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Need help buying new bass.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bioteacher, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. bioteacher


    Aug 21, 2008
    Hi. My daughters (both in middle school) have been playing the double bass for 4-5 years. We have been renting a bass, but have reached the point in the rental agreeement where we have paid enough to purchase a new bass.

    My options are Shen SB100 plywood, with a good bow, setup and bag,

    Or, for the same price, Shen SB150 hybrid, with a lesser quality bow, setup and bag.

    Have been told of problems with Shen SB150 hybrid cracking. We live in Pittsburgh, so temperature and humidity are quite variable. The girls don't plan to pursue music in college, but do enjoy playing in school orchestra. Mainly bowing, but some pizzicato. The new bass would be moved around a bit so am thinking the SB100 might be a better choice.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. EggyToast


    Jan 21, 2006
    I live in Baltimore, so have similar humidity changes (if not worse, thanks to proximity to more water), but really it's not that big of a deal. Yes, it affects things, but the thing that kills basses is rapid change in humidity, not general humidity swings. If you go from an air-conditioned, low-humidity interior room to 85% humidity outside, and expect to play your bass with no problems, well, you get what's coming to you.

    The hybrid is likely to sound better, which means that your daughters (or daughter if only one sticks with it) will likely enjoy playing it more. Perhaps more importantly, since you're a parent choosing this for your children, is that if they decide in the future to "give up" the upright bass, you can probably get more money for the SB150 than the SB100.

    If I had to make the same decision, I would opt for the SB150 simply because it's much easier to buy (and own) multiple bows. That and it probably sounds better. Do you have the opportunity for your daughters to play these basses before you decide? What might be best is for you to all go and play them, and you can listen to see which you feel is better, and your daughters can see which is better. But option "B" will probably be the better option, and I wouldn't worry too much about humidity and temp changes. I doubt your daughters are going to be gigging festivals anytime soon!

    edited to add: Just remembered a relevant story -- I asked my teacher, who was about 2 years my junior, to duet with one of his friends for my wedding. They both had expensive fully carved basses, about 8x - 10x my own bass, and yet both brought them outside to play for about a full 90 minutes on one of the most humid days of August 2 years ago. It was hazy and overcast all day, threatening rain but thankfully staying dry, and the "band" still played on. I mentioned afterwards if he had any trouble with the humidity and he said "no, it wasn't a big deal, since we showed up a bit early and the basses had a chance to acclimate." I'm not sure if he was saying that to be nice, and figured that any changes would simply be par for the course of owning an upright bass, or if he knew from past experience. I trusted his judgement, though.
  3. I like vintage basses that are set up properly. Like an old Kay plywood..... I think resale wise, they are god for the money.

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