Is Beauty Bassically Skin Deep?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Pete G, Feb 14, 2002.

  1. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I've been in the market for a good bass for a while, and recently played one that sounded great. It also (reportedly) won a recent owner an audition with a major U.S. orchestra.

    Problem is, it looks like it's been used for target practice - with a cannon - for the last several generations. As nearly as I can tell, the damage has been professionally patched, de-cracked, sealed, etc., to the point where there's absolutely nothing structurally wrong with the instrument. It's just ugly as sin.

    Am I wrong to care about that?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    A little over a year ago, I bought a relatively new German carved bass. The finish was perfect, only one small ding on the left side, which had been patched so you almost didn't notice. It was one of the nicer looking basses I'd ever had my hands on, but I bought it because of the sound. When I took it to my luthier to have it set up, he asked me to play it and describe the sound I was looking for. When I had finished, he said, "Man, that's a good sounding's a shame it's so ugly."

    Meaning, of course, that he prefers basses with a bit of a "seasoned" look to them. I figure that the old "Eye of the Beholder" cliche is so well-known for a reason.

    Also, check out the thread "A.S.S.'s on Fire" in the Off topic forum. Both of those basses sound great, and will make you feel better about the one you're looking at, or your money back.
  3. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    ditto the eye of the beholder

    it's a sound contest not a beauty contest.

  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Both of my basses are "30 FEET BASSES"

    They look pretty good at 30 feet.

    While I'm careful I don't see how I could deal with a new bass, worse than parking your brand new car at KMart. I don't need that kind of pressure. ;)
  5. Pete-
    It's an acquired taste. I flat-out love basses like that. A 300 year old bass, split, cracked, smashed, patched and rebuilt over 3 centuries is a total turn-on.
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I heard that, Don! Remember the one that our web friend Christian refinished? He posted a whole series of pics of the project from start to finish. That kind of thing makes me happier than almost anything I can talk about in polite company.
  7. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I find the Goffriller beautiful, too.

    But while honest signs of age and wear can serve as beauty marks, isn't there a point where one cannot push from the mind the words, "Butt ugly"?
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    You mean like this?
  9. If you mean with a 17th century Maggini, no. Never.