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Inexpensive Strunal question

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Pedro C, Dec 6, 2002.


  1. Pedro C

    Pedro C

    Dec 5, 2002
    MA
    Okay, I've been researching all the beginner uprights and have decided that the Engelhardt EM1 seems to be a decent choice. Just a bit over my budget, though. I did come across a new Strunal A501 (this is the model # on the site I found) for $850. It's a laminated bass and the cheapest of the Strunal's. I haven't seen any comments on this bass and was wondering how it compared to the EM1.
    Any info would be GREATLY appreciated as I know very little about uprights.
    Also, is it difficult to find USED EM1's anywhere?

    Gracias.
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Not to be terse, but:

    Read the 'newbies' thread.

    Get a teacher.

    and, for Ed,

    Fill out your profile so we know where you are and be able to make recommendations that would fit your location, if we can.
     
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Oh, while I'm going old school on you:

    Do you mean a a question about inexpensive basses, or are you looking for cheap advice?
     
  4. Pedro C

    Pedro C

    Dec 5, 2002
    MA
    Ray,
    I have looked in the "newbie" links, thank you.
    My question is whether anyone out there has played a specific model strunal that is *not* represented in that section.
    Perhaps you've become too quick to toss any newcomer to this forum into a heap of "the inexperienced" to realize if there is a legitimate question being asked.
    If that's the case, it would have been easier for you just to let someone else respond to my post.
    -Pedro
     
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Pedro, it's hard to A-B basses unless you can actually get your hands on them. Even different examples of the same model will vary widely. That's one of the reasons it's dangerous to buy mail order or Ebay basses. I wouldn't think it would be too hard to find a used EM-1; I've got one loaned out to a friend, and I've seen a lot of them over the years. It's a good solid bass for starting out on, but the sound is pretty uninspiring.
     
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I wasn't being short just to be short.

    Where do you live? This would help with:

    What teachers and luthiers might be in your area. You do have a teacher?

    A teacher, and likely a luthier, would try to steer you away from a new, and especially a mail-order, bass. Any bass that you get into, after delivery and setup in the case of a mail-order bass, is going to be between one and two thousand bux. Less if you're willing to wait, shop, and hope to get lucky. There are the Craptastics, of course, if you're into bassistic pornography.

    Stopping short of a rant, do you see where I'm going with this?
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm not sure I understand the stigma of attached to new basses. My own bass was bought basically new, and I got the same advice from the people here in town who were advising me. Then, after I let my ears and heart convince me to buy it, these same people were telling me what a smart thing I did when they heard it in action. Ray, isn't ISABELLA new?

    One thing I DO understand, however, is not to buy any instrument sight unseen. There are too many variables, even between the same "make" of bass, to risk getting one you don't really like.
     
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The problems I see with a new bass are many, particularly for someone new to the instrument and those that aren't able to spend a lot of time on the thing.

    A new bass will require 'playing in'. This could be read as shorthand for, "Someone spending a lot of time daily with the thing that has the hands and experience to get the sound out of the bass."

    I remember talking a bit about this in another thread somewhere as an example, and this was with my plywood which was probably 40 years old at the time. Occasionally my bass teacher would borrow my bass when his was in the shop. I had only been playing a year or two at this point. After a weekend of him playing my bass, it would come back sounding like a million bux. Over a short time it would go back to sleep -- I wasn't getting enough sound out of the thing to keep it humming.

    Now, having had three new basses in my apartment over the last few years, it's been my experience with these basses that keeping one new bass (Isabella) awake and improving has been a full time job. Still after a sh*t-ton of playing her since the purchase of October, 2000 (edit: not 2002), it still takes about a half an hour of hard playing to wake her up each day. The other basses were left sitting as I needed to spend quality time with the main bass. I do almost nothing -- aside from some quality TB time -- but play bass all day. This means generally a minimum of about two hours of practice if I have sessions or gigs, 4+ hours daily if nothing else is happening. Also, I've been playing for about 20 years now.

    Now, take someone that isn't getting a lot of sound (or none for a beginner) who has a life. If they can only spend an hour or two every day on the bass, it'll take forever, if ever, to get the thing sounding right. Not terribly inspirational for someone that needs all the help they can get maintaining momentum through those most difficult and critical first years of playing.

    Plus, growing pains again, as the thing will invariably be changing shape and playing characteristics -- more than the usual pain that we all go through with weather changes -- how can someone with no experience be expected to hit a moving target like that? Wouldn't it make sense to have a bass that has settled down and have some sort of consistency in the hands of someone that is trying to figure out how to play the thing?

    And another thing! ;)

    One thing that newbians make the mistake of doing is getting hung up on brand names and starting their search for an instrument with new basses. Easily understandable, so I won't explain. I cringe every time I hear the question, "What do you think of mail-order bass A v. mail-order bass B?" Again, I don't think I need to repeat the error in this way of thinking on TB, as we've all pointed out this folly at one time or another.

    So, Newbians, it's time to let go of this frame of thinking!
     
  9. Pedro C

    Pedro C

    Dec 5, 2002
    MA
    Okay, I'm hearing you. I can understand the dangers with mail order basses. I'd love to pick up a good used bass, but I'm finding they're not too easy to find. At least not on ebay (they've only got a few new cheapos usually).
    Anyone know of a good upright classified site that has some?
    Pedro
     
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Classifieds and eBay won't get you much. eBay is too closely watched and classfieds are generally only useful for scouring estate sales (a great source of basses whose owners know not what they have).

    Your best bet is to hook up with all of the players and luthiers that you can find. Also, there's this guy in Brooklyn that has a hobby of finding old school basses and the like and fixing them up. I'm pretty suspicious of his repairs, but a bass that he did only finish work on would be fine, I would think. He lives not too far for me and I'd be willing to run over there for you for the price of a coffee if he had anything you might be interested in.

    I'm not sure if Ruben is his first or last name as I didn't specify this in my notes

    (Paul?) Ruben
    718-797-4219
     
  11. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    You might want to hit the colleges/high schools in your area too. While there's a good chance you'll have to get some luthier work done to get a school bass in playing shape there's also a chance you can get the bass really cheap if the school doesn't use it anymore or doesn't know what it is.
     
  12. Pedro C

    Pedro C

    Dec 5, 2002
    MA
    In no way did I dismiss the newbie thread. I actually have found it very helpful. It pointed me in the direction of a few good manufacturers of "low end" basses and I appreciate that. However, I wanted some further input on a specific bass not mentioned there.
    I'm just looking for information.
    What do we newbies do if the "newbie" link isn't sufficient?
    -Pedro
     
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Just what you did...ask a bunch of "oldbies"! Usually one of us old farts can steer you towards people in your area who can help you with the firsthand info and experience that you need to get the most bang for your buck. If you fill out your profile, you might get answers from people who live near you and can steer you in the right direction. I found a spotless old Epiphone DB that sounded and played great; I got it for $400, out here on an island in the middle of nowhere. Just keep searching, and play as many basses as you can.
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Actually, I think things are fine the way they are. In creating the Newbie threads, I did all that it was in my power to do to make this information accessible, and to do more would require Paul (site owner & founder) to **** with the software a bunch, which I doubt he has time for. But to set the record straight, I do want to say that this forum is for all kinds of questions, from the most basic to the most esoteric.

    The whole point of the newbie threads is just to make previous discussions on certain subjects available to newbies so they can see what people have had to say in the past on these subjects before posting. If there is already a thread on the subject, the best thing to do would be to reply to it, since this will make it active again and bounce it up to the top of the forum. If there is not a thread on the subject and anyone still has questions, then the thing to do is start a new thread. I don't see why this shouldn't work, or how it isn't working. Sometimes a new thread won't get the answers someone was hoping for, but that's not the fault of the system.
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I just found this post for the first time and it explains a hell of a lot about my futile search for a decent-sounding Double Bass - I think it also convinces me (as I have a life ! ;) ) that it is probably never going to be worth me buying a real Double Bass, until I retire and am able to devote all my life to this!! :)
     
  16. Gufenov

    Gufenov

    Jun 8, 2003
    I'm still not convinced that it's in the "newbies" best interest to find a used bass. It's easy for you qualified luthier types to make those decisions, because you know what to look (and listen) for in an instrument. But how does a newbie know a luthier or instrument dealer is trustworthy? I've seen a number of threads on this forum where luthiers disagreed. I found a whole bunch of "experts" willing to sell me a bass - some new, some not, but - of course - all in "excellent" condition with the "proper" set-up and, don't forget, bargains at the offered price. I've also purchased a few used cars in my day.

    I chose an ES-1 because I was pretty sure of what I was getting. I chose Bob Gollihur because I was pretty sure he'd make it right if there was a problem. (There was. He did.) I very well may trade up someday, when I'm more experienced and have established relationships with luthiers and/or dealers I trust. But for now, I'm pleased with my decision.
     
  17. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Yep. If you don't know how to pull sound from a DB you don't have a firm foundation upon which to build an evaluation of the instrument. It's entirely possible that you did find good instruments but, because at the time YOU were not able to make them sound like the fantasy noise, you passed them up. Newbies should bring along, or consult, an experienced player when evaluating instruments. Or take their chances.

    And I gotta say, Bruce, that there is a very strong chance that you will never learn anything about getting a sound out of a DB as long as you play a 2x4 attached to a mic stand. It does a different job.

    Nope. You've missed the key point: You don't have the time to devote to buying a BRAND NEW DB. Because (to use your words) you have a life, you should buy a worked-in one.

    Let me echo what Ray said, too. My second bass was made in 1984 and I'm the only owner. It looks lovely, but it's never been played in properly and it sounds like it.

    If you're satisfied, that's best! But as for me, my thrashed-on, no-collector-value, costs-less-than-a-96-Corrola bass makes That Noise. (I'm not talking about the playing here, just the instrument.) In my limited experience, it would take a down payment to get that sound in a new instrument. And once I tried it, I knew exactly what I was getting. That's whay it's important to actually try THAT bass. Otherwise, you're taking your chances. betting that your ZBQ-53G is just as good as the next one.
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - I'd have loved to try a bass that had been "worked-in" - or whatever the expression is! ;)

    But I've haven't been able to find any shops in the UK that keep any in stock. The very few that I did find, were new ones and I wasn't impressed as you would expect.

    Virtually all the other shops/sellers I contacted didn't even have any bass in stock to try - so even if I had taken an experienced player with me - there was nothing to try! So what was the point. Their way of doing things was : we will order a new instrument for you and set it up for you!

    As far as I can see - there is no way to buy a 20 or 30 year old instrument in the UK. :(

    Given the above - I am happy to stay with my EUB - which sounds great - until I retire and devote myself to this exercise full-time!
     
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think this and other comments are very patronising - and there is no need for this kind of tone. Respect for other people?

    I go along to my local Jazz club each week and sit a few feet from some great players who quite clearly know how to pull a great tone from a bass and I have had many lessons with Jazz DB pros who I have no doubt know more about this than you and are far less patronising.

    In fact the best players I have met are quite prepared to discuss this subject with me, without the slightest hint of being patronising - maybe it's because they know a lot more about the situation in England and are not making a load of assumptions based on living in a different country? :meh:

    Anyway - let's just say that I am very glad that you are not my teacher! :)
     
  20. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Bruce, Samuel wasn't being patronizing. He's absolutely right. There is a HUGE difference between a DB and that popsicle stick you're playing (we've got two of them at work), and while I'm sure you're working hard on it, you simply can't learn anything about getting a fundamental tone out of a DB by playing it. There's not a hint of condesention in my writing this, just a real world observation.

    Have you looked at any of these?

    http://www.turnerviolins.co.uk/stocklist.html#
    http://www.musicalinstrumentsales.co.uk/dbassales.html
    http://www.contrabass.co.uk/home.htm
    http://achamilton.co.uk/Orchestral/doublebasses.htm

    These were only the first few hits on a yahoo search engine return.