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Finding a bass in the Baton Rouge area....or Lousisiana period

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by tttruck, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Hello all,

    Been lurking for a while. I just recently took the plunge and started on the path to playing double bass. I was lucky and found a local store which rents basses (Brook Mays chain). I was really lucky in finding that their wherehouse manager is also a schooled double bassist who happens to teach. So I got me a bass, I got me a teacher, and now I'm getting me some blisters.

    Now, the bass is a rental with an option to buy ($100 a month with $90 towards purchase). Sounds like a deal, but I'm not sure about the bass. It a Jacob Horst 54/DB. Couldn't find anything out about it other than Brook Mays sells them. It's a plywood bass and my teacher likes it. Thing is, sticker price is $2699. Purchase price will be whatever I have left on it after applying my rental money minus 30% so about $1826+tax probably.

    I don't feel sure about the bass as far as buying it goes, but I've got no experience or even other instruments to compare it to. My teacher says he likes it, that it sounds good and plays well, but he also admits to not knowing anything technical about basses or gear, or even what his $8000 bass is.

    Bottom line is, I don't think I want to buy this bass, but I can't make that determination on my own without being able to try other basses.

    So where does one find basses in the Baton Rouge area, or Louisiana area for that matter? I've tried asking someone who plays, and he didn't know, he got his bass in Tennessee or something. He pointed me to a New Orleans Luthier who also sold basses, but he doesn't keep a stock. He didn't even know where I could find a bass.

    What's a poor Southern Louisiana bassist to do?

  2. dvmweb


    Apr 20, 2002
    Atlanta MI 49709
    Check out Bob Gollihur's website, http://www.urbbob.com/. There he has a list of URB luthiers in the USA. Good Luck.

    Walt MI/US
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Don't feel pressured to purchase the rental bass because you have "credit" built up with the store. Many rental shops inflate the sticker price of an instrument, so by the time you are ready to buy (6-9 months later) you end up paying the same price as shopping around and getting a new plywood from a different store.

    If you like the way the bass feels and plays (and it has an ebony board and pro setup) anything under $2,000 is reasonable. But you should visit the luthier in N.O. and see what he suggests.

  4. Bump.

    I'd be willing to drive a few hours or so to find a place that I could play some basses at, to get a feel or baseline for comparison.

    Houston for instance. I would drive to Houston. Where would one find basses in Houston, Texas?

    So that's five or six hours. Anywhere within five or six hours of Baton Rouge, Louisiana that would have a selection of basses?
  5. Still Looking. I'd really appreciate a tip on where to find a bass in the Louisiana area. Houston, TX even. Surely there are basses in Houston.
  6. It may be farther than you want to go but there are several shops in Nashville (DB luthier Dustin Williams, Gruhn's, and Nashville Violins) that usually carry quite a few basses. It would, however, be close to a 10 hour drive.
  7. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Have you contacted Wally in the New Orleans area? Or Sal Giardina? (I might be spelling his name wrong.)

    Here's what was on Bob's Houston list:

    # TX, Houston, Amati Violin Shop, 713-666-6461
    Repairs, basses

    # TX, Houston, Lisle Violin, 713-526-4005 (also in Pasadena, TX 281-487-7303)
    New and used instruments, repairs
    # TX, Houston, The Orchestra Store, James Scoggan, 713-462-5725, 866-267-5725, fax 713-462-5726

    I know nothing of these shop's reputations or quality... just trying to help.
  8. Thanks for the replies Steve and Nick.

    Steve, Nashville is a ways to go just for a bass, you're right.

    Nick, I don't know who Wally is, but I have spoken to Sal Giardina. I called him to set up an appointment to come see what basses he had for sale. It wasn't until I'd driven and hour one Saturday morning that it was made clear to me that he didn't actually have any basses in house, but he said he does sell "nice chinese basses" of an unknown (to me) branding or builder for around $1700. But that's on a pre-order basis only. I know it was a missunderstanding but you can imagine my dissappointment. I was pissed :)

    So in the birthplace, the maternal womb of Jazz, there are apparently few if any places to reliably find a bass with which to play said music. Excuse my ignorance of Jazz history if I'm off base, but you get the point I hope.

    I appreciate the links, but I've been to Golihur's a thousand times. What I'm really looking for is someone with firsthand experience in the general area. Guess I need to hit the directory and start PMing/emailing people directly.

    The Upton or Shen route is starting to look really appealing. I still really want to play some basses though, just to get an idea of what's out there.

    I will be traveling to Philly in September and then driving to N.Y.C. for a day or two, so there's that to look forward to. I just don't want to rent the one I've got for $100/month till September if I'm not going to buy it. I can't afford to really.

    Thanks again for the help though.

    Please, keep the info coming if anyone's out there that can help.
  9. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Wally Kay
    A Bass Place & String Shop
    549 Vallete St.
    New Orleans, LA. 70114
    Call (504) 367-2212 or (504) 258-4777
  10. Thanks!
  11. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I also suggest Wally Kay(although I think his last name is Kaye).
  12. Thanks for the help guys. I've contacted Mr. Kay. I'm gonna get down there as soon as I can.

    So Martin, do you know Wally? Dealt with him before? Just curious....

  13. jfv


    May 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Its funny, this is SO typical of the small music store. Maybe 10 years back I rented a tenor sax from a music store, it was the same scam,
    generous percentage of your rent toward purchase, BUT the price is like manufacturers suggested list :) And as anyone knows thats AT LEAST
    a 50% markup over what this dealer is really payin.

    Once I realized this 'nice' local store was making me into their milk cow I terminated their rental, went to USA Horns and got a good deal :)

    I would only do a rent as a short term thing, like figuring out if you want to even begin to work on this instrument or not.

    If you get a teacher that has some vested interest in the store and what they sell, BEWARE of that too.
  14. TCraine


    Mar 2, 2006

    I have met Wally Kay. He is one nice guy, and has several basses in his place that are for sale.

    I am actually going to get some lessons from him starting next week.

    I am also bringing my new bass over to him so he can check it out.

    Personally, I think the drive from BR would be worth your time to come see him.

    I did not buy my bass locally, and probably would have but did not know about Wally until I had already purchased mine.

    With New Orleans the way it is (Katrina), I could not find any local shops open when I was ready to buy.

    Feel free to email me if you want to know more.