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Need Opinions on which Bass to Buy

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Leroy La Qua, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Leroy La Qua

    Leroy La Qua

    Nov 6, 2005
    I am located in Auckland, New Zealand and am in the process of buying a double bass for the first time. Hard to fathom I know - but in my country there is only one specialist double bass dealer. :meh:

    Here is the website..


    New Basses


    Used Basses


    To give you some background info - I am an experienced electric bass player (been playing for around 14 years) and perform and teach on a fulltime basis. I dont have any classical aspirations so will be using the bass predominantly for jazz and blues. I would ideally like to acquire a bass that is up to gigging standard and that I will not need to upgrade/replace in the next few years.

    In consideration of these factors I have been recommended either the ....

    3/4 Solid Wood carved Violin Shape bass Chinese manufacture - approx - $4800NZD (approx $3262USD)

    or the

    Christopher 500 Series "Performance" - approx $5500 NZD ( $3737USD)

    Both these options are really pushing the upper end of my budget.

    Being relatively new to double bass I would be curious to hear opinions from the wise old heads on this forum as to the merits of these various options or any options/avenues I might consider.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. :)
  2. Well, Pete's reliable, that's the first thing to know.

    Those are both pretty nice basses; fully carved is a good thing. Unfortunately, I can't say I've seen any of them, since I'm in Christchurch. To save a bit you could consider a hybrid; this seems nice, although you'd be best to get someone to play it for you: http://www.trademe.co.nz/Music-instruments/Instruments/String/auction-174792537.htm Of course, Pete has some nice hybrids too.

    The other thing to do, of course, is look in Australia. There are some Aussies on here who might be able to suggest somewhere to look there. I know there's at least one who might look in who has a couple for sale.

    You'll want a bow too; I know you probably won't perform with it, but knowing how to use one is important, and it will improve your intonation no end. Besides, tuning a bass without a bow is just about impossible.
  3. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Huh? :confused:

    How about using a chromatic clip-on tuner? That's how I tune mine.
  4. Sure, you can... but the behaviour of the strings means you get better accuracy with the bow, even if you're using a tuner.

    Bass strings go sharp as you put more energy in, and that means pizz notes start sharp and decay down in pitch as well as in volume... which means, if you tune pizz it's more luck than anything else if your tuner reads true to how you or the audience will hear the note, because tuners vary a lot in how they respond to a varying pitch. The bow, if you tune at a moderate volume, will give a steady pitch which reads to your ears the same as the average pizz pitch (no, I don't know why, but its true... fortunately, because it would be very annoying if it wasn't), and is guaranteed to read true on the tuner as well because the pitch isn't varying.

    Yes, I'm a perfectionist on intonation... but then, I get compliments for it too.
  5. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I don't agree, especially with the statement, "will give a steady pitch which reads to your ears the same as the average pizz pitch." If you tune pizz., then the note does begin a bit sharp but then settles into a prolonged steady-state fundamental frequency. That steady-state is what you get when you bow with moderate force. That is to say, tuning to the steady-state after pizz. is the same as tuning with the bow. When I say "the same," I mean within the limits of humans to resolve differences in frequency even in a laboratory setting. So, even a perfectionist can be happy tuning pizz. :)

    By the way, when I did the experiment, the two results were within the limits of the resolution of my tuner. Give it a try.
  6. Great, you have a nice tuner that behaves. Pizz doesn't work with mine :D

    Anyway... we're hijacking the thread...
  7. Hi Leroy. Since you're in Auckland already, a trip to see those basses in person is highly recommended. Take along another player (or your teacher) so that you can listen in front of the basses as well.

    I bought my bass from Pete McGregor, and it's done me well.
  8. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Yeah, it's the $20 Korg CA-30.
  9. I reckon notes start sharp and settle back when doing pizz ( or even when bowing loudly, particularly on the E string) because in pulling them sideways you are increasing the string tension, just like winding up a tuning peg. Which is also why the centre of the 1st octave Harmonic G is closer to the bridge than the same note fingered.

    A jazz bass set up with low action for sustain might ring long enough for the tuner or ear to read but an orchestral bass with, say, D'Addario Helicors (designed for Arco) needs bowed harmonics.

    Do you agree?

    Regarding the original topic _ basses !! Buy in NZ. Approach local teachers and players for second hand (old) and, yes, Pete.
    You would probably be looking at the same basses in Sydney at The Bass Shop. Google their website. Then you would have the costs of getting it home. A well set up hybrid (solid front, ply or solid back and ply ribs?) with good strings and a Gage style pick-up (Realistic brand?) should do well for jazz?

  10. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Not at all. My bass sure doesn't have low string height and there is nothing special about my tuner. I easily achieve a steady-state reading that lasts a good 4-5 seconds.
  11. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I'm with Drurb on this one. I use the $20 korg. Works fine.
  12. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    + 1 for me. Boss TU-2. Even with plain guts it's worked fine.

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