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Is this a good beginners DB?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by B8ssMan89, Aug 19, 2005.


  1. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Don't buy a Double Bass from a Guitar store and don't buy a Trombone from a Plumming supply company.

    They say "Double Kerfing!". Kerfing is notched lining on the inside of an Acoustic Guitar. On a Bass or Violin, it is un-notched and called Lining. He is probably referring to the 'Purfling' which is either inlaid or painted on. For that price it is 2 black painted lines on the edges of the top and back.

    >>"2 Machine Heads mounted on etched brass plate for Better precise and easy tuning !!">> Really? Gee, I have many Basses that cost several times the price of an average car and they are just Individual Gears. By the way, the Gears I have are almost as much as this Bass. But they say it tunes better so who knows..lol

    >>"FREE Bow Included !!">> That must be worth several candy bars. You won't learn how to play 'Beethovans Fifth' without breaking a few of these FREE Bows.. A fair Decent Bow is in the 100s and good Pro Bows in the 1000s.

    Don't get the wrong idea. I am not trying at all to burst your bubble. They will do that shortly after getting your $$ and shipping you this 'look-a-like' Bass. A real bass has an Ebony Fingerboard and not painted 2x4s. For a good starter Bass like a good Starter car, make sure it is road worthy unless it is just to hang on the wall. Try getting a workable Plywood Bass in the 1500-2000 range. Age does not matter as long as it is in good playing condition, set-up well and needs no immeadiate repairs.

    Stick around a few days to a week and get some good advice from other beginners along with their horror stories. It's free and it's fun.. Shop and ask b4 you buy. You will be gald you came here b4 buying.. Bass is beautiful...
     
  2. Don't buy that thing, you'll regret it if you do.

    Spend some time here reading the newb threads and using the search function. You'll find lots of horror stories about $600 "basses". Think about it: They're gonna make a profit selling you a case, an extra set of strings, a bow and a bass for under seven hun, and ship it free. How good can it possibly be? You couldn't buy the wood for a decent bass for that much money. As they say, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Gee Eric, for once we agree on something!!
     
  4. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    For someone who isn't too serious about double bass, there are some decent inexpensive options. But the one in your link doesn't look like a good place to start.

    Read around a bit here... you may find something only a few hundred dollars more, but of much better quality. The extra money is worth it.
     
  5. lubao

    lubao Guest

    Aug 6, 2005
    NSW, Australia
    hello!

    I was in a similar case a few months ago, I am glad that I've taken the time and saved up a few more $$$, there are numerous posting in here that will convince you to hold on for a better bass, I was also offered (BSO bass shaped object OR for a better term, Bull S#i+ Offer) a few months ago! Worst still, it was from a local string shop where I live, I am still very much a beginner when comes to a DB but the experience of having played the bottom of the range cheap (BSO) compare to a higher end student bass is quite dramatic!

    I have settled on a Hybrid Hofner which is only $2000 (Aus) from a $900 bottom of the range student outfit, try a few DB's yourself and if you're serious enough about this endevour, you would realise that it is not much fun learning on a poorly crafted instrument but also think of how much will cost you to get it to a playable standard, if at all possible...BUT yeah! A lot of very highly respected and very experienced musician and artisans in this site, also a lot of newbies that made some terrible mistakes...read and learn, I LOVE my bass!

    Nyah! thanks for reading.
     
  6. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    The bass is an expensive instrument--that's just the facts. A decent starter upright is just going to be way more than a decent starter bass guitar. For that money i would be really nervous about that bass. And I'd never buy it without being able to see it first

    I would consider a good plywood bass first. An englehardt ply bass can be had for $1039 at Bob Gollihur's site. It's a reliable sturdy instrument that can get a good sound and is playable. I had one for four-five years, did a lot of gigs with it. There are some real advantages to a ply bass--they're more durable, and some people, like bluegrassers, prefer the more thumpy sound

    Or look for a used bass--high school music programs will often have a stock of ply basses or lower end carved and sometimes they sell them. I'm going to sell my engle for close to the price of that bass, and somethign like that would be IMHO a much better buy.
     
  7. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    No, it is not. Take the advice of the folks here. Buy a decent bass from a shop employing a real luthier who will do a proper setup. The essential nature of a good setup is often overlooked by newbies. $1400 or so will get you a well-made laminate with a good setup.


    Edit-- I was referring to the cost of a new instrument.
     
  8. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Hi Jonathan,

    Welcome to TBDB. Glad to see you're going to take the leap, and in the words of Paul Warburton, "become a real man!" :D

    Although I've been playing slab for many, many years, I'm exactly where you're at...well a month or so ahead maybe. The advice you'll receive here from this great bunch of cats will be invaluable...look it's already saved you $679! No amount of money will make that BSO playable.

    As a fellow noob I'd advise you to be patient and look around for a good used plywood bass. Do a coupla searches and you'll find the brands that are acceptable starters, and you just might be able to find one for that same $700 or so. Keep in mind though, that if you buy used you're going to need to make your most important investment in a proper setup.

    Because I was willing to overlook some "minor" cosmetic issues (stop snickering guys :p ), I've ended up with a very playable, decent sounding bass for a bit less than the bass would have cost brand new with no setup. That includes the purchase and installation of a pickup, a new set of strings, and an awesome setup.

    Keep checking in right here at TBDB in the Classifieds. You can trust the cats here.
     
  9. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    Bassman-the shipping on my cleveland wasn't much less than that [$500 including shipping the case back].

    Look elsewhere for a beginner bass. Like everyone else with far more experience than me has said-expect to spend at least $1400 if not closer to the $2k mark. It will be more than worth it.

    That's all
     
  10. If you're more tech savvy and have the money, there are usually a few good Kay's on (and someone will probably kill me for saying this) eBay. True, the knowledge on the seller's end usually isn't there and shipping would be a beast, but it seems from my experience, that there isn't too much that can go wrong with a good ol' Kay that won't be shown in a picture. If you get one, just take it to the local string shop and have them do a good setup on it. They've got great character and their sound, being a laminate instrument, is decent as well. They're what the Engelhardt's are based on (to my understandingm Engel. bought out Kay a number of years ago but makes pretty much the same thing). Come to think of it, I'd go with the Engelhardt from Bob G. too. You realy can't go wrong with him.
     
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Well, as a former Kay owner, (1967 - 2004) I think I am in a fine position to say the following. While some may debate whether you can "go wrong" with a Kay (and I think you can), it is virtually certain that for similar $$$ you can go much more RIGHT! Personally, I would NEVER buy a bass on Ebay from a private owner sight unseen, or rather bass unplayed and unseen, unless some very special circumstances applied. (Seller: "Oh gee, I never really noticed that crack in the neck")

    If one is staying with a laminate as a result of budgetary (and perhaps other) concerns, there are laminates available that, IMO, surpass by a great deal any Kay or Englehardt along any relevant dimension one chooses. Here is one example, perhaps among several:

    http://uptonbass.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/21/products_id/279
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I agree that Ebay can be tricky. I have bought a few things myself. More often than not, there is something undisclosed by the Seller. I have been buying Basses and Bows for more years than most of the people here reading this have been alive. I know what questions to ask as well but there are always things you can't think of asking or can't tell by just getting an answer or even seeing a picture. Seeing in person is the only Proof. I bought two old Bass Bows off Ebay in the last year. One is a fake and not the 'bargain' I had hoped for but worth what I paid. The other had some wear not disclosed but is better than what I expected for the price I paid. I also bought a Bass and had it delivered b4 paying for it. I suspected it not to be as good as advertised and I was right. It was still well worth the price I paid but not a huge bargain. I decided to convert this to a 5-string. Thank God I did. If the bass had not been taken apart it would have fallen apart over time. I played the Bass in my office and my house and was impressed by the power and tone for a mid-late 20th Century Bass. This is Hungarian as I suspected and knew it b4 buying. What I didn't know is that my son starting College next week may be older than the Bass!! The Bass looked and sounded much better that the Glue was holding it together.

    With Kays and many other Basses plywood or not, the Neck/Neck Stand is often too shallow for a good Bridge set and low String height. This can easily cost 100s to correct. If the Neck is damaged and needs replacing, it could be 1000s to do a professional job on a better Bass.

    What to do? Have someone that knows more than you do about Basses, condition, repairs and set-up look at the Bass for you and give advise. Too Many people have bought Basses only to find out the repairs will cost more than the Bass did and may in some cases exceed the Value of the Bass as well.

    It is like the stock market. Do not invest in things you know nothing about just because a salesman told you so. Even professional investors loose money in the game and they do this for a living.

    Do what you know and understand. If not, ask someone who doe for help. It's always ok to ask. Even Presidents have advisors.. oops..... bad, BAD example.. Sorry..lol
     
  13. I've decided to save up and get an Endelhardt (Sp?)
    thank you for all your help

    Now. On the setup. Is there some place I can send it to get it set-up? cause there are no doubl bass stores around. I could see if my local music store can do a set-up on it. If they cannot, where can I send it to get it set-up?
     
  14. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Where are you located? Bob Gollihur's site has a directory of bass luthiers listed by state.

    You could go to the local high school and ask whoever directs their music program is they take the instruments anywhere for service
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Or you could order it from Upton Bass, who has one of the best setup guys around to set it up for you. I'll tell you though, as someone who's played a lot of different plywood basses, in its price range, you can't do better than the Upton plywood basses. Some people like the thin necks on the Engels, but if you don't mind a regular size neck, the Upton Hawkes and Media Fino have a much better tone. And by the time you pay for a setup on the Engel, you'd probably save money with an Upton, too.

    I'm a huge fan of their work, so don't just take my word. Do a search on Upton and check out what people have to say about them.
     
  16. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    This advice is right on the money (pun intended). Why get a skinny-neck Englehardt when you can get the Upton laminate that will blow the doors off it? Read Ken Smith's post again re Englehardt's and Kays.

    Hey B8ssMan89-- it's your money and entirely your choice but you did ask for advice. IMO, you should be saving up for a better laminate that has proper neck stand/angle and proper neck thickness, among other important attributes.


    With regard to Ken's post-- Ken buying a bass on Ebay and a newbie buying a budget bass are two very different things. When Ken looks on Ebay it qualifies as the "special circumstances" I mentioned. Even though I would know what to ask as well, I am not a collector/reseller/player. I am a player. For me, as for most of us involved in this thread, buying a bass means buying a bass that will be our primary or secondary axe. We can't take the chance, as Ken can, that what we get may not be what was promised.
     
  17. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    FWIW, my Shen SB80 (a $1400 bass new with no setup, and a bass that many experienced players here regard as superior to the Engelhardts), even in my newbie hands, felt like "night and day" after it was setup by the cats at Upton.

    I played the $1600 laminated Upton bass when I was at the shop, and it's a noticable step up, both sound-wise and playability-wise, from my Shen.
     
  18. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    DRURB, thanks for the honorable mention.

    I just want to clear up one thing. As I do currently have some Basses up for sale, I originally bought them to play. After I retired and sold all my Basses including my Italian Bass and Sartory Bow I decided that this time around I would buy a Bass and play it untill I find something better. The Exception was only the Italian Solo Bass (bought and brokered thru another dealer) and the Morelli which was a partial trade-in. In both cases, I used each Bass for either Jazz Gigs (Solo Bass) or Symphony Concert(Morelli). This is a hobby with me mostly now that I have a "Day Gig" (KSB) as most of you already know...

    The Ebay stuff looks so tempting at times. I was out bid a few times on some Bows I wanted but each time they went over my 'willing limit'. That is a good thing. On the Hungarian Bass, I had talked with the seller in the past and his wife delivered the Bass and I gave her a Check. If the Bass was total bogus, I could have sent her home with it. I cant' afford to make buying mistakes but anything can happen. Thus is life.....

    Also as far as Ebay goes, I have posted the Martini there a couple of times. It was up for less $ than I would normally sell it but that was because I had my eye on another Bass and needed to turn it. Too bad no one bought it. It would have been a better deal for them than me.
     
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Didn't mean to suggest that it doesn't matter to you what you get. Not at all! If you do get something, as you mentioned you have, that is not quite what you hoped, you are in a better position than most of us to turn it around. My real message, and I trust you understood, was to especially warn the newbies off those great "bargains" on Ebay. They most often don't know about what to ask and perfectly honest sellers can miss important flaws.