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good bass to buy?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by tbassist4, Aug 24, 2005.


  1. Alright well ive bought my entry level upright bass. I got it online which i know now wasnt the right thing to do (NEVER BUY FROM www.guitaronline.com), but i didnt have the cash for a good bass, not even close to enough, and the price was more than attractive. It's going to be a huge repair and reconstruction bill $400+ to even make it playable, but it will be a hell of an instrument when this guy finishes working on it. So now im looking further down the road. What are some of the top basses to get? I want to start saving up now and buy an amazing bass to use in a few years, and a new bow, mines hideous and not worthy of a fine instrument. So yeah, im just wondering what are the top of the line basses? Maybe even a custom shop? I dunno, itd be great to get some input.
     
  2. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    Read through the Newbie Links. There's a wealth of information on this topic.


    Edit: i realized i didn't answer very well. Top of the line carved basses? I think they probably start in the $20k range at least-i do not know however, my primary focus is in the laminate realm. Top of the line laminated basses-$3-4k. [thinking of the New Standards] Custom Bass-really depends on the maker. If you're talking a Hot Rod style bass ala Norton Customs it would be less [i think] than if you had Arnold [a member here] or any other of the luthiers build you a custom bass.


    Welcome to TB, btw.
     
  3. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    "Custom Shop" meaning a bass handbuilt for you? You're looking at $20,000 or more.
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I think your missing a Zero. Most of the better Basses I have tried are over 100k. Good older Basses start closer to 20k. Major Symphony grade Basses can start at 50k but some lesser pedigrees with a good sound from 30-50k works often. New carved Basses of various grades from about 5-25k........ and so on..

    But to start, a good top of the line affordable Carved Basses would be the 3/4 Shen Willow model. That's my vote for the best Bang, or Boom for the Buck....Also, get a good Bow. A cheap Bow sounds thin and makes you work too hard. It will also promote bad habits. $500-$800 for something good wit tone and playability. Add a Zero to match the better Basses above.
     
  5. You need to complete your profile. It is important, in terms of price, where you are located. The prices that Ken is quoting are NY prices for top of the line orchestral basses. You should also tell us what genre of music you're into. There are great jazz basses out there for less than $10K.
    Our man Ed Fuqua has an extraordinary carved shop bass that, I'm fairly sure, didn't cost an arm or a leg.
    You can pretty much pay as much as you can handle, or do some serious shopping and come up with a gem.
     
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Paul, I am actually quoting prices that are fairly common worldwide. Robertsons in NM are at least as high as NY. Any Fine or Pedigree Bass is priced internationally. I have bought Bass from 4 different countries in the last few years and everyone knows what a dollar is as well as the values of the great Basses.

    Find me a Dodd, Testore, Gilkes or Martini for a much lower price in your neck of the woods and I am on the next plane..

    Anyway, Paul is right about the Profile thing. There are so many choices from the teens to 10k these days from old to new and from domestic to imported and from Plywood to carved. Paul has a few years on me, just a few but we can both tell you that 30 years ago or more, the choices were fewer. Great Basses now come from China, Germany, Romania, Hungary, USA, Etc now under the 10K price And at least if not more the same quantity of junk. Price does not tell you what you are getting. The dealer tells you that. So, fill in the blanks and the good folks here of TB will guide you down the right path.

    I have to tell you this though. The two best products I have seen from Interior work to exterior, tone and Value is either Shen Basses or those from Arnold Schnitzer. There are some others I hear about here but I haven't seen them and it would not be fair to comment on them either. Arnold is one of the best Luthiers out there worldwide now and has a full range Basses to choose from. Any Bass coming from his shop is one ready to take to the Gig. Shen Basses have the best interior work I have seen as far as linings and blocks and equal to the best production handmade Basses. If a maker puts that much into what you can't see, the I trust he is proud of his product.
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well, not really. There are reputable on-line dealers (like Lemur, Upton etc.) and if that is your only choice because you live in East Bum**** Nowheresville, going with an on-line purchase isn't the worst thing in the world. If you have the choice between going to the luthier up the street and on -line, my recommendation is ALWAYS to go to where you can actually PLAY a lot of basses.

    It's not like buying an electric bass. There's no ALEMBIC or whatever. The best thing to do is go in a play a lot of basses without knowing who made them, how old or new they are, what the price is, ANYTHING. Just go a play them (or get somebody who is more experienced than you, like your teacher) and LISTEN. Which bass sounds most like the one you hear in your head when you think about upright? Get that one. If you can't afford it, get the one that comes closest to that sound that IS in your price range.


    You talk funny. Say it with me - LOO THEE UR. Luthier. See how easy that was? If you go to (All Hail) Bob Gollihur's site, he has a geographical listing of shops that work on basses and shops in which luthiers build basses as well. There are good new basses and bad new basses. There are good old basses and bad old basses. It may behoove you to wait until you have a little more experience under your belt (like 5 to 10 years) before you commision an instrument. I would also SEARCH some posts by Ray Parker at this site; he has a new bass (welll new when he bought it) that he loves, but he has concerns that have led him to say he probably would not buy another new bass. You can hear Ray playing his new bass by going to the TBDB Sampler thread and following the links.
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I paid $2K for it in about 1989 or 90. Sam says I could prolly get about $8 or 9K for it now. After Jeff gets finished with it, who knows?
     
  9. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    But believe it or not, rumour has it that double bass custom shops do exist... Complete with LOO THEE URs!

    ;)
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The next thing you'l' be tryin' to tell me is that there's guys painting basses blue...