Fix my old bass or go for a new one?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by grapevine, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. Fix and give my old bass a second life

  2. buy the Eastman and sell my old bass

  3. Do both

  4. Do both with intentions of selling one off later

  5. Save up for a better bass than the Eastman vb95

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. grapevine


    Feb 9, 2015
    Los Angeles
    Small back story:

    I switched over to double bass when starting college and bought a starter bass online. It wasn’t a very informed decision but it was a good deal for what I could afford at that time.
    The bass I got is a 2007 bellafina fully carved Chinese bass. Got it for around $1400. Had to get it set up and after 3 months of Southern California climate, one of the bottoms seams open and crack formed on the side. Had those fixed. Over the next 10 years the Bass has other seams opened up and currently the bass plays with a bottom open seam with some breakage near the seam.
    I’ve never felt the bass had a big sound and I think a few bad set ups made it hard for me to truly enjoy the bass.
    Well this past week I finally got around to taking my bass to a highly recommended shop(la bass works) and got my bass evaluated. I originally went in there looking to buy a new bass because I thought my bass would not have any more worth than fire wood.
    After looking at my bass, they were able see a workable diamond in the rough and think my fully carved bass has more potential value than the new hybrid I was looking at to buy.

    The hybrid I’ve been looking at is an Eastman VB95. I do understand that bass is in the student range but I feel my playing time and technique haven’t quite demanded anything over $5000.

    so here’s my options.
    It will cost in ball park of $1300 to give my bass a second life and possibly set up like how deserves to be.
    The Eastman bass costs $2700 and actually plays really nice and sounds great.
    I could do both options and be out the door for around $4000 and be happy but I honestly don’t have the room to keep both Basses. Also in this option I could sell my old old bass after it’s fixed because of its new appraised value for being fully carved.

    apologize for being long but there are a few combinations of options for me that I’m having trouble trying to decide on. Hopefully I explained it enough.

    what would you do?

  2. basscat35


    Mar 15, 2005
    I think you should have your bass fixed. Even if you decide to let it go down the road, you should be able to get enough for a well set up entry level carved bass to recoup your money. You must be a little curious as to how it would play and sound anyway after spending all this time with it--
  3. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Fix the bass, decide which is better. If you want the new one, sell the old one.
    bassmanbrent and james condino like this.
  4. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
  5. I'd make a decision now rather than later. If you put $1300 into the Bellafina and don't like the results I think it'll be difficult to recoup your total investment. Appraised value and market value are two different numbers.
    Fretless55 likes this.
  6. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    This is TB, the enabler of all things low frequency. Fix one bass, buy another, and consider a third.
  7. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I would ask the shop to take your old bass as a trade.
  8. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Get something affordable that inspires you. This current bass got you started on your doublebass journey, but it is time to move on. Good luck !!
  9. Your $2700 price range puts a few hybrids in the offing.
    It certainly would be less hassle to take on a new built bass of quality.
    And it’s always interesting to try something different.

    Good luck with your decision.
  10. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    The three months after Xmas are the best time of the year to buy a bass; everyone is Xmas broke...

    It sounds like you've already got a mediocre Chinese bass; no need for a second one.

    Be patient; for the amount of money we are talking about, you'll find a bass that exceeds your wildest expectations and excites you for a decade.
  11. James is right, patience is the key!

    $2700 is very fertile price point for a well made DB, that in my instance, exceeded my expectations.

    Living in a major metropolitan area means you’ll be able to audition quite a few.
    The fact that you already have a DB is definitely a plus in your ability to play the field and not feel rushed.

    End of the search I envision a happy boy!
  12. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    If Lisa and her team at LA Bassworks says it's a diamond in the rough and worth repairing, just nod, smile and follow her lead. The Eastman will be a lateral move; maybe a step up would be a bass in the $4-5K range, but I would just listen to her advice.
    misterbadger and Sean Riddle like this.
  13. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    Fix your old bass and save up for something better than it or the Eastman.
    james condino likes this.
  14. Agreed. Lisa and Gabriel are some of the most honest people I know and are never trying to make an extra buck at your expense. If they see potential I’d consider getting it repaired by them. They’ll be able to transform it into a hell of a bass. When I got my Shen hybrid setup by them 4 years ago, it blossomed into an bass that continues to turn heads.
  15. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    I understand your felt need for penance, but moving to a worse instrument is not going to motivate you to practice more.
    grapevine likes this.
  16. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    My recent experience is somewhat analogous, if not exactly the same. I purchased a carved Chinese bass (Art Chinois) about 7 yrs ago, it had never been set up and needed a fair bit of work (Bob Ross, excellent luthier in Denver, did a bunch of work - new bridge, planed fingerboard, fixed some seams, new soundpost and endpin). I was still never thrilled with the bass - never bonded, if you will - but it did the job. I just had him do some additional work a few weeks ago (new strings, soundpost tweaks, a few more minor cracks) and it plays and sounds better than it ever did. Right after picking it up, I got connected to a somewhat local player who had a Shen Hybrid 190 that he wanted to sell, he also just had it set up properly by Bob Ross. I went to see it and fell in love - it just felt better in my hands and seemed to be all-around better quality construction. So I bought it, and the carved bass is going off to Bob's shop to be sold on consignment.

    My experience - a good luthier can do wonders, and if you like the feel of the bass in your hands (ie, neck profile, body fit to your body) then its probably worthwhile to have it worked on. I did the same with Bob Ross - brought the bass back to him, told him what I wasn't happy with about it, and asked him if he thought he could bring it to life. If it isn't to your liking, then go the hybrid route. In my case I have the resources to be able to buy the Shen before the other bass sells. If I didn't I probably would have been happy keeping the bass. If I hadn't had the opportunity to buy the Shen - well set up, for a decent price - then I would have been perfectly happy keeping the Chinese bass that I already had.