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luxury problems

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Jason Sypher, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. Indulge me a bit, I think I'm just sort of thinking out loud. I have a very interesting bass on trial from Kolstein's this week. A very small Italian hunny. It is a beautiful little odd shaped dark bass with a huge sound for it's size. The arco is absolutely stunning and powerful. I'm not sure I've ever played a bass that is this focused and I've played some really nice basses including the Karr/Koussevitsky. What is a little baffling and frightening is that it is quite a different bass from what I currently play and, well, it's just kind of scary. I couldn't love the arco more, it's completely rocks and is so accessible that I can actually see how Edgar does what he does. It has that kind of power. It absolutely fills the room. I played it at an Irish session last night and waited until the right tune came along (a twin Uliean pipe tune) and layed that big D under it with a bow and the roof almost came off the pub. At the end of the night I bowed a tune in duet with another piper that was really inspiring. In short, the bass is letting me do what I want to do and allowing me to really do it well. So what's the problem? Well, nothing...really. I played in a very loud situation and you could really hear the bass above the din and it really supported the large band. I guess I have what you might call "buyers remorse" even before I buy it. Not in the sense that I don't love it, but in the sense of "oh, shi*, am I doing the right thing? See, I told you this was really an indulgent post. There are no questions in it! I think, in reality, I need two basses. One that I can thump on with reckless regard, and one like this little hunny that I can really show my stuff.
    It's almost a fear of unlimited potential! I can do anything on this bass and it is a real full frontal challenge to go for things I only dreamed of on my big Yankee. Of course, I haven't even sold my bass yet (though there are a number of very interested parties) so this isn't really a problem. "Now, Jason, tell me about your mother..."
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Good times! Don't forget to record with it before sealing the deal...
  3. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, if you think you need two basses, why not have them? How often does one get a chance to find a musical "soul-mate" instrument as it seems you have? If you have the $$$, go for it! You only live once. Congrats and I hope you post pics.
  4. LeslieD


    Jul 25, 2006
    While buyers remorse is painful, sellers remorse is REALLY awful. Are you sure you really want to part with your good friend big Yankee? It's just really hard to find a bass that's good for everything. I know you travel a lot, would this new bass be good for your stateside AND overseas gigs?
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Playing devil's advocate; is the size of this bass so unusual that it will be difficult to re-sell should you later decide it's not your soul-mate? If so, is the asking price adjusted accordingly?
  6. tomshepp

    tomshepp Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Maynard MA
    Screw the guilt, buyers remorse and fear of unlimited potential. LIVE! LOVE! PLAY! Keep the Yankee. Just my 2 cents. What do I know?:eyebrow:
  7. bribass


    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
    Oh, c'mon. Now ya gotta tell us what it is.

    " A very small Italian hunny. It is a beautiful little odd shaped dark bass with a huge sound for it's size."

    The Puolotti? or the Nepolitan w/ the 17 & 3/4 " upper bouts,...not the small, dark, Testore School?

    I've played a lot in his inventory. We could compared notes.

    ..what he said. Those little Italians are sweet, but orchestra guys usually go for basses atleast a bit larger.

    I understand about chunky Yankee basses and their dimensions.

    My Prescott has very similar measurements (except the upper bouts are 20+" instead of 21+") to your Yankee w/ a somewhat similar shape.
    My Prescott is one of the smaller examples out there, but sometimes I think it's deeep ribs (actually a bit over 9") make it feel a little chunkier to play than my German shop bass. Eventhough they have the same string length I probably can pull off pyrotechnics a bit easier on the German, but I'm just addicted to 'sound' of my Yankee and I'm not sure a smaller bass could do that in the same way.

    OTOH some of those little Italians are pretty darn amazing.

    ....paging Dr. Phil, how 'bout a gruff, spot on, one line pearl of wisdom about now?...2,3,4..
  8. shadygrove


    Feb 14, 2008
    Marysville, WA
    +1.... You can always sell the Yankee later if $ get tight.

    Let's see... "huge sound, stunning and powerful, focused, couldn't lover the arco more, accessible, power, fills the room" and the number one reason to not let that bass get away..."The bass is letting me do what I want to do and allowing me to do it well"

    How often do you fall in love with a bass like that? Any buyers remorse won't be half as bad as the "non-buyers remorse" you'll have if you let it get away only to spend the rest of your life wishing you hadn't.
  9. My Yankee is an awesome bass, I got to play them side by side today. The Yankee is thick and smooth. The Italian is punchy and transparent.
    Both are quite loud. I do think the point about resale is very relevant. This is a small 3/4...


    This is also very nice and about an inch bigger all around...

    I think either bass will appreciate but the smaller one might be a little more difficult to sell. I would say it's really a solo bass with a big sound....

    None of this matters of course until someone steals away my Yankee which will be a tough bass to let go. As I've said in previous threads, I need to have something that really moves me waiting in the wings to help me forget the Yank....
  10. Wow, going by your description and I know given the choice; personally I'd go for that Italian. Pretty little thing.
  11. bribass


    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
    Ah, I knew it was the Milanese. I don't remember playing that one. I don't think it was there then, but I did play and really like the Delsiato as well.

    I remember it a s bowing quite well w/ clarity and gravitas.

    That was one of the basses that struck me when I was there last year w/ Uncle Toad.

    Another that struck me a s a good value was this Frenchie;


    It played great and had some of that classic clear, punchy French thing, but also it had a surprisingly big sound w/ ample low end. Much better than another Lamy I've tried.

    I also liked this bass;


    It's called a 7/8, but really the only thing that is 7/8 about is its' 43+ inch string length. You'd never know it was that long (and maybe it really isn't) from just playing it because I remember it as playing very easily. I remember liking it back in '03 when I was shopping the Prescott and I was drawn to it again when I was there last year. Can't believe it's still there. Barrie may be willing to deal on it since it's been there that long. I think he took the extension off for some reason.

    Did you try the Fabricatore or this one? :http://kolstein.cybrhost.com/mm5/me...de=KMI&Product_Code=3b2212&Category_Code=bass
  12. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    This is a great time to take a long time to make a decision.

    If you can figure out a way to keep two big dollar instruments at the same time then do it. You'll miss that huge E string at some point even though the G string on the Italian is a heart melter. I dunno if you can find a bass that does both equally.

    Arnold the wise says resale is a HUGE issue in buying a bass. The same things that draw you to a bass will most likely draw another in the future however if what you have is a niche product in a niche market you've got a resale challenge.

    A couple stunning moments in a gig aren't really the criterion to judge a bass by if you are buying your only instrument. It has to deliver meat and potatoes all night to the 90% of whatever you are doing to make your daily bread. If that is playing arco solo and support in an Irish pub band than so be it. If you are busking outside will that bass do what you need it to? Casuals? Jazz clubs? what are you doing day in and day out?

    ...or perhaps you need a Cleveland in the wings like I have? Or Brian's German?

    I"m quite sure I'll always have two instruments, many players I know do for different reasons. Some need two levels of durability like me, some want two colors. Brian G has his German in addition to the big dog Prescott. He's got a little of both.

    My teacher only has one bass. It's one of those tiny Italians. Sounds very sweet arco in a good room and has a nice amplified tone for Jazz but I think it sounds like a twinkie myself and I couldn't play it. He makes it work for him but for support work banging out big notes I get a more useful sound out of my Cleveland. (I'll deny it if you rat me out to him).

    You also may be in transition. The Yank, while formidable, may be speaking a language that is old yet familiar. This new to you smaller Italian may now be saying something to you that is pulling you in a new sonic/musical/expressive direction. If you can honor that I'd do so. The price of transition can be high and the move difficult, often leaving something behind of great value. But the cost of the change is rarely a fools errand, it's usually the price of admission to the new turf you have been drawn to. Artists in transition really look funny to those outside them, often because they don't make sense even to themselves. Yet the more you honor your muse the more you are rewarded. It's always best to go where you are called. I always thought Dave Grohl was a fantastic drummer until he made his transition and I realized he really was the Major League front guy after all.

    The big question is are you ready to let go of the brunette who knows you for the blonde that might have a sting you can't see until the brunette is long since gone? Risk sucks.

    I've been married a long time for good reason. Unlike my politics and other personal behavior my choices in women and instruments and housing and business are all hugely conservative for good reason. I've no stomach for regret. My tolerance for risk looks big on the outside but feels small on the inside. I'm a creature of habit and comfort. I enjoy the predictability of the familiar.

    You live in NY...and Amsterdam...and New Orleans...you aren't a midwestern fat guy. I've lived within 5 square miles of where I was born for 46 years.

    Everyone must assess their own comfort zone for themselves. Nobody outside of you can nor should have anything to say about that.

    In the end I'd say it's very hard to **** this up. It's a BMW kinda problem at a time when Chevy is going out of buisness. Lucky bastard. Count yer chickens.
  13. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON

    This whole post was wonderful to read. The part I have quoted really struck a chord for me. I even read it out loud to my other half. Candid and brilliant. Thanks Uncky Toad
  14. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    That's not devil's advocate, that's objective thinking. Grasping that way of thinking has helped me tremendously in many, many situations. In ALL matters of life.
  15. I did play that Frenchie, a very nice bass but not in the same league as the others. The Fiorini has been there a long time and might be a great bass but needs to be readdressed and made playworthy again. It feels like a bass that has been ignored too long. String length is a big deal to me. When I'm making a full fourth spread in thumb is where it really becomes evident. I'm with you Toad all the way. I think, though not a natural risk-taker, I push myself in that direction whenever I recognize myself self-limiting.

    I took the Italian out to a straight up oldtime session last night. The music really requires a lot of boom from the bass. I was skeptical that I would be able to really drive the band with such a little sophisticated instrument. It was a little more work but I was able to find the sound and the sight of a square dance breaking out, complete with caller, was a sign that I was getting through the mix. I always needed a Kay and still do. I wouldn't want this bass out like that night after night but I needed to know that it could handle it if required.

    It is a very fine instrument. It does have a few faults that can probably be remedied rather easily. The A string is a little weaker than the rest and the D is a little too strong. That sounds like a quick soundpost adjustment to me. I would probably go through a string period to find what best suited me. I believe it has spiro solos on it right now. I have a feeling that Olivs would be amazing but I always think that for a new bass. Gut would be glorious but I'm not even going there.

    It's such a strange feeling playing this other instrument. I'm so accustomed to the Yank. But it feels very "me". My wife came to the gig last night (a very rare occurance since little boy) and she said "you sounded great and you played your ass off". That's what you want to hear from someone who has heard you play for 14 years. I think I will continue looking around trying other instruments, the Desiato, some in Ken's stable. I do have time, at least for now. I hate to get all excited about something only to lose it while waiting for someone to get it together to buy my bass but that's the game. The Riviere Hawkes that I was looking at at Kolstein's sold right out from under me but that led me to these other basses. I'm going to operate under the assumption that the right bass will be there when my bass sells. This is a perfect world for all of us, someone gets mine right when they need it and I, in turn, move on to a new instrument.

    One thing is sure. I'm ready for something else. Though I don't get to really play what I'm capable of on most gigs the day will come when I do and I want to have the right instrument in my hands to sing my own song.
  16. ...can't add much to this...just wanted to say something practical, I hope.

    A killer set-up will gain you some of those things on your big bass. I don't know, I have not seen it, but in general I think basses are extremely hard to set up for players who demand a lot. It might require a new fingerboard that is planed to get the maximum evenness in string clearance. Being able to play in the area where the neck joins the body all across the strings is pretty hard to find, even in an otherwise, nicely set-up instrument. And you would have to convey this directly to the luthier.

    "If you can't play, you must convey."
    Johnny Cochran

    Another thought is to get a EUB type thing you could show off on.

    By the way, I hope to hear you play some time, the way you describe yourself sounds extremely interesting.
  17. The set up on my Yank is sublime. As Jeremy Allen pointed out in his review, the bass has that "plays itself" kind of set-up. The set-up on the Italian is very good but could use some tweaking. Neck joint playing is, in my experience, more of a body thing than bass thing. You really got to find a personal way to make that work for you. No offense but I'm not really looking to "show off" (I'm sure you mean it in the best way"), I hear music in me that I have to get out on the bass. It's a lifelong quest, personal, impractical perhaps, but true for me. I could never do the EUB thing, unless I was playing stadiums. I'm all about the acoustic sound: overtone casserole, sympathetic string vibrations, cellular re-aligning air vibration.

    I might make a little recording of this instrument so I can remember it's sound. I'll see if I can post it somewhere for a listen.
  18. These kinds of insights are what make TB endlessly valueable.
  19. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Boy, I wouldn't sweat too much about the resale issue. I know that the Milanese is somewhat unusual, but a) it's Italian and b) it's old. When you add to that the fact that Barrie is c) not asking a particularly high price for it, I think it's a safe bet. If it stands out to you, it will stand out to someone else. And at that price, I think a pro major orchestra player (you know, those guys and gals who actually make good bread playing bass all day) would be happy to snatch it up as a solo bass.

    The other thing is that you, Jason, are finding yourself in a unique musical position for a bassist (being a fiddle tune melody player on double bass), so you deserve a unique (or at least strange!) instrument. If you could keep both basses, how sweet would that be?

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