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Help me find my first upright :/

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by XxBassmanxX, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. XxBassmanxX


    Nov 21, 2001
    Rosman NC
    Ok guys, I know about search function, but I am really overwhelmed with info here. It seems everyone gives different advice on topics such as carved vs. ply and which basses are junk etc. I am a 24 year old bassist looking to come over to the "dark side" and buy an upright. I have had a chance to mess around with a chinese bass that was very hard to play and sounded terrible. I am sure most of that was because of me :p Anyway... I really want to learn to play with a bow, and I have located a few teachers in my area. Since they all have different opinions I figured I would make a post here and get pro advice from my favorite interweb forum... TB!!

    To be honest I really want to know about carved vs. ply, and if basses that are setup for pizz would also be good for arco? It seems 99% of the uprights for sell are setup for pizz. Anyway do you guys think that an imported carved bass for $2000 would be a worthy instrument? I found a Romanian bass in that price range that sold for $5k new. I know that that is very much at the low end for fully carved instruments, but is it still going to sound better than a ply? Will a carved bass for that price be a total piece of junk? Is there a certain sound that a carved bass can offer (even the cheap ones) that you cant get from a ply? I have a million more questions but this is a start...

    Please PM me if anyone sees a nice deal around NC. I am in the mountains, but willing to drive a little ways. Should I jump on the Upton "Hawkes hybrid" bass?

    Like I said above.. I am really looking for something that will last me a few years, but it doesnt have to be the best looking or most popular instrument out there. I just want something that is well made and easy to play. If I end up spending $2000 then so be it. If you all think that I should save up a little more I will probably buy a cheap electric upright just to work on the technique a little while I wait. I just need an idea of what I need to be searching for. I really love the sound of an UB, and I hope to be learning soon enough.

    I appreciate any advice that you guys want to give... Feel free to comment or just post your opinion on my situation if you think it will be helpful. Thanks very much for your time.

  2. tomshepp

    tomshepp Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Maynard MA
    Don't be in a hurry. It may be overwhelming, but take your time with the noob links. Take advice from the teacher you trust the most. If you jump right in, try as many basses in your price range as you can. Budget for a bow that works well with your bass. Buy from a bass shop/ luthier, not a large music store. Don't buy anything on ebay. Listen to what drurb say about all of this.;)
  3. +1 on this advice
    $2000 should get you a perfectly playable bass. When you buy from a respected Bass shop or Luthier you are also forming a relationship that will most likely be long lasting. A good Luthier/bass shop will allow you to trade up at some point in the future and give you close to the original price on your old bass. At this price point I wouldn't get too preoccupied with the Ply v hybrid debate. A well set up quality ply should do the trick.
  4. XxBassmanxX


    Nov 21, 2001
    Rosman NC
    Thanks for the advice guys! Any suggestions on plywood basses that would have a nice dark sound? So "entry level" carved basses are out?
  5. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    Its quite easy to make a bass sound dark. Double bass strings have varying amounts of damping material which will give you different tones and sustain.

    Pick an orchestral oriented string, which will sound dark and also be good for bowing.

    Its trickier when you want a bright and lively pizz sound with a nice arco tone.
  6. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    +1 on shopping at a luthier. A upright luthier will offer you the chance to hear and feel the difference between basses, strings and setup yourself. Also there's also a lot a luthier can do in adapting a bass to your personal taste and abilities by adjusting the soundpost and bridge position, strings and pickup choice etc.
  7. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003

    The following chart is not entirely accurate, but I think it illustrates the difficulty in comparing carved / hybrid / plywood basses. There is some overlap.

  8. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Thanks, Bass! You saved me having to re-post my "distribution" talk. To the OP:

    I don't think it's the case at all that "everyone gives different advice on topics such as carved vs. ply and which basses are junk etc." Au contraire! You'll find remarkable consistency among experienced players here regarding those topics. As for pizz. vs. arco setup, there are many posts/threads here discussing that. Basically, a good luthier can give you a setup that will work well for both. Without any other information, I'd say NO, a $2000 imported "carved" instrument would not be a good idea. It's not likely to be "carved" at all and if it is, it would almost certainly be done poorly.

    You have been given some fine advice by others here. You are wise to be looking into teachers. I'll echo the suggestion that you be patient. The questions you've asked have been answered here many times over and over and over and in detail. Take your time with the search function and read the wealth of information that's here. Pay special attention to the newbie links. It's worth taking the time to do your homework.

    Welcome to the dark side! :)
  9. XxBassmanxX


    Nov 21, 2001
    Rosman NC
    Thanks! I actually just found out the "Carved" bass that I was looking at was manufactored by Eastman. Are they a reputable maker basses or should i look elsewhere? I think I might just pickup something cheap and try it for a few months while I decide. I dont want to be stuck with something, and then change my mind about what I want 2 months down the road.

    Thanks again guys

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Some of the Eastman basses can be quite good. Have it looked over by a luthier, and if it has a good sound there wouldn't be any problem in buying it I would think. I had an Eastman last year I was using for a while, and it was very well made.
  11. I have a carved Eastman (305 I think) and I like it very much! It is debatably on the "low end" of acceptable carved instruments, and it has served me very well in student/community orchestras for about 8 years now.

    I think they are among the "good Chinese basses", like Shen, Christopher, etc, although I did have a little trouble with the wood moving while it was young (had to redo some back braces eventually).

    If you are brand new to the instrument, try renting for a little while! A nicely set up laminate rental (again, needs to be decent quality, no Cremonas ,etc) will enable you make a more informed purchase when you are done renting.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Nov 25, 2020

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