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How and where to buy good quality double basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by lassizzle, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. lassizzle


    Jun 16, 2018
    Ever since I started playing the double bass, I've played with instruments on loan from my music school. In 2 years I'll be applying to a music academy. When I leave our music school I'll have to buy myself a bass. I'm hoping to buy the bass at least a year before applying because I'd like to familiarize myself with the instrument first. Do you have any tips on how to find a good quality bass?
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    It would help if you gave some hint of your location.
    Max George likes this.
  3. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    Define good quality, give us an upper pricerange. Jazz and/or Classical?

    Probably too early for this kind of investment, but if I in retrospect were to choose a bass for my college years, I would pick a Charton Montagnana model in the cheaper cornerless, lionshead scroll version. Export version should be about $20k. Until college, you should be able to find something in the sub 5k range
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I highly recommend the <$5000 basses from the www.Stringemporium.com (Rogeri and Wan Bernadel models). They are fully carved, well constructed and sound good. If you live in an area with good bass shops, then go play some instruments!
    lurk likes this.
  5. fu22ba55

    fu22ba55 Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    There's no subsitute for playing a bunch of basses to find one you like--and to discover how many you DON'T like. If you're not already on the east coast, a trip to the NYC/CT area would be productive:

    -David Gage in NYC
    -Kolstein's on Long Island (40 minutes East of NYC)
    -Upton Bass in Mystic CT (2 hours North of NYC)
    -even New Standard in Wilton CT (you'd have to call ahead to see if he has basses in stock for you to try)

    In a couple days, you could hit all those shops, and try more basses than you ever will in your life.

    a) a proper setup makes a huge difference. An inexpensive, imported instrument with a good setup will feel better than a 20K instrument with a lousy setup.

    b) find a BODY that you like the sound of, then ask the seller if any setup issues can be addressed (and for how much)

    c) if possible, bring another bassist you trust as another set of hands and ears. Basses sound different when you're standing in front of them.

    d) While there are some great, inexpensive imported instruments out there (if setup properly), they don't hold their value (or appreciate) as much as many "vintage" or USA-made instruments. It's supply and demand. There will always be more used Eastman's and Shen's in the classifieds than harder-to-find, unique instruments. Are you making an investment you can flip later for the next bass upgrade, or do you just need a tool for a job?
  6. lassizzle


    Jun 16, 2018
    I live in Finland. I’ve found it pretty difficult to find any good basses here.
  7. lassizzle


    Jun 16, 2018
    I’m looking for a classical bass, the price could be upto 15k€. I might apply for scholarships in order to purchase an actually nice bass. As for the bass I’m hoping for a rich and full-bodied sound and more for solo playing than orchestral.
  8. lassizzle


    Jun 16, 2018
    Thanks! I’m looking for an investment.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Tobias Festl's World of Basses still seems to be around, Germany may be an easier trip. Also the Contrabass Shoppe in Great Britain.
    Eric Hochberg likes this.
  10. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    There is a bass for €15k at Chartons shop in Paris right now.
    Italian from 1947, with a creamy sound and very friendly shoulders. Stringlength was something like 102cm. Mint condition and recently got a new bassbar, bridge, fingerboard.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  11. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Moi! You might ask Guy How at How Violins Helsinki and Soitin Laine, at least Guy has something in his shop. Join Suomen Kontrabassoklubi fb group, most instruments go from player to another in Finland and basses for sale pops up frequently in the fb group. If I were to buy a bass online I`d propably check out Bassico.eu in Germany first, however I don`t know if they come with setup. If you buy from How Violins you get a proper setup and lifetime warranty for the work done, that`s something to consider. Metsästysonnea!!! :)
    Winoman likes this.
  12. lassizzle


    Jun 16, 2018
    Okay, what’s the price range there?
  13. lassizzle


    Jun 16, 2018
    Kiitos hyvistä vinkeistä! Minua huolestutti vähän basson kuljetus Suomeen jos olisin lähtenyt ulkomailta hakemaan.
    Reiska likes this.
  14. lassizzle


    Jun 16, 2018
    Sounds good! Thank you for the advice!
    wathaet likes this.
  15. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
  16. isolated

    isolated Zenji Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2004
    Bronx, NY
    I acquired my bass from The Contrabass Shoppe back in 2000. I know that was some time ago, but I doubt he's taken to selling lesser-quality instruments. His prices range from "less than you want to spend" to "considerably more than most of us can afford." Mr. Houska was very accommodating and allowed me to audition even the basses that were out of my budget. In addition, he went through the trouble of putting Spirocores on the ones I was seriously considering. I had a tough time making a selection, but 18 years later I still haven't found a bass I like better than the one I bought....
  17. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You understand how the internet works, right? You found this place, you can find those places and, not for nothing, they're going to be better positioned to discuss pricing since they're the ones who are actually doing it.
    tonequixote and isolated like this.
  18. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    If you can, look into Martin Penning's basses as well (out of the UK). I've played a few of his instruments, and was impressed enough to commission a bass from him (due around March of 2019). Fantastic instruments and reasonably priced.
  19. MrSidecar

    MrSidecar Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark

    What would you say is reasonably priced in this case?



    Dec 14, 2007
    Martin lists prices on his web site. Under commissioning it appears to be 12,500 pounds and up.
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