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Every bass is a gamble

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassballs27, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. bassballs27

    bassballs27 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Ontario, CANADA
    It doesn’t matter..... a bass that is brand new, used, trusted builder, certified preowned, every bass is a gamble. Why? YOU have to play it!
    Don’t be told a bass is great until you experience it for yourself!
    A picture may be worth 1000 words... but that’s only half the story.
    The internet is filled with pictures and words...but experience is beyond words. That’s a version of the gamble.

    Sure, I suppose there is safe gambling and reckless gambling...and anywhere in between. So buying from a reputable builder is a good bet...the mail order bass from Korea that costs $75 shipped ...well who knows...you might have a chance! Not necessarily reckless but you could be wasting money. That’s another version of the gamble!

    It’s a beautiful thing. A bass at a pawn shop or given to you from a family member could truly be the one instrument you need. Finding that out, can take experience...There are duds out there. Basses with busted truss rods, warped necks...it can be the Wild West. Just don’t let this cloud your judgement!


    Who’s with me???
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  2. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've been saying it's a crapshoot for as long as I can remember.
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    True, that’s why I try to gamble safe when buying online.
  4. dragon2knight

    dragon2knight Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2016
    Bronx, NY
    Buying anything sight unseen (and untouched) is a gamble....that's why I only deal with folks who have a very generous return policy if possible. Of course buying used doesn't always afford that luxury, but we pays our monies and takes our chances sometimes, such is the way of things.
  5. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I build my basses part by part from the ground up - pick everything that goes on it, do the finishes myself, and have a fair amount of experience at this. I also design pro audio gear for a living (have done that for decades), and understand the Physics of most everything involved in a bass guitar (I have a degree in Acoustical Physics).

    When a new bass is finally built, and I play it for the first time, while I am pretty good at predicting most of what's going on, I don't always have a "hit" right off the bat. Usually, it's a tweak of a part or two, or some component value changes in the circuit, but I've never built a bass that out of the gate was "right" to even my ears. If you consider trying to satisfy someone else's ears, I'd imagine that's much harder. So, yes, at least on some level, it's a crap shoot.
    mbelue, kev451, MattZilla and 2 others like this.
  6. Paulabass

    Paulabass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    I have been crusading against internet sales/ebay/reverb etc. since they came along. However, due to some amazing deals out there, I purchased my last two basses from Amazon.
    One came in as expected, just like purchasing from a store, the other...well...thank Dog my skills allowed me to turn it into an fine instrument, should have been sent back.
    There are still great arguments for shopping where you can try stuff, and specially for someone who doesn't like fixing things, or expects everything to be perfect, it is still the only way to go.
    Truths about online buying (new or used)
    If it seems too good to be true, it's too good to be true.
    Old does not mean vintage. Vintage garbage is still garbage.
    If you can't do your own setups, and I mean frets, nut work, advanced tweeking, shop at a store.
    There is a LOT of counterfeit stuff out there, LOTS. Do your homework!

    One final note. It's the 21st. (approx.) century. Travel, and communication is better than in our entire history.
    I hear people say, all the time, I can't get to a music store, it's 50 miles away. Poor baby. All those great bands you listen to from before the internet. Somehow they managed to get instruments. Back in the dawn of rock we all went to friggin' New York to buy a guitar!!!!
    JRA, kev451, packhowitzer and 8 others like this.
  7. Agree with the OP, experience for yourself is the only way to know what works and what doesn't.

    I've heard plenty of negative comments about my Musicmasters over the years, size, look, playability. But they work for me and I get what I want so no worries.
  8. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    "Blessed are the cheesemakers!"
    JRA, Old Blastard, red_rhino and 5 others like this.
  9. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I agree with the proposition, the only way you can be sure that a bass is the right one for you is to play it.

    I played 5 Sadowsky basses before I found the one I own. Two had a sound that was not quite there for me. Two had a feel that didn't quite hit the spot. The WL was great but I didn't like the black and maple (let it go!) The one I bought was perfect in nearly every respect. It's a Metro and about 1lb heavier than I'd like but as everything else is so good I'm dealing with that. If you read the reviews, every Sadowsky will be perfect. They probably are, but perfection is no good if the instrument doesn't speak to you.

    I was very fortunate with my US Lakland 55-94. This is the only bass I've bought without trying first. Talk about lucky, every part of that bass just worked for me. I'd be reluctant to buy like that again.
    bassballs27 likes this.
  10. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I agree with Paulabass... it's the 21st Century, there are a LOT more avenues to research your prospective purchases... online reviews, user forums like this one, published specs from the manufacturers themselves. If you do your homework diligently, your chances of getting hornschwagled are a LOT less.
    kev451, dragon2knight and bassballs27 like this.
  11. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    Marikk and creaturegods like this.
  12. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    How many of us have bought an instrument from a store after trying it out, only to find that it doesn't meet your needs / expectations / or some other esoteric criteria used in the purchase of instruments after you've got it home & tried it out with your own equipment?

    I've spent far too much on gear that felt right, looked right, or sounded right in the shop when you've tried it, but when you've got it home or into a rehearsal room, one of the many factors doesn't quite match your expectations and therefore ruins your relationship with your new instrument.

    I've had good and bad experiences using bricks'n'mortar retailers and online retailers.
  13. bassballs27

    bassballs27 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Ontario, CANADA
    Great reply!
  14. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Yes and No.

    First and foremost, the player makes the instrument. You will mainly sound like you on a MIM Jazz or on an Alembic; because what and how you play dominates the bass part you create.

    That said, of course, great instruments are sought by most dedicated players. Along those lines, what you have written is certainly true in a snapshot. And, I agree with many posting responses that the decline of brick and mortar instrument shops has been a very regrettable change. No bueno. Getting an instrument in hand, and, even better, out on the gig is massive. The small Mid-Michigan town where I spent most of my career had a great guitar shop with reasonable instrument throughput. Once I got to know the owner and managers, they would even let you purchase instruments on a one gig approval basis. Pretty hip. Yes, those days are pretty much sadly gone.

    OTOH, we now have more and better construction knowledge throughout the mid to higher end instruments, and things have gotten a bit more predictable.

    But, where your post is missing a key point is that most players continue to evolve, in terms of kinds of gigs they are playing and knowledge about how to adjust and modify the instrument. So, the whole thing is a moving target. One finds an axe that seems to be “the one;” but, then a little later lands a gig doing something completely different. Styles change, tastes change, needs change, knowledge changes. It’s an organic beast.

    Or, one can just get a P bass, and forget about the gear thing. It’s been done.

    So, what you write is true; but, even then, the gamble is a gamble. To (loosely) quote Ray Bradbury, “Man (Woman) can not know that which they did not know before.”

    The main thing is to keep playing.
  15. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    I prefer to buy online for really cheap, then work on the instrument myself to make it great.
  16. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    Although in general I agree with what you state, I will tell you that the two basses I currently own were both bought online.

    My '74 Fender P was bought on ebay through Cowtown Guitars. The listing had lots of photos and the seller honestly answered lots of questions. The return policy was attractive, and since I was using Paypal, I felt comfortable sniping this bass in the last couple seconds of the auction. Best bass I have ever owned, hands down.

    My USA Geddy Jazz was bought from a small, independent online music store I somehow came across. I was exploring the net for a Geddy Jazz that weighed less than 9 lbs. I purchased it new on a on Black Friday weekend, and also through Mrrebates.com, so ended up paying slightly more than $1300 total. The store owner gave it a set-up as well before he shipped it. It's such a well-constructed bass and plays like a dream.

    Buying without trying is risky, and I consider myself very fortunate.
    mikewalker likes this.
  17. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008

    ak56 likes this.
  18. bassballs27

    bassballs27 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Ontario, CANADA
    I 100% agree with your post!
    Yes, knowledge of setup and how to play the bass is a missing link for sure.
    There are some musicians that can make any bass sound good...but to add to that point...there are basses in existence that no musician can make sound good!

    When an instrument sounds and plays “great” it’s a fantastic experience. And this is definitely apart of the evolution process as a musician.

    I am evolving as a musician at my own rate. But having the right tools sure helps the evolution process more. The better tools you have, the better you will play!
    willbass44 and bucephylus like this.
  19. bassballs27

    bassballs27 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Ontario, CANADA
    Fixed. Thanks!

    I wanted to quote Jack White from his latest Album...and his song “Corporation”. But I didn’t...thought I’d leave you with that inside thought
    Snaxster likes this.
  20. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    Oh, that would be my with me; thanks for keeping an eye on it! :roflmao:

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