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Pensa, Are They Worth It?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GrooveWarrior, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. I did a thread search, and didn't see a whole lot of talk about them. I am looking at this one:

    It is $3500, and I am wondering if it is worth it. I mean, if they are good enough for Christian McBride . . .

    I just wanted to get thoughts about them. The guys at Rudy's couldn't talk them up enough when I phoned them, but I know they have a real connection to them. When I asked the guy how they compared to Suhr, Sadowsky, Lull, etc., he just kept saying "Buy a Pensa, and you will thank me later!"

    I'm hoping to get to NY to check them out, but wanted some input. Thanks.
  2. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Wouldn't be the first on my list just looking at them...especially for the money...but maybe they play and sound ferocious. Don't seem as cool as the old Pensa-Suhr's?
  3. Obsius29A


    Dec 20, 1999
    Huntington, NY
    I live in NYC and played a few of their guitars and basses. The guitars sounded great, the basses played well, but nothing I would ever consider for that kind of money. Ever.
  4. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    I think I'd go with the real deal and buy a Suhr J Bass. I can tell you first-hand that the Suhr basses are amazing instrument in playability and tone. I can say I have never played a Pensa and maybe they are great but the Suhr is what I'd buy. Oh, actually, I did buy one.
  5. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    No four string Jazz clone is worth 3500 to me, but you have to decide for yourself. Seems way too high for a used Fender ripoff though.

    Also, 3500 can buy alot of bass, custom or otherwise. I would try to play one instead of taking the advice of somebody else on what you should purchase.
  6. jb64


    May 4, 2003
    Connecticut, USA!
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel/Carvin Basses
    I agree! $3500 is way too much IMO!
  7. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    I agree and the Suhr basses sell for way less than that, of course, some will still say I am crazy for paying what I did for my Suhr and other basses I own so, price is subjective to the person buying it and what they want.
  8. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    I think it's overpriced. For that price it should have a killer figured top and even then they are pushing it. I do know their guitars are way overpriced and have been since their inception. In general the prices at Rudy's are high in my opinion. However, they have an amazzzzzzzing selection of instruments.

    The j basses that have blown my doors off have been Sadowsky and Suhr. (I've not tried Lull.)
  9. Geez, if they're gonna' charge that much for a 4 string bolt-on jazz copy they could at least give it continuous woodgrain on the battery cover. The knobs are fancy, but other than that you'll be paying to spoil yourself w/ ergonomic perfection. And then if the thing gets stolen, you're gonna' feel funny going back to something.......well....practical.

    Christian McBride has more money than he knows what to do with. If you're in the same position and you think that this is really the best bass available, I say go for it, but make sure you have enough money to get it insured.
  10. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I've got a bass I paid more for than the rest of my basses combined, It's become wall art cause I like it the least and so rarely play it. Appropriate enough cause it's probably the most esthetically appealing bass I've ever seen. If it were my only bass I'd play it, but it's not.

    I pretty much sound like me no matter what bass I play.
  11. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    The Old Pensa are great basses.
    Had a P-J- Pensa Koa body Rosewood neck.
    One of the nices basses I ever had.
  12. Thanks for the input. To hit a couple of the comments:
    I do insure all of my basses separately. I don't have as much money as Christian McBride. I have played a Suhr guitar (not bass) and it was great. I go back and forth about doing a big ticket custom or a nice J clone. I will probably end up (like I always do) buying something that I play first, which isn't always easy living in the midwest. It would be great to sit down and compare a lot of high end instruments.
  13. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV

    I think your intuition is correct; you'll probably be happier in the long run if you get hands on with a bunch of nice basses, and buy something you've played and pitted against other high caliber instruments. I think the chances of getting a keeper are much higher in that scenario!

    I'm not trying to shill, but I was stuck between getting a custom and getting a J-clone too -- and I ended up ordering a Low End Jazz because it was both a handmade custom (Benavente) and a J-clone. I don't think there's anybody else offering quite the same thing...with such a large customization palette.
  14. Wilbyman,
    I agree. 3 of my 4 basses have been ones that I have played first. I'm a firm believer in testing something.

    How do you like the Low End? There is something aesthetically that is weird for me on those, I think it is the long control plate with all of the knobs. Let me know how you like it.
  15. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV

    Mine's not done yet, I''ve probably got another week or two. It's been a surprisingly short wait though.

    Mine looks like the white bass on the lowend.net site; trans-white ash/maple 5er with no control plate/Sadowsky-style half pickguard. I'm going to be excited to have a jazz bass with a 3-band EQ, so I welcome the extra knobs! It doesn't have a downsized body, but I like a full sized jazz body as opposed to the slimmed Sadowsky/Atelier shape.

    I'm sure I'll be posting some impressions when I get it.

  16. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Reading through these responses reminded me of a friend that was a player/collector as hobbyist and had a small music store as a sideline. Shrewed businessman and fastidious in general. When he first started dealing PRS's, I remember him going over the early shipments with a fine tooth comb and shipping back the ones he found with imperfections. You'd think being a small store with a small order PRS would just drop him but instead they sent him higher quality instruments. He ended up being one of their better stores, and somebody ended up buying those other instruments.
  17. fcoda


    Jan 23, 2002
    If your planning to trip to NYC - get over to Sadowsky in Brooklyn and the Bass Boutique on 9th Ave .
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I owned two Pensa's. Like both of them. Had a 4 and a 5. Both were post Suhr. Mas Hino built my white 4. Thin, fast neck, light, cool bass. Preamp was ok, no match to my Sadowsky pre. Quality was 8.5 out of 10. Quality on my Sad's have always been a 10.

    If you want to get into a jazz bass, Sadowsky is the way to go IMO. Spend about 2k and get a new metro or used NYC. Preamp kills, quality and build first rate.

    Nuff said

  19. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    offcourse the dudes at rudy's are gonna talk them up, they are sold/made in the same building arent they? when i needed a pre amp for my bass i went over there and tried one. i would rather just get a vintage fender p or j for that price. 3500 dollar bass would never leaveme house, therefore it would be useless like boobies on a bull.
  20. PartlyDave


    Dec 28, 2003
    Salem, OR
    It's indeed a matter of personal choice. I own both a 2011 Pensa 4 and a Sadowsky MV4. It took a while to get used to the Pensa to learn its tone but now, I just don't play the Sadowsky any longer. The Sadowsky is a great bass but I just find the Pensa "sings" and solos better, is more responsive, versitle and more "alive". I'm sure it's more about how I play and articulate things than anything else but really, I just don't play the Sadowsky.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2016