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Looking to get back into upright (I need a bass!)

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by GeneralElectric, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    So I'm looking to get back into upright bass. I played for 4 years in my school's jazz band. Unfortunately I'm now in college and I no longer have access to my school's upright bass.

    So this is where TB comes in! Help me find a bass. Fo' serious, my fingers are going to kill me in my sleep if I don't.:meh:

    I'm not going to lie, I know nothing about uprights. I do know my school's upright was 4/4 and that it had the same set of strings on it for all four years of highschool and probably longer than that (most likely they'll still be on there until they break) I don't know how long one is supposed to keep bass strings on an upright. (I've had the flats on my Fender P for years with no worries)

    So now I'm looking into a new upright. I won't have the cash upfront, but I'll be working in a warehouse soon so I'll start saving to buy.

    Price range I'm looking for is 1500-2000 USD though possibly more. I've seen the basses at Upton and I like their 1700$ model. Though it doesn't come with strings or a case, or purfling. I'm not sure what purfling is, aside from the stripe going down the back. Is it an important issue for an acoustic bass, or is it purely cosmetic?

    I also need strings, and looking at the prices online, I can see why my school never bought new ones. The strings on the school bass were very low tension and I believe they had yellow cloth on the ends. Can you folks start recommending me some strings as well?

    This will mostly be for home use as well as low-level/acoustic jams. I play a lot of jazz, blues, and Motown type of stuff. I only play pizziocato as I was always a hack at arco.
  2. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    I doubt that your school's bass was a 4/4. That would be too big for most people to play comfortably, especially students. It was more than likely a 3/4 sized bass. So focus your search on 3/4 basses, that is the most common size.
  3. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004
    Since you're in New York City, I would check out Ideal Music (www.bassesonline.com). Steve Loeb is liquidating his late father's stock of musical instruments which included hundreds of double basses. There does not appear to be much left at the moment but you can get a fully carved Eberle for about $1600. Note,however, that you will have to have a luthier set it up for you so add about $300 - $600 for that. A number of folks here have bough basses from Steve, including me, and have been very pleased.

    Other options include checking out David Gage, Kolstein and local dealers that carry Shen, Christopher, or Eastman basses. Of course, there may be something for you in the TB classified below.

    Good luck.
  4. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I'm 6'1 and the bass was a good few inches taller than I was. I was told to play bass because of my size, the fact that I already played bass guitar was just a bonus. The other bass my school had was noticabley smaller, and I believe it was a Kay.

    Not sure of the maker. It was of a dark mud brown color with a lot of repairs and weighed a ton. It had a rounded back. I'm a big guy and I had some trouble lifting it and carrying it. It also had open back tuners with small gears. The bass had a 43" scale.

    I saw the 1700$ Upton and it looked a lot like my old school's bass, though it has different corners, and had purfling trim on the front and a stripe down the back.

    I've been trying to get into contact with my old music teacher through friends still in high school, see if he knows what it was, and if, indeed, it is a 4/4 sized bass.
  5. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Thanks for the well wishes. I've played a few Shens before locally, and every experience was a bad one. I didn't like the sounds I got from them. Either too harsh and brittle or boomy and hollow.

    I've heard a few things about Christopher basses, but I've never played one, and I've never heard of Eastman before but I'll look into it.

    Now, its time to peruse the classifieds:cool:

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