New double bass on trial => some questions...

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by newtandemman, Aug 5, 2019.


  1. newtandemman

    newtandemman

    Aug 21, 2016
    Dear all at Talkbass,

    I'm looking for a new (soundwise better) double bass for some time now. A few weeks ago i picked up a double bass from a local luthier. This is the first time i'm really considering trading my own double bass for this recently built (Romanian ?) one :
    (as you can see the bridge is not positioned correctly but the luthier did not do any kind of setup or whatever. String height is a little on the high side, nut needs to be lower, maybe some fingerboard dressing etc...but it is perfectly playable)

    front.jpg

    Before i really decide there's some questions :
    it looks like a copy of a Viennese/baroque/violone ? The "f" holes look like a mix of "flaming swords"/baroque and the f-holes we all know. I don't mind really but this is kind of odd looking, right ?
    here's a close-up :
    fhole.jpg

    There's some more important things that i'm a little concerned of :
    on the inside (left rib) there seems to be some canvas. Is this a bad repair ?

    rib1inside.jpg
    outside :
    rib1.jpg

    Some more things to worry about :
    saddle position ? (endpin and wire look good quality)
    tailpiece.jpg

    bad work or intentionally done to give the bass a "aged" look ?
    heel.jpg

    irregularities in the fingerboard => low quality ebony ?
    fingerboard.jpg

    tuners seem decent quality to me :
    tuner.jpg

    My general feeling is that is was built "quick and dirty" but it plays and sounds really good (can't go back to my own bass...). It has spirocore mittels and bowing is surprisingly easy (good sign?) Pizz sound is inspiring to my ears. Now that the spiros are tamed a little bit it really has a lot of punch, responsiveness and a hint of the darkness that i was looking for (except for the D-string...). It will only get better, right ?
    I got over the looks already. It will never make it to the talkbass eyecandy collection, that's for sure ;-)
    Asking price is around 5000€

    Any advice/opinions are welcome

    Best regards,
    Francis
     
  2. That’s no canvas, it’s linen. Legit repair.

    I agree that the bass is new and artificially aged.

    That the luthier showed it without bothering to set it up sits funny with me.
     
  3. Seems like a lot of dough (€)for all that uncertainty...
     
  4. newtandemman

    newtandemman

    Aug 21, 2016
    @KUNGfuSHERIFF : why a repair on a new double bass?
    The other side has no linen (sorry for the "canvas") so it will be the next repair at some point?

    I feel the same about letting the bass go without setting it up perfectly but it just happened. I "plucked" some basses in the shop and was attracted to this one. My bass was in for a checkup and possible sound improvement and i was picking it up... He proposed to take the bass with me to try it and compare it to my own bass in a familiar "acoustic environment"
     
  5. It’s common to fake repairs to artificially age an instrument. I’ve heard of builders deliberately breaking one or more plates on a new or unfinished instrument to simulate old repaired cracks.
     
  6. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Chris Fitzgerald and Tom Lane like this.
  7. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    This is how it's done -

     
  8. Thanks, Louis. I didn’t want to be the one who said it.
     
    Keyser Soze likes this.
  9. DrayMiles

    DrayMiles

    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I’m not surprised... Kolstein didn’t bother to set up my Juzek when I purchased it, until I got testy after driving four hours and waiting.
    He wasn’t even going to set it up... They put it on the floor and said that’s it...
     
  10. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sheriff, you are much more the diplomat than I!!
     
    PMF1 and KUNGfuSHERIFF like this.
  11. newtandemman

    newtandemman

    Aug 21, 2016
    Interesting...
    So your advice is : "stay away from that bass"?

    Another thing: it will be difficult to resell sometime later because of the particular looks, don't you think?

    Regards,
    Francis
     
  12. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not necessarily: if the bass speaks to you and is well checked out by the luthier etc and serves your needs and makes you play better than your old bass did, go for it. Resale value for basses is tricky at best. You never know what's going to sell and at what price.
    Louis
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  13. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    If this bass is on consignment, I wouldn't expect it to be set up other than the way the seller got it. And setups vary according to each individuals needs, although nut height is probably universal. Maybe you can get him to throw in a setup to your liking as part of the deal?
     
    conte2music and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  14. newtandemman

    newtandemman

    Aug 21, 2016
    thanks for the replies

    Setting it up and replacing the bridge is part of the deal.

    I wonder if the sound will change after proper setup. E-string is now about 10mm from the fingerboard (didn't measure the other strings) and that's a little too high for me. I would like it 1 or 2 mm lower overall. The bass is loud and has a deep fundament. I feel the wooden floor vibrating under my feet :-|
    Lowering the strings might change that...

    one more picture :
    IMG_20190805_195258.jpg
    there's 2 patches on the back. any idea ? was there a knot in the wood ?

    regards,
    Francis
     
  15. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Since he's going to change the bridge anyway, you could ask him to lower the string notches. If it's a roundback, patches under a soundpost may not be the best circumstance. Any change to the physics of the setup could affect sound such as volume, but the basic tonal quality will probably still be there, IME.
     
  16. newtandemman

    newtandemman

    Aug 21, 2016
    Okay, thanks to all of you!

    I need to slow down a bit i guess... It's the first bass i could really try for a longer period of time. It's just a start. I will try some more basses and see what comes out. I doubt the hungarian bass will be sold soon...

    Regards,
    Francis
     
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 20, 2021

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