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Husband's Birthday, would like to replace the upright bass he had to part with

Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by Lepidope, Oct 15, 2019.


  1. Lepidope

    Lepidope

    Oct 15, 2019
    Hello,

    I don't know much about uprights. I'd love to gift my husband a replacement bass this December.

    I know his late bass was purchased around 2002 for thousands ($3k+?). 3/4 height. The neck was fairly narrow. When he tried to sell it (due to a long distance move, gutted him) guitar center gave him crap about the varnish on the wood.
    Could you please guide me as to what to look for (and/or red flags) when searching for a replacement (slight upgrade if possible)? I don't know which keywords to use. He had played for 15 years, so not a beginner. I can't afford to buy new. Are the classifieds here pretty honest?

    Thanks so much for your time. I hope you're having a spectacular day. Cheers!

    - P
     
  2. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    First off, you’re a great wife for wanting to do this. Buying a bass is no easy task - best to get one from someone who really knows what they are doing. There are specialists for basses. Would help us to know where you are located.

    second, finding a bass that‘a right for you is a very personal thing. I would never consider buying one for someone else.

    what I’d suggest doing is setting a budget, find a good shop to work with (you may have to travel a bit); and work with the owner to essentially get a “gift certificate” and take your husband and let him pick one out that speaks to him. There are decent basses out there for $3-4K.

    keep us posted and let us know what else we can do to help


    QUOTE="Lepidope, post: 23175105, member: 348697"]Hello,

    I don't know much about uprights. I'd love to gift my husband a replacement bass this December.

    I know his late bass was purchased around 2002 for thousands ($3k+?). 3/4 height. The neck was fairly narrow. When he tried to sell it (due to a long distance move, gutted him) guitar center gave him crap about the varnish on the wood.
    Could you please guide me as to what to look for (and/or red flags) when searching for a replacement (slight upgrade if possible)? I don't know which keywords to use. He had played for 15 years, so not a beginner. I can't afford to buy new. Are the classifieds here pretty honest?

    Thanks so much for your time. I hope you're having a spectacular day. Cheers!

    - P[/QUOTE]
     
  3. RamaTemmink

    RamaTemmink Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2015
    Hi there, welcome to TalkBass!

    I second what Bherman said, do most definitely give a luthier, or several, a call and explain the situation.

    Each and every double bass differs from one another. You might purchase an instrument that may be a looker, but it would have a note that does not "speak" that well and eventually it will become an expensive point of frustration for your husband each and every time he plays that one specific note.

    Please do schedule a surprise trip for your husband! You have most likely all the other forum-members their full support!

    Thank you so much!
     
  4. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Another possibility would be to engage a local bass teacher and pay them to help you locate some possibilities for your husband. It's always helpful to have a non-biased party along for the purchase who can play the instrument so you can hear how it sounds to the audience - very different than to the player. If you tell us where you're located, we might be able to suggest some qualified teachers to you.
     
    Lepidope likes this.
  5. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    N.H.
    Yup, gift certificate to a good bass shop.
    You are a wonderful person for doing this.
     
  6. Beersurgeon

    Beersurgeon

    Jul 16, 2010
    Denver
    I can't give any advice on an upright but you are awesome!!!!:thumbsup::hyper:
     
    Sholmer, dramatwist and matthewbrown like this.
  7. Silevesq

    Silevesq

    Oct 2, 2010
    Quebec
    If you want, you could also tell which city you are close too and the people closer could refer you to some place. Maybe even offer you help, if you need.
     
    Lepidope likes this.
  8. jdh3000

    jdh3000

    May 16, 2016
    An instrument is a difficult thing to buy for someone else... It's kind of like buying shoes, which in itself is something I may spend some time trying to find the right fit.

    My wife wanted to buy me an instrument once but she asked around to my friends and they kind of told her what I am saying.

    There's a lot of good advice being given here by others. If you are going to do it, getting help from an expert is the best way to go.

    Good luck!
     
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    While I very much appreciate you wanting to do this, HE should be the one to select the instrument. Best to pick your budget, and tell him to pick it out.

    I've only dealt with bass guitars and amp here on the classified, but in general, the sellers are more honest than most places.
     
    dramatwist likes this.
  10. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Will you marry me?
     
  11. Here's my suggestion. Since what he likes will be very personal, make a gift certificate and put it in an envelope. Put on the certificate that it's good for whatever you feel comfortable with, $3K, $4K, or whatever your limit is, toward the purchase of the bass of his choice. Give that to him for his birthday. What a great gift that will be.
     
    Sholmer, pcake, Lepidope and 3 others like this.
  12. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Dittos on what the others have said. A gift certificate is the answer here.
     
    210superair likes this.
  13. birgebass

    birgebass

    Nov 7, 2011
    Arkansas
    Bass shopping can be really fun, too, especially if you go to a specialty shop. He may really enjoy the quest for a bass. Perhaps you could rent one for a month so he could get his chops built back up, and then take him to a shop so he can try out basses and feel more comfortable with the process.
     
  14. Bisounourse

    Bisounourse

    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    Like the others said, give him a gift certificate.
    You can search around on second hand sites/classifieds/and so on; there are (decent to good) basses to be found in the 1000 - 2000 range, but keep in mind that a trip to a bass luthier will be in order to have checkup (and possible repairs, strings, setup, ...).
     
    210superair likes this.
  15. RamaTemmink

    RamaTemmink Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2015
    I am still of the opinion of a “surprise” trip!
     
    buldog5151bass and 210superair like this.
  16. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Supporting Member

    Lepidope, welcome! You came to the right place. You're getting good advice.

    Please let us know where you are. That way we can steer you towards luthiers, teachers, shops, dealers, et al., who will best serve you and your husband (and, perhaps, away from those who might have problematic track records).

    There might even be a Talkbass member near you who could provide invaluable assistance and advice.
     
    Lepidope likes this.
  17. 210superair

    210superair

    Sep 10, 2019
    Best wife ever. Hey, I bet my wife would sell you any of my basses for next to nothin!!!! Lol....

    Definitely let him pick it out, however you do it, gift certificate, trip to a music store, etc. He'll want to play it first, every UB is different.
     
    Sholmer likes this.
  18. Lepidope

    Lepidope

    Oct 15, 2019
    Wow,
    You are wizards!

    Thank you all SO much for taking the time to help me out! I feel like you guys just handed me a treasure map. :)

    You're right about a gift certificate. It's a double-gift! Kid in the candy store!

    In case my layperson eyes missed it: should I be inquiring with local, small business music stores (vs big name chain)?

    I do have a neighbor who is a professional musician in a symphony who may have leads as well.

    There's also a SLIGHT possibility I may be able to buy his original bass back. It ended up being sold to a friend who wanted to fix it up. It would be sentimental, but I feel he deserves an upgrade, especially after having to sacrifice the one he loved and grew with.
    Personally, if you were in his position, which would you prefer?

    (( I'm in the MD/VA/DC area, happy to travel as needed. If anyone is nearby and could shoot me a private message, I'd be eternally indebted. I'll bake you something super tasty!))

    I'm unsure if he kept his bow. I believe we still have the stand, but I'll have to dig. It was adjustable, but I don't know how much they vary otherwise.

    He parted with the soft case for the bass. Is it pretty standard to use a soft case (considering th size of the instrument)?

    Seriously,
    I can't thank you enough for the wealth of information and the encouragement you all provided. You're so generous.

    I hope you have the best effing day of your lives today!

    (Edited typos)

    (Edit again) A Luthier! Rad. The things I know not haha.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  19. I would not buy a gift certificate from a store. I would just create one myself to show that you are gifting him the purchase. Let him research and decide where the best deals are.
     
  20. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    DC area, that's very helpful. It'd be useful for us to know what genres of music your husbands plays - classical, jazz, folk, etc. But, already a great and extremely knowledgeable teacher within an hour commute of you is Rufus Reid. Rufus Reid | Musician | Composer | Educator And Rufus is a master in both jazz and classical.
    If he's too busy for the gig, I expect he can recommend a qualified local to help.
     

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