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How come my favorite basses are the cheaper imports these days?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bobby King, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    It seems that all of my favorite basses are the cheaper import versions these days! My #1 bass is a MIM 50's P-Bass. Recently I bought but then returned a good MIA, maple board Fender P. It was a nice bass but the MIM 50's is just better -- sounds better, louder and clearer, plays just as well, looks great and cost less. $699 new

    I have a Sterling by Music Man , rosewood board Ray 34 that's awesone! I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Stingray-style basses, but this one's my favorite of several that I've owned over the years. (Antique white with 2 band EQ) Paid $450 used

    My "flatwound" bass is a Classic Vibe Squier 50's strung with LaBellas. Love the neck on the this, the bass is solid and plays great. Paid $260 used for it!

    All I can say is: there's some darn good stuff coming from Asia and Mexico these days!
  2. portlandguy


    Feb 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    OK BOB, you said it above - Plays just as well
  3. I wholeheartedly agree with you. IMO and IME, you do not need to spend a ton of cash to get a good instrument. There's so much good inexpensive stuff these days that whenever I hear "Fender" and "American" in the same sentence, I run for the hills. It's no use.


  4. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    My Matt Freeman sig is one of THE best P's I've owned.
  5. JZQuantum


    Oct 12, 2008
    One of the best basses I own cost only 150 bucks. It's a used Peavey Fury, a p bass clone. With flats, I would put it up against any Fender p bass.

    So, no, great basses do not need to be spendy to be great.
  6. vbshredder


    Jul 22, 2012
    Hampton Roads
    Amen. It's diminishing returns as you go up in price. I have a $300 Ibanez that i absolutely love, tone, playability, aesthetics...

    Sure, i'd love the made in Japan version, but i just can't justify spending the money
  7. preside


    Aug 7, 2010
    Scottsdale Az
    I almost agree with ya JZQ but take out the great. My MIM jazz is a good solid workhorse and I like it quite a bit but the term "Great" I reserve for my custom shop instruments. Furthermore, why shouldn't a Squire be good? The bassic P & J bass style is so simple anyone should be able to start there and come up with a GOOD bass
  8. ChetChetney


    Apr 25, 2012
    Oklahoma City
    I agree that good instruments can be found <$600 range. But, when I compare my MIM Fender J and my MIM Fender P to my Lakland 55-94, my Lakland shows dominance in every way. So, these high-end instruments like Lakland definitely serve their purpose. The diminishing returns thing is a stupid and subjective idea (IMHO), I have gotten heads over heels more out if my Lakland than my MIM Fenders, and the price does not diminish this return. Different price points provide different degrees of quality! But I love my MIM Fenders.
  9. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm sure the boutique crowd will be around any time now. I can appreciate a boutique instrument, but I could play either my Tokai P-Bass or Ibanez Artcore AGB-140 for the rest of my life and not really feel like I was missing that much.

    If I won the lottery, I'd probably pick up an Alleva Coppolo or something just for the experience. But I'm happy enough with an inexpensive instrument and I definitely don't feel like they are holding me back.

  10. svt1233


    Jan 15, 2012
    It's sort of like if you want a good bass for a great value you can get a cheaper bass. If you want a perfect bass then you pay a lot. So it's like if you want a bass that's 90% as good you can spend $200 or if you want that bass that goes 100% or 110% most will pay over 1k.
  11. JZQuantum


    Oct 12, 2008
    Yeah, "great" is subjective. A better set of words might be "extremely useable."
  12. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    The problem with that is ... it de-evaluate the top line because the cheap line look the same, play the same, have the same shape, same finish and same sound especially in the Fender brand.

    At least Ibanez cheap line isn't the same as their top line. Like in the SR serie they have all kind of price but the top line have fancy wood and bride and when you move closer to the cheap line, they remove the fancy wood for solid color, you have a simpler bridge and they removed the active preamp.

    Telling a Fender MIA, MIM, MIJ and Squire ... without the made in logo I couldn't tell the difference.
  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I wouldn't know about the current value of instruments coming from Asia & Mexico...but I can say that over the years, I've occasionally experimented with lower-priced & budget bass guitars - and found some remarkably high-quality instruments - particularly from the likes of Washburn & Fernandes - costing no more than $300 - $400 or so. These are instruments that I wouldn't have hesitated to gig, if I owned them.

    When I first started playing, budget bass guitars were, virtually by definition, junk. Crappy hardware, terrible pickups, and just inferior materials & sloppy workmanship all around. To be taken seriously - or even to generate a halfway decent sound and have even a reasonably well-playing instrument - you just had to get something pro-quality and mainstream: a Fender, a Rickenbacker, maybe even a Gibson or a Hagstrom. (An Alembic - if you were one of the few who could afford one.) You just couldn't count on anything less.

    These days, it's a different world. :cool:

  14. samurai1993


    Jun 6, 2010
    God bless CNC machines
  15. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    I'm in the same boat. I've owned many $1500 + basses, and find myself looking at Yamahas and Schecters. I'm currently deciding between the soon to be released SBMM SUB 5 or the Schecter Diamond P 5.
  16. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Of my 5 basses only one Fender remains, a 74' Musicmaster I traded for. The others are all Squiers, 2 SQ's and a Vista Musicmaster. The other bass is a Dano Longhorn. The other Fenders are gone and I don't miss them one bit.
  17. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    My Lakland 5501 is becoming my main player these days. Great instruments, and an electronics upgrade brings them up to world class. That, plus I don't have to worry about dinging up my USA Spector in some smoky bar :)
  18. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    I have a number of vintage and name basses and it seems I grab my cheap little Dano Longhorn these days when I head out the door .

    Korean , first re-issue . Sounds great , plays like a dream .
  19. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    I think that's really a major part of it. Also maybe better choice of wood and weight.
  20. Bassmunnky


    Jul 3, 2004
    New York and Philadelphia
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball MusicMan Guitars
    My Lakland Skyline DJ is the best playing Jazz I have. I don't even THINK about where it was made...4 seconds of playing it, I was thanking the Bass Gods for overseas bass factories...and understand why it's so easy now to compete with more expensive USA stuff, which is NOT incredibly better to justify prices.

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