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Roth Fiber glass Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Benton, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. I teach strings at a Middle school. I'm a bass player and teach a violin class. The high school next door recently threw out some broken instruments. One of them is an upright bass with a broken neck. It is painted brown. Inside it is labeled Roth Fiberglass Bass. The neck has a large crack that runs up both sides under the fingerboard. It appears to be aluminum but I'm not sure. It has a very large bright tone. I just dropped it off with a luthier who says he can fix it up for 200$. He has a friend who owns a machine shop and builds guitars. If its aluminum he could weld it and he also has industrial glues. I figure for the money I should at least have a rugged student bass at best it could be something to bring to the bar with out the worries of my old German bass. Any thoughts would be great
  2. I've played a few fiberglass basses in my day, and to be frank, if I were a teacher, I couldn't in good conscience foist one upon a student.

    But that's just me.
  3. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    The local Vintage Guitar shop had one about a year ago and was asking about $600 for it (I think it was consignment). I actually though it sounded pretty good (the "Large" tone you mentioned). Not knowing much about it I asked about it in this forum. Most thought it was a P.O.S. so I left it alone (i.e. didn't buy it).
  4. Gufenov


    Jun 8, 2003
    That $200 might start a youngster (or three) on a lifetime of musical achievement and enjoyment. So what if it doesn't have the sound of a 100-year old carved? If it can be used as a teaching tool, I'd say go for it. And, good on ya' for thinking of the kids.
  5. I agree. Some of these fiberglass basses were made here in Denver. The guy who came up with the idea/design did sell the product to Roth. Except for the neck area, they are for the most part indestructable.
    There's a good, pro jazz player who uses one as a second bass here, so for a student....why not?
  6. Thanks for the feedback. I know that it is not a masterpiece I just couldn't throw it out. The guy said he could fix it so I figured go for it. It is loud and bright but to be honest it just does'nt sound like wood. I think it will work well for the classroom and yes maybe it will ispire another bassist. I'll keep you updated on the progress
    Thanks again,
  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    After starting as a kid on ukelele, moving thru banjo, guitar, and alto sax, in high school I began toying with the school's bass, a dreadful heap of aluminum that would otherwise have been used for target practice by the US Navy. It was a start, and by the time I was 21, I had played in Carnegie Hall and toured Europe with a jazz sextet. I can't say enough in praise of what Benton is doing.
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I started out on a fibreglass bass about 35 years ago. It was the only bass available to me in my little hometown in Northern Wisconsin, so I had nothing else to compare it to, but I'm glad it was there to get me started on the way to where I am now.

    A couple of summers ago, I went home and borrowed that same bass from the high school, so I could do some family jams. I restrung it with some of my used Spiros, and damned if the thing didn't sound pretty good! Really loud. Not elegant, but there's probably a kid somewhere who would love to get things moving on a fiberglass bass.
  9. Okay, as a qualifier, I should say that I'm prejudiced because of the extremely bad condition of the fiberglass basses I've seen in the schools and come through with students. Of course a FB bass is better than no bass at all, but all things being equal in terms of setup etc, I'd much rather let the kid play a plywood if it was available. (Besides, fiberglass basses STINK -- literally!).

    Kids who successfully overcome inferior instruments, I think, are the exception to the rule, and band directors would probably bear me out. So many kids are playing the cheap-o instruments from Wal-Mart or E-Bay and then quitting in frustration when they can't get the sound the kid next to them with the good horn is getting.
  10. Its back from the shop. The luthier had his industialist friend Dave fix it in his shop. He used epoxy to glue the neck and fill various holes. I havn't really had a chance to play it because their is a problem with the strings. I'll dig out an old set of mine tomorrow and tune it up. The only issue is that the bridge is very short, Im not sure if it was originally but it is now. It should play with a set of strings. the bill is for 215$ not a bad deal. Thanks all for the support.
  11. Gufenov


    Jun 8, 2003
    You've got PM.

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