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Investment Grade Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alembicbones, Aug 1, 2005.


  1. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Hey all,

    Well that age old malady GAS is starting to creep in. The other day I went to the local GC and, due to all of the good words about it, I tried out a Getty Lee Jazz. I was able to dial in some pretty cool tones and in general I thought it was a fine bass for the money. However, when I look at my arsenal (Alembic, Sadowsky Metro, Lakland JO Skyline, all 5 strings) I'm finding it very hard to justify buying a 4 string, just to have it likely sit on the sidelines. I would like to pick up a traditional fender jazz bass but there has to be a purpose.

    This got me thinking about the market for used basses and their investment value. It seems to me the only real valuable vintage bass, with any kind of upside potential, is a fender jazz. I'd be interested in your opinions on this matter. With the 60's era jazz basses being super expensive, I'm thinking an early to mid 70's might be the call (a Getty of that era potentially). 10 to 15 years down the road, the appreciation I would guess would be pretty significant. To top it off, it would be a very fun bass to play and something that wouldn't just sit it in the closet.

    Thanks for reading my rambling.

    Bones
     
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    As an investment, basses suck. Your money would be better invested in blue chip stocks.
     
  3. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    I strongly disagree...I work with several customers who buy for investment purposes and they've more than doubled their money in very short time frames. The key is knowing what to buy and where to find the deals.
     
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Well, you would know, Dude, but I still say it's not generally a good investment unless you really know what to look for. Although, I must confess that I'd rather have you calling me at work with a hot tip on a cool bass than those nitwits that call me from New York with the latest stock tip, but first want to know all about my portfolio. Uhhh, yeah, I'm going to give my investment info to a complete stranger on the telephone calling from 2,500 miles away, where I can't easily come kick your ass if you rip me off.

    But I digress ...
     
  5. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hook a brother (or son, or nephew, or cousin, or next-door neighbor, or father??, or ME) up.

    Feel free to PM as needed. :D
     
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yeah, whatever. Right now I'm in a bunch of go-go funds while the market's hot. It'll get me (again) sooner or later. (Of course I'm in a lot of other, more stable stuff, too). Now if those clowns from New York would just read TalkBass, they'd have the info on me.
     
  7. utopia_imminent

    utopia_imminent

    Jun 19, 2004
    Investment basses? Hmm. It all matters about knowing the right one. Vintage Fenders have enormous potential to make you rich. But, the other brands don't quite seem to appreciate as well if they even appreciate at all.

    I know a guy who plays bass. Not sure how good. But, he only has a Squire P which is like crappy. Well, he asked his sister who is studying in Nebraska to get him in Iceman baritone. And that baritone is sitting in a dehumidifying cabinet as far as i know. He said it was investment. This is what I call not knowing the market.

    I guess you have to really study the market.
     
  8. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    2 Things:

    Just wanted to reiterate:

    Also, please direct your eyes to my current user title.

    EDIT: Yes, I quoted myself because I'm stoopid.
     
  9. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    QT? Am I missing something? Or just still stoopid? Or both?
     
  10. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
  12. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    One day... I will learn the meaning of this "QT" that you speak of. Of course, if you mean "cutie," I can see where you're coming from.
     
  13. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    investing in instruments falls in the investing in comics, art etc realm to me. If you are very knowledgable you can do ok but it is still a speculative market. If you like the instrument then get it and enjoy it, you might make money on it and you might not. If you want a real return on your investment get into real estate. Unless you buy property at a ridiculously inflated rate you will always turn a good profit.
     
  14. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    This is a good question. I've had some good luck buying and selling basses but it can definitely be a bit of gamble if you're relying on the income. Plus to me, I own the basses I own because I love them and I'm not sure that I'd want to sell them to fund my retirement - especially after having them for another 30!

    I think it can be a nice supplement to your investment strategy in that it's fun and near to our hearts, but I don't think I'd rely only on investment income from basses.
     
  15. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Great input everybody, thanks. From my point of view, I wouldn't be looking at this to strictly make money. Actually, being able to play the bass would give me the most enjoyment. I'm just considering what would have a good chance for appreciation.

    Compare two basses from the same era, a '74 Fender Jazz and a '74 Alembic Series I. Even though I probably would like the playability of the Alembic more, the Jazz would probably blow the socks off the Alembic as an investment.

    If I can sell this to the wife, I might just begin my search for a vintage bass.

    Thanks again,
    Bones
     
  16. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    Hmmm I'd say that between those two specific basses you'd be about even right now in the $2,500 +/- range.
     
  17. MrBonex

    MrBonex

    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    The following is pure personal observation. It has no basis in fact. But here goes:

    Bass players don't seem to have the desire for old instruments the way that guitar players do. Les Paul guys think that the plastic on the tuners can screw up their tone. Bass players are more modern and forward thinking -- we think the best basses are to come -- or are recent.

    We love tubes, but don't think that quality solid state sucks. If a guitar player has a transistor in his/her amp, they throw it away (or give it to their bass player).

    That said, I think most vintage Fender basses are owned by guitar collectors. While I know that there are bassist collectors, the majority are guitarists. I personally know enough of them and they HAVE to have an old Fender bass or two or their collections aren't complete.

    Let's face it, old Gibson basses suck pretty bad or are one-trick ponies. Hofners? Guild? Gretsch? Rickenbakers for sure, but they are sort of one-trickers, too. It's pretty much P-bass and J-bass.

    But guitarists have Les Pauls, ES335s, Strats, Teles, Jr.s, SGs, 175s, L5s, d'Angelicos, d'Aquistos, Epiphones, Gretches, Silvertone, etc. etc. etc.

    Part of the issue is that bass sort of needs to be more hi-fi than guitars. While not an absolute, clear-ish bass is important to the foundation of a song. Not so, guitar. So old basses (and amps) don't really do the trick. Bass playing has moved forward, guitarists like the old school stuff. Mostly anyway.

    Just a thought. I'd be happy to have it trashed. In good spirit, of course!
     
  18. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    +100 A friend of mine I think put it best when he said
    "When it comes to equipment, guitarists want to go to the flea market, bassists want to go to the science fair and drummers want to go to lunch" :)
     
  19. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN

    Ooh. New sig! I completely agree.
     
  20. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I "invested" in a bongo. It's a cool bass and all... but after I bought it (used), the prices dropped. I could have bought one new for less than I paid for a used one. :rollno:

    Stupid bongo.