It's too hard to buy a DB in England - I've given up!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Mar 8, 2002.

  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    After 2 years of looking and researching I have finally decided that nobody wants me to have a Double Bass and I am going to buy an EUB instead!

    Maybe this says more about me and my lack of tenacity; but I just cannot understand why it is so different from buying electric instruments over here?

    So if I want an electric bass, I can go to several nice shops, with huge stocks of basses at all prices and levels of quality. Have a good day choosing and getting the thing set up to my preference, buy it on "interest-free credit" and take it away with me. It's so easy and enjoyable!

    But buying a DB in England has been nothing short of frustration! None in stock anywhere, staff who aren't interested, no credit arrangements or "customer service" of any description! Either very cheap beginner's basses or hugely expensive orchestral instruments and nothing in between!

    It's too hard I admit defeat!
  2. Klimbim


    Mar 3, 2001
    then they have already won.....:(

    but seriously - was just thinking - if you are totally bent on getting a db - you should be able to find one - esp in England. I have no idea what your budget is - but maybe some advice?

    You might want to find a teacher first, rather than an instrument. Of course I don't know anything about the situation in your direct location - but a teacher would be important because:

    1) He could teach you some basics to get started, and you would actually know how to properly audition instruments. I know you already play bg but getting a good sound out of a db is very different, . (of course some people won't agree)
    and frustrating for musicians who already play an instrument. But thats the way it goes.

    2) He might have contacts (orchestral buddies, old students) that are selling off their instruments. Who knows, he might even have an older instrument you could use. Or he might know some shops that you've missed...could be a day trip away, but hey, for the amount of money...isn't it worth some time and effort really searching?

    Try not to let something like bad service get in your way....I'm sure there ARE places out there that have decent basses and salespeople. Just keep looking if you really want. Be glad they didn't appear all enthusiastic and con you into buying a lemon...and don't "settle" for an EUB if what you want is a DB, just because the EUB people seem nicer.

    But if you've made your decision....that's fine too.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think I have made my decision - the problem has always been that I know that DB is impractical in many ways for me; but I thought that if I was inspired enough I would get past the difficulties.

    Inspiration has been beaten out of me and I am now buying an intrument that is readily available and which I do like very much instead.

    I suppose my point in starting this topic was really to ask - why is it made so difficult to buy one of these things in the UK and if this is the case, then surely we are going to see a decline in Double Bass playing?
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Bruce, why are you concentrating on shops in your search?

    It seems to me that you might have more success in the preowned/private sale market.

    If there is a short supply in the shops, there must be a low demand, which should be in your favor on the prices.

    Given your experience, I doubt that you will ever be satisfied with the sound of the EUB. My experience (I own one) is that the EUB is not really very different from a fretless EBG.

    The orchestra players in GB are getting instruments from somewhere. Maybe talking to them may be helpful.

    You might search out luthiers in GB as opposed to retail outlets. Surely they can get you on the best track.

    It's a shame that you can't just come on over here for vacation, pick yourself one out and carry it back with you.

    The fact that bluegrass music has once again became popular in the states seems to have energized the market for UBs.

    I must have found at least fifty basses for sale on the net last night while browsing classified ads. They ranged in price from $500.00 up.

    You might contact (all hail) Bob Gullihur and see if he has any suggestions concerning shipping and that sort of thing. I'm not sure whether he ships internationally or not but it's remotely possible that he has some contacts in GB that could help you.

    At the very least, his web site has a very extensive list of luthier links. Maybe there are some located in GB.

    Keep looking! It will be worth the effort if and when you score.

    Good luck, Pkr2
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well basically I have no cash lying around ready to lay out - but I have a good steady job and high credit rating. I have been researching this for over 2 years now - ever since I started getting on TB really! It does seem a lot easier to buy a DB in the US from what I read here.

    I'm not the sort of person who saves up and I see money to be used rather than hoarded - besides I' feel I've waited too long already and have phoned up many luthiers / bass sellers etc with no results! :( I'm not getting any younger! ;)

    Although I might not ultimately be happy with a EUB - at least I can get started with one of these! The NS CR4 or 5s seem to be pretty much in demand over here and I'm sure I woul have no problem with re-selling one - I have tried them and like them.

    I feel like to get a decent DB over here you are looking at waiting around for over a year for something to come onto the market and I am just not happy with having money "idle" just on the off-chance of a decent purchase coming up - I'm going to buy what there is and then after getting some playing in, I might look again in a few years.
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is an excellent example of my problem! The basses listed there range from about £5,000 to £15,000 - that is a lot of money !! Add on about half as much again for $. (Only 2 or 3 anywhere near me - one is in Australia!)

    I only paid £4,000 for my car! I don't have £5,000 just lying around and am never likely to!

    Whereas I am going to the Bass Centre in London on Monday and will walk away with an NS CR4 or 5 for a third of this price and I will only have put down a deposit - I will be buying on "interest-free credit". The same way I bought my car!
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think you are misunderstanding what I'm saying -so every large purchase I have made - like my car and electric basses - have been through credit deals. I have no money just lying around!

    So lot of places make it easy to do this and I have bought all my musical gear in this way before - but I am just saying there is no such system for buying Double Basses, which makes it impossible for me! :(
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Well, then you might have to do some saving. Also, check out the banks. I'm sure that they're weird there compared to here, where they are just a pain in the gluteus, but you can get loans directly through the 3rd party often times.

    Here is another that I found:

    Advertising that they have basses from 650 Sterling on up and bass dating back to the 18th century.

    If you really want a bass, you'll get one. If you get discouraged, you were really looking for a way out.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - I have spent the last two years finding bass websites and phoning people up - I have done this more times than I can remember and it is very depressing!!

    It is very strange to me and why I started this thread - so, if you look up Guitar-type shops, then you expect them to have some stock that you can try and most will have some bass guitars hanging around.

    However, it seems that there are countless people - whatever you call them - luthiers, stringed instrument sellers etc. - who advertise in directories and the web but have no stock whatsover. Further they have no credit or loan arrangements. So it always follows a certain pattern - you give them some money and they will buy an instrument for you and set it up.

    Sometimes I have phoned up and the things they had on their website were actually private sales - so I have had conversations like - well if you can drive to Bristol or Glasgow, there is a good instrument. So I have got to take 4 or 5 hours to drive to see something which I might not like and which I have to pay cash for!

    It just seems like another world to me - one that is in terminal decline!

    I have literally been trying for 2 years with no luck or sniff of a bass I could buy!
  12. Klimbim


    Mar 3, 2001
    well...i can see the is really tough, and the basses are probably concentrated in London - where everything is massively overpriced.

    but like pkr2 got to look beyond shops. Ask orchestral should be able to find some sort of decent Chinese instrument. Hey we can't all find Gofrillers to play. Maybe you have actually tried a decent instrument in your price range, but were unable to make it speak properly. Like someone said (think it was Don Higdon) - you train your technique for the bass, which is so true. I play cello too, and you have to adjust for each instrument you meet. If you were using elec bass technique to try basses...well, no bass would sound good.

    And yes - you will have to save up. Money is to be spent but it doesn't have to go out as fast as it comes in all at once. There is no two ways about it. Worst case scenario - you save up but you don't find a bass you like, you still have nice savings for something else you might like, or just in case. If you just can't save up...well....
  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Then you're right, I guess. Forget about Bass and go get a Mullet (EUB). Given your parameters there is no other choice.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's what it seems like to me - I suppose that the world I actually live in, has changed to one where people don't save up for things but buy them on credit (it may be this is more the case in the UK - there have been concern in the papers and government mentions about the high level of consumer credit debt) but the world of Double Bass hasn't moved with it!

    I didn't want to waste anybody's time with helping me look for basses as I am fed up with it all now; but I was wondering if other people in the UK have experienced similar problems and how they dealt with it - maybe the fact that nearly all the DB players on here are from outside the UK, answers my question for me? :(
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Are EUBs free in the UK? Mine cost about three grand here in the US. Point being, you aren't going to get much of an EUB without spending some money either. If you want one, buy one, but don't expect it to be a double bass, by any stretch of the imagination. I've talked to Thomas Bryant, who builds beautiful basses there. He's a very nice, helpful gentleman; maybe he can help you solve your problem. I wish you the best of luck.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's about what the one I intend to buy will cost - but I can walk into the Bass Centre next Monday, put down a deposit and walk out with it under my arm! It's the availability and practicality that's the problem.

    I've heard about lots of basses, but in two years have actually been able to touch or buy very, very few and these are either cheap ones that don't look that well-built or very nice ones that would require me to sell my home before I could consider them!

    I apologise to everybody if I'm repeating myself here, but I have tried - honestly! ;)
  17. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    If I learned anything thing in MBA school I learned that "there ain't no free lunch".

    You are paying for the credit most likely in an enhansed cost of the instrument.

    Good luck in your search and good luck with the EUB you get.

  18. lunayrosa


    Mar 10, 2002
    Two things.
    I live in TX now, but for a while I lived in a tiny town in Rhode Island where very few people spoke english and everyone was either a fisherman or an engineer (my da). I'm sure there is a Bass there in England.

    Good luck!
  19. I have also had no luck in finding one. It seems no-one actually plays DB round these parts. Well a few do but when asked about them (DBs) they always refer you to someone who might be selling. It seems round here that circulation of DBs is depenadant on one of the few players wanting to buy a new bass and selling thier old/spare/first bass. And when one does come on the market they disappear as quickly as they appeared. Guess i need to get into the inner circle of NE DB, and i'm not a good talker. Oh well, i will have 2000 pounds to spend by christmas time. I won't hold my breath on any turning up before then.
  20. sneaky pete

    sneaky pete

    Feb 10, 2002
    Yakima, WA
    Out here in in Seattle there are a few good shops so we are luckly. I'd sell ya my second one if is it was easy to ship. Sux though. I bought a Christopher mid line model 5 string and it is really nice. I'll sell it in a few years and get a top line one from them (5 string of course).

    sneaky pete