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Taylor Acoustic Bass, Damaged, Value???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassAxe, May 4, 2003.

  1. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    I came across a Taylor AB-1 at a big city music store, yesterday.

    On it's side, it had a big long jagged crack going from near the strap peg at the bottom, all along the lower outside curve midway between the face and the back, and nearly to the reversing inside curve!!!

    I don't mean a little hairline crack. I mean it was 1/4" to 3/8" wide in some places. You could easily slip a set of house keys and maybe a few old 33rpm vinyl records through this crack. The guy working there said it was from a humidity problem they had last winter. Another employee was in the room when it happened and said it sounded like a gunshot! :eek:

    Unplugged, the Taylors have never projected well, even without the extra sound hole. :smug:

    I didn't plug it into an amp, but it played well and I didn't notice any loss of sound quality compared to the other Taylors I have tried. I know they usually go for about $2,000 and up for their other models.

    They said they'd take $1,000 for it. :rolleyes:

    I told him I'm no expert on repair costs and instrument condition, but he'd be lucky to get $500 out of it.

    Anyone know anything about this? Sorry I don't have a pic of the crack. I've always liked the Taylors for their 2 octave fingerboard (my Tacoma CB10 has only 20 frets and it limits me) and the fact that the offset soundhole is on the opposite side where my hand won't inadvertantly mute it, unlike my Tacoma.

    I want this bass, but I don't want to shaft myself, either. If the store loses money, that's their tough luck. They should have invested in a better humidity room in the first place.
  2. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I'm no expert either but personally I'd be very leary of buying that. That sounds like major structural trauma that could lead to big problems later. That's just my take.

    I guess you could buy it and if it becomes unplayable you could always store your keys and records in it. ;)

    brad cook
  3. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
  4. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    What have they done to repair the damage and prevent further splitting? For a side to split in half like that, it would have to kept at like 0% humidity! I've seen plenty of minor cracks be repaired almost invisibly on some high-end acoustics, but to have a 3/8" GAP in the wood is rediculous, and repairs are going to be ugly, and probably quite costly on that. The best way to have it repaired would be to send it back to Taylor to be repaired at the stores' expense.
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    For $1000 you can have a perfect Tacoma. Why bother?
  6. I own an AB-1 and love the instrument. Concerning it's projection unplugged, I agree that it could me better, but I never planned to play it that way. I bought it for a different style and sound when I play coffeehouse gigs, or at my church. It's great for that. (When I want a true acoustic sound I play my upright!)

    Taylor's repair shop is supposed to be excellent. I'd try calling them to get an estimate on repair, and then base my offer on that. Good luck.

    Bluegrass boy
  7. Honestly? I wouldn't go near that bass for $1000, if the crack is that bad. But then, I wouldn't pay $2000 for a perfect one either, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    The idea about getting an approximate idea of repair costs is a good one. Just, if possible, don't rely solely on their in-house person, if they have one, for estimates; there might be certain motivations to shade the truth, shall we say.

    If you could get it for $500 and have it repaired for $300, that would probably be worth doing. From where I sit, anyway. But, say, $1000 plus $800 for repairs (just a for-instance)? That would be a bad deal IMO.
  8. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I wouldn't.
  9. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam


    I wouldn't pay 500, I wouldn't pay 200!
    This is a totally defective piece. Any work done by you to repair will not be warranteed for any length of time.

    It is very odd that the manufacturer wouldn't take it back from the dealer and replace it with a new unit.

    Or maybe they did make good on it, but said to the dealer, just sell it for salvage value, don't bother spending the money shipping it back. For all you know, they may have $zero into it, and just have it hanging around waiting for some big time sucker. :meh:

    Don't waste your money, save for what you want, get it from a reputable dealer, with a full manufacturer's guarantee, and shop and negotiate hard to get the best price on the bass.

    If you really love it, you will have it for a long time.
    My equipment is aging gracefully, though I have never sold any of my high end stuff. I am glad I never made any purchase like this. I would be hating it after 5 years.

    Keep looking.
  10. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    I already have a Tacoma. :D

    I email them often, reminding them that if they ever make one with a two octave neck and mirror the soundhole's location to the other side, I'd be more than willing to buy a 2nd one.

    Hmmm. :meh:
    If I had that Taylor crackbaby, I wouldn't be able to sell it in the event that my dream Tacoma hits the market.

    Well, there's a reason why the Taylor basses didn't sell well and they have ceased production. It is a respectable long-established music store near me, so the end of production may have something to do with why they are stuck with it?

    Thanks for the input. I've made my decision. The Taylor is going to be someone else's problem.
  11. I can't disagree with your decision, but where did you hear that they've ceased production of the Taylor basses? They're still on the Taylor website and in the 2003 catalog. A Taylor rep told me that they don't make many of them, at least compared to their other guitars, but I don't believe they've ceased production. If there has been official word otherwise, I'd love to know it.

    Bluegrass Boy.
  12. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    Well, many companies take forever and a day to update their websites. The 2003 catelogs were printed in 2002 and 2003 is almost half over.

    They'll probably continue to offer them until their existing stock is mostly sold out. I'd look for prices to drop as they want to get rid of them.
    Here's a test: Contact that Taylor rep and ask about a custom acoustic bass which can't be easily accomplished post-production. If he's willing to oblige, then maybe they are still making them.

    The guy at the store told me that Taylor stopped making them. I emailed a Tacoma rep (who had shared with me his opinion of all of these little details he felt was flawed about the Taylor bass design) about the cracked Taylor because I thought he'd get a kick out of it. Here's what he said,

    "Yeah, Taylor stopped making basses altogether because they just didn't get
    the sell through at all, maybe because ours sounds better, who knows. Our
    bass is in our top 5 best selling instruments. That crack doesn't suprise
    me at all."

    That makes for two sources.
    Even Bass Player magazine's review noted how poorly the Taylor bass projected unplugged. They play nice, but I think they just didn't sell well enough.
  13. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    It does not surprise me that the ThunderChief is one of Tacoma's top selling instruments. That really says something, because Tacoma makes a lot of nice guitars and ABGs are a tiny market.

    I dissed the whole ABG concept for years, playing a -lot- of ABGs including some high dollar ones then commenting on how crappy they were. I told anyone who would listen that the whole concept was flawed and it was a joke that anyone played them or made them. They were just big hollow bodied electrics everyone of them. This was my mantra for years. Then I played a Thunderchief, went home for a bowl of alphabet soup, went back to the store and bought the damn thing.
  14. Given the competitiveness of the musical instrument business, I'm not sure I would take the word of the Tacoma rep about whether the Taylor has been discontinued....nor would I take the word of a Taylor rep about Tacoma instruments. As an AB-1 owner, I've been happy with the bass. It does not project well unamplified. I never expected it to. At the time I bought it, the Tacoma Thunderchief wasn't available. I've since played a Tacoma. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't project well unampliefied, either. That said, I think the Tacoma is a nice bass...and a MUCH better value because of its lower price. They're both great instruments. But, as a previous post said, I don't think anyone has made an ABG that sounds decent unamplified. It's probably physically impossible. Then again, I have an old Kay upright, so I probably tend to (unfairly) compare unamplified ABG's to that.

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