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The price of double basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by jaybo, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    Undoubtedly the price of basses is one of the first things to come up when someone is looking to buy a bass or otherwise get into playing upright. Have basses always been as relatively expensive as they are today? I've noticed a few passing comments about how a lot of dealers and collectors have driven up the price of basses in the last few decades.
  2. Actually, it's the law of supply and demand that has driven up the price of basses.
  3. Henry


    Sep 26, 2002
    Proprietor of Superior Bassworks
    It's a heck of a lot of wood.

    I wonder how many guitars you could build out of one bass...
  4. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Sep 22, 2002
    Royal Oak, Michigan
    Eww... why would you waste wood like that ;) :D
  5. Henry


    Sep 26, 2002
    Proprietor of Superior Bassworks
    Good point.

    I wonder how many guitars I'd need to break to build an upright bass......
  6. I had read recently that the swing revival a few years ago stirred interest in the Double Bass and caused prices to go up somewhat.

    Please correct me if I am wrong. ;)
  7. I had read somewhere that for comparison purposes, the price of a new DB was equal to ten times the price of a new BG. This would mean that a $2000 DB is equivalent in quality to a $200 BG. I suppose this could be used as some kind of starting point but I wonder if there is any validity to this comparison.
  8. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    What Ed said, all the way around.

    Somewhere, somebody today bought a "beautiful"-sounding EB for $200.00 used because they looked, waited, tried etc. It probably looked like dung, too. Just like my DB: Doesn't look like much, no great provenance, sounds like quite a bass.

    And always bear in mind that the sound comes from the player first and foremost. Dave Holland plays your Cremona, he sounds like Dave. You play his rig, you don't sound like Dave.
  9. The price has also been driven up and down by the internet.
    5 years ago, I found an awsome carved down in a little blugrass type shop in WVA. for under 2k.
    Today, they're on the net and you can't find that kind of deal anymore.
    the internet has given the seller access to the world evening out prices. Lowering prices due to competition and raising prices due to the wider pool of potential buyers.

    And as previously stated, the old 200.00 flower planter really worth 30k when patched up have become the needle in a larger haystack.

    I guess the bottom line is the less you want to spend, the patient you have to be.

  10. Henry


    Sep 26, 2002
    Proprietor of Superior Bassworks
    Great deals can still be had, my first bass was a Kay, no model number, the serial number was #056.

    I paid $650 for it, and sold it for $500.

    My cutrrent bass is an EH Roth, carved top, that I bought from a member of another bass forum for $850.
  11. just a thought..

    maybe the internet, and especially forums like this one, are enlightening too many people about the beauties of the double bass, thus souring the supply/demand situation and driving up the price for everyone, including us established bassists.

    So how about a campaign based on the following post ?
  12. DON'T DO IT.

    Double basses really kind of suck. They're big and ungainly, hard to play, impossible to move around, make a really uninteresting noise, and they will ruin your back and hands.

    You'll probably be stuck playing the most uninteresting parts of boring classical music, and have to stand in the back row. Otherwise, you can really only play background stuff in weird jazz music that nobody wants to hear, or boom rest boom rest stuff in dorky hillbilly music. Also, it is a known fact that the double bass is the third-least sexy musical instrument, ranking just slightly above the piccolo and the tuba.

    Really, you'll have a much more interesting musical life if you take up the piano, or violin, or clarinet or something. And if modern music is your thing, well, you know the world is still looking for the next Jimi Hendrix, and there just aren't enough really good rock guitarists out there.

    Also, the price of a double bass is definitely not worth it, so don't even think about buying one. In fact, if you own one already, especially if its one of those really old, used, Italian, English or German ones, take it from someone who knows, the value of these junkers is going nowhere but down, so you better get that thing on Ebay and dump it a fast as possible. Any offer into the three digits range should be about as good as you can expect to get. Also, avoid a bass with too loud a voice or too many rich overtones in the sound. These'll wreak havoc with the preamp circuit in your amp. If you must play one of the damn things, better to stick with a bass with a small, narrow, controllable sound, and just turn your amp up LOUD, like the pros do.

    In fact, if you happen to find yourself stuck with any of these unwanted types of basses, email me directly, and maybe I can help get you out of a jam. I just may know some sucker who'll take it off your hands.
  13. If your keeping score, I got through the 1st sentence before jumping to the punch line.

  14. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I paid $2000 for the quarter cut maple back and sides, almost a grand for the top and $350 for the neck; all big chunks of wood. It takes 6 months to make a bass from scratch.

    Today I talked with a friend who was told her Bernadel is now worth between 80 and 125 thousand $.
  15. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    A horse (mule actually) trader once told me that something was only worth what someone else was willing to trade you for it - money, another mule, etc.
  16. $45,000.00 is a very big ball park. The market must not be too certain right now for Bernadels;)

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