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newbie needs help?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by catfisch, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. I would like to look at a '62 Karl Hofner fully carved 3/4, this Saturday. Local luthier is asking $1950. "Worth about $6500", has ebony fingerboard, adjustable bridge, new Thomastic Spiro-core. Set up and gone through, top was removed, sound post has been cleated.
    I've been playing electric for many years, but am unfamiliar with real basses.

    Is the price reasonable? attractive? questionable? What should I look for? What questions should I ask?

    I play rock, swing, fusion.

    My thoughts are that this bass will not depreciate. I welcome any comments or insight anyone can offer.
  2. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Initial thoughts (all based on the assumption that you have not bought a double bass before; forgive me if I am wrong, please):

    - Most importantly, welcome here!

    - If you will fill out your profile, you will "help us help you" with recommendations for nearby resources

    - Plan on, and negotiate, taking the bass "on trial" so that you can take it to a professional bass luthier (who is not trying to sell you this bass) to get a thorough examination.

    - Ignore the "...probably worth about $6500..." if it is worth that, then why is it not being sold for that?

    - Be aware that a double bass in poor health can be a virtual black hole for cash. Whether or not the bass is "worth" $6500, it could easily cost you up to that amount by the time it is fixed properly, if it has certain issues. Unless you have limitless disposable funds, move slowly, here. Basses are much easier to buy than they are to sell.

    - Use the "buddy system" even if it is a "paid" buddy. If you have a teacher or friend who is a professional double bassist, have them play and check out the bass. Even if you have to pay somebody the cost of a lesson to have them check out this bass (when you have it on trial), it may be very inexpensive insurance.

    - Pore through the newbie links, if you have not yet done so. Lots of buying advice and experience there.

    - In general, with double basses, do not think "brand," think "specific bass." Being a "Hofner" will mean less than the condition and quality of that particular instrument.

    Hope that some, or even any, of this is helpful.
  3. You assumed correctly: I have not bought a DB before. I appreciate the quick response & good advice.
  4. theweed42


    May 1, 2008
    The biggest thing that will tank the value of an instrument is serious damage or repairs done poorly. I am also skeptical of the "worth $6500" claim. Why is the guy selling it for 1/3 of its value? Chances are, with that much of a discount the bass has had a very serious accident in the past that might not have been fixed well (or at all). Could be a neck break, or it could have cracked the top or a rib. It's also possible that the seller sees a crack or two that could become serious in the near future.

    Definitely buyer beware in this case. That being said, if there really isn't anything wrong with it, the guy may be selling it cheap if the market's slow. But it's very worth it to have someone else check it out before you invest.

    Good luck!
  5. You need to either bring along a qualified bass player who knows what he/she is looking at OR take it to a shop that does. You don't buy a car without taking it to the mechanic to make sure it's sound...same goes for a bass.

    These guys know basses...http://www.guarnerihouse.com/
  6. Thanks to all. I know of 2 larger shops that I'll take the bass to, for their assessment; and to compare it to other basses.
  7. Larger doesn't mean better in the double bass world, quite the contrary. Take it to a double bass shop. Listen. This is excellent advice.
  8. 360guy


    Apr 28, 2006
    Lansing, MI USA
    I was checking that out this morning online. After giving it a second, more careful look, I'd say there might be issues with the back button/ neck area and a poorly repaired top crack from the soundpost side f hole to the bottom. This is judging from the zoomed in view of the photos.

    The other advice you've gotten is good.

    I think it might be a nice bass. I'm tempted to get and fix it up myself! Although I already have quite a few that are in the "waiting room" already.

    Based on the type of music you play I would suggest also checking out some plywood basses. They are generally less prone to problems.

    Also consider what other bass you could buy for $2000.
  9. Good point. Owning a carved bass takes care and maintenance. A good ply might netter suit your needs.
  10. 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.

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