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Questions, Probably very basic ones

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by fredgold52, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. fredgold52


    Apr 14, 2009
    I want to buy a doubble bass for my grand daughter and there are some things I need to know to make a decent choice of instrument. She is only 13years old and may or may not continue seriously with the bass. Currently, she is renting an old, buzzy thing for almost $100 each month.

    She does seem to have a talant for the bass though and she has a very good ear. A decent instrument could be all it takes for her to become long term serious about the bass. I'd appreciate whatever help you can give me.

    1. Are all basses with laminated tops undesireable?

    2. Does anyone make a good sounding fully laminated bass?

    3. What would be reasonable price points for decent fully laminated, for solid top with laminated back and sides?

    4. Besides the wood involved, what are the critical quality points to be considered in a purchase.

    5. Given the age of the bassist here, does anyone care to suggest a brand for me to consider?

    Thanks for any help/direction you can give.
  2. Fred,

    Welcome. There are many decent basses with laminated tops but they are not cheap. While you might find a good deal on a used bass in decent shape, you can expect to spend more than a grand, probably closer to $1500 to buy a decent bass and get a professional set up that will make it easier to play. I know that sounds like a lot, but if she sticks with it for a year and is still renting, she will have spent $1200 and have nothing to show for it.

    I have a fondness for vintage basses but if I were looking for something new, I'd be tempted to look at the laminated bass made by Upton Bass, for a bit more than the $1500 I cited. I've seen and heard several of these and they seem to be a good bass for the money and will come set up to your specifications.

    Also, and this is important in case you're young player loses interest, an Upton that is taken care of will be easy to sell. Just as important, if your young bassist sticks with it and wants to trade up at some point down the road, Upton has a solid trade policy.

    Good luck in the search.
  3. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004

    Basses with laminated tops are certainly not undesirable. They will not have the resonant properties of a carved instrument but they are far more durable and would be the appropriate type of instrument for your daughter. As wineaux mentioned, the setup is key. Poorly set up instruments tend to frustrate players (especially very young ones).

    Hybrid basses (carved top, lami sides and back) are a step up in sound and price. Good hybrids will run roughly $1000 over what wineaux mentioned.

    Besides the wood, what is critical to consider is the setup as mentioned, the design of the instrument in terms of how easy it is to "get around on" and how it responds, the quality of the hardware and fittings (tuners, tailpiece, fingerboard, etc.). It is best to buy from a real bass shop.

    Things to avoid:

    1) Guitar shops
    2) Musical mass-merchants
    3) CCBs (Cheap Chinese Basses) but note that some fine basses also come from China. CCBs are typically those $549 eBay specials.
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    She also needs a bass that fits her size wise. If she is small, a 1/2 size or smaller may be appropriate. Bass sizes are all over the map.
  5. fredgold52


    Apr 14, 2009
    ehochberg, she's playing a 3/4 sized bass now and it seems to fit OK, but there wasn't anything else to choose from, Hmmm, maybe a 1/2 might be better.

    drurb, good information on lami Vs. non-lami. This all sounds very familier. I don't know basses, but I have a long history with guitars of many kinds. The mass marketers and guitar shops are OK for guitars IF you already know what you want. No way would I go to them for this.

    wineaux, very helpful about quality/cost. I looked at that Upton - it looks good. Appreciated the comments about set-up too. That's very important on guitar too.

    reedo35, Great page! I was looking for that before I posted, but had no luck.

    Besides the Upton, any specific recomendations for my 13 year old, 5'4" grand daughter?
  6. Both KC strings and Guarneri house have a plethora of basses in your range. If you can talk to Aaron Riley at Guarneri house he is amazing, he was really helpful at the Richard Davis Conference this last weekend. At 5'4'' your granddaughter is more than tall enough to play a 3/4 bass.
  7. I'd stick with the 3/4. She'd be switching to that soon any way if she sticks with it. A 1/2 bass might be more difficult to get rid of if she suddenly opts for the trombone.
  8. I know a number of adult professionals who are 5'4" or less and play 3/4 instruments. So long as you keep the string tension down so as not to damage her hands as they're growing (yes, setup again), she'll be fine with the size.
  9. fredgold52


    Apr 14, 2009
    OK, doing alot of searching and reading and it's all very informative. I don't know if this is a proper question to ask, so I'll ask it and see. Does anyone know of a bass shop in Minneapolis I could contact to get something started? Is there like a list of good bass shops someplace?
  10. fredgold52


    Apr 14, 2009
    Thank you, Reedo35. That's a very helpful list.
  11. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004

    Don't forget to look in our own classified section where you can often find a good deal on a variety of basses, possibly some in your area. Of course, one should never buy a bass sight unseen but, right now, it is a buyer's market.
  12. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In addition to size, there's shape. Unlike violins, which seem to be quite standardized, there are variations in the shape of basses within any given size class. A bass with somewhat sloping shoulders might be easier to get around than one with high shoulders.
  13. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    There was just a side ad from bassesonline.com and I think there's been a few threads about them on here in the past. They have some inexpensive basses (Eberle for $950). Look at their site and then do a search on here about them.
  14. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004
    The basses offered by Steve Loeb at Ideal Music (www.bassesonline.com) are generally a great value and Steve is an honest guy to deal with. This bass was purchased from him: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=515256

    If you do buy a bass from Steve, skip the "basic" setup and have your local luthier do what needs to be done. Be aware that these basses have been sitting around for some time and will need some work like new strings, and maybe a new bridge. I had to put a fair amount of work into the one I bought buy it was still worth the $$.
  15. RDW

    RDW Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    +1 on the Eberle (per Freddels). It's a nice instrument. I paid for the basic setup, but if I had to do over again, would skip it. Paid a visit to Nick Lloyd (new endpin, work on fingerboard/nut, bridge work + adjusters) and am very happy with the bass - as Barrister says, worth the $$.

    Steve at Ideal is a great guy - honest, communicative, and a pleasure to do business with.
  16. fredgold52


    Apr 14, 2009
    We have opted for the Eberle from Steven. We are getting the bass, a stand, a wheel, a bow, a monogrammed bag and shipping to our grand daughters house. All for what I feel is a very good price. I also opted for the set up Steven described. We have talked about the girls size and age and I asked him to take that into consideration when setting up the instrument.

    So far my experience with bassesonline has been as described in various threads on this forum.

    I have to say that you guys have been very helpful to us in our quest for a bass for our grand daughter. Thank you all very much.

  17. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Thanks for the update Fred, interesting to learn how this turned out. Best wishes to your grandaughter and her new double bass, I'm sure she'll love it.

    I bought an Eberle laminate a few months ago, it's a wise choice, apparently Ideal only has a dozen or so left.
  18. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Glad it all worked out for you!

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