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I'm about to buy a bongo, but I've never heard one

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by far0n, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. far0n


    Apr 28, 2005
    Yorkshire, UK
    What can I expect...

    Current basses:-

    Lightwave Classica 5 string
    Cort Funkmachine II
    Status series 3000 (I think)
    Ibanez CT series

    All my basses bring something different so I was wondering what the bongo can do for me ?
  2. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Can I just say that buying a bass without ever having heard one is the worst thing you can do. Second is buying one without playing it.

    Bongos have a very much "bigger" sound than regular MM's because of the active tone circuitry onboard. They're ugly. They've got good tone, though.

  3. rumblinbass


    Aug 22, 2003
    Wimberley, TX
    ugly is an understatement
  4. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    You shouldnt buy a bass without playing it and listening to its particular tone.

  5. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I bought my Dingwall without ever hearing or playing one.... and that had fanned frets, too. That said, Bongo's are mush easier to find than Dingwalls, so there's no reason to have to buy one "blind."

    Pictures are easy to find... let's let the original poster decide for himself.
  6. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I would agree with Eric. Surely there is a TBer in your part of the world that will lend you a Bongo for a test drive.
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I bought my Sterling a while back without ever playing or hearing one in person. I have yet to find a bass I like more.

    Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut.
  8. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Buying a Bongo, but never heard one? So you're buying based on looks alone then :eek: This might be a first. I thought most Bongos were purchased based on sound... in spite of their looks...
  9. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    The Bongo is like a StingRay on steroids. Or add a neck pup to a SR (if you can imagine that...).

    Here's mine (I'm shameless):
  10. Buying a bass that you like the sound of is going with your gut.

    Buying a bass based on it's looks is going with you eyes, not your gut.

    Buying a bass based on someone else's reviews of that bass is going with THEIR gut, not yours.
  11. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    Yeah, it's like marrying a woman just because she's got a big rack.
  12. rumblinbass


    Aug 22, 2003
    Wimberley, TX
    ...what's wrong with that?
  13. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    You might live to regret that in the long run....:)
  14. far0n


    Apr 28, 2005
    Yorkshire, UK
    I fancied one a while back when they first came out, but I've spent the past year reading virtually every post on here about them and there seems to be very few people that have anything bad to say about them.

    Virtually all the basses I've bought I haven't played before. It's quite a good experience, the Funkmachine is a pleasure to play and the funkwah circuit is good fun. I don't think you truly get a feel for an instrument without taking it home plugging it into your rig and giving it a blast. Trying it in a shop just isn't the same. They never sound the same unless you crank them right up and annoy everyone within a mile.

    There is method to my madness !!
  15. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    If you buy a used one and don't like it, chances are you won't lose a heck of a lot of $$ on the deal if you resell it.

    If you buy a new one and don't like it, OTOH, you'll be out a sizable amount of money.

    FWIW, I bought my Lakland DJ5 without having heard or played one, though I had played other Laklands -- A Glaub and a 55-02 -- that impressed me greatly. I absolutely LOVE my DJ5, so it went well for me. Sometimes you can't hear or play a certain bass before you buy it -- but be careful. Bongos are easier to find, though -- I'd bet if you REALLY look around, you can find one somewhere within driving distance. I'd try REALLY hard to find one first -- some people don't like the way they feel when playing them sitting down, and some people don't like the tone.
  16. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    This may give you an idea. I also have several sound samples with different EQs and playing styles I recorded just after I got mine. Let me know if you're interested.
  17. For everyone screaming "Try before you buy!!!", let's remember there are areas of the world (and even the US) where distribution is non-existent, and you simply don't have that option.

    In that case, mail order is a godsend. You typically have 30-45 days to see if it "fits" you, and if it doesn't? Your investment is only return shipping.
  18. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    go and try one, but i promise you that you will want to buy it. its has a smooth neck, huge sound and the playability is the best i have encountered on a mass-produced bass.

    oh, i'm shameless too... here's my stealth:D
  19. bassthumpa


    Aug 31, 2004
    Austin, TX
    I'm not a bongo fan at all, but that stealth is HAWT!
  20. Have you phoned around the guitar shops in the local/not so local area? There's gotta be one somewhere. By my estimation you're a four hour train ride from London, and I bet one of the shops in Denmark street has one (phone ahead first of course!). It may take a long time on the train/road and it might be expensive to get there, but the cost of that is much much less than getting a bass and discovering you don't really want it.

    Buying mid level gear sight unseen is one thing, buying something that costs £1000 plus is another entirely. If you were buying a car, you'd wanna drive it first, right? You must try before you buy.

    If you decide you do want it, talk to GAK in Brighton. When I was shopping around for my Bongo 4, the lowest I could talk anyone down to was £1045 new, and that includes GAK. I went in there after I bought it from another place, and Graham (main bass dude) told me he could have given it to me for about £100 less. Get it for under a grand, for me! :)

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