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My son Philip...

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Woundtootight, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. Woundtootight


    Sep 22, 2004
    It appears I've stumbled onto a really great site! It'll take me a while to navigate here....

    My 15 year old Philip is an upright bass player. He is in the 10th. grade in high school. He has been playing the bass since the third grade. All of the bases he's used were school basses, beat up, banged up....

    I just bought him a new bow. A Meinel? To the tune of 316 dollars. He really likes it. Now for a bass...

    I've seen Sharmusic basses, Engelhardt, a myriad of new stuff, and nice collection of old pieces. But where I'm leaning is with Peter Chandler....www.peterchandler.net He's in London, Ontario, Canada. We visited his shop, very professional one man operation. Comments?

    I'm willing to spend up to six grand for a bass for my son. Any help would be very appreciated!
  2. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    I am not familiar with Mr. Chandler's instruments, although I have heard good things about his book, "How to Build a Double Bass".

    I would recommend scheduling some lessons for your son with a member of the local symphony. Expecially in an area with top quality orchestras like Toronto.

    The lessons will benefit your son, and the teacher will likely have other students that are moving into a different range and may have an instrument to sell. If not, the teacher will still be able to make recommendations on instruments. In addition, your will be gaining skills that will prepare him for college auditions, which are not too far off.

    It is a good way to find a quality instrument in whatever price range you're searching.
  3. Ben Joella

    Ben Joella Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    Boca Raton, FL
    Having been there, I too in 10th grade had a bass purchased for me for $5,500. Eight years later, I was finally able to unload it for $4,000. By all means do not buy a new bass!!!. For most teachers, they carry a stigma, and you have no clue how green the wood is or if it will buckle or crack.

    If your son gets serious about bass, he will out grow a middle ground bass by his junior year of college. The best advice that I wish I would have taken, was to hold off on the bass until I could spend $8,000-$9,000. This gets you into the early 1900's Czech basses. So long as you get a healthy one, these things can potentially keep up with basses that cost twice as much. And most of them sound beautiful too .

    Bottom line, although your son is probably dying for a bass to call his own, a $400 professional setup on any junker will get him into college. He can go bass shopping (look around the whole US, he'll be amozed at how discerning he is after he's played on his 75th bass) and find a bass that will carry him for ten or twenty years and he won't have to unload a middle ground instrument to afford it.
  4. Woundtootight


    Sep 22, 2004
    I failed to mention that Phil and I are in the Detroit area, Dearborn is home. Phil is taking lessons from Gilbert Booth a member of the D.S.O. Thanks for the advice. It might be a prudent decision to hold off for a while...
  5. I was with this post until this quote. I can't agree with "any junker." The greatest setup in the world is useless if the bass disintegrates. You can get Jr. a good instrument like a Shen for a $1500-3000 (depending on the model). Invest the rest of the cash for a few years until he is ready to trade up. A decent bass will have a good resale value but the junker is just that.

    No matter what, it is a big decision. Let him play as many instruments as possible no matter what you end up buying.
  6. Ben Joella

    Ben Joella Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    Boca Raton, FL
    Just to qualify my earlier statement...

    Maybe "most any junker" would be better. Even a pawn shop junker can be in healthy condition.

    My point was that at the college audition stage, professors are on a hunt for raw talent, and are not so concerned that the kid is sporting a top flight instrument. In fact when your son gets to college (I'm in Lansing doing a masters at MSU) the university may have a nice bass that he can use for all four years, allowing for more money saving time.

    Think of your own mentallity right now as you are looking and ask yourself why you would spend three grand on a used Shen or other chineese bass when you could go and get a nice shinny new one from a reputable store like Shar. It is that same mentallity that will have you and your son stuck with a Shen bass that is losing value by the minute. And if your son is already studying with the DSO, then he will out grow that kind of bass in 3-4 years. By the way, make sure he checks out MSU. I can't say enough about Mr. Budrow.

    To qualify my statement further, I spent $400 on a cheap plywood in NYC (Ebay as well) and $400 on a pro steup. The pro setup is to make sure that the bass plays in a manner that allows your son long practice hours without injury. For $800 I got a bass that sounded nearly as good as my $5000 Shen bass. Suprisingly I was able to sell the plywood for $1200 and the Shen for $4000. Either way, even if the bass dies in 3-4 years (which it won't because plywoods seem to just not die), you are only out $800.

    Just a thought.
  7. I'll be curious to see some other opinions on this, here's mine:
    Regardless of setup, "most any junker" will still sound like a junker. It may be in decent playing shape now, but when seasons change, it may become an unplayable junker.
    My impression is that Phil is a serious student of the bass and is deserving of a decent instrument. I believe a better sounding instrument will encourage progress, not discourage it like a junker might. Yeah, when he gets to college they might have a great instrument for him to play. Or they might not. Or they might have a few good instruments and many students jostling for them.
    A good quality instrument is a good investment, whether it's new or old. There are some good pro luthiers that frequent this board that will probably (eventually) weigh in with some sound advice. Check Bob Gollihur's site for a list of luthiers near you. Some dealers have a buyback/ tradein policy. With a little luck you should be able to find a very good instrument in your price bracket. In my opinion, it would be money well spent.
    Lucky Phil, to have a parent like you.
  8. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    I second the comment about buying a used instrument since ,with the exception of a few very top makers, they do seem to hold value better. They also tend to have a more open sound after at least a few years of playing.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Don't buy a Chandler. Peter makes basses for fun and for something to do. He uses excellent wood, but a lot of it is wasted on unplayable poor sounding beautiful pieces of furniture! I have played a couple good chandlers both with over $800 worth of setup done PROFESSIONALLY. Peter is not a bassist. It is true that you may stumble upon a good one. I have owned a good one myself, but it is hard to find. I don't think you are going to have a problem finding a good bass for that kind of money. You can check out Reidstra Violins in Kitchener Ontario(really close to London). Henry has at least 4 old German bass, and a nice Italian as well.
  10. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Really expensive pedigree basses are great, I suppose, for their psychological effect, but a chair is a chair and a bass is a bass.

    Do you want therapy and the ability to strike conversation at the after party about your bass's experiences during WWI? Spend the money for a pedigree bass. You want something to work with to become a better bassist and don't need those extra trappings? Go up the corresponding notches on the merciless-buyer dial and make sure you get a great setup...

    The equation will always be 80%+ on the player's end.
  12. You also might want to consider a rental, depending on what's available in your area. As everyone says, set-up is very important, so hopefully, you can find a lower grade rental with a good set-up. The reason I say "lower grade" is only because most places only rent lower grade basses for rentals. It's a little hard to get a Gasparo DaSalo on a rental program, however, some places WILL rent out a better than average bass with an option to buy, having all your rental money applied to the purchase.
  13. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Some years ago I bought my son a 1937 Kay in terrific condition. IMO its a bass that he'll keep for a very, very long time. Might not be 'symphony' material but I'd be surprised if it doesn't get him thru music school and even after wards he'll still probably use it for jazz gigs. I know I can turn around and sell it and get pretty much get everything back we have into it.

    My advice, is to talk to your son's bass teacher (forgot if he has one) and ask. If not, I'd contact Henry Boehm at the Double Bass Workshop here in Madison. (http://www.thedoublebassworkshop.com/) or Bob Gollihur at http://www.gollihur.com/ for advice. Henry is mainly in repair and restoration and really knows his stuff. His opinion and advice was invaluable to us when we were bass shopping. Bob is a great guy too. He does represent a couple of different makers but he's a great guy and very fair in my dealings and I doubt you could go wrong.
  14. kblond3


    Jan 3, 2009
    My interest was peaked after reading you thread and many responses to it. I am in the process of selling a Shen bass that sounds like a good fit for you son. I am in college at Georgia Tech and went through a very similar situation you described in High School. Please email me at kblond@gatech.edu if you are interested in my Shen. I am located in Atlanta, asking $6,000, and would be more than happy to send you pictures and more information. Good luck in your search and I hope to hear back from you!