1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Does this seem like a good DB to consider?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by BeSharp, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. BeSharp


    May 17, 2011
    Annapolis, MD
    I'm still seeking the elusive good quality beginner/intermediate bass that I'll be proud to own/play. Of course I know that I'll need to play it, have it inspected by a luthier, get a good teacher, etc., etc. but I wanted feedback from you more knowledgeable players about whether or not its worth it to consider this bass. I'll have to travel quite far to inspect it personally so before I waste the airfare, room, etc. can you tell me what you think?

    Here's the description and a photo:

    "1963 Hofner German-made. Beautiful. Plays very easily. No flaws. Recently set up with adjustible bridge and soundpost adjustment. No chips on any edge. Like new condition. Before you get that Kay, you should check this one out. Ebony fingerboard. Laminate bass with original laquer finish. 41/5 inch string length."

  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I'm not sure it's worth the long trip to check out a ply bass, but the owner is a great Chicago jazz player, so it may be a special bass.
  3. BeSharp


    May 17, 2011
    Annapolis, MD
    Thanks Eric. I appreciate knowing that.

    Does anyone know anything about the quality of Hofner Upright plys in general then?
  4. homersbassfarm

    homersbassfarm Banned

    Feb 4, 2013
    western TN
    May I ask the price-maybe i overlooked it, but without knowing what you will spend in addition to the trip, and considering the area you are in, which should have a lot of basses for sale, it would be hard to make a suggestion. Will you also have the expense of shipping the bass, or will it fly back with you.

    "lacquer" finish???

    You are very wise to ask some questions before making the trip.

  5. BeSharp


    May 17, 2011
    Annapolis, MD
    Thanks. The asking price is $2800. I was wondering about the lacquer too but I assume it was the original finish.
  6. homersbassfarm

    homersbassfarm Banned

    Feb 4, 2013
    western TN
    no doubt, it is a beautiful bass and probably sounds good, but for a ply bass, $2800 may be a little high when you figure in the expense of going to get it. Have you talked to the owner about shipping the bass to you for trial. Shipping shouldn't be over $150 tops. Suggest you continue asking some questions before you make the trip. There should be several basses for sale in your area. Look up the bass shops in your area on Gollihur's bass luthier directory.

    good luck

  7. Ron Plichta

    Ron Plichta Supporting Member

    May 19, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    Since you live in Annapolis, have you talked to Bob Kurz at Bob's House of Bass? Bob is a bassist with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as proprietor of his shop. He'll probably have several options for you in your price range.
  8. BeSharp


    May 17, 2011
    Annapolis, MD
    I have not been to Bob's House of Bass yet, but I will plan a visit. I spoke with Bob on the phone and he primarily deals with either higher end instruments geared towards Orchestral players, or new student ply basses (Shen). I know a new Shen is probably the best bet overall but I was hoping for something with a little vintage history. I'm exploring if that's possible before I jump in for a new instrument.

    The other "close" places to me seem to be Mike Shank's shop in PA (about a 2 hour drive), and Fretwell (probably closer to 3 or 4 hours). Am I missing any other?

    I've also gotten some PMs about this bass. I have to say that I am completely impressed with everyone's willingness to help and the invaluable feedback.

    For those interested, here's a compilation of the other comments about the bass:

    1. Price is too high - could get a nice Shen Hybrid for the same price
    2. Check the Gollihur directory and go visit some closer shops to avoid the travel/shipping, etc.
    3. The reference to "laquer" probably indicates that the finish is not original and that the bass has been "French Polished"
    4. Try to get the bass for around $1200-$1500 and have the seller ship to you and even then I might be better off with a new Shen 80.

    I'm worried I'd insult the guy if I offered $1200 and asked him to ship it, but who knows...

    In any case, this has all been greatly helpful and appreciated feedback.

    Please keep the ideas coming!
  9. Ron Plichta

    Ron Plichta Supporting Member

    May 19, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    Tom Wolf in The Plains, VA is a builder and does a lot of the work for the National Symphony. He gets used basses in from time to time and may be a good resource for you.
  10. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

    Apr 6, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fishman Transducers, D'Addarrio Strings
    Shens are good basses, and a new one will come with the support of the shop from which you bought it. Some shops will even give you credit towards another bass when it's time to upgrade.

    You should absolutely visit Mike Shanks shop. Mike is a great guy and a top-notch bass luthier.
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    At $2800 for a budget you should probably buy local esp since there are more shops around you. It's too low a price to go out your way for that bass especially since you can't even play it beforehand.

    Not to mention that you need to budget for a setup and any potential repair work on a used bass. Too much trouble. Would be different if the bass was nearby.
  12. I really wouldn't worry about "vintage vibe." Buy a Shen locally.
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Hofner DBs from the era tend to have nice ebony fingerboards, fake flame on the nicely shaped plain maple neck, real purfling, thick-ish plywood top and back plates and yes, lacquer finishes.

    Many Hofner (and other) student instruments made in Germany at that time were lacquered. It was a transition period between spirit varnish and the newer poly finishes. They can sound pretty good when well set up - I have a young client with one. She's a terrific player and sounds great on it - and she loves it! ;)

    The price will depend on sound, condition and location - only you can decide if its the right bass for you.

    Good Luck! ;)
  14. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I agree with Michael. "Vintage vibe" is probably something to look for one or two basses down the line. Right now you need an instrument that you can play the heck out of, with a minimum of issues. Take the money you'd spend on airfare and hotels and stick it in a Future Bass fund, and look for a Now Bass closer to home.
  15. BeSharp


    May 17, 2011
    Annapolis, MD
    OK. Thanks folks. I think I'll plan two outings to get started. I guess I'll forget about the Hofner for now. I'll go hit Bob's House of Basses since it's close to get a feel for a new Shen. Then I'll go to Mike Shanks to try some other, possibly vintage(ish) instruments and we'll go from there.

    I'm guessing I'll probably end up with a Shen based on the overwhelming support these get. I'm leaning towards the SB 100 because I don't like how shiny the 80 is.

    Any thoughts about the 100 that I need to think about?
  16. homersbassfarm

    homersbassfarm Banned

    Feb 4, 2013
    western TN

    80 or 100 would be good- the best sellers are the 80 and the 200.

    200 Willow is about what you would have spent $2800 plus the trip - -getting the bass back...and no telling what else expense you would have run in to.

    whether you get s Shen or not, you are going at this very wisely and my guess is that you will end up very happy with your purchase.

    Finding the right bass is hard, and it takes patience. BTW, I got my first carved bass in DC are at Weavers- I beleive that he is still there.
    I looked for two years and traveled probably 5000 miles before finding the right one. This was back before the days of anything except a phone.

    let us know what you come up with.