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Reality check time

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pointbass, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I spent several hours on Sunday at a smallish, local guitar show in central Jersey. While I realize that this isn't NAMM, I was, frankly, shocked at the pitiful sampling of basses available :scowl:

    Here at TB we seem to operate in a glorious, lofty haze compared to the rest of the world. I don't think any of us realize how fortunate we are that this level of information is available about basses, thanks to all of the members who join in on the postings. We are able to see some of the most beautiful custom basses ever built, we're in on the inside track for new developments in the bass world, we can openly exchange info and opinions .... Let me tell you, folks, this isn't happening in the world outside of TB.

    Explanation: Wandering around the show, what I saw was LOTS of old Fenders that were way overpriced ... 77 P $6500 (not even the original pups), 67 J $7200 with only three strings (they didn't even bother fixing the broken D tuner), 87 J ‘burst $3900 (beat to death, huge gouges in the body, strap button ripped right out of the horn) and many more examples of Fender “vintage” price elevation. Random thought …. are there really that many collectors out there willing to pay crazy $$ just because the bass is old?

    In addition to the overwhelming number of used Fenders, there were some newer Fender basses, mostly MIA J’s. For me, and I’m really a Fender guy deep in my heart, these basses were a gigantic disappointment :bawl: There is hardly any difference in the construction of these new Fenders and the Brice basses offered by Rondo, except for the obvious higher quality pups, nuts and tuners in the Fenders. Body-wise, I going to go out on a limb and say that the Brice bass bodies and necks may even be better constructed than the MIA Fenders (Fender guys can start calling me names right about now ;) )

    Non-Fender, there was one Warwick Thumb 6, two Warwick Thumb 5’s, one Spector Euro 5, one beat-to-death NOS Lakland 4, a couple of Gibsons (very unimpressive) and a bunch of knock-off copy junk that was sooooo bad it hurt my feelings. There were two very small custom builders there with sort of unusual stuff, but the bodies were so small and the necks so thin it was actually impossible for me to play them. Here and there, an old incredibly overpriced Ric, ‘70s Ibanez, an old DanElectro, and pretty much that was it. There was a Dean distributor that had tons of guitars but not one single bass. No bass amps, no bass strings, no replacement tuners/bridges/pups (except for one used set of Lane Poor’s) no bass cases other than generic cheapo gig bags. Getting the picture??

    Here at TB we regularly tease/mock/chastise newbies to the forum because of their lack of knowledge. Well, they have this void because the real world outside of TB is as described above, Fender-driven and loaded with knock-off junk for those that can’t afford a Fender. Even a $1200 Fender is assumed to be very high end in the non-TB world …. here we talk about $1200 basses like they are just so-so, average sort of stuff.

    I, for one, am glad I got this reality check. I vow from now on to be more understanding as newbies come into the forum, realizing that they will be totally blown away by the things that they read and see here, and also realizing that their GAS will hit hard someday. Final example: after the show two friends of mine came back to my house for a little while. I pulled out my Brice Z6NT, and after they got done asking me when I started playing guitar instead of bass :eyebrow: :eyebrow: , they were shocked that the bass is $400 … “Wow, that’s a lot of money”. Imagine what they would say after seeing one of Jerzy’s basses :confused:
  2. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    :rolleyes: Just 3 months ago I had no idea of TB. I also had no idea how to play bass, how to take apart a bass, put it back together again, and didn't know how cool a bass world we live in would be possible.

    I do now. I love TB for that reason. I would be many miles back without TB.
  3. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    Same here - I only joined TB in march '04... and boy has it been an eye-opener :D

    I played an ibanez sr990 for 9yrs without knowing there was some kinda stigma attached to ibanez basses... then came TB :smug:
    Guess it ain't all that bright and sunny here sometimes huh?
  4. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Before I joined TB, the only real source of bass info I could get was through BP magazine, and we all know that not every issue is worth the eight canadian dollars...

    Thank Paul for TB! :hyper:

    On a side note, the latest two basses that I bought came from the US. Not much here except Fender and their less-than-stellar clones (Barracuda and Jay TURDser, for example). Oh, I could've been to Steve Music in Montréal, but I opted for having my instruments delivered right at my door for less bucks.
  5. and that is why people like you and me should be supporting memebers, i plan to as i have taken soo much from this site, it is time to give a little back
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    In addition to giving me horrilbe GAS at times, TB has given me tons of information, about gear and otherwise, that I would have not had access to without. It's saved me tons of money by giving great info on the best equipment for the price as well, as my local music stores have nothing worth mentioning. I've gotten my two main basses used from TBers, and purchased my amp, cab, and effects thanks to reviews from TBers. I did not try out any of the gear I currently own before I purchased it with the exception of borrowing WillPlay4Food's Sansamp RBI before I purchased my own. That may sound risky to most, but I wouldn't have been nearly as happy if all I had to go on was the poor selection of local gear.
  7. WovenGraphite

    WovenGraphite Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    I think point has a point in telling us that TB is so invaluable that YOU need to support it! :hyper:
  8. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Yeah, TB is great. I walked into a guitar shop the other day, and picked up this tobias. It had some issues, so i said something to the store owner about how it was too bad that it was a gibson era tobias, and not a real Michael tobias. After he closed his mouth from his jaw dropping open, he wanted to know how I knew about michael tobias, and the gibson buyout. Hooray for talkbass. :bassist:
  9. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Without TB i wouldnt know about any custom basses, or good deals on smaller companies that kick.
  10. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Interesting post pointbass. Down here in Australia most of the music stores in the cities carry the usual Ibanez, Yamaha, Essex and ESP, and usually only the mid to lower end of the price range. A few carry Fender, some add in some Warwicks (usually the Rockbasses), Washburns, OLPs and sometimes some other brands at the top and bottom of the price spectrum. And that's about it. Spectors and Ricks are not common, and anything more esoteric, practically invisible. The number of guitars and guitar amps to bass guitars and rigs is usually about 10:1 in the stores.

    When I tell other musos I meet what I own they either don't beleive me (if they know the brands) or get that furrowed-puppy-brow expression and go huh? if they don't. One of the reasons I've been able to afford secondhand 4 'boutique' basses is because few people know the brands and/or reputations so they're very hard to sell, and consequently go for a low price because the number of potential buyers is so low. And also because they're a bit unusual, ie, not your typical Fender clone. None were really cheap, but as the most expensive, an Alembic S1, was about the same price as a Warwick Thumb BO4, not really stupid either.
    The stupid prices are reserved for the vintage fenders, some of which I've seen trade hands for the same value as my entire collection of gear, yet looked, played and sounded like the equivalent of a well used 1984 Hyundai Excel. Amazing.

    I agree with you wrt to the quality of a lot of the less expensive basses. I have an Ashton 5 banger, similar to your Brice, that is superb for the money I paid, and with a set of Status pickups in it about 50% better again.

    Online resources such as TB have been valuable in tracking down info on a number of instruments I'd thought about buying. And on the other hand, it's really bad for GAS.