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what are your thoughts on a Cremona SB-2

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by BassGreaser, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I'm looking to get one of these or othe cheap upright just to learn on. I want to hear what all you guys think about these cheap basses? How well are they made, and sound?
  2. Well-made... Not
    Sound... also Not.
    Re-sale Value - None

    Check the Newbie Links at http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=43093

    Cheap Chinese Basses, ESPECIALLY Cremona, Palatino, Brownstone, and any other made by the same Crap Factory are not a good deal.

    Not all Chinese basses come from that factory, and the ones that don't range from "Marginally Better" to "Really Good".

    Of course, the Really Goods are priced accordingly, starting at about $1500 for a Christopher, and going up to several thousand bucks for other models & brands.

    If you're looking for a plywood bass, spend about $1000-$1500 for a non-Chinese. You can get a Strunal at www.cutting-edgemusic.com for $1100, or an Engelhardt from www.urbbob.com for about the same.

    You'll be less likely to want to sell either one of them, and more able to sell them if you want to.

    I saw a couple of Kays on Ebay just recently for under $1000. If you keep an eye out locally, you can also find acceptable plywoods in the $1000 or under range.

    You'll get the Cremona, spend enough on it to get the cost up into the $1000 range, and still have a bad-sounding, non-saleable piece of junk.

    You will either fail to learn to play the Cremona, and wind up throwing away all the $$$ you have in it, because nobody will buy it, OR you'll learn to play it & want a better-sounding bass in less than a year(also being unable to sell it).

    If it's a choice between getting a Cremona or getting nothing at all, you might want to to see if you can find a rental, with a "rent-to-own" option.

    The $650 + $100(strings) would pre-pay rent on a bass for about a year, and you apparently have that much available, or you wouldn't be asking the question. Some places that rent basses will even let you apply the rental money to a DIFFERENT bass if you want to upgrade at the end of the rental period, instead of keeping the bass you were renting.

    Do not sucker yourself into thinking that the shipping strings will be good for anything more than holding the bridge in place during shipping, either. You'll give up learning in the first couple of weeks if you don't replace them. Bottom of the line for acceptable strings would be Labella Supernils, at $60.

    There seems to be basically only one factory in China which produces Cremona Crap, but several different "brands" are the same bass with different stickers inside. Also, they will sell them un-stickered to anyone who places a large-enough order.

    I bought a CCB (Cheap Chinese Bass), though it wasn't a Cremona/Palatino, etc. I've had no problems with it whatsoever. It even sounds pretty good, so long as I don't hear ANY other bass within a day or so of hearing it. It has a finish that was apparently sprayed on to bare wood, and it seems like every time it gets the slightest bump, it chips down to bare wood.

    Other than that, [and the sound], it hasn't been bad. I just have to figure a good place to keep it, so it doesn't get in the way of the one I bought to replace it.
  3. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    thanks!!! Barefoot VERY helpful
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Arnold Schnitzer, Jeff Bollbach, and myself all sell the Samuel Shen basses. They are made in China, but by a factory that isn't half-blind and drunk.
    They are the best new instrument for the buck, IMHO. Great workmanship inside/out. Even, full sound across the board. I know this all sounds like a commercial, but nasty, cheap **** basses piss me off :mad:, and the Shens are in a totally different category.

    end of rant
  5. There's an Air Force guy, from Luke AFB, in Glendale Az. who has just dropped the price on a Christopher plywood from $1300 to $700 for quick sale. It includes a K&K Slap pickup and two Rockabilly instructional videos


    He doesn't want to ship it, but will drive part way to California with it for pickup. If you're ready to buy right now, you should give him a call.

    He dropped the price after just a couple days, so he's in a big hurry to sell, probably looking at a transfer or something really soon. (Maybe Deployment?)

    Also, if Glendale is anywhere within reach of San Diego, you can buy a lot of gasoline with the $150-$250 that shipping would cost...
    It seems it's a little harder to sell a URB in today's economy. I'm now only asking for $700. So if you're interested in a great plywood for a cheap price, please call me. Also note that I'm willing to drive a little to meet you.

    Thanks. 623-363-8957. Jason LeBlanc
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Oh, go ON!

    I second the above. In addition to the Shen that one of my students bought from Nick, there's another one that showed up in one of my combos at school, a hybrid with Obligatos on it. Both sound great, and look as if they'll last a good long time. I'd be scheming to get one if I didn't think my wife would kill me.
  7. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Chris, I just received a PM from your wife. She said everything was cool, and to drive up tomorrow and buy the Shen Hybrid. Spirocores, right?
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Yes thanks. Starks, to be more specific...But what I really want to know is, who is this chick pretending to be my wife on the phone? If she wanted to be believable, she got off to a pretty shaky start. :meh:
  9. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    I bought a cremona and put new strings on it. For $600 total, i had an ok bass that played and didn't sound all that bad. I used it to jam while camping at the lake and other abuse. Sold it after a year for most of my investment. Nothing had fallen off of it nor had any seams begun to open. Neck was still straight. Only reason i sold it was because i needed the room it took up. I've been thinking about replacing it so i don't have to take my others to the lake. So, my opinion is: They serve a purpose for not much money. Kinda like those 'donut' spare tires in the trunk.
  10. Donuts can keep you going if you don´t have a real tyre as a spare. They are just meant to be replaced as soon as possible.
    Bad basses bring in the dough as well as better instruments, if you know what you are doing with them. The problem is that if you are not aware of these things´limitations, they will kill the joy of playing, the joy of music and the joy of learning.

    For students, beginners and those who are entering the dark side, my advice is simple:

    Get the Best Instrument You Can Afford. Dont´try to save money where it´s not meant to be saved.

    And I think this goes for any instrument...


  11. What he said. I have a good friend who has a Palatino and while the thing doesn't sound terribly bad it has little volume and is EXTREMELY difficult to play. The neck is about as svelte as a baseball bat and the 100% genuine ebonized fingerboard is pitiful. The finish flakes off for no apparant reason and the end pin is so poor it feels like the thing is mounted on a swivel. He has been told that to get this thing in decent shape would require $6-700 minimum. This would equate to his investing about $1500 in a bass worth no more than $5-600.

    My Engelhardt Swingmaster (even though it is far from the top of the line) is ten times the bass. Spend your money on one of them or a Christopher.

    Good Luck,
  12. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Like the spare 'donut' the bass got me to a place where i could replace it. Time was when my budget said that the difference between $600 and $1400 was prohibitive. Now i can afford a beater. Maybe i want to paint it - like an outhouse. Make it an outhouse bass. How 'bout this: it's the cardboard box i used as a sled 'cause i live in texas and we get snow (snow? - mostly ice) so seldom dad wouldn't buy me a sled 'cause the snow and the sled and the box would all last about about the same amount of time. I was happy with the box when it snowed. I think the crapmonas serve a purpose. I don't recommend them if you can afford better. Maybe i was just lucky with the crapmona i bought. It played alright. Not loud but audible.
  13. This just came in on www.rockabillybass.com...

    Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 03:44 pm:
    I made a big mistake, bought a cremona sb2 pile of crap. All the rumors are true, the sides split in five different places. I took it to music store and I thought I knew what he was doing until he started pouring carpenter's glue in the cracks. It even split under the bottom nut.

    He goes on to say that eventually the music store's distributor replaced the bass with a better one for an extra $30.
  14. This is just plain disgusting. How do the people who sell these things to the innocent and gullible manage to sleep at night? They absolutely know that the buyer, who is in that price bracket because he simply cannot afford better, is literally throwing his money away. What a terrible thing to do to a beginner.
  15. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    The reason these Crappa-Tinos keep selling is they are an attractive option to beginners (by which term I also mean newcomers to DB.) The attraction is in the price. Do you know any experienced bass players who would buy one? 'Course not, don't be silly.

    And why do beginners keep taking the bait? Because of the obscure position and treatment of the DB in the musical world. If you aren't living in or near a major population centre, it is a hell of a lot easier to get into clarinet or oboe -- or to join the legions of guitar strummers -- than it is to find a DB and to get a teacher. So there's an information deficit out there about the DB. The deficit exists with a lot of vendors, too, who may offer one for sale now and then but don't know anything about them.

    I find it really strange that an instrument that figures so highly in all the music people know (except for the rock 'n roll stuff, most of our musical traditions feature DB) is so blocked at the entrance door.

    There is a huge tradition of players who have learned on instruments of really crappy quality. In the early years, the Basie band made its living using instruments of RCQ. Obviously this ain't the best way to go, but what I'm thinking is that if you really want to play, you'll find a way to play. There's a difference between unplayable and undesirable.

    So, I have no problem with there being a fairly shabby low-end to the DB market. Anyone who really wants to play certainly can start to play on a Crapatino and get a fair way down the road.

    The sound will be thin, but it still sounds more like DB than any other kind of bass. It's a DB, after all.

    The playing action will suck, but that can be worked on. You'll pay big dollars (deservedly so) to luthiers if you can't do the work yourself. But it CAN be done.

    Re-sale? Come on. You're spending $600 on a cheap-ass bass and you're worried re-sale? Go buy a car or something....

    There is only one really good reason not to buy a Crapatino: there is an exceptionally high probability that it will implode. The implosion will be dramatic and scary. The neck will come off, the ribs will peel away, it will take hostages, make demands...

    Personally, I think that if they didn't use that Martha Stewart hot glue -- or if they even used a little MORE of it -- the Crapatino would be an acceptable (though distasteful) low-end, entry-level instrument. But the implosion factor will cost you a lot of dough and break your heart. Don't buy one.
  16. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    So, what DO you buy? When I wanted to start playing fiddle, my dad didn't buy a $500 fiddle for me. He bought the cheapest PLAYABLE instrument and we started from there. I'm and engineer and make pretty good bread. But, between mortgage, car payment, insurance, taxes, kid's shoes and clothes, etc. I couldn't fork out even 1400 bucks on a non-essential item. Luckily for me, I had a paying gig just waiting for me to get a DB and was able to save up enough - using a $600 playable crapatino - to at least buy an overpriced american standard ply (price is no guarantee of quailty) - then saved up enough again to purchase a new englehardt. The crapatino is long gone. Now I'm saving up enough to buy a decent carved bass and it may take me a couple of years or more. But, i got to the dark side - i found a way. And I've learned along the way. If someone had told me DO NOT get a crapatino, i'd still be playing a slab on a gig i didn't particularly care for. I was on my own in the boondocks. I agree with Damon that price is a deterrent. So, what would you recommend for me, the newbie?
  17. How much did you sell it for?
  18. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    I put a new set of strings on it, used it for a year, then sold it for $500.

    I'll admit it wasn't the best quality but, it played and the action was OK. The fingerboard and ribs were somewhat thin. I abused it and it held together. It was a temporary solution. I'm just saying you can't dismiss these low end BSO out of hand. Don't buy one sight unseen (internet) and let a player, luthier, teacher or etc. that you trust check it out.
  19. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    I've changed my mind. Don't buy one. It's not that they might begin to fall apart, all basses need a repair occassionally - it's that they can't be repaired when they do.
  20. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I think it's the best call on the whole thing: don't buy one.

    Every market has -- and needs -- a low end. Sometimes the low end is disreputable and a bit shabby. And, real musicians don't let bad instruments stand in their way for long.

    Even so, the Crapatino should not be bought, because it's gonna cash in its chips REAL soon. I'm not aware that's true with guitars, saxophones, what have you.

    What should the beginner buy? I think Ed went through the plywoods earlier: Engelhardt, Kay, Strunal, etc. Get one of those.

    Here in my little town, the local branch of a national music store (Long & McQuade) is used to dealing with musicians on leases, rent-to-buys, loans, etc. They used to deal in DBs, but not anymore.

    If you can find a place to rent ya one for a while, I don't see how ya can beat that if you're just starting out.

    Here's the other thing: yeah, DB's are expensive. Compared to kazoos, harmonicas, most guitars, etc. they are VERY expensive. But compared to a car, a college education, a motor boat, a closet full of fine threads, a substance abuse problem -- quite competitive. It's not like the common person can't find a way to own a decent, playable DB if it's important enough to them.