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Going to be auditioning for college soon

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by KBbassguy, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. KBbassguy


    Jul 24, 2011
    Hey, guys, soon I'll be doing auditions for college, and I'm looking to upgrade from the bass I have right now (chinese ply PoS) I'm trying not to spend over ~five grand on it, which sort of limits me. I was looking at Uptons, but the only basses I can get from there for around that much are hybrids. I guess my question is: will a hybrid work for college? Should I go for a full carved?

    tl;dr hybrid or fully carved for college?

    Also, if you guys could recommend a company/bass I missed, that would be awesome too.
  2. You can get a fully carved Shen Willow (the 3/4 size version) for under $5,000. There are many satisfied owners on this forum.

    I can't really say if the tone quality of a hybrid is really good enough for college auditions.

    I own one (a Shen SB180) and am very pleased with the sound. I think a hybrid can be a major step up from a plywood, especially if you are bowing the orchestral rep.

    But again - it all depends on which one you choose - you have to travel and try them.
  3. AMUNC


    Jan 22, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    A hybrid can do wonders depending on who's playing it. I've won multiple auditions on a full ply Shen SB100. To add to the pot though, I played a friends wan-bernadel from string emporium for around 5k and it sounded fantastic as well.

    And +1 for shens, fantastic basses throughout their lineup
  4. Are you going to be playing this bass throughout college?
  5. Are you applying for classical or jazz?
    If money is tight, keep an eye out for private sales in your area. Ask your teacher and friends for some networking help tracking down deals.
  6. periodical


    Apr 4, 2008
    Newton, MA
    Seconding the jazz or classical question. I was in a jazz program and played a chinese hybrid all 4 years and never had any complaints/issues.
  7. jdepriest


    Sep 20, 2005
    Waynesburg, Pa
    Your profile dosent say where do you live?

    A ply or hybrid can work great if it's set up correctly. I play mostly jazz and I didnt get a fully carved till 3 years ago, I'm in my 40's. I tried an Upton and liked it but I fell in love with the Shen SB200. And I paid around $5000 for it.
  8. KBbassguy


    Jul 24, 2011
    Sorry, yeah, classical. And hopefully I'll be playing it throughout college, Thump. I live in central NY, about 4 hours north of the city. I was thinking of going to try out one of the wan-bernadels actually, Adam.
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Read the beginner's guide, especially the section labelled:

    Some warnings about "carved" basses:

    There are some hybrids that blow away some entry-level carved basses.
  10. Adam Attard

    Adam Attard

    Feb 9, 2009
    Just a thought- you can still play your Chinese ply for auditions- I rocked a Shen SB80 and got into a couple really good schools.
    It might not be the best idea to buy a new bass right before auditioning, just my .02
  11. NicholasF

    NicholasF Guest

    Jan 17, 2012
    Im in the same boat as u, im going to order an upton soon, and it wont be ready for auditions when its finished( it will be built but I wont have time to really acclimate myself with it) i am auditioning classically on my Palatino Ply, and trust me if you can make a ply sound good when playing eccles sonata( im doing mvmts 1&2 for my audition) , you can get a new bass next summer if you want

    Im going to +1 Upton, having a bass made for you thats totally individual from any other bass is an awesome thing to have. Their hybrids are fantastic, and because their not fully carved they can take the everyday abuse of college. Plus their pricing for what they do is well, extremely low! Im an Upton bass fan now, their basses are really fantastic and like i said their brecian beat out the Martin bass, at sound and price...
  12. KBbassguy


    Jul 24, 2011
    Hey, guys, thanks for the feedback. I guess what Skyre12 said actually makes a lot of sense. I'll probably just wait until next spring/summer. Thanks again!
  13. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    At least as an undergraduate, I think you'll find that most professors aren't really looking for the sound of the bass the student is playing, but the sound he/she pulls from it. Granted, all basses sound different and the better the bass, the more unique the sound is going to be. However, a good player is going to pull a good sound from virtually any bass and I don't think a professor is going to mark you down because, although your sound is hearty and focused and your playing is tight, you don't have the kind of detailed timbre that an expensive bass provides.

    I've been playing a Shen SB150 through my college career and continually get high regards on tone. Where I struggle is phrasing an musicality, something no bass can save.
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Much as I agree, in general, with what's been said here, I think it's important to recognize that a nice carved-top bass can actually enhance one's musical expression. Perhaps it wouldn't be a huge factor in the type of audition being discussed but, at least for me, the responsiveness of a carved bass and the feedback it provides do influence playing.
  15. Adam Attard

    Adam Attard

    Feb 9, 2009
    I agree totally. I was in the op's position (except without any money at the time), and my SB80 served me well. Now that I'm going to the great school I'm going to, I'm shopping for something really nice, partially because my financial situation changed, but mostly because I'll need a new instrument to be competitive for any kind of festival audition or competition or the like.
    Having tried out really nice carved instruments now, I can tell it definitely helps your sound a lot, but for college auditions, you're better off staying with what you have. Changing things on the fly before an audition is a good way to lower your chances of doing well.
  16. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Musical expression is nice, but that honestly comes in the woodshed.

    If you play with confidence and good intonation, make eye contact when shaking hands and show that you know what you are doing, you will go further than if you had a new bass.

    Dont let fear get into you, play emotionless and from your center. Good Luck.
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Yes, but this is not an all-or-nothing affair. Of course, the vast majority of what will win a player an audition comes from the woodshed. Yes, playing with confidence and with good technique is paramount. Musical expression, however, is more than merely "nice."

    As I mentioned earlier, I agree with the overall message of the responses. That is, unless there's time to adjust to a new instrument, it's best to stick with what you have. It's your technique and ability that will carry the day. I think the OP should follow that advice.

    Still, I think the benefits of a finer instrument have been given short-shrift in the discussion. All other things being equal and given there is sufficient time to adjust, the benefits afforded by a carved top, both in terms of the sound and the interaction with the player are, IMO, substantial. BTW, when I was a youngin' I auditioned with my 1967 Kay C-1, although not quite at the level we're discussing here. I had nothing else.

    I don't believe there's any essential disagreement here. :)
  18. NicholasF

    NicholasF Guest

    Jan 17, 2012
    The thing is, your not just going to have the bass professor on your panel, you might have a vocal teacher and the president of the school, who neither have ever played a bass. They will be looking for musicality, but the sound you produce is important, they know what your playing should sound like. I think that for a classical bass major at least, explaining to the bass department head( who you should have already contacted) about your situation, and if the other two panel members dont understand you or the department head should explain it, then they will understand, and might even be more impressed that you can (if you can) draw an amazing sound from an instrument that is currently limiting you in your playing, and it shows how with the right tools you can grow and develop into a monster of a player.
  19. Adam Attard

    Adam Attard

    Feb 9, 2009
    Just a slightly off tangent comment, but at three of the schools I auditioned at, the only people hearing me play were the bass faculty. Probably not the most common, but at some places it's like that. Anyway, at any school they'll realize what kind of equipment you have, and if you can sound good on a $1000 bass, it's no detriment to your acceptance chances if you don't have a bass the price of a house whose a string shatters windows.
  20. NicholasF

    NicholasF Guest

    Jan 17, 2012

    You had some very lucky circumstances, I have been taking "mock auditions" all summer and learning about the panel members of the school, they all knew about the bass and what it should sound like, but I was lucky to get more than one person who actually played the instrument at all. And sometimes the bass is a detriment, not for acceptance chances, but for growth of a musician here is a quote by Ron Carter, who sums up what I am trying to say.

    And after lots of savings I can finally get an instrument that i can hold responsible for a long time, take this into consideration, and I know Im going to hear from you guys about this in negative ways, but would you rather have an instrument that is made for you, and that you can go and meet the people who make it, watch the entire process, or go order an instrument out of a magazine... And if you do opt for the "phone in" bass than how long do you expect to have it? 2 years, 4 years, 30 years? What I think Ron is saying about his bass, is that the instrument is an extension of your body, same as an arm or a foot, these are tools that are simply irreplaceable, and unique to every person, so an instrument made for you would be something that no matter the cost (and the few makers who do do this, some can be pretty steep in price, others not terrible) its worth it because you will always be discovering something new whether it be in music, in your instrument or even in yourself, having a tool made for the job of your own personal expression is irreplaceable.

    @ the OP, you should send everyone here a PM explaining what you want in an instrument, and where you might get it, this way instead of all of us speculating what your looking for, you can tell us, you might want a college beater, you might want a life long instrument.

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