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Expensive vs inexpensive basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TKnights, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. bottomzone


    Oct 21, 2005
    It's sir and thanks.
    Element Zero likes this.
  2. You realize that you were trying to tighten something that was already too tight?
    roogbass and /\/\3phist0 like this.
  3. mihayloff


    Aug 10, 2010
    No, loosening would have created the back bow. Have you ever made an adjustment before?
  4. Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  5. trickyric


    May 21, 2017
    South Florida
    Once he made money he built a nice collection. Weird how he predominantly played the Rick from 1965 through the Wings years and then brought the Hofner back in later life.
    I guess it became part of his iconic image.
    Exxi3 likes this.
  6. RPRM


    Oct 11, 2016
    San Diego
    Why not have both? I'm always surprised that my crappy $200 Dean 4 string with upgraded the pickups offers a tone that can hold up to my $2500 boutique basses. Paint with different colors. And it's cool to adjust your technique and sound depending on the instrument. I prefer variety.
    portpc likes this.
  7. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    I have GSR180, a bit different beast yet the same class in quality. Well...when I was deciding what bass to sacrifice to my defretting experiments, this one was chosen ;)
  8. darkinners


    Oct 4, 2006
    I think both works, I believe we all came from a cheap affordable bass, did we despise that bass?
    No, that bass probably the most important bass to you or you spent the most time with, learning the scale, learning how to do ghost notes, slap the poopie out of that bass.

    Do expensive bass better? Sometimes even most of the time.
    I have mostly mid or top dollar basses and guitars now, I don't think I have anything cheaper than $1000.

    That's how it is, you were young and piss poor. You'd be super excited with the Squire bass your mom got you for X'mas, you don't even want to sleep. You just stay at night and learn all the songs you love from your favourite band.
    As we grow older, have a nicer jobs. We want something nicer, that's only natural.
    Some people buy a Rolex watch, some people buy a Mercedes
    But yeah Citizen and Prius can both do the job nicely.
    We just happens to buy a Fodera or Sadowsky instead of those.
  9. darkinners


    Oct 4, 2006
    I read this thread thoroughly and many people stated that orchestral instrument are very expensive.
    It's true. My friend plays in the Orchestra of my country. His violin bow is like USD 20,000.
    It's the bow, not the violin itself..

    Electrical instrument price are not that bad after all.
  10. wluffman


    Dec 21, 2013
    A high price is no guarantee of quality, and neither is a particular brand name; but both are usually good indicators.

    OTOH, "tone is in the fingers" is very much a truism. A good player can get more out of an instrument than a bad player can. Corollary to this rule: a player will do better with an instrument s/he knows well than one s/he doesn't.

    There are some very good basses being made at reasonably low price points, often by brands not generally considered "high quality. Sometimes these nice instruments are marketed alongside other basses from the same brand that aren't very good. And occasionally, a combination of better-than-average materials and workmanship will result in an almost-freakishly exceptional bass that compares very nicely to the average output from a "high-end" manufacturer.

    Other times, a bass that's exceptional in several respects may be held back by cheap hardware, electronics, or fit-and-finish. With luck, these instruments can be made pretty good with a little shop-time and TLC. I bought a used, fairly inexpensive bass that had been lightly used but somewhat mistreated by its prior owner. With a few replacement parts and a good setup, it became a great-playing instrument. I'm now considering replacing the stock pickups, to make it sound more the way I want it to sound -- not necessarily better, just different.

    Sounds like you lucked out and got a gem. Congratulations.
    bottomzone and Marc DLarosa like this.
  11. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Other than thr fact that musicians in the crowd (maybe)

    bassexplorer likes this.
  12. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Is this thread good for metal?

    We covered years ago that the cost of insurance, health insurance, retirement, materials, machines, tools, facility rent or mortgage, payroll costs, etc. makes the small maker’s expenses spread over a few basses a significant addition to the cost.
    Exxi3 likes this.
  13. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    @mihayloff , can you please read the below?
    I have done hundreds of thousands of adjustments. I'm an amateur builder who worked at a major musical instrument MFG

    Alembic - Use and Care Guide

    Adjusting the Truss Rods
    Maintaining peak performance of your Alembic bass may from time to time require adjustment of the truss rods. This is especially true if you live in or travel to an area that experiences drastic changes in humidity.
    [​IMG]You should learn how to adjust your truss rods because it is really a very simple procedure and you can always adjust it yourself in an emergency. However, if you are still uncomfortable, hire a qualified repair person to do the job for you.

    [​IMG]First, you need to understand the terms "forward bow" and "back bow." When your bass has a back bow, the strings may rattle on the frets because there is very little clearance at the twelfth fret between the frets and the strings. A forward bow is the opposite, enough clearance so the strings don't buzz on the frets. Extreme forward or back bow needs to be corrected.

    [​IMG]To adjust your truss rods:

    1. Use a small Phillips head screwdriver to remove the truss rod cover (located between the bass pickup and the end of the fingerboard). You will notice two 1/4" stand off hex nuts. These are independent from one another; each adjusts one side only.
    2. If you want to increase forward bow, turn the nut(s) counterclockwise. You will need the 1/4" wrench supplied with your instrument to make this adjustment.
    3. If you want to increase back bow, turn the nut(s) clockwise.
    4. Replace the truss rod cover.
    [​IMG]After you adjust the truss rods, you may need to change the bridge height. Turn the two vertical hex screws at either side of the bridge to regulate the height. There is no need for individual string height adjustment because the radius of the slots in the saddles exactly matches that of the fingerboard. It's a good idea to check and set the intonation now if necessary.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  14. johnalekna


    Jun 27, 2015
    I had an RM1999 1964 Rick which I sold for financial reasons to a collector via a bass store here in Australia. It was a beautiful piece of maple and had history, but the pickups were dead and it was worth too much to actually take anywhere. Now I have a MIM Active Jazz which I actually enjoy playing more and sounds better but worth 1/20 of the value of Rick. In the end I miss the Rick, but realise it's better to spend the time practicing/studying/playing and improving your technique than worrying about the gear. Unless you are a collector with deep pockets - who cares? (would still like to try a Fodera though)
  15. Years ago, before I really got into building and setting up my own I used to visit the music stores that had top end basses, I’d play them wishing somehow I could afford one, on the other hand I kind of enjoy pulling out a piece of junk and making it work for me. I’m more of a Rat Rod guy than a Bentley. When I built my first and best instrument it was based loosely on a Warwick I had previously played, mostly in the woods I selected, it’s style was based on the Fender Precision. When I was a kid the P bass was a dream I had little chance of acquiring. In this case I built a P bass cause I eventually got one, purchased in 1981 for $1,000.00 ( inflation calculator @ 2018 = $3,238.93), after playing the Framus for 16 years. Ironically I later learned that Warwick rose out of the ashes of the Framus Musical Instrument Company. The amount I paid for the P Special back in 1981 puts it into the high end category, when adjusted for inflation.

    I get a kick out of playing sleeper basses, I made the Home Depot bass because the entry level offerings now a days are very good compared to the crap offered in the 60s, I wanted an even funkier bass. Like most of us I don’t care what a bassist plays. Some of my skill is because of the cheap instrument, I had to try harder, do things differently to make that old Framus work for me. It’s intonation sucked, I could tune it but 4 or 5 frets up I had to bend the strings to nail intonation. It really developed my ear. 53 years after I got that Framus I put it on my bench for a cleaning and a set up it never had. The floating bridge was 3/4” too close to the neck, a PIA, I had to bend the string up from 1/2 step lower, doh. I even took it to a guitar shop back in 1977 but they told me nothing could be done about the intonation, obviously they didn’t bother to actually check it out.

    I can’t help checking out the bassist when I see a live band, actually any of the musicians, it’s rarely the instrument that impressed me. Though I can be impressed with the instrument. A well made top end instrument is a thing of beauty, I believe that the finest electric basses ever made have been in the last 20 or so years. I can’t afford them, what some people play cost as much as my last pickup truck (used). I don’t hold it against them and 9 times out of 10 it’s a badge of the musician’s skill and success, which is cool. Occasionally it’s somebody with more money than skill, it’s damn sure not going to make a lame musician any better. When I hear a bassist burning down the house with phenomenal phrasing and tempo I’m excited, when that musicians bass is on the economic low end even better, even better than that is when it was actually built by the player. The joy I get out of playing one of my rat rod basses is hard to describe and it’s always a conversation starter. If there is a bass player in the house, common or snobbish (as in attitude not instrument selection), it starts the conversation. A point mentioned above I’ve found to be true, when recording in the studio, my fleet of low end basses actually do suck “o) Live they kick ass, a Studios Mix is nothing like a live mix, I used the Bronco, when I got back to the farm I took off the flats and strung up round wounds, made a big difference. I made this mistake in January, next time I’m leaving the rat rods in the bag and bringing the old P, the home made fretless P (aka the Cuban) and the Guild Starfire.

    Of course tone is #1, with playability a very close second and these are adjustable, what’s not so adjustable is weight and that has become very important to me as I age. Density has a positive affect on the slab bass, but it’s backbreaking. That old P has tone forever but man what boat anchor.

    The Home Depot Fretless, a POS @ 6lbs it’s a blast to play. It’s not even the tackiest of my home built.
    bassexplorer likes this.
  16. Rumbledore

    Rumbledore Banned SUSPENDED

    Jun 2, 2018
    the amp is making the sound and avoid pot metal
  17. bassexplorer


    Sep 29, 2008
    Only a good luthier could actually answer the price/quality question.
    I kinda can hear what is good e-bass, but I have no clue whatsoever why it is so.
    There are too many material aspects : pots, wirings, PUs, acoustic quality of the wood, knowhow, strings...
    As far as I am concerned, decades of experience taught me there are 2 kinds of e-basses : The good bass guitar and the crappy bass guitar.
    The crappy bass can even deliver a good sound when played at home, alone. But when you play it in a live, loud situation, the crap comes up like in a toilet boil.
    Generally it is a tone, or a sustain issue. Or you are just not comfortable playing it.
    My advice : buy as less crappy as you can afford.
  18. davidq


    Nov 15, 2017
    I bought a used Squier modified 70's jazz bass and I am quite satisfied. Paid $300.
  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    This doesn’t line up. Are you saying that Alembic told you to tighten the truss rods to decrease backbow?

    Other than Pedulla, every other bass guitar I have ever used has truss rod(s) which increase back bow by tightening. This sounds like user error, and perhaps a misunderstanding. The Alembic staff I’ve worked with over the decades are way too knowledgeable to recommend such an obviously erroneous adjustment.
    MD Stingray likes this.
  20. picker1974


    Feb 5, 2012
    I don’t look down on expensive gear or cheap gear. They all have their place. Myself, I’ve never had the opportunity to play anything more than a $600 or $700 bass. I’m afraid to play anything more than that because then I will probably be inclined to buy it when I can’t afford it ha ha! If you are a professional musician who gets paid to do studio work and gig out then you need good gear. How good I guess depends on your bank roll. I cannot justify spending $2000 or $3000 on a bass because my skill set is not that good and I don’t get paid to play. I do HVAC for a living and I will absolutely refuse to work with anything but good equipment. A working musician should be the same way. And as has been said before in this post the quality of today’s intermediate and entry level gear is worlds better than it used to be. I’m an avid craigslist buyer and used gear buyer at some of the big box stores and local music shops and have found many great solid pieces of equipment for next to nothing. None of that even comes close to comparing an Epiphone or Peavey with an Alembic or Fodera. You can’t do it. I have no shame in the gear I own nor should anyone really. The shameful part would be if I spent $3000 on a bass and totally butchered my performances!

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