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recommendations for a quality student bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by fourstringrebel, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. fourstringrebel


    Apr 15, 2003

    I am a student looking for a reccomendation for a bass that offers the best money for quality value. My resources are limited so I need a good deal.
  2. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Rebel-without-a-bass: The info you're looking for is in the Newbie Links: BASSES. There are Newbie Links at the top of each section of the forum. The only thing that could help you a little further is to fill up your profile page so that the area where you live is known. Then you could get recommendations to specific shops, or a PM (private message) from a seller. And don't forget to look for a teacher... that could steer you toward a decent student instrument.
  3. fourstringrebel


    Apr 15, 2003
    hey olivier thanx for replying to my question but im really not allowed to put my area up there. I can tell you though i live in north texas around the dallas area.
  4. You can visit the Newbie link just by clicking on this link: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=43093. Give it a try, and click on some of the other links you find there there.

    The first thing to do, though, is determine what kind of music you plan to play. That will influence the type of bass you want to look for, types being; fully-carved, hybrid (carved top on plywood back & sides), or fully-laminated(plywood).

    Just right off the bat, chances are good that a fully-laminated (plywood) bass is what you're going to do best with as a first (and maybe last) bass, unless you have Orchestral Ambitions.

    If you plan to play orchestrally, or otherwise mostly with a bow, you're eventually going to want a carved bass, and if you can afford it, you might as well start out with one.

    You can read what some people have had to say about Ply vs Carved by clicking on this newbie link: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=33984&highlight=hybrid

    As for buying one, you can mail-order one, or you can find a local violin shop that may have a good deal on a used one.

    If you're planning to take lessons, find a teacher first, and he can help you find a bass.

    With six million people in the metroplex, you should have no shortage of violin repair/sales shops around there, if you just go through the yellow pages under "violin repair", or "violins". Call them up and ask if they repair double basses. If they say "yes", ask if they have any there in your price range that you can look at. Many will let you buy a bass with an "approval period", so you can take it to a more experienced friend, or another luthier, and get an opinion on it, then get all of your money back, if you want to. Keep that in mind.

    You MIGHT even get lucky and find a YP listing for "double bass". You can visit http://yp.yahoo.com/ too. That gives you maps, but doesn't give you ads to check for references to "bass".

    Good deals are often found at pawn shops, and in the newspaper, but you should stay far away from those two sources. You don't have the experience to spot a disaster, and neither does a pawnshop operator.

    In the newspaper, you face the same problem, only the seller doesn't have a business reputation to worry about, so you can add a possible Sleaze Factor to your chances of paying good money for junk.

    A luthier in a string shop will (and will be ABLE to) tell you whether something he's selling is a dog or a bargain. Of course every bass there will be a bargain of some sort, either expensive but worth it or great for the cheap price, blah blah blah. He IS in the business of selling things, after all...

    Still, if it's a dog, it will be priced accordingly, and he'll be able to tell you why. You might want it anyway, but he has a reputation to guard, and expertise to know what he's selling, for better or worse.

    Luthiers... there are some very good violin luthiers who can't find their way around a double bass. Sometimes they know and admit it, and sometimes they don't even realize, and some violin luthiers are very good with any string instrument of any size or type.

    Try to find out how much actual double-bass experience one has, before getting your bass worked-on, or before taking purchasing-advice.

    Visit www.rockabillybass.com and ask if anyone can reccommend a bass luthier in the Dallas area. I know there are two or three players there who live in & around Dallas. There are probably some Dallas players here on TB, too.

    You can get an Engelhardt EM-1 delivered well under $1200 from Bob Gollihur, at www.urbbob.com, and the S-1 model has an ebony fingerboard (instead of rosewood) and nicer finish, for a little more. I believe he offers a 7-day approval period on basses, though you'll be out round-trip shipping amount if you want to send it back, to the tune of about $300-$400.

    You can get a Strunal for about the same price, actually a little less, from www.cutting-edgemusic.com. Figure $200 for setup on any of these basses, which should include about $100 worth of new strings.

    New Engelhardts are said to come "playable" right out of the crate, but can be improved by setup.

    Cutting-edge music says they shop-adjust their Strunals, but shop-adjusting isn't the same thing as an actual setup. They probably also arrive "playable but improvable".

    You can get various Cheap Chinese Basses on Ebay delivered for $500. (Cremona/Palatino/Brownstone, etc.) Do Not. (see the newbie links)

    You can get used Kay & Engelhardt basses on Ebay, but you can usually find similar deals on them locally, and you get to see/hear/inspect a used bass if it's local. It will generally take $150 to $250 to ship a bass.

    I haven't heard much bad about the Vienna basses from Jim Laabs http://www.jimlaabs.com/stringinstruments/basses/frankfurt.htm
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Excellent post. In fact, you've written quite a few nice novellas on this subject. If you'd like to write (or compile) the ultimate be-all-end-all "what kind of bass should I get" FAQ, I'd love to link it at the top of the newbie links threads. Let me know if interested.
  6. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Like ModeraChrist said. This board is getting better & better at ushering in the rookies, due to the newbie links which extract the most informative threads from the huge archive, but also due to fairly concise posts like Larry’s which deserve to be appropriately edited by their author and placed at the top of newbie zone.

    When reading Larry’s post I was thinking “gee, its easy to become a dbass owner, but it’s a whole different perspective to become or dbass user”. In other words, newbies tend to focus only on acquiring The Bass whereas we know that they should think about acquiring the skills, the bass being only one part of the whole picture. After all a dbass is just a stupid bulky thing likely to end up in the penthouse if you don't play it. You know, that same rant, get a teacher…
  7. In NTX (North Texas):

    1. Drurry Violin in Oak Cliff
    2. Bass Shop in Arlington on (All Hail) Bob's Luther page.
    3. A guy in Irving - Garcia at a Kerioki (sp) shop at BeltLine and 183
    4. DMN - a Kay a few months ago and a Christopher a month ago, check their site
  8. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Ed Garcia. Nice cat, although kind of a used car salesman type. His Karaoke rental shop is called Trax City.

    I got my Juzek from him for less than half the appraised value when he needed money to build his studio.

  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    But don't assume that a luthier's no good just because he or she won't work on basses. Many fine violin-folk won't touch basses because:

    a) They take up boatloads of room, doncha know;
    b) They need special bass-sized tools, including bass-sized benches;
    c) There are violin-tricks that don't work on basses and vice-versa; and last but by no means least
    d) Old basses have often been butchered in the repair shop at some point, and the last guy to touch it owns the whole shebang. Jacques Francais is not interested in having his name stuck on the work that Louie the Auto-Body & Bass-Fixer did, and the owner isn't interested in paying Jacques to un-do all of Louie's fine crapsmanship.

    We are lucky that there are otherwise-intelligent masochists who volunteer to step down the long and rigorous path toward bass-repair mastery.
  10. I think both Barefoot Larry and Samuel are right. Samuel is right in saying there are many good violin luthiers who choose not to work on basses for the reasons stated. Barefoot Larry is also correct that there are violin guys out there who do absolutely terrible work on basses. I know several very good violin makers who will work on basses, but consider them to be inferior instruments. It doesn't bother them in the least to use Titebond or Elmers glue on a bass, but they would never think of doing the same to a violin, viola or cello. Fortunately, they are a small minority and the word gets out in the bass community pretty fast. Best advice? Ask other bass players!
  11. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    Hey Rebel, welcome to talkbass. make sure you look at the bass guitar side too.

  12. fourstringrebel


    Apr 15, 2003
    Thank you so much for all of your replys to my question. I have a private teacher so I will ask him what he thinks of what I should do. I know for sure I want to stick with bass playing and am currently using a school instument at school only though. But thank you all for helping out a new arrival to talkbass.
  13. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    If you can't get a used Englehardt, etc go with the Chinese basses, they're really not THAT bad for a starter...esp for $500-700

    good luck
  14. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan

    Just when you think we've finally nailed that coffin shut. Don't buy a $500 Chinese bass. They're unplayable, and unrepairable. You can waste another $500 trying to make them decent. If you absolutely cannot afford even a low-end Englehardt... save your money until you can.
  15. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    that's called a "stereotype".....
    and you're right, that coffin should be nailed shut

    I have one and it's fine, not great, but fine for a beginer, that's all...:p
  16. For a $500 bass, that "stereotype" is quite accurate.
  17. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment

    I agree now
  18. Well, I see you have a copy of the Merriam Webster dictionary program and know how to use cut and paste. After looking at your profile, I can see I must be wrong. You must have far more experience with double basses than me. I'm kind of new to this. I've only been at it 40 years or so.
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Ok folks, don't make me get my guitar - you know, the nylon stringed one with the paisley strap that can only be played while sitting crosslegged in sandals and a tie-dyed T-shirt? We wouldn't want that, now would we? :)
  20. No Chris - that sounds like a frightening experience. Sorry 'bout that!