback (probably Wilfer/"Juzek" made) for $600 from some pawn shop in Miami. A few months ago I found a Palatino CCB that plays real nice for the junk it is for $400. They're out there.
  10. gooberford


    Jan 4, 2009
    Thanks for your replies!

    Where would I find these coffin bases, and what is the skinny on weedwhackers?

    I've been scouring ebay and craigslist; that's how I found this manufacturer. Also, what are CCBs? Crystalcello basses?

    This is the most affordable bass I can find, anything new or used has been in the 1k area. Can anyone point me in the direction of other cheap basses in the 600 or less category?
  11. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    If all you care about is thump and not tone, why not buy one of those cardboard box things or make a washtub bass?
  12. They are low tension and really cheap. Good for mainly slapping and a little pizz. They sound similar to gut strings with a little rubbery quality to them. E and A are funny sounding acoustically and can be pretty weak but plugged in the whackers can sound great with a good setup.

    Crappy Chinese Bass.
  13. I realize not everyone here is familiar with the kind of music he's talking about but the actual image of an upright is really part of the show. That's why he doesn't want a bass guitar, cardboard bass, electric upright, etc.

    OP, here are some links

    Buy Florea Midnight Double Bass Outfit | Acoustic | Musician's Friend

    BIG BLACK MONSTER ACOUSTIC UPRIGHT BASS, 3/4 SIZE - eBay (item 350207930215 end time Apr-19-11 13:53:07 PDT)

    Buy Florea Recital II Double Bass Outfit | Acoustic | Musician's Friend

    Let's be clear... these basses aren't going to be playable out of the box, even for the folk stuff. As a TB member I must suggest taking it to a luthier for a setup but I'm guessing that isn't going to be in your budget. Just realize it's going to take a lot of work to get a bass of this price to playable condition, even for folk.

    Your best option is to hold out for a cheapo to pop up on craigslist. Where are you located anyway? If there happens to be a bluegrass scene anywhere close to you get in touch and let people know you're looking for a bottom of the barrel bass. I guarantee someone will cough one up for a fiver. :p
  14. El Thumpo

    El Thumpo Four strings, no waiting Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    CCB is short for Cheap Chinese Bass. Another acronym you'll find is BSO: Bass-shaped Object.

    There's really nothing more to add to your quest for what is essentially a prop: Craigslist and eBay. Best of luck.

    Let me make one observation that isn't directed at you personally, but at the fact that this kind of inquiry keeps popping up here.

    People often ask something along the lines of "I don't want to pay real money for a real bass, but that's okay because I don't want to make real music on it. Any help?" But here's the thing: we're a community of people who've consciously gone in the other direction. Could you imagine posting something like that on, say, a saxophone discussion group? ("I want something that's shiny and makes a honking sound.") I'd wager that happens rarely, because a saxophone looks expensive, with all those valves and machining; DBs, on the other hand, seem to differ only in scale--which make it easier for some to think of them as oversized props.

    They're not. And it's one thing to evaluate instruments in light of being good starter/student models, but in the light of toys/props is something else entirely.
  15. You have a point and I understand why the community seems to get a little offended at all of these posts but consider this; The fact that the image of an upright is still so popular is a good thing!

    Let's be honest, the average listener at most gigs doesn't really care if the bass sounds like an electric or an upright as long as the low frequencies are there but people are always pleased by the image of an upright. This is part of the reason why it's so easy for us to get work.

    I don't think we should immediately snub our nose at people who don't immediately understand what it's all about.
  16. gooberford


    Jan 4, 2009

    Had I the time or the money, I would. Nothing emits more "coolness" than a skilled upright player.

    But some people don't have the money to afford a 1500 slap bass when they know they'll be dragging it around on stage and into the crowd. If you think a CCB or BSO doesn't contribute anything musically, do nothing more than view this video:

    YouTube - Larry And His Flask
  17. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I don't think the average upright bass player is going to find anything that interesting about the bass playing in that link, or lack there of. But to each his own I guess.
  18. El Thumpo

    El Thumpo Four strings, no waiting Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Not snubbing my nose. I just wish we had a sticky or somesuch aimed at answering this question. Because it's a different question than "what's a good beginner bass?"
  19. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Tone aside, it's got to hold together, especially if you're busking and slapping like that. I won't impose my own bass values on someone with a different mindset of what type of musicality they are expecting from their instrument, but even plywood basses are fragile compared to every other instrument in that video and they need to be made properly.

    What frustrates me is that it seems 3-4 times a week every week someone posts the same basic first question in the basses forum. "Is it okay with you guys if/can you tell where I can buy a BSO for a couple of hundred bucks? I love the instrument and want to get to work on one." If they spent 15 minutes reading the last 10 such posts they would get the same information. It's not like one of these times, we will have magically changed our position on this to "yeah, that eBay bass looks great, enjoy!"

    They don't want to spend the time reading a little bit, but they expect us to spend time with thoughtful responses every time this comes up. I wish we would collectively just agree not to respond. But for some reason..here I am typing.
  20. Hi.

    Preferably You make it Yourself.

    I haven't made mine yet, but I'd say You're looking at roughly $200 out of Your pocket and 20 hours of your time. Whether You posess the skills and the simple tools to pull it through is entirely up to you.

    There's pictorials and how-to's on the 'net. Google it (or nekromantix).


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