Is this an OK starter bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by will33, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. will33


    May 22, 2006

    I've played electric bass since I was 12, know almost nothing about upright other than it's cool from playing a few guys uprights at jam parties, etc.

    Is this an allright starter bass?

    I've read stuff about chinese basses with german names. I know about the bracing bar under the low string and that a left handed is not a right handed strung backwards, etc., but really, don't know much at all about "real basses" :)

    Strings are expensive and there seem to be a few different types that appeal/work for different players playing different genres, etc.

    Frankly, although it's "do-able" to plunk out some basic roots/fifths on some upright somebody hands me and sound "good enough" for some drunk folks at a party, I'd like to learn the instrument properly, including arco, and not just a hack job.

    I read 3/4 size is good for live performance, especially with an electric band as full size can be "too much?" My impressions there from reading TB.

    Anyway, may seem like small money for a good bass but I'm about small money. It would be a significant investment, but worth it if it could serve me for a couple years or more.


  2. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Should also mention I am 40 years old if that gives any indication of being "set in my ways" so to speak of the electric version of the instrument of any old habits I may need to break. I've seen it mention over and over again on here with regard to upright to "get some lessons", even just the first basics and I believe it's a great idea. If for no other reason than to learn how to approach the instrument, as it really is a completely different instrument, as well as physical needs. The few times I have played an upright, my hand and arm became cramped quite quickly, likely due to improper technique and something that could lead to real tendon/hand problems if not sorted out.
  3. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Welcome to the dark side. Indeed, do get a good teacher. Even before you do that, read THIS. :)
  4. You could do worse than that, but it's also possible to do a lot better for not much more money. That's coming from someone who likes Kay's and Engelhardts for what they are but knows their shortcomings from painful, personal experience.

    I would recommend you find a teacher first, and then rely on their experience to help you find a bass, even a rental instrument if cash is a problem.
  5. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004

    Also, see this with regard to Engelhardts.
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    That could be decent for the price. Find out who a good double bass luthier is in town and have it inspected before shelling out the dough. If there are problems, you could easily shell out 1-2x the price of the bass getting it sorted out...

    And check out the info above ;>)
  7. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, yes, but at any price you likely will suffer the skinny-neck left-hand fatigue problem (see link above). :)
  8. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I have a student with an Engel now, and I don't think his has a skinny neck. I had another a while back and his had a beefy neck. Maybe they offer a choice?
  9. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Wow. Many quick thank-you's to you all. I take it the smartest way would be to consult a good teacher, then take their opinions on a good bass? Starter bass obviously, but giggable?
  10. Kapellas


    Dec 2, 2010
    Flint, Mi
    I have an Engelhardt swingmaster, and admittedly, she was terrible when I first got her. It wasn't until my current teacher started working on her that she started to shine. After a few hundred dollars, and a lot of free coffee's (for my teacher) she sounds like a bass several thousand dollars more then what I paid. It goes to show that an impeccable set up and tune up is almost as important as the bass itself. And giggable? Of course. I have played countless gigs on mine, and always get compliments on the sound and the color (she is blonde).
  11. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Man, thanks for the link...
  12. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    That bass will probably serve you pretty good. I think it looks like a pretty good deal.
  13. crowsmengegus

    crowsmengegus Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    Northfield, MN
    Same kind of bass I started on. The skinny neck on (some?) Engelharts is not ideal, but the basses are functional, loud, and will get you playing.

    Definitely have it looked over to make sure there aren't structural or setup problems.
  14. If you *really* want to learn arco, this probably isn't the best bass for that.

    "3/4" sized basses are "the standard," and most adults play this size.

    Consider renting a bass from a reputable shop (and find a teacher!). It's a way to start playing NOW without having to risk buying a poor instrument. After you get some experience, you'll better be able to judge the basses you're considering buying. From what I can gather, Engelhardts, like Kays, vary in quality, and unless you already know how to play you'll not be able to really know if you're going to like it.
  15. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Several thousand dollars? That would mean your Engel rivals some well-respected hybrids. Yes, I know, this is a matter of opinion but, with all due respect, when I read statements like that which fly in the face of conventional wisdom, it's a reminder that one must consider the experience, expertise, and knowledge of the individual holding such an opinion. I'm not arguing with your opinion. No one can or should. I'd just like to understand a bit more about on what it's based. Have you played many fine hybrid and/or carved double basses? Over decades, I've never encountered an Engel, no matter well set up, that rivaled multi-thousand-dollar instruments.
  16. jdepriest


    Sep 20, 2005
    Waynesburg, Pa
    That's a fair price for a C1 if it is in good shape. My first bass was a C1 and I still have it almost 20 years later.

    I had the same experience as Drurb. I took my C1 to a very good luthier in Nashville. after he was finished with it it played and sounded better than many carved basses I've played. When I started looking for a carved bass 5 years ago, I compared everything i played to the sound of the C1.
  17. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Whoa! Hold on there. That's not my experience at all. Across about 40 years, I've never heard and Engel or Kay that would touch a good carved bass. I certainly would not consider them to be the standard (in the good sense) by which I'd judge other basses. I had a Kay C1 for decades that was beautifully set up.

    There seems to be some disconnect here. Perhaps it stems from the type of sound one is seeking. No plywood bass is ever going to have the complexity of tone and response of a good carved bass. That's usually what is sought for classical/jazz/other genres both pizz. and, especially arco.

    If one judges a ply bass to be better than or the equal of nice carved basses, then that's fine. I submit, however, that the preferences of such an individual are far outside the mainstream of what is considered to be the norm or typical.

    To me, it's like saying that one prefers the handling of a Kia Rio to a Maserati GranTurismo.
  18. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Well.....upon further review, I'm thinking some lessons and renting would be the smarter way to go for me. I just don't know enough about these things to buy one. Luthier costs would make it expensive pretty quick and I just can't tell by myself how much work one might need. My impulse-buy finger was getting itchy....not something you want to do with instruments like this.

    So, thanks folks for the helpful tips and links. I have a lot to learn.
  19. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Must.... not... slam... Engelhardts.......

    Trying... not.... to.... offend... the... "Made in America"... crowd....

    Keep... hands... away... from... the ... keyboard.....
  20. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Steve, they still have there place in the bass ladder of life. As Crow pointed out Engels were the only option for most of us when got our first affordable/starter bass.