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Help another newbie...

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by fish slapper, Jan 5, 2006.


  1. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Tigard, OR
    ...think through his options.

    After renting a cheap Cremona for 5 months I am getting ready to spring for my first upright. First let me say that one of the most difficult things for me getting into UB is the budget. I am a hobbiest with a decent day job so I can't really justify spending over $2k. In 20+ years of playing BG the most I ever payed for a slab was $800.

    That being said here are my choices:

    Eastman: I'd like to buy locally if I can. Portland seems to be an Eastman town as the two main retail outlets for UBs carry these. The local luthier/ bass shop (Pete's from whom I'm renting and taking lessons) has a hybrid that's on the top end of my budget. Con: don't really care for the tone and its a D neck. My rental is an Eb and almost all the other's I've tried are Eb so feel like its an odd duck.

    Shen: The closest retailer for these is Hammond Ashley in Seattle (3 hour drive). I played a hybrid (model 150?) on a visit up there last month. The tone and feel blew me away. Con:way on the upper end of my budget. They are asking $2500 just for the bass, then need bag, bow, etc. Also, uncomfortable with a 3 hour drive if there are any problems.

    Upton: I have been reading many raves on these and I love the look of the Swingmaster. From reading here, Upton would be the best bet on the "buy without playing" option. Also saw this week they have something called an Eberle??? The price is attractive but anyone played these??

    Thanks for any input. I can verify that reading the newbie threads have already saved me a ton of heartache. Also I think a recent thread saved me when I was tempted to buy a used Englehart.

    Mark
     
  2. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    When I read your post, these statements stand out.

    You would probably regret the purchase.

    You are fortunate to find an instrument that speaks to you this way.

    What do you want to experience when you play the bass?
     
  3. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    Again, sounds like the Shen is really your choice. Buying an Upton without playing it compared to buying a Shen that you've played and loved doesn't seem sensible.

    On the budget question, I think its a mistake to get trapped into arbitrary price points. Yes, you got a great EB for $800, but you've done the research and you know what URBasses cost. Would you set the same budget for a piano? Your budget should be determined by the amount of money you have available for leisure activities, the type of bass you need for the type of playing you do, and the amount you are getting out of this hobby.

    Heck, if you have the money saved and your investments are performing as badly as mine, double your budget and call Arnold about a New Standard.
     
  4. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Tigard, OR
    it doesn't ask for it on the profile and I didn't mention that I'm married. And while I'm on the second Mrs. who is VVEERRYY tolerent of me spending mad money on my hobbies, still it effects the "budget". Also I have learned late in life that just because I have the money doesn't mean I spend it.....

    Mark
     
  5. I have an Upton and yes, I like it and yes, our circumstances are similar, but if I had actually played a really great bass for a few hundred more...I might have taken the more expensive route, I don't know. GAS is bad when the bass is in your hand.

    Now the question is...are you comparing everything to that Cremona or did you A-B that Shen against a $5K bass at H-A.

    My meaning here is, that I haven't heard the Shen, and you haven't heard the Upton. I'm very happy with the bass for the $1700 I spent. I could go out looking for basses all over and I'm sure I could find a beauty at $2500 too. But I didn't want to spend 2500 and that's my point. At what point do we buy the Cadillac, when we set out to buy a Chevy?

    If that makes sense to you...I think you'll find out that there are some serious GASers here on this forum that could probably talk me into a Pollmann if given enuf time. ;)

    gomez
     
  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I agree with everything said, but will add a few comments. I've doubt that I ever spent more than maybe $400 on an EB, but I spend considerably north of your budget on a double bass. Couldn't believe I was doing it and have never regreted it for a second. It gives me joy every day. I spend more money on things that make me less happy (cars, insurance...). The ease of learning to play in time and in tune on a instrument that sings to you compared to one that doesn't is astounding. EB to DB is not an easy switch, don't make it harder on yourself.

    I would have said buy the Eastman had you not said that you hated the tone. Now, I can't think of worse advice. Don't buy something you don't like the sound of. The fact that your ear loved one bass and hated another rules out ordering one that you haven't heard. Put it out of your mind unless you want to travel there to try it out.

    I live in Seattle, Hammond Ashley is a good shop. Bryce and Matt are good honest people and the luthiers there are take care in their jobs. The bass will be set up nicely and they'll work to make you happy. I don't think for what it's worth that you can negotiate the price of a new factory instrument there as someone mentioned, although I did sucessfully on a old instrument with a subjective retail value. I do think that if you are nice about it and work it out before you tip your hand that you are driving up to buy it, they'll probably throw in a case.

    There are cheaper bow options...WAIT...I know there will be some strong opponents to this and I don't know what your goals are. If you are not intending to be a classical player and you're seriously funds constrained...I bought a bow for $50 on eBay, partially because I didn't know if I wanted to play French or German and I wasn't sure how much I would use it. It worked fine for me for a few years, when I got more serious about practicing with a bow, I sold it or $25 or 30 and bought a quality bow at Hammond Ashley. It works better and for my new commitment to learning arco, it was a good investment. I've never regretted my decision to go cheap first. My teacher didn't even have a problem with it.

    So, that's my advice to you. If your experince is like mine, you won't regret spending $2,500 on a doubebass, but you'll look back and question why you ever paid $800 for a slab.

    Welcome!

    Some good teachers down in Portland, you studying with anyone yet? If not, I could make some recommendations to you.

    P.S.- Don't post "German or French?" There is no answer. Pick up one of each and see which is more comfortable to you OR decide who you want to study with and use what they use.

    AH, one other thought that I left out of that long-assed response believe it or not. If you buy a bass in Seattle or California or New York or wherever, you're still going to want to find a luthier in Portland. I could get a referral for you on that too, but you won't be driving to Seattle to have your bridge adjusted or a Full Circle installed or even a crack repaired. Short of warrenty work, which I think is highly unlikley, you'll get your work done locally. So, it's one drive. You and your wife spend a few days in Seattle while you're here, make a few sessions, hell if you convince me that you're not a psycho, I'll give you place to stay. If you are a phycho, I'll happily put you up at a friend's house.
     
  7. OK.. i have like 500$ and saw some uprights on ebay..im just a begginer on upright and wanna play jazz..i dont know which one to get.

    if you can find a nice/cheap/good sounding bass please repost it.
     
  8. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Tigard, OR
    "...are you comparing everything to that Cremona or did you A-B that Shen against a $5K bass at H-A..."

    Actually, yes. They very gratiously allowed me to play a $5k bass and to my yet to be trained ear, I could not hear a $3k improvement. Perhaps down the road.

    As to the bow, I have already tried out several bows to compare to the freebie thrown in with my rental. I actually tried one in the $200 range and another in the $500 mark. I did actually *hear* a difference but I decided my technique needed more work before I made that leap.

    BTW, I started French, my teacher plays German. Yes, I have a decent teacher but he is also my luthier and my rental house.

    I think I left the impression that the Eastman was horrible. That's far from the case. I played it before and after I played the Shen and something about the Shen made it seem a tad inferior in tone. Could be all in my head but that's the way it feels right now. It could be something as silly as which strings were on it. The D neck in my mind is a larger issue.

    Mark
     
  9. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I vote that we ignore xBentlyx27. Do I hear a second?

    <Search the DB - Basses and Wanted forums on keyword "eBay" and then proceed at your own risk.>
     
  10. D McCartney

    D McCartney crosswind downwind bass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Tacoma WA
    Go to, or call, Hammond-Ashley and ask about rentals. My 2 scents.
    Or email. check their website.
     
  11. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Tigard, OR
    Actually, I think he's closer to Portland. Pete's Bass shop rents. Maybe you can have my rental when I turn mine in. ;o}

    Do check the newbie threads, though. Oh, and the best advice I got here: get a teacher.

    Mark
     
  12. D McCartney

    D McCartney crosswind downwind bass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Tacoma WA
    Camas WA, what was I thinking?
     
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The cats at Upton seem pretty cool, the other possibility is to see if they'll go for you paying for shipping boths ways so that you can A/B the swingmaster (or whatever) with the Shen.

    But what are you hoping is going to happen, that the Upton bass will so clearly be more what you are looking for than the bass you actually played? How much is shipping going to be? Does that put the prices any closer? That might give you some wiggle room on the price of the Shen.

    Still and all, remember the good advice handed down through the ages by our old friend, Aesop.
     
  14. Fish Slapper;

    If you are really interested in an Eberle bass, I have one in Eugene you can try out.

    Send me an email and we'll talk off forum.

    plester102@hotmail.com
     
  15. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Tigard, OR
    I guess I was hoping would say something like: "I've played both and they are comperable so go with which on you like!"

    After pondering your remarks I realize this: I want a bass that looks like a Swingmaster but plays and sounds like the Shen. Age old delima with me: "Form or function". I tend to err to the Form side as that's my field in the day gig.

    Thank you for the insight.

    Mark
     
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Just remember, you're not going to hang it on your wall. You're going to listen to it, every time you pick it up. The more pleasing that sound is, the more often you will pick it up.

    In case I was too obtuse, bird in hand is worth two in bush.
     
  17. I certainly agree with the advice being given here as far as basses go, and can't say anymore on that. The things I can comment on are that I've become a huge fan of those CF chinese bows available at music 123 for 59 bucks. My friends have liked the sound and all who've tried mine have bought them and these are all "working musicians" as am I. As far as being an odd bird with a 'D' neck. I think that may go along the french/german bow arguement. I've only had 2 Eb neck basses in my hands in my entire life (school basses aside when I wouldn't have known the difference), and I've played a bunch of rental instruments, and other people's basses when I've subbed their gig. To me, an 'Eb' neck would be the odd duck but I'm not interested in starting a debate on that topic, just that different strokes.........
    Peace. ASG
     
  18. mpoppitt

    mpoppitt

    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
  19. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Dude. Function, function, function...and oh yeah, function. You should see the scars and hidious repairs on my beloved Ilsa. But she communes with me beautifully on days when I'm worthy.

    I feel like I can play almost any bass guitar if it's set up right and has a 1/2 decent set of strings on it. Very different with a Winston Churchill sized acoustic instrument.

    Function.
     
  20. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    BRAVO!!!!! APPLAUSE!!!!!!!!!! :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: