Purchasing Dilemma

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bassmom123, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. bassmom123


    Jul 12, 2013
    My son is going into 8th grade and he needs a new double bass for school. His first bass is trashed. We were looking today at an E. Wilfer for $2000 (used, and, I believe, laminate) or a new Shen for $1700 (laminate). They both had a pretty nice sound, although the Wilfer seemed a little battered. Which do you think is our best option? This is a lot of money for us.
  2. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I like my SB80. For a ply it has pretty good sound under the bow with decent (but not top notch) strings. A setup will be important on a new one. For that price, I would hope for a few extras like a decent gig bag.
  3. Hqubed

    Hqubed Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    Columbus, Ohio
    Where are you located?
  4. bassmom123


    Jul 12, 2013
  5. Waaaay too much for used, child-sized basses. I've owned a Wilfer and a Shen and both were very nice but the prices you quoted appear to be new retail price, if not more.

    I'm a New Yorker so I have no direct experience with most of the following, but Stein on Vine in Hollywood and LA Bassworks are both well spoken of. I've bought accessories and strings from Lemur Music in San Juan Capistrano and enjoyed the experience. Several friends play Chinese basses made for Lemur Music and love them.
  6. Jake


    Dec 11, 1999
    +1 on Lemur Music
  7. Adam Attard

    Adam Attard

    Feb 9, 2009
    I own an SB-80 and used it as my primary instrument from freshman year of high school all the way to my first year of conservatory- good sound for the price, and Its never had a crack or open seam. It's a solid choice.
  8. Are the basses 3/4 sized, or smaller? kungfusheriff is right, for a beat up child sized bass (1/2 size, for instance), $2000 is quite a lot. That being said, Wilfer does make good basses, and in my experience, that is not an overly high price for a 3/4 or even 5/8 sized bass. I also see Shens in the price range described fairly frequently, again assuming that it is a regularly sized bass.
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I didn't see any mention from the OP that the basses are smaller than the usual "3/4." Assuming that's what they are, I'd say there's far too little information here for a truly informed answer to be given.

    1. Were the Wilfer and Shen both seen at a (the same) bass shop?
    2. Is the Wilfer really "battered" or just showing normal cosmetic deficiencies? The judgment of a novice vs. someone experienced is often very different in this regard.
    3. Is the Wilfer structurally healthy (as judged by a luthier)?
    4. Are either or both basses offered with other accessories (e.g., new strings, bag, etc.)?
    5. Can you provide pictures of the Wilfer?

    If, the Wilfer is truly battered, not offered with any type of backing from a luthier, and not offered with, at least, new strings, then I'd say the price is high. On the other hand, if it's structurally sound and, overall, healthy, and backed by a reputable bass shop, it may just be a fine deal, especially if it's offered with new strings.

    The Shens are solid entry-level instruments with a good reputation. The Wilfer may just be a gem. No way to tell from what's been offered here.

    bassmom123, I suggest that you establish a relationship with a real bass shop. The best assistance you can get in your shopping would be provided by a good teacher and/or experience player. If your son has a teacher that you trust, then it's well worth paying him/her to go along with you. Consider it "lesson time."

    People online, even members of this esteemed community, can't really provide meaningful help when presented with a "Should I buy this or that?" when minimal details are provided. I'm not being critical. Rather, I'm trying to save you headaches by suggesting a path to what will be the right decision for you.
  10. bassmom123


    Jul 12, 2013
    Thanks for the input. We decided to go with the Shen, which is a full 3/4 size and an SB90. We are buying at an established bass shop and the owner seems like a decent enough guy (we've purchased from him before). I was leaning toward the Wilfer since it seemed like a better value, but the risk seemed higher.
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Sounds like you're all set, then. Just curious-- you mentioned that your son's first bass is trashed. What happened to it? What was it? I assume you bought it from the same shop that you'll be patronizing now.