EUBs...made in America?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Steve Azola, Jan 23, 2002.

  1. Steve Azola

    Steve Azola Azola Basses

    Jan 23, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    We hope it's okay to pose this question in this forum.

    We've just returned from our annual NAMM pilgrimage. After seeing so many American flags prominently displayed, and seeing lots of red,white & blue painted instruments ... we've been wondering about something as a manufacturer. Maybe you can help us?

    Is it important to *you* where a bass is actually made? Of course, we're primarily talking about EUBs, ie Eminence made in China; NS made in the Czech Republic; Azola, BSX, Carruthers, Clevinger, made in the USA; other brands made in Korea and Japan; etcetera. Does it matter to you personally, or politically, where and how a bass is made?

    We'd appreciate any input you'd like to share with us. Thanks in advance.

    Jill & Steve Azola
  2. Steve Azola

    Steve Azola Azola Basses

    Jan 23, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    We should probably indicate that the reason we're asking the question is because it *is* important to us. Thought we should make that clear.

    - Steve Azola
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    As a capitalist, I don't care. As a humanist, I would prefer that they be made in a free country. As a bass player and consumer I'm suspicious of the quality of items produced in 3rd and 4th world countries. As a jaded shopper, I'm sceptical of the price of items proudly declared as 'Made in America' as this usually indicates union-labor and the artificially inflated cost of that labor, market protectionism, government/mafia meddling in citizens' private affairs, and all of that.

    I guess, in short, I would have to balance all of the above against what it is that I'm considering spending my bux on.

    I have to add, though, that I paid no consideration to Rome's conquest and enslavement of Europe and when I decided to purchase my Italian fiddle.
  4. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    I'm kind of with Ray on this one. I PREFER buying American, but I look for quality first, and whatever does the job usually gets my hard earned money. It makes it difficult to decide when American companies (like Eminence) sends the work overseas. Is Ford an American company even though some of the labor comes from Mexico? It often becomes a case of American labor (often due to union restrictions) making the cost of building things much higher.

    In my case, I take stuff like this with a grain of salt. I don't have an EUB, but if I buy one, it is going to be based on what is the best sounding / playing one to do the job I expect.

  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Not to me. I place sound, feel and fit and finish above national origin.
  6. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    I feel exactly the same.
    It's the final product that counts. It doesn't matter for me if it was made here or there.
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I see you are a man of many hats!
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have been looking at EUBs, but (apart from the things mentioned so far )for me the thing is the availability - it would be nice to be able to try some more! I mean, there is no way I am laying out money without having tried/played a bass extensively.

    But there are very few places in England where I can do this and I have seen the odd one here and there, but most shops have one or two and sell them quickly; so you can make wasted journeys.

    I do like the Steinberger and I suppose I am glad that the Czech Republic is making an economic recovery after being dominated by the Soviet Union for so long. I think it also fitting that a place which valued craftsmanship in musical instruments is being given the chance to put their heritage to use.

    But if shops over here had stocks of US-made basses that I could actually try, that were better, then I would undoubtedly be persuaded...?
  9. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings

    I haven't thought about this, but all the basses that I've kept over the years have been made in America. This includes a '74 Jazz, an '81 G&L, an American Standard upright (but they make toilets now, huh?) and most recently, my Azola BugBass.

    These all feel substantial, have character, and quality.

    And, of course, I like that the guy who *made* my BugBass is in the States and can be contacted if a problem or question arises that's not possible to address locally.

    Dan Berkowitz
  10. Hmmm. You create a product that you know you have a good chance to populate the world by producing them cheaper in a different country. Therefor you become more prosperous and pridefull by selling a product that is reaching more people cuz of the cheaper price.

    You are also helping out another country by giving them work they will make income from. *I'm not sure i stand by that statement.*

    It doesn't bother me if i buy a nonAmericain made product. But I am more attracted to an instrument made from America or Canada cuz that usually means its an instrument made with care and pride. So "poor" coutnry made items have to work harder to get that same quality known reputation that a prosperous country (is there such a country) item would have.

    ByTheWay Steve, I'm thinking about purchasing a used bugbass I this week. :) It will be my first bass instrument.
  11. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    First, the notion of competitive markets doesn't work if people buy inferior products out of some notion of "economic patriotism." The only incentive message received by domestic manufacturers, about needing to do a better job more efficiently, is when people choose products other than their own. Economic patriotism was one of the factors that made Detroit cars so bad for so long - they could get away with it, until people woke up and started buying better cars for less money from Japan, Germany, etc. In the long term, the competitive market finally resulted in better cars being made in Detroit.

    Second, like it or not, the economy is global. The dollar you spend on a product made in China allows Chinese people to buy things made here. The dollar you save by buying an item of equal quality (to a domestic product) made in Norway allows you to spend more on other items made here.

    That said, I'd rather buy a domestic product, given the choice. But I'm disinclined to subsidize inferior products.
  12. I would say that I'm more interested in the fact that my EUB would be made by people that I can speak with, as opposed to machines that I can not. As far as U.S. products, I'm a big fan of Sadowsky Guitars, as they are worth every penny. I must say though that Sven Heinrich Gavrons Vector Bass in Germany, and David Freisens Hemage Bass built in Austria are equally interesting as yours for all of the same reasons. Quality workmanship, done by people.
  13. :bassist: "Every day is December 7th.....
    I'd rather push my Harley than ride a Rice burner............................blah,blah,blah"
    Initially, it was the same for me when choosing an EUB. I played everything I could lay my hands on and decided on the Carruthers Sub1. Not just because it's american made. It has it's short comings I'll admit; It's very mid rangey and works better with some amps than others but it handles very well. It's not much harder to finger than my old Fender Jazz Bass. It is also a beautiful piece of driftwood.
    7 different woods crafted together to creat a work of art. I would have bought it for $500.00 more and if Emperor Tojo had pulled it out of his butt ;
    so I guess the origin of the instrument truely doesn't matter to me either, just the quality of the instrument itself.
  14. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    I also own a SUB-1.
    About the midrangey tone: fortunately the on-board preamp's EQ allows to trim the mids in a satisfactory fashion.
    I turn the mids frequency sweep pot fully conterclockwise, and the mids level pot almost fully counterclokwise (about 1/8 of the whole range) with good results.
    The highs and lows are flat.
  15. I was doing something similar.... it took me months to get a descent sound out of the thing when I bought it.
    What amplifier and speaker configuration do you use with yours, if I may ask?:bassist:
  16. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    It's in my user profile...
    SWR WM12 with a 1x10T extension cabinet.
  17. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Steve...I am actually in the market for one!

    To me, made in America is not important per se.

    I'd rather a Yamaha BB3000S than an MIA Jazz. I think the quality in both cases is at the highest levels for material, electronics, hardware, design, construction, and service/support.

    However, I'd rather buy from a company that is accountable to its customers. Too often, the ethic of creating a quality instrument and standing behind it is subordinated to low grade cheap materials and slip-shod construction techniques.

    Can you get a good bass from a "insert inferior" factory. In my experience, you're just more likely to get a bad one.

    If the question is "should I send some of my business to be manufactured in East Jebip so I can save a buck on manufacturing costs?" I'd say NO. Unless your demand curve for low-cost EUB models in that region supports it and you can afford to leave the production processes and quality control under someone else's supervision.

    But it's YOUR name on the bass.

    If it costs you 1/2 on your cost per unit by doing this, are you going to cut the price by 1/4? OK, now you start having quality issues. So you have to fly out to visit the plant twice a month to check up on processes. Now people are complaining that Azolas are dropping in quality. The resale market value goes down too. You're taking a chance at having less and less ability to maintain the current retail price for US made EUBs because 1) You're developing an image of questionable quality, 2) buyers have the option of buying a "cheapo" (squire, RockBass,...) model.

    If I have no clue where your basses are made, but the one I try sounds and feels "quality" you've got a good change to win me over. If I see "made in China" on it, I'll be suspicious from the get-go. If I see made in USA, Canada, Germany, whatever, it won't really make a difference to me.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Wow - this thread has been resurrected after a year and 2 months!! Well I did actually buy a Czech EUB last March (NS CR5), have had it a year and am very pleased with it. But I still haven't seen many that I have actually been able to try in the UK - I still think this is the factor that would influence me more than anything else - can I try it out before buying without making a commitment to buy in advance?