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Getting one of those orchestral cannons

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Henri Gross, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Henri Gross

    Henri Gross

    Sep 22, 2018
    I see people with large expensive orchestral basses. How? I really want this one specific bass, but it's out of my price range. And before you ask, no it's not one of those $250,000 basses, it's only $50,000. How do people get the money for these things (in legal ways)?
  2. J_Bass


    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    How do you buy a car? Or a house?

    I think that with those values, only with a loan.
  3. There was an article somewhere about the terrible cars Orchestral musicians drove! Usually a 20 year old SUV or wagon of some kind. But, yeah, for a normal adult, have a bass like that, an old car and crappy apt.
    I am on the more long term option: I bought 60 year old bass in 20s in my 60s I'll have 100 year old bass.
  4. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Probably a loan.
    Max George likes this.
  5. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    If you are going to go into debt to purchase a nice bass, I'd recommend doing it while you are relatively young.

    Once I hit fifty, health insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses grew to the point where carrying a loan for tens of thousands of dollars became out of the question. (...and yes, I do drive a 17-year-old hoopty with 200K+ miles on it)
    Winoman likes this.
  6. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    A £40k bass is nothing more than a dream for most orchestral bassists in the UK. Pretty sure £20k will buy you all the bass you'll ever need, which when you think that the average car mechanic owns more than that in tools, doesn't seem so bad. If you want a £50k monster, find a way. Don't pretend to yourself that you NEED one though....
    longfinger and koricancowboy like this.
  7. Just watched the PBS documentary on Perlman, and there's a scene where he and his wife talk about how they're still paying on the loan they took out for him to acquire the Soil Stradivarius back in 1986. (I think the price back then was about £600.000.)
  8. Space Pickle

    Space Pickle

    Apr 15, 2013
    Just play 500 gigs. Easy!
    Sam Sherry likes this.
  9. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    I know only a very few players in the London orchestras with below 40k basses. Outside London is in my experience similar. One is a young relatively young and recent hire plays on a Pöllmann and one colleague in her late 40s plays a pretty good french bass that is probably sub 40k. It is usually a matter of priorities. I freelance now and my basses are £100k and £25k.

    For auditioning I prefer new basses in the £14-42k range. Large, expensive orchestra basses only make sense if you have a job or freelance with a full calendar.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
    damonsmith likes this.
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    How rapidly do fine basses appreciate? If it's an appreciating asset, then the financial picture changes.
    groooooove, Phil Rowan and Max George like this.
  11. Mister Boh

    Mister Boh

    Oct 23, 2016
    Annapolis, MD
    Ah, I kind of thought this was going to be a NCD thread, though practicing the 1812 overture over and over might get boring.
    Scott Lynch and Space Pickle like this.
  12. Oberst


    Oct 1, 2018
    And the neighbors might be a bit on edge whenever you practice!
    Mister Boh likes this.
  13. I am 46 and carry no debt. I don't value the "normal" things, really. I think a bass is more of an interesting thing to go into debt for than a fancy car or overpriced house.
    I think art, records and basses are the only things that give our currencies any value.
    Still, older fine basses require more expensive maintenance. You not going to want to do quick seam repair with Titebond hide glue! That means money for a serious luthier and likely a second bass since I've never heard of a luither being "fast".
    So, these are things to consider if the loan is going to stretch you thin.
    misterbadger, Reiska, Selim and 3 others like this.
  14. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    Damon makes some good points.
    I would also like to add that at equal prices/quality, a new bass is better if you are stretched financially. I had a Hachez for ten years and it never cost me a dime after purchase. The bass that replaced it has cost me €30-40k in a similar period of time.
    longfinger likes this.
  15. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    "I am 46 and carry no debt..."

    That is the secret to a successful and happy life. You'll get ten times more happiness and satisfaction if you hit the gym and get a six pack than you will by drowning in debt for something you don't need. This is definitely another first world problems thread....
  16. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    There’s a 1950’s yellow Kay plywood bass for about a grand on my local Craigslist. Just show up at your next orchestra gig with that.
    chuck3 and Sam Dingle like this.
  17. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    Basses of this type are tools for professionals. I do not know the OP work situation and can’t speak for him. As for my situation, it is not ”something I don’t need”. It makes work easier, more gratifying and it helps keep the phone ringing.
    tonequixote likes this.
  18. I hit the gym, but, the six packs I get are of a nice craft beer! With art need is hard to quantify. I can play a concert which I consider presenting my work on my travel bass. I need: a wood or carbon fiber bow, a carved top and my set up to present my work.
    Would I have put in the 25 years of practice, which is what I consider the work, on gear like that? It turned that decent fully carved Romanian flat back was enough to motivate that. I don't find that instrument to have any lacks compared to any of the fine basses I've played, it is loud, clear, rich, plays evenly, etc. At This point, all I'd like is for it to be bit more stable.

    So, the best advice is to really consider what this bass has that is drawing you to it, you can probably find those attributes in a far cheaper instrument. It is possibly a time for a new bass, if not this $50, 000 bass!
    Winoman and longfinger like this.
  19. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    image.jpeg I understand that Gary Karr preferred to perform with his modern Lawrence LaMay bass over the Koussevitzky bass. The problem was that the audience always wanted the Kousevitsky bass to appear. Later he was very happy with his modern James Ham bass.

    Paying big dollars for a fine old or new bass means you get to use it for years, then sell it at an appreciated price when you retire. Sounds like win win to me.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    csrund and J_Bass like this.
  20. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    They take out a loan and it's a business expense so they can write it off....
    Dabndug and Mvilmany like this.

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