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more bass shoping advice

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by hemhaw, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. hemhaw


    Dec 12, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    I’ve been looking for a replacement for my current bass for a couple of years now. What I’m looking for is an instrument that is even, punchy, robust, and dark (I realize these term are very subjective). And unfortunately it must be acceptable for both jazz and orchestral use. I’ve tried alot of instruments and found no older instruments under $12,000 that I liked. My budget is at most around $9,000 (I don’t think I can save more for some time). I would think I could find something in my price range I would like.
    By suggestion I have been interested in a newer bass. I’ve tried a Christopher and Snow and didn’t feel they were right for me. I was recommended to try a Kolstein Fendt but from the advise form my inquires on this forum I was advised that it would not make a good jazz bass. This was disappointing as the Fendts seem like a good orchestral bass and I’ve always liked flat-back basses. Are there other newer bass that I should try other that the Christopher and Shen?
    I’m currently auditioning a Tyrolean bass. I like that is dark and punchy but lacks some in volume and, like a lot of older basses I’ve tried, lacking in both the extreme high and low frequencies. It also has a string length of 42.5”.
    Living in Chicago I feel I’ve been through every shop in the area. I’m at a loss to know where and what to look at next. All advice would be helpful. I would like to find an instrument relatively soon.
  2. Don't write off the Kolstien Fendt until you actually try it. When I went to Kolstiens they had two Fendt copies there. One seemed to be a good classical bass, bowed nicely but a bit boomy for pizz. The other bass seemed to pluck well , loud not boomy, was even , and bowed well too. The only reason I didn't get it then and there ,was a question of size. Its quite a big bass, and I was looking for a small bass. (And no , I don't get a commission)
    I've only been to New York once, and this seemed about the best bass around for the money, if you can deal with the size.
  3. hemhaw, I tried to email you with some possibilities for you, and i'm sure others in the business would be more than glad to sell you a bass.
    It's not appropriate to discuss the selling and buying aspects of instruments on the posts/threads. You've closed down the ability to send you a private email, so if you want to email me or any of our luthier/dealer/collector types....go for it. Good luck!
  4. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    I wouldn't give up on the Fendt either. David K's on this forum was very nice when I played it.

    Also, everyone's idea of a good jazz bass is different. A lot of luthiers think a bright, smaller bass is the ticket. Most of them say my Solano Klotz copy should be a better orchestral bass, but that deep sound is what I look for in a jazz bass.

  5. hemhaw


    Dec 12, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    Thanks for the timely responses.

    I'm new to posting on this forum but have been an observer for sometime. I have found some very useful advice among the threads. I'm hoping to gain further advice in my search for an instrument and would be grateful for it.

    Also I've added to my profile and options so that I can receive messages
  6. While listing negatives about a bass you're trying, you say
    This is about as standard as you can get.

    Look in the ISB newsletter, the AFM 'International'.
  7. hemhaw


    Dec 12, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    Don, I’ve always had the understanding, perhaps wrong, that 41.5” or between 41” and 42“ was considered more of a standard among 4 string basses these days, and above 42 was more typical with 5 string. I understand that any standards among string basses are only generalizations but are my understanding somewhat inaccurate?
    I should also add that the bass I trying out has a string length closer to 43”
  8. There is no rule book on what is "standard" string length, but 42.5 is certainly not abnormal. My basses have ranged from 40.5 to 43.
    You wrote as if 42.5 was grounds for disqualification.
    As for correlating string length with whether the has has 4 or 5 strings, you're losing me.

    Your budget would accomodate a hybrid New Standard. You should consider it.

    Full disclosure - they're made by my friend and luthier, through whom I've bought 9 basses.
  9. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Having a bass with the lowest possible action, a high bridge, a body that's easy for me to get around in thumb position in the higher registers and is very forgiving to poor bowing angles are some of my considerations. Who cares about tone when I can't play the note I want the way I want where I want to begin with? I also have decided that I want the same speaking string length on my new bass as I have on the one I've got, because I hate playing notes out of tune and want to be anal-retentive about it. As far as tone goes, it's simple for me, though the ingredients for tone are complex, subjectively ranked, and beyond my understanding. I will just go for the bass who's harmonics ring the most when the strings are plucked. I don't care what the bass looks like, when it was made, what it's made from, or who played it before me, because my considerations are simply playability, tone and cost. When it comes to me making music my values are founded only on what I hear. That's just me.

    You can buy a good quality piano for $9000, and that is enough for me to be patient and make it harder to let myself get played because I didn't really know my personal values and what I wanted but had a lot of money burning in my pocket. Maybe you want the flame maple neck and wooden pegs after all when you try out a bunch of basses, but if you were me you would have decided that for yourself way in advance of your next bass purchase.
  10. Wyzird05


    Dec 1, 2003
    South Bend, IN
    You might need to broaden your search and try Grand Rapids, MI that is only about a 4 hour drive from Chicago or if you need to head to Cincinnati or Kansas City maybe. Unfortunately good basses are not easy to find unless you are willing to travel. Um you also might want to check Indiana University in Bloomington, IN as the music school there is very good and you may find a student selling a bass because they need to upgrade. And now I remember a player from Ball State that said they had a good selection of basses as school instruments you might want to get a hold of the bass teacher there to see if there are any he would like to sell. Ball State is in Muncie, IN about 4 hours from Chicago as well.