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***Please Help*** Son needs a Bass and I need opinions about what I found

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Niebur3, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Niebur3


    Feb 18, 2014
    Me and my wife were band people in High School (me - Trombone and my wife clarinet), so we are very new to the Bass. My son is in 6th grade and just started the Bass this year (transferring from the Violin) and he is doing so good, his teacher recommended private lessons and for us to buy a BAss for him.

    We don't have a ton of money and these are much more expensive than the band instruments we played in High School. Can I please get your opinion about these 3 that we found on Craigslist (can't afford new and don't want to rent).

    1) a Engelhardt C-1, in near new condition. Comes with a bag, bow, stand, adjustable bridge and has flatwound strings - $900 is the price.


    2) Kay C-1, in okay condition. Not sure what it comes with, don't have a ton of info yet. $900 is the price.



    3) No name. The owner said he has played and taught Bass for 30 years. Mint Condition. He said it is Chinese made but is a Hybrid with a carved top and plywood for the rest. It comes with a bow, hard case (not an airline case), D'addario strings and stand. He is asking $1,285



    All 3 are out of town, with #1 and #2 being the closest. #3 will cost me $400-$500 to get. My biggest worry with number 3 is the low price considering the supposed quality.

    Any opinions are very appreciated.
  2. A. Not a great deal on a not-great bass. Pass.

    B. Could be worth a lot more than $900. Could be worth a lot less. What does "okay condition" mean? I've seen Kays that were much, much worse. They can be decent all-purpose workhorse basses, but they have their problems.

    C. I wouldn't buy it without a name. It could be anything.

    If at all possible, you should have a bass luthier or at least a technician in a specialty string shop look over any prospective purchase before you finalize the sale.
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    With him being in 6th grade, I would advise against buying.

    Just like when kids take up piano, you should be RENTING!

    Where do you live? Knowing where helps us connect you to a luthier (hopefully nearby) where you will likely be able to rent a bass until the time at which you can make a determination that he'll stick with it. There's a lot more involved in buying a cheap used bass - more than you might be willing to bargain for. If something goes wrong with the bass, the shop will likely take care of it or work with you in terms of any damage caused to the bass (if it's his fault).

    Oftentimes, luthiers will also put the rent money you've spent into a bass purchase if he decides to pursue it further.

    At his age, it's just far smarter to rent in many ways.
  4. Niebur3


    Feb 18, 2014
    Thanks for the help/advice....

    I live in Omaha, Nebraska. Local places are quoting me $70/month to rent and only have a couple in town that do.

    I have also seen a couple KC Strings Bass's. Any opinions on those? A local place just started carrying them and they are willing to sell me one at a greatly reduced price of $1,500 for a Hybrid (retails for $2,200) brand new. But then I pay tax, need a bag, bow, etc, etc,....

    My hope was to buy a decent Bass and if he decides at some point to quit, I could sell it and not lose much money.
  5. If in good condition, I would probably get the Kay. Could be a great bass especially for his age/experience.
  6. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    Talk to KC Strings and work out a deal
  7. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
  8. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    Whenever possible, I think our sales and management team prefer supporting the local dealer. We're adding dealers all the time and they are very important to our success.
    As a point of clarification, KC Strings carries the KRUTZ line and I set up most if the basses. Some dealers do their own setups but the vast majority are done in KC.
  9. Hqubed

    Hqubed Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    Columbus, Ohio
    My son also began playing in the 6th grade, a few observations if I may;

    A good bass with a proper set up will go a long way toward helping your son to progress and improve his skill level. A poor instrument or a lousy set up will only frustrate him, and it will not stick. Practicing at that age is enough of a challenge so his bass needs to be inviting.

    You mention getting a private teacher. I might suggest you do so prior to purchasing and engage their input in any purchase. They should have the knowledge of the best "fit" for your son in the present time.

    When my son started playing I was advised by a very respected luthier to stay away from a Kay or Englehardt due to the slim necks as in his opinion these can cause wrist issues in younger players. Additionally unless your son is a big 6th grader he may be better in a 1/2 size for the next 1 - 2 years. While my son, now 16, plays a large 3/4 today he has also put on 12" in the past 2 - 3 years. He started on a 1/2 size which he played for the first 16 months, but here again a private teacher can advise you.

    There are plenty of posts here on good makers of affordable "starter" basses Shen, Eastman, & Christopher, and others are generally mentioned. I also did not want to rent when my son began playing, and drove to Chicago to pick up an ugly looking but structurally sound with a fantastic set up 1/2 which came out of a respected luthier's rental fleet.

    You may want to check out
    https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwi/msg/4321657558.html (I have not seen it nor do I have any financial interest).

    Best to you and your son in your journey. I would be happy share more or help you in any way I might be able. Please feel free to PM me for my phone number if you would like to discuss further.

  10. Niebur3


    Feb 18, 2014
    The help on the forum is wonderful and I appreciate all of it.

    For sizing, I'm not 100% sure what my son is using now, but I can tell you he is 12 years old (just turned) and 5' 1/2". I am 6' and my wife is 5'8".

    Here is a pic from the Holiday Program (he is the kid in the front).


    From his height and the measurements I found online, it seems he is using a 3/4 currently.
  11. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    +1 to this. At his age, there is no reason to put that much money into an instrument that will become too small for him. Rent a decent 1/2 size bass right now. When he gets older (and has shown he will stick with it), buy a good 3/4 size bass.

    EDIT: Just read your last post. 3/4 should work, then. As mentioned, when you're ready to buy, have a luthier fully inspect the bass before purchasing.
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    You ain't buying a pedigree bass here. You will always lose money.
    What you're not considering is that purchasing a bass will incur setup costs - maintenance that will make the bass playable. Then there's the possibility of new strings and on and on. If the bass is used and develops a problem that requires repairs (as old basses often do), you're up the creek with even more cash. If your son decides to stick with it, you've committed him to mediocre bass, while renting gives him the future option of choosing the instrument of his liking - esp once he's had some experience playing.

    Go read this.

    You've already been given sage advice: work with your local luthier, especially if you're on a limited budget. It's your choice to heed it or not. This kind of thing has been rehashed over and over here.

    Good luck with your decision.
  13. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Agree with this advice. If they sell KC Strings products and setup, you should be fine and NOT loose much money on a resale if the bass is still in good shape. Ask the dealer about buying it back for another bass in the future, too.
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh, I don't know Huff, $900 for a Kay leaves plenty of room for a drive and weekend in NYC to drop it off at Gage's if you want to sell. Then you can put a 2 in front of the 9....

    My only concern with rentals, even if it's a rent-to-buy program is that they tend to be bottom of the line. You rent a bass for a year, you're out the whole wad. You buy after renting a year, you didn't wad up your money and throw it away, but you've got an entry level instrument. You put a couple of thou into a Shen or something a few tiers up, yes you may not be able to sell it for what you paid for it (but if you hang on to it long enough you might) BUT you aren't out as much jack as you would be renting a bass for the same period AND you get a better instrument.

    Just a thought....
  15. silvertone


    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    Presuming the Kay is playable and decent - you would not have trouble reselling it.
    These basses are very sought after in the bluegrass community here on the West Coast.

    $900 is a very good price for something like that.
    Typically it would sell for nearly 2 G's in and around the Bay Area.

    Even if it's not in great shape there are plenty of luthiers who could resurrect it.
  16. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    One potential problem with Kay basses that comes up a lot is a bass bar that has worked loose from the top. This might be from use in hot climates or from having been out in a hot car. It is an expensive repair.
  17. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    But also if you buy, you got a big albatross hanging around your neck if you have problems selling it. Esp dependent on where you live. Worst case scenario is that it develops a big crack or the top starts caving in and you'll be in for a big bill. $900 is a sweet price for a Kay but does it also mean that the bass has problems and it's being sold at a discount for a reason?

    And you're also assuming you have the time to make that drive to sell it. Time is money and dumping a bass can also be a headache esp when you're strapped for cash and the landlord wants his rent. It all depends.

    It's like an investment in terms of options. When you rent, you're paying for the option of turning into an owned bass, or you can simply let it expire and lose the rent you put into it. But the option gives you flexibility in deciding what you want in the future.

    If you buy, you're taking delivery and all the good and bad that come with it. If you rent and something happens to it, you can walk away from the bass.
  18. Niebur3


    Feb 18, 2014
    My whole issue with renting is that fact that if my son does quit, even if he only plays 1 more full school year, I just rented at $70/mth for 15 months and spent $1,050.00 with nothing to show for it. Even if I have to wait a year to sell it, I still have something of value for my money.

    I called and was treated very good at a local dealer in my area that sells the KC Strings Krutz Bass and even with the very nice discount, I just don't have the money for the Hybrid model they are selling. I did try to call Greg and another person at KC Strings direct, but as they wouldn't give me prices over the phone, I think my local dealer was giving a larger discount to me anyway.

    Right now, I think I am going to go with the Engelhardt or Kay. The engelhardt is 1 year old and comes with everything (all plywood, of course) and the Kay is much older, but is in the shop now getting a new bridge and checked over. I want to see better pics, but he said it is in great condition (a few nicks, marks) and it does come with a bag/bow.

    This whole thing is exhausting!
  19. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Yes it is! Try traveling around the country doing this!

    Stop by the shop working on the Kay and speak in person to the repair guy about it. $1500 for the Krutz hybrid is a very good deal but if the kay is solid with a new bridge and setup, $900 is really good, too. Probably not as much of an instrument as the Krutz, though. Bring your son's teacher to try them both and get their opinion.
  20. Niebur3


    Feb 18, 2014
    I will probably talk to the guy working on the Kay tomorrow. I didn't have the price right on the Krutz, it will be several hundred more. I'm not going to ask my sons teacher because he hasn't even had his first lesson yet.