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Local Upright Luither - your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by liljawn, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Wall of text sorry...:meh:

    I've been interested in getting a double bass ever since I first decided I wanted to change over to bass from guitar. So I got my first electric bass witch I love. I'd like to get a double bass now that I've began sight reading and have gotten a decent amount of music knowledge under my belt I think.(theres so much its daunting:eek:)

    So I have read through most of the FAQ here on the double bass forums kind of got me up to speed on somethings. THE real question this post is about though is Im trying to decide on my first double bass. Im poor and dont really care about spending a bunch of money on one just get my feet wet and go from there. So looking around on craigslist in my local area I came across this double bass that interests me its plywood made by a local luthier that lives about an hour away I believe. Hes been making double basses for awhile he makes them for bluegrass and has a few of his own modifications to make them the way he wants them from what I've read. I wanted to know what you guys though about this bass. He makes them himself and charges around 700 dollars a double bass. Heres a few links I've found on him and his craftsmenship and how he feels about the instruments hes building and what his pricing. Im wanting a double bass to dink around on see what I think of the instrument Im not really into blue grass but I play with my friends in an acoustic setting a lot and the instrument just really interests me.
    Is this a 3/4 upright... I believe it is from all the reading I have done.
  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Can't tell too much from the pictures. Can you get client references?

    It's tough to get a good bass for that price, but maybe these are okay. It's unusual to get a chance to meet the builder. Would be hard to say much more without checking them out in person.
  3. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I agree with Troy.
    It is surely an interesting story.
    I wonder why he has chosen to reinvent the wheel without really understanding why the wheel is round to begin with. (maybe that's too harsh).:(

    -Two bass bars?
    -Is there a soundpost?
    -It seems odd to put that little strip of wood across the ff's. Maybe he's had a problem keeping them from twisting.

    Anyway, if you want to use it for grass and can get good feedback from players in the area, it might be a good deal. I would imagine those things are loud 'pluckers'.:D
  4. I have been talking with the seller to get more info since he knows him from purchasing the bass. From what he says the reason he has created this bass this way is purely for plucken since bluegrass players dont use bows. He says it as quite the boom and other bassist he knows agree. A lot of the guys he knows also comment on it having the best neck they have ever played. He slims the neck down compared to an orchestra double bass.

    Also I guess his bass have gone for 2000+ in music stores in the southern missouri area. Thats because they werent purchasing it from him I would assume. It seems like this old timer is in it for the passion to build good instruments not the money witch I like.

    What is a sound post im a complete newbie. I can try and find out thinking about giving the crafter luke a call for more info on his basses. Before I drive to see the one this guy has for sale.
  5. disreguard my soundpost question thanks to clinks link.
  6. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Please read this:

    You will be best served to learn everything you can about all the parts of a double bass, and their functions before doing anything.

    I would also encourage you to take a road trip to KC, St Louis or wherever to play some basses. Don't EVER buy the first bass you see.

    Oh, almost forgot.
    Inside joke ;)
  7. Yeah I've been doing some intensive reading.

    The thing is about trying out basses I do not know the first thing about playing them. In my town theres no one to ask for help. Im in looking for a teacher for lessons atm. I can could take a road trip and use the knowledge I have from reading and electric bass playing but I dont know what I should be looking for sound wise. Other than its appealing to me.
  8. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    One thing that might worry me about that article is the way they playfully describe some of the crude features of the bass. I'm not saying it's a bad deal 'cause I don't know....but I don't exactly know that I would have a lot confidence in a luthier that "leaves tool marks" and "doesn't always sand as much as he should" on an instrument that he sells.
  9. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Taking all of this into account, my advice would be:

  10. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I remember the first time this guy's name came up here on TB.
    What you're looking at is more or less a giant plywood arch-top bass guitar with a pressed top, two tonebars and no sound post. It could be a really good deal or it could be a dead end for you.

    I'm guessing that the sound will be short and punchy like an archtop guitar or mandolin with very little sustain. If you find like playing DB and want to expand your technique with a bow or want to explore modern bluegrass or other genres with some higher tension steel strings like Spiro Mittels, you might find your path blocked.

    You should be able to find a used Engelhardt for very similar money. You'll also have a much bigger resale market for the Engelhardt if you decide to move on to a better instrument. :)
  11. I understand where your coming from sevenyearsdown. Im going to do some more intensive reading see if i can find some local help. Maybe go into are local music store witch i hate had many bad experinces with them. Im the nicest guy ever and i tried to buy a bass through them and they would just ignore me when i came into the store to get info on how the back order was coming along. (really long story of witch i could just go on and on about all the things they did to me that were just completely rude). Anyways might go talk to some people in there even though i hate too.

    Thanks so much for all the helpful comments i can not express enough i how much i love this forum
  12. 400$Bass


    Jan 18, 2009
    Central Indiana
    I gotta go with Jake here. About 6 months ago my wife bought me a used 1999 Engelhardt C-1 DB in excellent condition for 400 hundred dollars. That included gig bag, two tuners, and books.

    I took it to a local luthier who set it up for me, and I'm a happy camper....a Great Bang for the Buck IMHO.

    At the shop where I had my bass set up, they sell new Basses called Encore. Yes they are very lovely and make mine look very cheap, but just plucking some of these Encore's, I think my cheapy sounded better. These new Encores were 2K and 3K or there about.
  13. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    When I started DB, I rented a bass. I really did not rent it for long, because this brief experience gave me a heads up on some things I did not like about the bass. But, there were also other things I liked about the bass. Plus, I got to take the bass to a teacher and other bassists and get their opinion of the rental and suggestions, such as it needs to be set up better. From there, because I put in some time on this bass, I was able to make a better decision on what kind of bass would work for me when I bought one.
  14. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I just went through the entire process almost two months ago of acquiring a DB, finding a teacher, etc. My advice for the OP based on my experience is this:

    1. Do a lot of research. As I am learning, the double bass and bass guitar are totally different instruments.
    2. Find a local luthier that you feel comfortable with. Ask around or hit local message boards and find a guy (or gal) that real players have confidence in.
    3. Establish a relationship with that luthier's shop. At least check out what they have to offer, and find out what a good setup on something you might buy used can run you.
    4. Find some options for teachers.

    I know these things get beat into the ground around here, but it's because you will need all of them. Take that from someone who is just getting started myself.

    Good luck.
  15. why am i labeled 3020 what is this?
  16. cajunInExile


    Nov 14, 2007
    but, I, for one, am glad you introduced me to the Luke Medley bass. I'd love to try one out.
  17. 400$Bass


    Jan 18, 2009
    Central Indiana
    basic Jethro Bow-dean Cyphering....Don't take it personal.:)
  18. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    It's an inside joke. We have a running count (sort of) of the newbies who post asking basically the same questions about buying a new bass. It's all in good fun. Now you're in on it so you can laugh with us. :)
  19. read the faq :(

    I just wanted your thoughts on this strange bass

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