The relative cost of bass gear.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BurningSkies, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    So lately, I've been thinking a lot about the relative cost of bass gear.

    There's lots of talk around here about 'custom' basses, 'high end' basses, 'boutique' amps, effects, even strings. We discuss how expensive an eBay Alembic is, or a 'blueface SVT' or how good do you have to be to have expensive guitars.

    In the past few months, I've gone through a round of upgrades for my gear...and I'm pretty happy with it.

    I've also just spent $1100 dollars on the front suspension of my car, and another $900 bucks on a new matress/boxspring for my sleepy-time among other things. This got me thinking...that bass gear is really a bargain!

    The other night on Antiques Roadshow, they were looking at vintage wooden motorboats...and you'd need to spend 10 times the cost of that new Ritter to even think about it as a hobby, and that's just at entry level.

    Over the 4th of July weekend, I went out to dinner with my family...4 of us, and the bill was about $250 with a few drinks thrown in. And if I go out after work for a few drinks with friends, its gonna be 50 bucks by the time I get home.

    In light of this, it seems like a $100 SX bass is um...well underpriced, just as a $6000 Fodera is. I'm not even gonna compare this to a decent violin, harp, piano etc.

    Makes me think that us bass players should be a bit more thankful for the great gear we can get for little $$$, and how lucky we are.

    Any thoughts?

    (oh, before people post about how they're so much more poor... I work an hourly, non-salary job, pay all my own bills, and go to school, etc.)
  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Since you compared, I would have to agree with you. As a "kid" or student or whatever you want to call me, it's kinda hard to purchase things. I really rely on Christmas and my birthday to help me get things. Luckily, I just got a new job and that helps a lot.

    But like I said, after reading the comparison, I agree with you.
  3. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Everything is a matter of perspective, really. I mean, for you, you have other expensives that put things in line for how cheap a bass is. For myself, my only expense right now is a $40/mo. cell phone bill, so a $6000 bass looks rather expensive. Also, when I look at how much I'm paying for school, a $6000 bass almost cuts a half a semester for me (though I'm paying for school through loans, and not out of pocket, the idea is the same). When I look at my main rig, I notice that the entire thing costed me ~$1500, so I also look at those $2000 basses and think, I got my entire gigrig for less than that. This can go on for days, and for every person.
    Like I said, it's really your perspective on the entire thing. A concert violinist will throw down $50K on their instrument, so if they became a bassist, they would see it as very cheap. But when you come as I did, on cheap gear, and nothing really to compare it to, you think of it as an expensive hobby. Of course, over the past couple of years I've picked up cars as a hobby, so when I look at bass in that comparison, I see things differently. Wow, what a wasteful post :p.

  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I've noticed this too. I agonize over a piece of gear that will last years, but drop $100 for a night out thinking about it.

    I can't really explain it. I can afford the equipment. I think it is just a built in check to keep me from buying way too much equipment :)
  5. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    In terms of hobbies, basses are pretty mild. When I think about the costs of building a project car, I want to cry. $5000 for the '75ish Vette, $3,000 or so for a sweet crate engine, plus more for all the parts, nuts, bolts, brakes, suspension... those things are a money pit.

    On the flip side, making a batch of beer costs ~$20.
    All of my basses have been under $800.

    I know which hobbies I'll stick with. :D
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Mattresses are pretty expensive, huh? I never understood why. You can get a great sofa for $900 and sleep on that.

    As far as bass guitars go, they're all pretty cheap from an absolute standpoint - even with the fancy woodwork that goes into a custom one, it's still a (small) plank of wood.

    When you can get the very best of something for less than $10,000, I'd say its "cheap" from an absolute standpoint.
  7. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    like this;

    to determine old prices vs current and a $500 amp in 1968 is probably $2800 now.

    Wesley R.

    Remember when a new P bass w/case was $350?
  8. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ

    Well, if you wanted to put NOS tubes from 1968 into your amp you'd probably spend well over 2800 in tubes alone. ;)
  9. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    No kidding, I just started seriously looking for a house! :eek: Somehow I doubt I'll find anyone to do a trade + some cash for my condo. :p
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    That's what I'm saying...we seem to forget that good things tend to cost money, and gone are the days of the $200 american made Jazz bass. Sadly, my take home pay per week is just about $300 bucks, not including my second job as a bass player (where I can make that much or more in a week depending on the situation), and I still have a house full of great gear...handmade cabs, tube heads, hand made basses, vintage stuff...

    Another one, sorta on the same tip, I have a painting hanging in my livingroom, its fair sized, and done by a fairly well known modern landscape artist. It was a gift, and cost my Mom somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-5K. I guarantee that the artist put less time into creating it than it takes for an F-bass, MTD or high end Dingwall to be made.
  11. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    You spend how much money you need to purchase the tools that you require. Like Ray, I'm also a full-time college student. I'm also a professional musician. I'd love to drop a few grand on a new instrument, but I have to think about my college expenses. I finally got a rig built that I'm pretty happy with (Avatar Neo 4x10, BBE Bmax, Qsc Rmx-850, Furman Conditioner). I'll most definatley be using the Avatar and Bmax until I'm out of grad school. I'd like to switch to a Peavey CS 2000 as soon as possible (I need more head room and while the QSC is a quality amp, its weight is killing me). I want to upgrade my bass to either a Carvin or Warwick (which would be bought used). $6000 is actually a year's tuition for me (not including other expenses). I'd love to go buy a rack tuner or wireless unit right now, but I know I'll have to be buying books in a little over a month from now.

    Expenses may seem foolish for outsiders. A non-musician probaly doesn't see the difference between a $150 Samick and a Lakland. One of my uncles was surprised when my father once took him into a music store. He couldn't get over the prices. He wasn't looking at the guitars in the Sears catalog; he was looking at REAL guitars. We hire production for gigs, so between our equipment and the sound tech's equipment, there's probaly more money sitting on stage and back at the board than many people's homes cost.

    Some may see equipment as stupid purchases; I see equipment as a necessary cost. Some people are into upgrading vehicles with turbo, rad paint jobs, and ground effects. I never saw the point in sinking money into something I was going to trade-in after a few years (and at a loss) anyways. But hey, if people like putting money into their cars, that's cool too.
  12. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    In a communist economy, price would be dictated by labor value (simply put, it would be equal to the amount of work the laborer put into the product), but in a capitalistic economy, equilibrium price is determined by supply and demand. The time spent on creating the bass or the painting is irrelevant. What matters is how much people are WILLING to pay for either.