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Spending $2,000 for a bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KrisWarrington, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. I've noticed that the two big brand names in the music industry (Gibson and Fender) have extremely expensive basses. For example I'll use the American Standard Precision Bass ( around $1,600 msrp) and the Thunderbird IV Bass ( around $1,800 msrp). Both of which can be found at pretty much any guitar center in america and I've played both of them. It seems to me that these companys are really out to make a few bucks off their pure reputation in the music community as being the "standard" for music equipment. Which is fine because I'm pretty sure they sell lots of instruments based on the fact of "Oh thats a gibson it MUST be good". Frankly though I really wasn't really impressed with either of these instruments. Maybe the strings were dull, i plugged into a "bad" amp, or it was raining in hawaii but I really just didn't see a need to dump almost two grand into either of those instruments. A Schecter Studio 4 is a great bass with a good feel and is very well constructed but runs for about $700. Now I realize that these instruments aren't "American Made" but then again whats so special about American constructed instruments? Indonesian and Korean instruments play pretty well IMO. They may not be hand crafted and made with the pure red, white, and blue guitar building god expert but they play above reproach in my opinion. LTDs are pretty nice too with the 414 models usually running around $700 as well. Same thing can be said about Traben, Ibanez, and Spectre. I love Steve Harris to death and I realize when he started out Fender was pretty much the only thing around with any kind of reputation but I would refuse to pay that much for a Fender. He rocks it out, it sounds good, and he owns things that have been discontinued since the 60s and 70s but I guess technology has just gotten better since then. I would rather have my cheapest Schecter, which has excellent feel, playability, and tone over a Gibson Thunderbird. I realize that everyone has their own opinions but if any of you own a "high end" gibson or fender I would love to hear about your long term experiences playing these instruments.
  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    MSRP rarely translates to the actual selling price. The American Standard P for example sells for less than $1200 before any haggling/rebates.
    Only you can decide if something is worth $xxxx. If it's not, OK, move on to something that is worth it to you. Some people truly LOVE their Fenders. Some people LOVE their Schecters. Other people don't like either at all. It's kind of why we have choices in the first place ;).
    You should have some congruent facts though - first you point out MSRP of a couple of basses, then put the street prices of the ones you like. If you're going to compare things, at least compare apples to apples...
  3. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    the big boys can do what they want and the Schecters of the world have to settle for less. i have a few medium priced Fenders that out-play some $3500. boutiques. you have to pay a lot more for exotic lumber, of course.

    but, right-on for and your $700. awesome bass! my awesome bass cost me a grand. the ones you mentioned most likely were active EQ'd with blocks & binding. btw, i have a MIM Fender that cost me $300. and i bet you would think it were way more expensive in a blind fold test! :)
  4. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    +1. It is fantastic you found a few basses you love at prices you can live with. So did I. In 2008 I paid $880 for a brand new Am Std Fender Precision. I prefer it over Schecters, Spectors, Ibanez, Traben, and LTD's. But that's just me - and a few others. Many players swear by their $119 SX's.

    If I had the bucks I MIGHT prefer a Sadowsky over a Fender. But then again I might not.

    Different strokes, different folks, variety is the spice of life, and all that rot!
  5. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Be smart. Buy used.
  6. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.


    The only bass I bought new was a 2011 Gibson Les Paul Oversized. Had to have one and got a great deal on it.

    P.S. The $1699 MSRP American Standard you referenced can be bough all day long used (but mint) for $800-900. MSRP isn't street, or even close!
  7. BassBob1


    Dec 21, 2010
    The MSRP v. What you actually pay was already addressed. So I'll say this, I used to own a schecter studio 5 and it was a perfectly fine bass but it didn't sound or feel anything like the Highway 1 jazz I have be for that or my current American Standard Jazz. All the features one generally looks for in a bass such as, playability, feel, tone, fit and finish, etc. (you know all that stuff you hear everyone talk about) I find in my jazz bass. That doesn't mean you or anyone else will find those things in my jazz bass. I've had my bass since 08 and it has been great since. Now, I share your opinion that I wouldn't pay new price for a Gibson, they just don't feel as good in my hands or have the tone that I really like. Are there some people who get an instrument for the brand name? I'm sure there are. Just like I'm sure there are people who avoid particular brands because of the name. With that said, that probably isn't the case for a lot of players.
  8. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    Totally with this guy multiplied by a million plus two shots of whiskey. I, being a Fender-lover, always have the option to buy a used MIM Fender standard for less than $300 which would ring up any brand-new intro/beginner/lower-end bass on the market, or upgrade to $700 on a used MIA Fender standard for the price of a brand-new MIM Fender standard. It's absolutely fantastic buying second-hand, not to mention, if you liked dinged-up, worn-in stuff, it's pretty much done for you without having to shell out the extra for a Road Worn version. Just my two cents. :smug:
  9. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    I've never paid that kind of money for a Fender or Gibson bass, but I know some are sold for that much. Obviously there are going to be differences between a MIM P bass & a custom shop model. That being said, when the sound goes down in the studio, a P bass is pretty much a P bass whichever country it's made in. The custom shop's tone isn't so much better or different that it doesn't sound like a P bass anymore. The MIM P bass won't sound like anything else either.
  10. pudgychef

    pudgychef In Memoriam

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
  11. JDJen


    Mar 18, 2010
    I've never met a Gibson bass that I DID like, and I've never owned a Fender.

    Made In USA just naturally means you are going to pay more for an instrument that is cut out on the same type of CNC machine as any Schecter, Ibanez, Cort, etc.

    I just bought a Schecter Riot 4 Neck Thru for $319 about a month ago from AMS. I must say I am very impressed with the build quality. I would take one of these over any Fender of Gibson on the market. JMO


    Attached Files:

  12. pudgychef

    pudgychef In Memoriam

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    absolutely nobody in North America paying near those prices. $1100 without issue for a US Standard Fender and $1300 for a T-bird - pretty reasonable really when you consider that the average wage would be 10x that of a factory worker in Indonesia....still 3 or 4 times that of Koreans - amazing these MIA basses aren't 2 or 3 times the price of ANY bass made in a low labour cost market....

    also the re-sale value of those Fenders and Gibsons will result in a much higher percentage of return than any Schecter ime.....
  13. boristhespider9


    Sep 9, 2008
    Not trying to be a jerk, but what really is the point of this post? First, as others have pointed out, the American Standard never sells for the prices you mention. Go to any big name store web site: Musician’s Friend, Sam Ash, Music 123 and you’ll see that the American Standard P is offered for $1199 and the Jazz is $1299. If you call and haggle, you can often get 15-20% off especially if they are having a sale -- even if the coupon "doesn't apply” to Fender. It may not work online, but they will deal over the phone.

    Go ahead and buy your cheaper foreign-made basses. They are indeed of good quality and they still make low notes as a bass is required to do.

    After playing for a while, you realize that there is a psychological component to instrument ownership. As long as it’s playable, some folks like myself are willing to pay more for: (a) an American made instrument; (b) an instrument with a rich history and tradition used on numerous recordings and by iconic bass players; (c) for the knowledge that an American Standard P or Jazz will never be viewed as a second-rate instrument and will be considered appropriate for virtually any gig or setting; and (d) the feeling that comes with being on stage with such an instrument.

    The P and Jazz are basic instruments. They were further refined in 2008 to much acclaim and, in many players’ view, are still the gold standard to which all other instruments are compared. Some say that God must have communicated with Leo Fender about the designs because he created the perfect basses with the P and J and no matter what has come along since then, they remain the industry standard.

    Yes, Fender does play off the "heritage" aspect of the instruments to justify the pricing, but so what? There is value to the heritage and history of the designs. They are worth what people will pay for them in the market and Fender has been selling the American Standards like hot cakes since the redesigned line came out in 2008. By the way – remember when they raised the price, by $100 across the American Standard line in about 2009 after people were buying the new models -- everyone got mad and they lowered the prices back down? That’s the market at work! People complaining about the price are usually ones who really, really want one! Otherwise, buy something else.

    I play other basses as well -- more expensive ones such as MusicMan and Lakland USA. They are awesome. But, there's nothing like bringing a Sunburst/Rosewood American Standard Jazz or P Bass on stage and seeing it shine under the stage lights (sometimes thinking you’re John Paul Jones or Noel Redding…oh wait). If you don't like them, buy something else. There's plenty out there. But, they remain the American Standard for a reason.
  14. i agree with the buy used thing soooooo hard but let me say this. if your looking to spend any great deal of money on a bass dont just try the basses in that price range. try ones at a lower price range too. for example 2k to someone like me means "couple of used squiers and plenty of change for a nice rig"
  15. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    If you look at the OPs history, he has a pretty good track record of making topics and posts that are inflammatory.
  16. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    + a billion. Not that the OP is the first person to do this, but there are always folks trying to make a mountain out of a molehill in order to start a thread. Musician's Friend and GC run 15% off sales all the time, so now we're down to $1080 for the Fender P--basically half of the $2000 in the thread title. Next.
  17. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Inactive

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    wat is tl;dr version?
    i paid $6800 for a Wal Mach II 5er once, but returned it and got my money back so...........
  18. caeman

    caeman The Root Master

    Sep 17, 2008
    It comes down to what you are happy paying and getting for what you paid. If you like 4-figure basses and you like the sound, more power to you. If you prefer to go low-rent and convert Deans and SX's into your diamond, that works, too.

    I wouldn't pay 4-figures for an assembly-line bass with cnc-milled bodies and necks. Mass production negates inherent value to me. I would consider paying that much for a hand-made custom to my specs.
  19. Bass_Thumper


    Oct 20, 2009
    Madison, MS
    +1 - Why do folks have to start posts bashing something and then compare it to basses that are totally different in nature. I have played/owned many import basses and they played nice and will get you in the game for sure. The last two basses that I've purchased have been a Am Std P and a EB/MM Sterling and I can tell the difference in an american made instrument. If you don't want one/can't afford one, that's fine, there is no shame in that but you don't need to bash something just because it's not what you're looking for anyway or don't feel comfortable with the prices.
  20. Lee H

    Lee H

    Nov 30, 2011
    Redding CA
    If you have the money to spend, and it makes you happy....it is worth it..
    seems simple enough. People do not need porsches, or corvettes. People do not need hot tubs. Often the point is not what you need, but what you enjoy, and what fits into your budget. Everyone has a different perspective about value

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