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Need brand advice - please help!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by japhydean, Apr 17, 2006.


  1. japhydean

    japhydean

    Apr 17, 2006
    I'm an electric bass player who is looking to expand into playing upright. I learned to play an upright for a college theatre production, and had a blast. Can't stop thinking about it. Would like to get serious.

    The problem is, I'm on a limited budget. I've seen a few uprights listed on ebay, but don't know enough to feel good about pulling the trigger.

    I've seen listings for the following brands:
    Victory
    Devilli
    Merano

    None list for over $500, and many include a bow/carrying case and extra strings. Would any of these be a reasonable tool for me to learn on? Again, I'm just looking to get re-acquainted before I upgrade.

    Are these legit beginner basses, or total garbage? Thanks in advance for your good advice - I bow to your double bass greatness.

    Japhy
     
  2. wallydoesbass

    wallydoesbass Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2002
    Menlo Park, CA
    Japhy,

    As you'll see mentioned regularly in TB, set-up is really important on low end (and high end) instruments. I'd strongly recommend buying your initial instrument from a real bass shop that understands instrument set-up. I have played some of the inexpensive basses at Upton Bass, and their set-up work is great. At any rate, try to buy your bass from a bass expert.

    Wally
     
  3. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Anything much under $1000 new is probably total garbage. Read the newbie links; there's a ton of good advice there.
     
  4. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    +1

    This question is asked and answered about once a week in this forum, so there's plenty of posts to read.

    From all these replys you can garner these main points:

    1) A $500 bass will need so much set-up work to make it enjoyable to play that you might as well have bought something decent in the first place, and you'll then have something worth selling when you upgrade further.

    2) Buy from a local luthier - someone that really knows about double basses. You'll need a good relationship with someone such as this to maintain any DB you own, so start out right and make the most of these people's experience.

    3) If you want to start out with minimum outlay, rent a bass for a while. During the first 6 months or so of playing you will learn so much about DBs that you will be able to make a very much more informed purchase when you buy.

    4) There's about a 10:1 ratio of DB prices to electric bass prices. That $500 DB is the same build quality as a $50 electric. Would you be happy playing one of those?


    Oh, and I forgot one - GET A TEACHER! :p
     
  5. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    There are a few inexpensive basses for sale on this site's classifieds' section.

    I believe there is a Meisel bass with two bows and a case for sale for $950.

    I agree with all the other comments regarding the cheap eBay basses, although there are (and have been) some exceptions.
     
  6. pjwolf

    pjwolf

    Feb 20, 2006
    Ventura, Ca.
    Japhy, I was in the same situation a few months ago....I checked out those cheap basses on e-bay in person. I wouldn't have been happy and they needed work. I wound up spending $2000.00 for an Eastman 95-I am much happier and the sound is very decent. If you can't afford much, my advise is to find a fairly decent one from a bass shop-maybe you can finance it or rent to own...at least if you decide playing upright isn't for you, you can recoup most of the money you've invested.:cool:
     
  7. steve in tampa

    steve in tampa

    Jan 11, 2006
    I am very happy with my Englehardt ES-1. Under 2k with setup. there are other models for less. Check out some of the board sponsors.Ii believe one is currently offering free shipping.
     
  8. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    Japhydean,

    I'll go along with what one of the other posters said. Anything less than $1000 is probably more trouble than it's worth. I asked my luthier about some of the stuff I was seeing on eBay and it turns out he had one on the floor. Someone had dropped it off as a "demo" and a potential customer asked about it. The eBay price was $599 but my luthier said it would take at least $1,000 of work to make it playable. As he's always said, playability is critical. We stared at the eBay bass and his comment was "Look at it. It looks like it's about to fold up on itself." I won't mention the name. It seems the names change anyway from time to time. Italian names are meant to make you think the bass was made in Italy I suppose, or made by some Italian luthier. Buyer beware but more imporatnt, good luck in your search. Gollihur looks to have some good basses (Bulgarian) and the Shens are supposed to be excellent for the money. I played a Snow in a Seattle shop and it was OK for the money. Some of these cheap basses have been known to deteriorate becasue the wood isn't aged and when the wood changes over time you've got real problems.
     
  9. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    And keep in mind that there are a lot of good used basses out there sitting idle. Keep checking those local classifieds and yard sales.
     
  10. bejoyous

    bejoyous

    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Instead of buying, try renting.

    A local bass maker may allow you to rent to own or some other program like that. This way you could be playing an $8000 instrument for $50-$100 per month. Then maybe when you've paid the full amount, if the luthier has made something better since you started renting you'll be able to put the money you've already paid into it, toward the better bass.

    Also, if you decide upright bass isn't for you and want to quit, you aren't stuck with a cheap plywood bass no one wants to buy.
     
  11. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Chicago
    Also check out the Newbie links on this forum. There's alot of real good info for comparison. Don't be impulsive and just buy something, do your research. You'll be happy you did. Good luck and welcome!! :hyper:
     
  12. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music
    Ahh the old eBay scare ... if you know what you're doing you can find lots on eBay that happens to be great value. Its ridiculous to say otherwise and as far as I'm concerned its scare tactics or ignorance. There are many here who have found amazing instruments on eBay. Some stories I've heard are almost frightening and I would have never take crazy chances but to make these blanket statements about eBay is just nuts ... whether you realize it of not you take many of the same risks dealing with a luthier or shop as you do dealing on line. Just my opinion but this subject comes up here all the time and I can't help think some of it is nothing but protecting personal interests.
     
  13. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    I'll buy that for a dollar. I think they would catch less flack if they did. While I personally would not buy a $599 bass, my (novice bassist) stepdad did for his southern gospel band a year and a half ago and it is still working for him (after a good adjustable bridge and strings were added).

    I think the advice of avoiding cheap gear is a solid principle.
     
  14. japhydean

    japhydean

    Apr 17, 2006
    Thanks for the excellent advice - I'll be sure to check out the newbie links, and look for a reputable luthier here in Colorado.

    Thanks again!

    Japhy:bag:
     

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