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Prices of Basses for Amatuers

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Obviously a person has a perfect right to buy whatever he or she wants or can afford, but do other bass amatuers feels a need to constrain what they spend? Personally, I will soon pick up a G&L Tribute or possibly a MM SUB and I think that since I'm a competent, but not pro-level player (no sight reading, not much for jazz changes, etc.) I don't need an instrument any more expensive than what I'm about to get. In the past, I owned some pretty high end basses like Ken Smiths, Spectors, Moduluses, etc. and I think that owning such high-end basses sometimes made me a butt of jokes because there tends to be an assumption of great ability, if one owns such pro-level basses.

    I don't want to sound like I'm inept, I am a perfectly competent r&b, funk, or rock bassist with a good ear and decent knowledge of theory, however, when you whip out a Sadowsky, Fodera, Ken Smith, etc. you better be studio ready in my opinion. :bassist:

    I know I could study more, but I have pretty demanding full-time job and a family, and at this point in my life, bass is more about relaxation and pleasure instead of work. Still, I think that I am more comfortable with the low to mid range end of quality instruments. I don't want to look like the musical equivalent of the golfer with a $400 driver who can barely hit it 200 yards. :rolleyes:
  2. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    So you have to be a certain level player in order to justifiably own a Sadowsky, Smith, or Fodera???

    Forgive me, but that's a load of horse s**t...

    Just out of curiosity, who makes the determination whether someone's good enough to play the instrument they own???
  3. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    I have 4 pro level basses. I regularly play bebop, fusion and all of the tasking styles. When I decide that I need to pay the rent I go out and play 1/4 note R&B on my pro level instruments. I don't solo on these gigs and does anyone make fun of me? No. If you play in the pocket and groove hard you're 9/10'ths of the way to pro anyway.
  4. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    No one.
  5. josh_m


    May 5, 2004
    Davie, Fl
    People honestly get so caught up in prices and names that I sometimes doubt they are even listening to what they buy. As many high end basses as I've tried, I have found one for much cheaper that I'm just as happy with, or in a lot of cases happier with... why? Because I don't care that my fretless is made by carlo robelli and didn't even cost me $200, much less $2000. Buy an instrument you like because it sounds good, it feels good, and it looks good. Stop buying the name.

    Thats what I have to say about it, opinions are subjective and if you can justify spending that much money on a F Bass then by all means do it, it is not mine and don't need to judge it.
  6. Mobay45

    Mobay45 The artist formerly known as "Big Daddy"

    Apr 28, 2004
    Irving, TX
    Dr. Cheese, I do understand where you're coming from. From your description of your abilities and time demands, I seem to be in the same boat. I've found that the kind of music I play just needs a groove set up with good basic bass lines. My Fender P and my MM SR4 do a great job of just that. I'm adding a G&L Tribute L2500 this week to help with the low notes. I just think it's overkill to use some of these high end basses for the the kind of music I play. I've been playing for 25 years, but I never developed into a solo bass player. Don't get me wrong, I think those basses have a definite purpose in the hands of the right musician, I just don't think I'm that person. I also agree that when you pull a bass of that caliber out of your case, you should be able to prove your worthy of owning it. IMO, playing a better bass doesn't make you a better player if you already have a bass that matches your style and abilities. (The golf analogy was right on the mark.)
  7. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España

    The people sometimes makes jokes about other people, like them to you in this case, just because they think they are better. I do get your point but just imagine a 12 years old bass player whos been playing for little time, imagine that this guy has a modulus quantum 5, he might not be able to get everything out from that bass but if he continues practicing some day he will become a good player but it depends on his determination to beat those who try to make his way to "Ithe pro level" much more harder.
  8. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España

    You are not a solo bassist becuse you dont want to be a solo bassist, there are no barriers for a man (a bassplayer in this case) whos determinated to do something. I cant play and sing the way roger from less than jake does but I practice every day to get his level.
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Mark, at the beginning of my post I said that anyone can buy whatever they want. It's your money. I just said that I feel more comfortable with less exotic basses.

    I would also say that as a player, I dealt with those who would put me down when I started a out as a player. The best way to handle snotty remarks is to just keep practicing and playing, and taking lessons.
  10. Mobay45

    Mobay45 The artist formerly known as "Big Daddy"

    Apr 28, 2004
    Irving, TX
    You are very wise for your 16 years. Your determination will take you far in whatever direction you choose. But, do as much now while you can. It gets much harder to find time for your passions as you get older unless you are lucky enough to be able to make a living at it. Just look at your mom or dad. I'll bet there's something they would like to pursue and excel at that they just don't have the resources for.
  11. appler

    appler Guest

    I agree with your post, Dr. Cheese. Even though I consider myself very into music and bass, I don't think I can justify getting really high end gear. This is all my personal opinion and has nothing to do with me not being able to afford high end gear. I think.
    My wallet's on a diet.
  12. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I believe that you should play whatever you want to play.. If you can afford a Sadowsky and want a Sadowsky then damn it get a Sadowsky!!! Who gives a s**t what anyone else thinks...

    I mean if they don't think you're good enough to play a Sadowsky so what?? Who's the one with the problem?? Obviously them.. They're the ones who'll have to deal with it, not you.. It just irks me when I see people put self imposed limitations on themselves because of what others might say..

    Play what you want... Piss on what anyone else thinks..

  13. +infinite for a post i completely agree with.
  14. 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
    Sounds to me like you're a bit too concerned about what other people think about you. You're probably a better bass player than I am, but I own nine 5-string basses, almost all of them high-end (Laklands, Zon, Pedulla, Yamaha, etc.) I don't give a hoot what somebody in the audience might think about me playing a $4,000 bass on stage. I like to play them, and that's what counts. It also makes up for my mother's lack of mothering skills.
  15. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    Play what you feel comfortable with. case in point a buddy of mine saved and saved and finally bought a Mod. He got it home, plugged it in and hated it. to this day he has this $3000 bass and all it does is take up space in his closet. Sad.
    Rule number 1 for me is play before you buy. This can be challenging when you live in a town like I do that has zero stores that focus in on the lowend. I would love to buy a Zon and am really sold on that bass but since I cant play one locally I am not going to take a $2500 gamble. As far as what other people think of me and my collection of ax's I could give a rip. If the crowd is moving their butt and the I am holding the groove down so be it. If someone thinks my Fender or Carvin or whatever are beneath them or above them so what.
    We buy what is in our means to buy and nothing more. Some of us are fortunate to be able to buy that Alembic or F bass or Fodera or whatever. They are tools and nothing more...tone and ability rest in the person.
  16. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Yeah i know its hard to do anything when you have to worry about many other things such as a family.

    Sometimes I think that there is people with hard lifes but then i try to look my own life and i realize that my life is hard too, not as hard as my parents (they had their problems and i have mines), but hard by its own way (might not be an understandable sentence i'm spanish and my inglish its quite rude). And thats not all while you grow you problems grow too. I know a way to counter this situation but its hard to apply. I became a bassist because i wanted to be on a band but now the bass its my principal way to scape to soo of my probs and stupid teenager perceptions and its one of the things that motivates me to wake up and try to smile every morning.
  17. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Most audience members have no clue how much gear costs.

    People who do have a clue are musicians, and musicians who actually say things like "You're not good enough to play a nice bass like that" are pretty rare. Mostly, I would think it's a jealousy thing.

    In our society, conspicuous consumption is pretty standard, so the musician who looks down on you for spending a lot of money on your bass just doesn't get the American way. Are people who own Jaguars better drivers than people who drive Civics? Probably not.

    My bass that gets the most comments right now is a Vaccaro 5 that I got on ebay for around $350. 2 weeks ago a guy came up and praised the tone and look and wanted to know where I got the custom aluminum neck. It's not custom, it's standard production made in Korea and I think they went out of business (again) because of poor sales. It does look cool and the paint job is awesome but that doesn't mean I'm a great player or I have a lot of money, it means I have a shiny red bass.
  18. mikarre

    mikarre Guest

    I do understand what you mean, but the comparison between yourself and the crummy golfer with the expensive driver doesn't really make sense for you though, because you did say you are a competant player. In that case, I don't see why anyone would laugh at you. A bad golfer with a $400 driver is kinda funny, but a decent golfer with a $400 driver really isn't.

    If you were a beginner or total hack I do think you would look silly with a $2000 bass, but if you can play and have a bunch of years of experience under your belt you deserve to play what you want.
  19. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I know what he means. Everyone looks at insanely expensive basses and drools, but then i see videos of people playing them that have them and am amazed at their talent. Im a decent bass player. My ability is certainly fine for my funk/whatever band that im in with my friends. I have never really felt limited by my ability. If i want to play something, basicaly i can just practice it and ill get it. (unless its an insane Wooten chop or a jaco thing thats insannely fast). I feel that i need a bass that sounds nice, plays comfortably, and doesnt limit my performance in any way. I feel i have that with my 2 main basses, my Godin SD and my Spector Q5. They both go for about $540-$550 new and are really nice basses for the price. Right now i feel these do me fine. I have no complaints with them. I dont think i need to dish out $1200 on a bass right now. I tihnk if i want one, i shoould set a goal for myself in bass playing and then when i reach it, reward myself with a nicer bass.
  20. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    I agree.

    I'm an amateur albeit I've played in bands and have a CD on the market. I play my instruments because they make me very, very happy. I know that 30 minutes playing guitar or bass is like a weekend vacation for others.

    Also, you don't have to be a pro to appreciate a wonderful instrument.

    My instruments and gear are top notch. But the status symbol doesn't really travel like a having a Ferrari. Nearly every gig I've played or every jam half the time I get the "Sadowsky. Is that as good as Fender? Fender's are the best." "Soldano? Is that as good as a Marshall?"