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To buy or not to buy.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by JonnyMcQueen, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. JonnyMcQueen


    Sep 25, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Hey folks! First I want to say I've been reading around the forum for a couple weeks now and I have gained so much knowledge on basses, auditions, playing, etc., thanks to the posts here. This is a great online community of bassplayers!

    So I'm looking for a new bass, I'm 19, about to apply to music schools, price range around 3-4 thousand. What I've observed (from using the search link here, and shopping around) is that most basses in this price range are Chinese made, maybe Romanian. I know some Chinese makers are reputable, some not as much.

    I made an appointment with a well known luthier in my area, who I'm very impressed with, and was shown a couple hybrids and a couple carved Chinese basses. The luthier didn't know the actual company who made the bass I'm interested in, but knew the company it was bought from, (which I have since forgot). My question is this:

    ----From a good luthier, would you spend > $3,000 on a Chinese instrument that feels and sounds well, but without knowing precisely the company who made it?----

    I guess it comes down to trusting the luthier, which thus far I do, but I've only met with the person once. I suppose I'm scared the thing could potentially turn out to be junk and fall apart or need excessive repair..

    I'm in that well known position of wanting the best instrument I can find for a limited price, and am stuck between being meticulously picky and just knowing I'll upgrade in the future and going for it.

    Thanks in advance for any input/ experience.

  2. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    My advice would be to try to get someone more knowledgeable than yourself to give an opinion on the instruments. (Your bass teacher perhaps.) You might want to check out some other places. In the LA/SoCal area you have: LA Bass Works, World of Strings (Long Beach, I think), Lemur Music (San Clemente area), Hammond Ashley (San Diego).Take your time. As far as the Chinese bass is concerned, I believe Adrian Cho bought a carved Shen from Arnold Schnitzer for about $4k (if I remember correctly), and he seems to be very happy with it. That is one data point, anyway.

  3. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I would take it to a second luthier for evaluation. Don't mention where you got it. You'll get an unbiased (hopefully) second opinion. If the luthier you are buying it from is reputable, he won't want to waste his time and the headaches involved with selling junk. Ask if he will give you some kind of warranty for a year or two.

    I would spend >$3000 on a well made, good sounding instrument. These are the criteria. A brand name can help in reaching a quality conclusion but isn't completely necessary if you consult with experts.

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