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I feel like I'm about to make a big mistake....

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by Bass Doc, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. Bass Doc

    Bass Doc

    Dec 1, 2010
    Charleston SC
    Normally I am a very logical person and have no problem making decisions, but I find myself totally frozen on this particular issue and I can't proceed, so thought I'd throw it out there for opinions.

    First off, I know no one else can make this decision but me, but I am VERY interested in the opinions of people who have more experience.

    So I'm not looking for someone to make the decision, but rather to pound on my reasoning until something gives. OK? Here goes:

    I am an electric bass player that has recently become obsessed with Bluegrass. At age 52, I am ready to make Bluegrass my life's musical work from here on out. (I am a doctor not pro musician so this is a hobby for me).

    I hand built my own fretted upright electric bass and love the way it looks, and plays.

    Now, I have been playing with Bluegrass groups jams, and have noticed a kind of snobbish rejection of electric instruments. In fact there are places here where electric instruments are simply not welcome. Thankfully, not my main group. They are cool with the electric.

    However, I accept that is Bluegrass is about acoustic instruments. So I decided to get one. Shopping now 6 months. In my region, there has been mostly junk in the $500-$700 (used) range. They feel unpleasant to play and unpleasant to my ear (at least in the stores).

    So yesterday I wander into a REAL strings store and the owner shows me a new $1,600 Christopher bass. So I don't know much about big boy basses, but I know this - I touched it and it sang to me. I could not believe the difference between this and the junk I had seen out there. I am new to this, but my hands immediately felt that "this is good-this is right" for the first time when holding and playing a big upright. The sound immediately made me think "THAT is what I am looking for". All this from less than 1 hour in the store.

    I feel crazy for even considering buying this thing: I have never had an upright bass lesson in my life, and yet this thing feels like it is calling out to me. I keep asking myself "What kind of idiot walks into a store and drops $1,800 (Bass plus travel bag) on an instrument that he does not even know how to play or if he will like it. Non refundable of course......

    I have absolutely no skill or experience in picking out a bass, but, I have been obsessed with this monster, ever since I touched it.

    So I keep trying to figure this out but it feels like my right brain is jumping all over my left brain and logic is not working here....

    Sometimes I think that if not for the snob issue, I would be forever happy with my electric upright fretted bass. Other times, using my electric feels like I am "bringing a knife to a gunfight."

    Sometimes I think "If you don't get a good instrument you like from the start, you'll never practice with it and you will never get good"

    Other times: "You may never learn to play it, and your currently pretty good Bluegrass skills won't translate. If it doesn't work out, you'll never be able to sell it without a huge loss"

    Sometimes my brain says: "maybe you'll hate it or end up with a repetitive stress injury - just stick with the electric and screw the snobs"

    As I see it, I have 3 choices:

    1) Stay with my current electric upright setup and just supress these feelings. Accept that there are simply Bluegrass jams where I will never be welcome.

    2) Rent an upright to see if you like it. Unfortunately, all of the rentals in my area that I have played, look feel and sound like junk to my ear. They also are NOT fun to play. Actions are way high and none of them have adjustable bridges.

    3) Just jump in, spend the $1,800 and see where this leads. If it does not work out, accept that and just take the loss. Be poorer but wiser, knowing that you tried it.

    The money is not a huge issue. I have it in savings. It will not bankrupt us. I just feel really shocked and a little stupid that I am seriously considering dropping $1,800 on something like this without any real certainty that it is going to work out. This feels like a total impulse decision. And yet, when I touch and hear this bass it just "feels right" I can't describe it any other way.

    For the first time in my life I feel like whatever I coose here, I could possibly make a VERY big mistake.

    Either lose big $ if I jump and it goes bad, or worse, miss the opportunity of a life to expand to a whole new level and experience of playing (if I pass it up to stay with the "safe" electric upright.) If I try and compromise with a junky rental and throw away $150 on a 3 month (minimum here) rental, will it cost me my interest and enthusiasm?

    So, I welcome all comments. I'll try not to be too thin skinned. I guess what I am really looking for is perspectives. Has this ever happened to anyone else out there? Did it work out for you or leave you sadder but wiser? Were you glad you took the intuitive leap?

    All insights welcomed.



    Charleston, SC
  2. You only live once! I'd rather try and fail, and possibly waste some money, than to always have that "what if" in the back of my mind.

    Just my 2 cents, and of course its a lot easier for me to say when its not my $1800 on the line. But, that is my general approach to life.

    Maybe someone with some real insight can help you out here, but just hearing the way you're talking about that bass, I'd say its gonna be on your mind every time you get a chance to jam.
    Vicki R Poole likes this.
  3. Old Joe

    Old Joe Guest

    Apr 22, 2011
    You are a 52 year old doctor. If you are sure that buying the bass will not bring you financial hardship, I'd buy it. Life is too short. Enjoy it while you're here.
    Vicki R Poole likes this.
  4. ducknturtle


    Dec 28, 2006
    New Jersey
    If the money is "not an issue" I can't think of a reason not to buy the thing.
  5. Elemetal


    Mar 10, 2006
    Dude. Buy it. If it feels great and you love it now do it. Plus $1800 is absolutely peanuts when it comes to basses. My bass cost me $15000 dollars. The difference between you and me is that I'm 20 years old and am a professional bass player/student studying music. There's no sense in buying some peice of **** bass in my opinion. You will get pissed off, sick and tired and just quit most likely. If you got something that feels good and sounds good the way you want it do, I wouldn't let price stop me. Plus you're talking $1800 bucks and your a doctor. I managed to pay for all my gear and I have a lot of expensive gear and am debt free/paying for school/rent/food all by myself too. If I can do that, you can spend $1800 bucks on a damn bass that you like and not feel bad about it. haha. Good luck dude.
  6. shadygrove


    Feb 14, 2008
    Marysville, WA
    1. You've been shopping for 6 months and played cheap instruments so you know why the sound and playability of this bass makes it worth more than an ebay ccb.

    2. You're not getting any younger. Since you know you want to play bluegrass bass, why wait?

    3. IMO the funnest thing about bluegrass is going to festivals and jamming in the campground... I can't imagine having to always haul an amp around with me. The old-time fiddler association here doesn't allow any amplification at all unless you're on stage and then it's almost always mic's through the PA.

    4. You are not likely to lose much money, if any, if it doesn't work out. It is very difficult to find a good quality instrument for under $1500 and Christopher is an established and well known brand.

    5. If you are looking for someone to talk you out of it, this probably isn't the best place to look ;)

    I was asking myself many of the same questions 3 yrs ago when I got my first DB at 48 yrs old. I've been play bluegrass, old-time, celtic and folk and having a great time with many more opportunities to play than I have time. The first time I tried to play a DB I thought "this is way too much work" but it kept calling me and I'm glad I took the leap.
  7. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    it seems like you don't really have a choice, hehe :) if you were sincere in your description, I'd buy it, I don't see any major objections... it's only reason fooling with you :)
  8. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    Bass players.
    Vicki R Poole likes this.
  9. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
  10. Elemetal


    Mar 10, 2006
    If amplification is a sin that bass will NOT work.

    Buy the damn bass and if it doesn't work out you'll be able to sell it no sweat for pretty much the same value. Basses don't really lose value even the **** ball ones.
  11. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    All of us at one time or another:hyper:
  12. Buy it. If you are playing bluegrass, then yes, you will need to have the big bass anyway. You will always have that 'what if?..' in the back of your mind otherwise. As stated before $1800 is nothing when it comes to buying a bass, and if it doesn't work out for you, then you should have no problem selling it to another player, or trading it in for something else, seeing as it is a known brand.
  13. I'd say welcome to the double bass players :)

    1800 is actually not that much for a double bass (inclusive the bag).
    I bought an amp I've never heard, I bought a 5 string bass I've never heard (and I've never played 5s longer than 10min...). You'll get used to everything :)
  14. Christopher basses generally have a good reputation as to their quality so it probably won't implode with a few months.

    If you spend time on this site reading about buying a bass, most experienced DB players will tell you that you should buy the bass that "speaks" to you--sound and feel is more important than brand. However, at this point in your journey are your ears and skills developed enough to judge? I don't mean to belittle your experience but just offer food for thought. As an example, I've played bass for years but took up mandolin about 2 years ago on a borrowed instrument. When I went shopping for my own, I took a mandolinist friend who could give me advice because most of them sounded the same to my inexperienced ears. As a result, I ended up with a great instrument that I still can't play. If you know an experienced double bassist, you might consider asking them to try the bass and get their opinion.

    As far as "snobs" go--you'll run into all sorts in every kind of music. "Earl didn't play it that way." "Bill played it in Bb so we have to as well." "Sweet Georgia Brown? That ain't bluegrass." etc. etc.

    Life's too short to get bogged down in all that. Just enjoy the music.
  15. +1000
  16. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    You aren't getting any younger.
    $1800 for a decent UB is very reasonable.
    If you don't stay with it expect to lose on it
    but it's the only way to work thru your situation.
    Good luck.
  17. Being that the money isn't a problem, and this bass obviosly "speaks" to you, personally I wouldn't hesitate. If you get it, I"m sure you'll enjoy it for the rest of your life.
  18. BassmanSBK


    Mar 31, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Get the Christopher and invest in some lessons. You will be surprised how much of our BG skill translates to URB.
  19. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    Life's too short to deny ourselves of the simple pleasures. You most likeky know that some bassists wouldnt give a second thought about dropping $18k to $22k on a 200 year old European UB. So, $1800 for a bass that you like... well.... you should buy the bass IMHO.
  20. Drucocu


    Jan 24, 2007
    I bought guitars, keyboards, drums and upright basses, without knowing how to play that stuff. But now I can. So glad I did. There is nothing wrong to learn a new instrument, and believe me, youll love the double bass!

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