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over $600 :paying for wood? name..players name??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nunk6, Nov 20, 2000.

  1. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    i took a trip to Guitar Center the other day, just to try out basses-it's how i 'shop' there; and i noticed that the more expensive basses, with exception of the musicman, that had the same pickup configurations as cheaper ones really didnt sound any better......nicer looking yes, but as for sound nothing really changed
    i was playing through the workingmans 15 and i played MIM Jazz comparing to MIA's same with the P-basses
    the tonal range of the Ernie Ball's were different but still nothing worth paying for;
    maybe bad setups and old strings or the amp ruined this experience but i seem to get the idea that paying more isnt going to get you a better bass
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    there's probably not much of a difference among the instruments that you see at guitar center. however, if you were to get a custom, hand made instrument, you would notice right away where the added expense manifests itself.

    my basses all were completely hand made, hand carved necks, everything. they are definitely worth the money to me - they all play as good or better than anything else i've ever played. so for me, they are worth the added expense.

    but that's custom instruments, which is different than what you are going to find in your average guitar center.

    i often think that some of the larger corporations purposely make some of their instruments crappier so that they have lower level instruments to sell, as well as validating the concept of a >US$1000 instrument that was manufactured by a machine. it certainly seems that way sometimes.
  3. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    Not to sound like a cranky old bastard, but perhaps at the ripe age of 15 you don't quite have enough experience to differentiate between subtle differences. I know that when I was that age while I could tell the difference between a Martin and Yamaha acoustic (since I'd been playing for 7 years), I was at a loss to tell the difference between a mid-70's strat and a pre-CBS guitar (as I was just starting out on electric). It also depends on application...if you're playing with a pick in a loud rock band, the subtle high-end shimmer you get from that spalted maple top is pretty much "lost in the mix".

    When you start spending more money on instruments, you get diminishing returns...and the differences are subtle to some, obvious to others, non-existent to most. I know players that are perfectly happy with any old Fender/Ibanez/etc and don't understand why anyone would pay thousands of dollars for a bass. I know others that agonize over every detail of the instrument, and anything less than perfection is unacceptable. What seems to happen over time is as players get more experience (and better yet, more $$$), they find differences in their gear...or maybe we just imagine it so we can buy new toys. That's what my wife thinks...
  4. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    i've got the sound difference thing down; i've been trying out basses for 2 years since i seem to always want something new; if i listen to my wallet closely i can hear a change in the whirl of atoms in the absence of money, but not enough of a difference in the basses to account for that
    that and i listen to loud music and cant hear my mom when she says clean your room, do your homework, save the world, blah blah blah

  5. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    aye, there is the rub. At 39 I actually have enough polymeric limit to buy whatever I can slip past my wife. When I sit down to play instruments, I pretty much ignore the price tag and go only on sound and playability. Interestingly enough, I've passed on some very expensive basses...so that isn't the driving influence.

    The cost/benefit analysis is the one thing that is truly individual. I've had the same discussions regarding bicycles. Some people can't understand why another would spend $2k on a mtn bike *frame*. The people with the expensive frame don't understand how the others don't see the value. No right...no wrong...just is.
  6. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Heck Yeah.
    My father has a Merlin Titanium MNT Bike Frame, it was $2500 !!!
    But the difference in flexion, weight and overall resistance makes it worthy (according to my father)
    A kid/starting mnt-biker wont tell the difference. (Maybe will notice the reduced weight)
    The same applies to bass.
    I still cant tell the subtle sound difference between most 6 string basses, so I focus on playability, wich Is something I can quickly feel in a minute.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Maestrox -

    At 52, it's even more the way you see it. Nunk, if it was no big deal to you to drop 3 or $4K on a bass, why wouldn't you take advantage of the expanded choice of instruments? Why would you play anything less than what sounded absolutely the best?
  8. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    i guess i'm just stuck on my fender p bass, it plays the same notes as other 4 strings, except maybe an E, Esharp
    and its just my opinion with a pre amp and different playing styles you could get a similar tone to more expensive basses, without spending unnecessary money on fancy looks and names; unless thats what you set out to buy in the first place
  9. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    Maybe you have one of the best ever built, but I have yet to play a p-bass that is anywhere as articulate as either my Lakland or Ken Lawrence. But then again, it depends on what tone you're going for...
  10. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    guitar center doesnt have any laklands but i've heard alot about them;
    maybe someday i'll get one as a back up for the fender....
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    once you play one, it may be the other way around ;)
  12. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    probally would
  13. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Aside from what everyone else has said, you really don't get much variation when you compare apples to apples. I've noticed that some of the MIM Precisions are easily as good as the MIA versions. What you want to do is try some really different types of basses. If you're lucky, that GC will have a couple of Warwicks hanging up. They are the first new bass in about 15 years to turn my head. It also wouldn't hurt to try out some Gibsons or ESP. GC doesn't always have a wide variety, so you may have a somewhat skewed sampling. I haven't played a Lakland, but what John said is true - once you play a truly hand-crafted instrument, you'll find the differences. You need to find a specialty store that leans towards the high end - GC caters to the masses (starting students and amateur players), and they are more interested in fast turnover of inventory.
  14. can you really not tell the differance from a Fender MIM P to a Fender MIM J? there is a pretty LARGE differance. how can you not tell the differance from the necks alone? i mean, you dont even have to hear to differance to know that they're made differantly. Stingray neck is differant then the P neck. MIM P and MIA series P are differant necks because they rolled the edges to make it feel more "worn". i can tell the differance, others say they can. Also, a bass with the Badass II bridge, that has more sustain than a bass with a lower mass bridge. String spacing, neck material, weight of bass, balance. All of these things cannot be changed with a pre-amp, or better sounding amp. some times, the differances arent only tone wise.
  15. oh forgot to mention, drop a word by megaangus about slaping on a P. WWWWEEEEHHHHOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEE will you get it from him... LOL
  16. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    While I agree that the majority of what one will find in a GC or Mars is aimed at the lower end of the market,at the 2 locations that are within 25 miles of my home they do a fair amount of trading in used stuff and you'd be surprised at what turns up,e.g. a custom Alembic 5 string with a rack mount(!) power supply(they are asking $7000,I'd never be interested both for the price and the weight,approx.13lbs.)The same guy that brought that in also unloaded a matched pair of gold plated Neumann U-87's(studio condenser mics).One Mars has the Yamaha John Patatucci bass on clearance for $1799,and the GC nearest me has a TRB6P(1st model),for $1299.Both GC and Mars have a good complement of Warwicks including the neck through models,and GC has a few Pedullas while Mars has a bunch of Modulus.The odd Pre-CBS Fender comes in every now and again,but no Sadowsky,Lull or Lakland(yet).But I'm saving up for that Ibanez 6 string with Steve Vai's blood mixed into the paint!!!
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    How do you get a bass to play E sharp (E#) ??
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    By playing a major scale in the key of F#:

    F# G# A# B C# D# E#

    Of course some of us would play that as Gb:

    Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F

    Darn, that key has a Cb in it!!!

    Has anyone actually ever played a song in those keys? Gotta love those enharmonics :)
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It's still F'n B to me! ;)
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    This brings up an interesting point: GC and MARS don't have a clue when pricing used gear (trust me on this one;)) TRB6P's go for under $900 regularly. I bought a new Alembic Series I last year at a GC near Atlanta (Marietta?)(the external power supply is standard) for over $5500 off retail. I like the fact that they blow out discontinued lines.

    I saw a used Roscoe Beck at MARS last week...for $1499.

    On another note, last Saturday I stopped by Sam Ash in (near?) Bryn Mawr, PA on my way home. They had mostly lower priced guitars (Brownsville?) and a couple of Ken Smiths on the wall. In a sealed glass case they had a NOS amber Patitucci 6. It's a nice bass bass but... I guess the only things missing were the velvet rope and an armed guard.

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