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How do I plan to buy a DB in the future?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by AlexFeldman, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. AlexFeldman


    Jun 18, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Hi all -

    I'm satisfied the sound of my current bass, a 5/8ths size Heinrich Roth. But recently several respected bassists have pointed out to me that the instrument is "too small" for me. I have also played a few of their basses and been knocked out by the sheer amount of sound they put out (in comparison to my Roth). A few months ago I raised my action up very high to compensate, but it just isn't the same as the basses these people had.

    So basically I've come to the realization that at some point in the future, I might want to purchase a "good" bass. I've read a lot about how to select a bass (David Gage's recent article in Bass Player was illuminating).

    But I know next to nothing about the amount of /money/ involved in purchasing a "good" DB. What are the price ranges like? If I'm going to start saving money, what should my goal be like? Your stories of success and woe would be much appreciated!
  2. Unfortunately, I just sold one of my DB's on Ebay,
    you could have gotten a really good deal. Anyway, the prices vary depending on what you are looking for. Student Bass or Professional quality? Laminated or Carved? Hand Made or mass produced? They can go for @ $1200 for an Englehardt Plywood DB all the way up to $110,000 for an Original Panormo :eek:
    That's on the extreme end of the Scale, But, like I said, Depending on what you are looking for, you should be able to get a decent instrument for
    Hunting for a good DB can be confusing and scary,
    and it's a combination of Luck, Skill, and Timing, and I know it's something almost all of us on this side of the Board that own DB's have gone through. I know you've already checked out Gages' article, I also suggest you check out this thread:
  3. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN

    Do check out reedo's thread, it makes some excellent points.

    I checked out your profile, and see you reside in central Illinois, so allow me to make these suggestions.

    1. If you are in Chicago, go check out Abbey Strings in the Chicago Music Mart on State Street. They usually have about 10 basses of varying quality and price in the shop.

    2. A trip to the Bass Cellar in Cincinnati is well worth the mileage. Call Andy Stetson ahead of time and make an appointment (513)661.6224. He will put you in a room with more basses then you could possibly play in one sitting. You'll be in bass heaven. Additionally, Andy posts his inventory with prices on his website.


    3. Take your time and find the best bass you can to fit your budget.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'll second the suggestion about the Bass Cellar. Andy and Chris are both very nice and helpful guys, and that room full of basses is something to behold. Beware one thing though: Andy has a habit of just taking you up to that room - which usually has about 30 or so basses in it - and turning you loose while he goes back downstairs to his shop. That's great, and you can spend the day up there playing to your heart's content....but be warned that there are no prices on any of those basses. When I went there, I started to fall in love with one of them only to find out later that he was asking $14,000.00 for it (which was about $11,000.00 more than I wanted to spend). If you tell him what your price range is before heading up the stairs, you can avoid the heartache of such unrequited love in advance. And it may have been my imagination, but I thought I detected a residual odor of collective GAS from all of the bass players who'd been in that room over the years.

    I ended up getting my Bass from the Bass Viol Shop, BUT...given the current racial tensions in Cincinnatti, you couldn't pay me enough to go back there at the moment. They even have a curfew for all citizens in the city right now and are thinking of having the National Guard on patrol to help enforce it. Maybe waiting until the waters have calmed somewhat would be wise.

    I don't think there's a curfew on the website though...

    Good luck.
  5. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    In the Chicago area, in addition to Abbey Strings/the Bass Place, I'd also suggest A440 (who have a great bass luthier who will be more than happy to spend an hour or two with you helping you decide what you want) and Kagan & Gaines in Forest Park.

    But in central illinois, there's got to be something in Champagne/Urbana or Springfield.

    Having a teacher to help with the bass selection can also make a big difference.

  6. AlexFeldman


    Jun 18, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for the advice ...

    Regarding Illinois, I'm in Champaign-Urbana, and there aren't any good basses for sale. :)

    However! I am going to school in Chicago. I was at Abbey Strings one time, and they were just closing. Doh! But I did get to play one of their basses and it was very nice... I didn't ask how much it was going for, though.

    As far as what I am looking for. I would really like to have an upright that sounds like, well, my ideal internalized sound. :) I mean, like I said before, I love the sound of my bass, it just isn't /big/ enough. I love playing without an amp, but I'm limited by not having enough low end. At first I thought that this was how all basses sounded...

    So I don't really care where the bass comes from, what it is made of, etc. It just needs to be playable and sound good. Keeping that in mind... I guess I need to figure out how much I can spend.

    So, here's a plan: Put a percentage of my gig money away. After several years I should have enough to be able to afford a wide variety of basses... then I can tromp down to Cincinnati and visit several luthiers in the midwest, tell them how much I can spend, and then play fiddles until I find one that fits. :)

    P.S.: Not trashing the little bass, by all means. It sings in the high registers.

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