Price range of french basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by brandonwong, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003

    I'm juz wondering what's the price range of french basses. I think they do value more compared to the german ones. remember a guy in canada telling me they starts at CAN$10,000 and beyond.

    Is it a good estimate for a relatively good bass thats suitable for solo/orchestra playing?

    Is it will be a good price if someone offered me a carved french bass for US$6000. it plays and sounds remarkably well for solo playing except that it needs a new fingerboard.

  2. McBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    when was it made? what condition is it in? $6000 is a reasonable price to ask for any instrument if it sounds good enough. You could expect to pay 30 or 40k for a great pedigreed French bass in good condition, maybe more.
  3. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    I hv no idea when it was made bt the light brown varnish and condition of it tells me its could be well within 50 years. Condition wise... there needs to be a fingerboard change as the one on it now is too short. and there is occasional slight buzzing at the back plate due to some loose plates. still worth it?

    Compared it to a $8k german 7/8 and also 3/4; the tone of the bass i could say is more rounded and warm. and more desirable IMO for solo work. Its also rather small bodied and sloping shoulders.
  4. Maybe could give you an idea if you could post a picture...
  5. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    Sure! I probably get it on next week when i go see the bass again.
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Does this French Bass have a Label or brand anywhere?

    If not, Why do they think it is French?

    The French Basses made in the last 50 years or so are quite different than 100, 150 or 200 years ago.

    Value depends on many factors including Tone, workmanship, condition and playability. The makers name and originality plays a role as well but not without the other factors mentioned.

    $6,000. sounds very low for a real French Bass of any merit.
  7. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    Hi Ken,

    I just got it home after a huge repair to the neck join. My tutor and i accidentally dropped it when we exchanged bass while having lesson. :(

    The original cracked came off as it was not joined in a correct manner. My luthier did a really good job redoing it and now it stays well. The pictures will show where the breakoff is. Its a blessing in disguise.

    The is still some rattle inside as some of the back wooden plates is loose. It plays really well tho. The "A" string is extremely responsive compared to most basses i have tried. Its "correct" string length of this bass is close to 42_1/2". This is very wide for me so i shifted the bridge up till its 42"

    The angle of the neck is rather unusual (high), therefore the bridge was uncut at the top.

    Here are the pictures
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Brandon, Your Bass looks 100% German style to me especially the the external rib linings. I have never seen a French Bass with outside linings. The Varnish and Scroll looks German as well. It could be Czech or another neighboring province but I would never pick that as being French.

    This might explain the low price. Sloping shoulders do not alone make it French. Germans, Viennese and Italians have done it as well. I would guess 100% German/Czech/Tyrol region.
  9. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    What exactly [:rollno:] are the key determining factors and distinctions that let you know what the origin of a bass is, just by looking at a picture.
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    You have to see alot of Basses before you can start guessing origins. There are some distinct features that seperate some Basses. Many French Basses have a similar look to them as do many Germans. Sometimes a 200 year old Bass from Sweeden or England will Pass as Italian.

    I have one Bass that no one knows where it was made. You have to be a Bass Detective/Scientist to make these calls after careful examination inside and out!!
  11. I second that. The french never used outside linings, or hat peg tuners. Outside linings mean german, eastern europe, or american. Hat pegs mean german, eu, or later italian. The shape could be french so I lean toward eastern european. The shape doesn't look German to me.
  12. Me too....niether.
  13. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    I get what you guys meant by outside linings, but what exactly is hat peg tuners? I have not seen a lot of different make and good basses in my years of playing, therefore the inexperience.

    Most german basses i've played so far has a particular characteristic of sound that is very different to this bass i have. I would say this bass is very sweet and warm in the higher registers and highly responsive even in the lower positions.

    IMO, the pizz. sound i get out of this bass is also towards Charlie Haden's which is really warm and lyrical. I felt its a good investment for me to pay $6000 for this bass, but would like second opinion tho. and i would still need to fork out a bit for repairs to the rattle in the back plate and the neck.

  14. Contra|Brett|


    Oct 6, 2004

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I would also guess that it is a German made instrument. Every bass is going to sound different. You can generalize, but I don't think you can really say a bass made in France is going to have a specific sound. I have a friend who owned a Claudot, and it had a wonderful spreading low end. It was very deep sounding, but didn't speak particularly well in the high end.

    If you like the sound though, and you are keeping it, I don't think it really makes any difference where it was made. You did get a good deal on it either way.
  16. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    I guess you are rite if we are talking about fine basses. They will still sound good no matter where they're made.

    And yar, im happy with this bass. Juz need to open the back and fix the supporting plates and it'll be great!

    Thanks for the posts guys... had quite an insight tho i've been playing for quite a while. :)

    BTW, has anyone done an extension to the fingerboard without actually changing a new piece?