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the five thousand dollar question.....

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by brutuscheezcake, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey guys,

    my budget is $5k for my first working upright.

    i have been doing a lot of reading in the forums recently, and i am just getting ready to pull the trigger on buying my first upright bass. seriously, i would like to get some OPINIONS.

    i have been out to a few shops on the west coast just to get a taste of what the market had to offer. i wasnt really happy and i didnt think $5k was enough.

    my specs are pretty basic. this bass needs to be setup for pizz, nice and low. i play standards and bop, so for me and my needs walking will be the criterion of merit, and 90% of what this first bass will be for. nice, smooth and stylin' . it needs to be a durable bass, because i do get around town alot and forsee lugging it a couple of times per week. i dont have to worry about flying out of town, because i own a carruthers EUB (that i happen to love!) and unless someone is paying the tab on cartage ... FORGET IT!

    gosh i hate traveling with instruments (another topic for another day)

    i bow but not alot, although my teacher wants that to change.

    reading these forums, i have come up with a short list:

    the new standard cleveland

    the new standard lascala

    the wan/bernadel

    a 300/400 level christopher

    a mid level sam shen

    all of these basses would seem to fit the bill for a workingman like myself. i need to be able to work around town, and look good while doing it (OK sound good)

    i do realize that i am asking for subjective apples to oranges with respect to laminate vs carved, but please any opinion or experince would be much appreciated. if you have a better suggestion, please let me know!

    it will be amplified most likely an AI combo, pickup TBD at a later post.

    so guys...

    which instrument would you consider for general purpose jazz?


  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Read the other posts (and newbie links) more and you'll see that you have choices aside from new instruments. For $5K you can get a decent, older bass for your purposes. Just keep looking.

    A couple of time a week out of the house in Malibu wouldn't be a call for extreme durability, says I.
  3. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey ray!

    thanks for the advice.

    actually i have been out playing a number of older basses. i havent found anything to my liking in my price range. i think that a really good deal could be found well under $10k, but at under $5k i think perhaps a "better" production bass might be my answer.

    you know, i probably should have added a wilfer conservatory (the model 10) to that list

    anyway, i did read the newbie section thoroughly, and have poured over the forums for the last few months in lurker mode. oh yeah....

    thanks for the response!

  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Of those listed, the New Standards are head and shoulders above the Shens and Christophers. I've not seen a Wan/Bernadel. While I agree that you may be able to find an older bass in this range, I doubt that many of the quality of the New Standards will be easy to get your hands on.
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    New Standard LaScala for me. Great bass. I also would take a good long look at Hemhaw's Pfretschner (in the link above) if I was anywhere on the Mainland.
  6. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    I like the Paesold basses from Germany. They are lightly built and very neat and tidy compared to most Romanian or Chinese basses. The 593 model runs around $5,000.00 and if you can find a used one it might be close to $4,000.00.

    They have dealers all over the country, so you can probably fid one within driving distance.

    Steve Swan
  7. Ben Joella

    Ben Joella Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    Boca Raton, FL
    Amen to that. Part of the reason we suggest older basses is the durability factor. They have proven themselves to hold up. Ask yourself "how can this brand spankin' new bass sound "better" than one that has had 30-50 yrs to age?" Most of the "better" sound is coming from thinner sides and tops. This means you have a possible sinking top on your hands and possibly a bunch a split sides. Also the new bass will lose its value for a time since they are very very available. The older ones are more rare and will hold value better.

    You absolutely can find a nice 1950's german bass for $5,000. It may take a while for one to surface, but they are out there. And when getting into the tone category, don't be afraid to ask the shop to move the sound post around to get the tone you're looking for.

    If you must go new...check out the Bulgarian basses that KC Strings are importing. They seem quite solid, built very cleanly with great joints, and you can probably haggle down to 5,000 or around there.
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Also Mike Shank is putting out these shop basses, and they're really nice. He gets them in white, finishes graduating the top and shapes the neck and varnishes them. Very good deal in the new category. A lot of sound out of a small bass.

  9. Mike Stearns

    Mike Stearns

    Sep 26, 2004
    I can't say enough about the Wan Bernadel. Really a nice sounding bass for the price. It out plays my old 7/8 Morelli!
  10. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey guys!

    a ton of great suggestions.

    that wan/bernadel has me interested for sure!

    ray, i was in seattle last week on a gig and went over to hammond-ashley to check out their basses. i played a bass they got from KC strings. it was an 2004 anton krutz bass that just blew me away. HA has many great basses, most way out of my current spending parameter. the krutz bass was $18k, and had a more signifigant sound than any of the older basses that played. OK it wasnt as "opened up" a sound, but this bass had that magical quality as well as being the (subjective opinion of a URB beginner) most sonorous. this bass was possible the nicest bass i have played so far.

    and only triple my budget! (where is the domestic harmony in that?)

    gee, i wonder what a conservatory model from anton krutz would run?


    anyway, i have one other "slight " problem. i really dont want to fly. i will only fly for gigs currently. i might have to drive to NY to go see arnold and wil (no kidding) if i wish to try out both a cleveland and a lascala.

    you know, i think i played a 596 paesold at HA, i certainly enjoyed it

    decisions, decisions, decisions


  11. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    This is utter nonsense. One of the more uninformed and ignorant responses I've read in a long time...
  12. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I agree for the most part, but there are instances of lightly-built (tops too thin and/or bass bars too light) basses that sound good out of the box but don't last long.

    In any event, trust the word of a good luthier. It's his business to know about the mechanics of the noble fiddles. I prefer to know just enough to keep out of trouble and spend my energy learning to play the things.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    What? This reminds me of a wonderful T-shirt my mother in law - who is a bit warped, I must admit - sometimes wears. It reads: DYSLEXICS OF THE WORLD, UNTIE! *

    In other words, I think you've got that one backwards, chief. It's the old basses that generally need a whole lot more TLC from what I hear. There are more than a few threads around here about "old vs. new basses", and these threads contain many valid arguments on both sides...but the argument that "old basses are generally more durable" has yet to appear until now. Unless you're talking about BSO's instead of basses, in which case the fact that they are less durable is true, but caused more by their "BSO-itude" rather than their youth.

    * (I'm allowed to make that joke for the same reason I am allowed to make jokes about pale redheads)
  14. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Thanks for saving my breath, SCHNITZEL...and thanks for building my 2004 Undesirable Bass. It pretty much smokes everything else I've played, regardless of age.
  15. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    I think there is a Wan dealer in Phoenix. It would be a shorter drive and would be on the way to NY if you take the long route.

  16. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey guys!

    thanks for all the advice. after some serious soul searching, i decided to do the "patent leather swan dive" ! yes, i am breaking out the check book.

    i have decided to further investigate the new standard basses. all the arrangements are in progress for me to go back east and try out both a lascala and a cleveland.

    this will take a couple of months but hey.... i need the right bass, not simply my next bass.

    i am even thinking about driving there and back with my wife!


    thanks for the help guys! i am sure to have many more questions.

  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Ooh, might as well just go ahead and write that check now - once you get your hands on either of those axes, you won't be able to let go. Maybe it's a good idea to take your wife along...that way, she can write the check while you laugh maniacally while muttering, "Mine....mine....ALL MINE!".

    Good luck, and good luck prying your fingers off of whichever one you fall in love with.
  18. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey guys,


    after asking the question, my answer is...

    the new standard cleveland for my purposes!

    i will attach a picture, but a thousand words arent going to cover it.

    i'll be brief, i swear. some words might be left over.

    so i picked up my new bass yesterday from the freight terminal in beautiful dowtown gardena. man-o-man is it impressive to look at and feel. while not a heavy bass, its no lightweight either. it has a very nice heft to it today . i will weigh it later, of course. NOT A SINGLE BASS PLAYER YET thought this bass was a "plywood" bass. I HAD TO POINT IT OUT.it is really is beautiful.

    i put in about 3 hours on it yesterday trying to get that tone i wanted under my paws (who shot my paw?). anyway, it felt like i found that sound of a bass that i hear in my head. subjective as this may be, but i think i have found an impressive walking tone, dare i evoke simply the BIGNESS of tone that ray could pull out of a bass. this bass could make even the humblest of us (that would be me) sound like a REAL bass player.

    this bass sounds huge. or so i said. even i doubt myself. maybe i was wrong?

    i went and saw my teacher today. luckily for me the arrival (january 11th, a new holiday for me, my first URB day!!!!) and my lesson ended up being within a day. my teacher, the bass sensei, putter smith. a true gentleman and bassist profundo, to say the least. putter loved the setup and tone right off. he bowed it, while sitting there telling his wife VR that perhaps he needed another bass, i mean after all this bass sounded so good and.....

    you guys know how that goes. so do your wives and girlfriends. oh yeah. most of them even feign acknowledgement. yeah, well my wife (yes, the ever suffering mrs. cheezcake) was blown away by the projection of this bass as i worked up a quick "what am i here for" for her.

    anyway, this is a monster tonewise. it projects bigtime.

    i live in LA ( and i dont mean Lower Alabama). if you cant figure out a proper choice because you just havent found it (for under $15k of course) perhaps these guys can help. talk to them. maybe come up and try it out?

    guys, this bass is a monstrousitity, both tone and projection wise.

    many thanks to Wil, and Arnold. many thanks to the talkbass members who have help get me to this point in a decision. yes, that means you Chris, Marcus, DZ (Go Terps!) Ken , Paul and the others who have suffered me for the brotherhood to this point.



    thanks everyone!


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