I want a bass!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Davidoc, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. I'm going to be a music major at James Madison University, so I'd figure I'd better buy my own bass.

    I don't know where to start. I'm looking in the maybe $4k MAX range. I also need a bow and case.

    Where do I start? What are some good names? Thanks!

    (ps, carlsson rosin pwns!)

  2. Start with Newbie Links! Refine your questions and come back....Good luck!!!
  3. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Paul's advise above is golden. The newbie links are packed with great information. I will add my advise of renting for a few months before buying anything if you haven't been playing DB before.

    Even renting a beat up plywood model will help you develop your ear to where you can better distinguish the good from the bad and the ugly.

    I bought a different bass than the one I rented, but the rental gave me a great point of reference.

    Enjoy . . .
  4. TY for the reference to the Newbie links! They seem pretty generic and pretty basic though, eg play before you buy it, look for deals etc. I'm looking for more info on brand names.

    For example, would you recommend a strunel 5/5? How about a Franz Hoffman?

    Fidget-I've been using a school's bass, as well as a friend's bass, and have some ability, (while limited) to make judgements. The whole point is that now I'm going to get my own bass.
  5. ........for 4K you'll be fine. Search under bass sales. Then some names: Shen, New American Standard, Eastman, Christopher. Strunal. These are the more popular imported new basses. Mostley Chinese. You'll be able to get a carved bass, which is what you'll want. As you add laminations, the price comes down. Laminate ribs...down. Laminate back...down. These basses with mixed carved and laminations are called hybrids. A fully carved bass is best in terms in sound. For stability, laminated is not so delicate.
    Size is important too...search under size or string length. To learn about different parts of a bass search under: scroll, tuning machines, strings, fingerboard, bridge, tailpiece and end-pin. Bridge adjusters.
    Older basses are great because the've been played in and the sound is matured. Older basses usually start at your price. Carved that is. Laminated basses...same deal price comes down. Look under Kay, Englehardt for the least expensive Laminated basses.....GO!!!!
  6. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Paulo: AES is gonna like to learn he is manufacturing imported basses in NY state! (I know, you may be just kidding, April's fool!)
  7. Thanks for the heads up Oli...Sorry Arnold. I dread doing all that information stuff for newbies because it's been done so many times before. (no put down intened Davy) When we get a newbie, i feel like somebodies gotta get them going in the right direction. I was hurrying. Anyway I said MOSTLY.
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Actually, New Standard basses are assembled, finished and set-up here in NY, though the components are made in Germany. Paul, sorry for the correction but theres no "American" in the company name.
  9. I think i'll go do a search myself.
  10. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    DavyO- yeah, I know that the newbie links seem fairly generic, and it was nice and accurate for Paul W to provide you with some suggested brand names, but when you are purchasing a hand-carved instrument it is not like going down to the local music store and picking up a Music Man Stingray 5 (I read your profile). Hand-carved instruments are individually unique. That is why we tend to steer clear of "brand names", unless you have the necessary jack to purchase a Panormo or Testore.

    A more careful review of the newbie links will uncover the prescient message. Use your ears, use a teacher's or professional's ears, ignore the label, and buy the absolute best bass that you can for the money you have available.
  11. I think it's nice if you can find a trustworthy luthier to guide you through the process. I know some of the JMU guys use Mike Shank ( www.shankstrings.com ) in Elizabethtown PA. I've done business with him for about 10 years and have never had anything but positive experiences. I'm sure others here could direct you to luthiers and shops that they know and trust.
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The biggest thing you can take from the Newbie links is - it's NOT about "brand names". Some no-name bass from we're not sure where in Europe from sometime between 1898 and 1925 may be the bass you are hearing for. Stay off of websites (unless you are researching whether or not a luthier has enough basses to make your trip worthwhile) unless you are trapped in the middle of nowhere (or the expenditure to get out of the middle of nowhere is going to make a significant dent in your bass buying budget).

    Playing a lot of different basses is what's gonna find you the bass you want, not looking at labels.

    Unless they just fall out of the sky. I've only owned two uprights in my life, and when I was in the market I just let everybody I knew (in Augusta GA where I was at) that I was looking to by a bass. And somebody who had a nice Kay that they hadn't played in 20 years heard I was looking and called me. The German bass I have, I got after I was living in NYC. And I was checking at Gage and Biase, but I was telling just about everybody I knew that I was in the market. This was about 89, I couldn't find anything in the shoppes I liked for under $4K, but a bass player I knew in turn knew somebody that was selling this one for $2K. And it turned out to be a bass I dug.

    Moral of the story - tell EVERYBODY you talk to you're looking for a bass.
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Search for ALL POSTS by Ray Parker, he's a NYC guy who bought his bass from Shank and still makes the drive back there to get stuff done.
  14. mcbosler


    May 12, 2000
    Plano, TX
    You might also want to check out Lemur Music. I got my first one through them at the suggestion of a friend who had done the same. You can check out their website, but you'd probably get better info if you just called them up and filled them in on your situation.

    Just started taking lessons from John Adams, a local professional (taught jazz bass at the University of North Texas for a decade). As soon as I got my bass out of the case he looked it over and said it was the best bass he'd ever had a student bring to their first lesson.
  15. McBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    I noticed you're in VA. I would recommend that you take a few days and take a tour of the east coast bass offerings. Try and find as many bass sellers near you, and then maybe a couple in NY and New England. That way you can get a good feel for the market. Try new and older basses. You'll hear a ton of basses and you'll see what the current value/price ratio is. When looking for sellers, don't just try shops, try teachers and local jazz and symphony players. There are a lot of private sellers out there. If you like something, make sure to take it to a respected luthier to make sure it's healthy and for warnings of possible problems down the road. Buy based on sound and playability and don't worry about the maker, unless you're spending $80,000.
    You might want to take pictures, and even recordings, of the basses you like for help deciding later.
  16. hpweezerbass


    Apr 9, 2004
    Hi, I have a bass that I am selling. Its a five year old Czech bass. I am the first owner. It has been used for three hours daily for the last fours years. I have used it in orchestra concerts, jazz gigs, rockabilly gigs and recording. It was selling for $5,500 in a local bass shop here in Los Angeles, but I am willing to sell it for $4,000. If interested please email me at alacala137@msn.com for pics. thanks :smug:
  17. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Hi DavyO,
    Here's a shortlist of shops near you:
    Potter's (301) 652-7070
    Bob's House of Basses (301) 805-9406
    Brobst (703) 256-0566

    Now to fan out to the "anything in 150 miles or so" range, you have:
    Michael Shanks near Harrisburg PA (717) 361-0511
    T. Martin, Lynchburg VA 434-528-2697
    Mercury Stings, Petersburg VA (804) 722-0818

    If you're looking for an excuse to drive up to NY, you'll wanna visit:
    AES, aka Arnold Schnitzer (845) 279-4884
    David Gage's (212) 274-1322
    There are some other guys in NY that I don't have the scoop on yet as well.

    There's a whole bunch of basses to play in that little group. Fill your tank and have a ball.
    Good luck!
    John (call me Joe Map)