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What arguments to buy high end?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wiro, May 11, 2006.

  1. Oops, think I made a mistake in the titel :oops: : I mean "Which reasons do you have ....."

    I'm in the process of buying a high end fretless, 5 or 6 string. So I'm curious how you guys and girls went through this and how you came out of it?
    What made you decide to buy a specific high end bass and spend more than US $ 5000,- ?
    Was it an emotional process? Was it rational? Was it impulsive or did you try many different models during a long period of time?
    And now you got thé one beauty do you regret the fact that you are a poor lonesome fellow without money but with an extroardinary instrument or do you feel that you finally reached your destiny: Heaven on earth?
    I'm desperate for your stories..... :bassist:
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Definitely both emotional and rational. Also, its a good way to get a bass that sounds, looks and feels as you want. If you like being a part of the building process and the creative partnership with the luthier it's a great thing. Its an adventure too!
  3. Hé Burny,
    Is it your Dingwall you're talking about? Why did you choose for that specific luthier? Did you compare him with others? And how do you feel about your instrument now? Is it perfect or are you longing for another one?

    Funny that you got the same cabinets as I have (almost).
  4. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    What's your motivation? Why do you want a $5,000 bass? Collector bass, player bass for gigging, recording?

    I buy basses to gig with. I see them as working tools. They have dings, scratches as much as I protect them and look after them. But they are tools to help me practice my craft as a bass player.

    As a self confessed gear head, I know the next dream bass is just right around the corner. That being said, my 75 Precision is a keeper and has been for 14 years. My MIJ jazz is a keeper and has been for five years. My Blade is an extension of my musicallity. It is such a wonderful bass, I reach for it for every gig. The others stay home. I have owned close to 20 basses over the past 35 years. I have only owned one exotic expensive bass.

    When I was flipping basses, I always took into consideration resale value. I knew a better bass would come along and catch my eye and I always wanted to ensure I could sell the surrent one fast and make money on it. I made money and quickly sold everybass I owned except for the exotic bass. I took a bath after having it on the market for a year. I was the second owner of the is $3,500 bass. I bought it for $1,000. I unloaded it as part of a cash/trade deal for my 75 Precision. That was 14 years ago and I am now recouping on that bass.

    As a working musician, I do not believe a $5,000 bass will get me more gigs, nor do I believe it will make me a better player or sound better. I have developed my own sound and style, which we all do over time. I know the sound I go for and get with my current basses. I'm sure $5,000 basses are very nice. But for what I use basses for, I don't even see them in the store. I'm not convinced they will do anything for me.

    NOW......I will drop $2500 on a Sadowsky, Lakland or a Lull. Great resale if you buy used for a good price and maybe sell it one day. I believe those basses will give you everything a $5,000 bass will give you in terms of sound and feel. Looks? I can't justify an additional $2500 for some exotic tree.
  5. Collector's don't excist for me. Except when they're selling too. :)
    Mostly gigging, for this is the most fun. And sometimes recording. Can be fun too at times.

    Since I own a handmade Rikkers I now know how much extra fun it is to play a really good instrument. It doesn't make me a better player, for that's all technique, knowledge, feelings and the ability to let go. But it sounds a whole lot better en therefor it's much easier for me to go totally into the music.
    Perhaps I will go to the same luthier finally when I traveled all over Europe and tried different basses. Coming weekend I will play on a Ritter and hopefully within a few months I'll try some Jerzy Drozd's.
  6. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Well...my advice is as follows. If picking up that Rikkers inspires you to play and makes you play often, then you have made a good purchase. The price must have been worth it.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Hey Wiro,

    The Dingwall I have now is not a custom bass. It's a stock model Afterburner. The one I speak of is being built right now by Sheldon Dingwall. It's a Z1 with a dual-density swamp ash body, spalted maple top, 5pc. neck, and will have some kind of maple fretboard. The electronics will be a OBP-1 with an additional hybrid active/passive treble boost/roll off. There are some other specs that I'll probably end up tweaking a bit as time gets nearer.

    Interestingly, while I had my choice of woods, setups, etc. what I ended up with isn't that much customized compared to what Dingwal offers. I happen to like and want Swamp Ash, and was looking for most of the other features that his basses have. Most of my tweaks have come from either aesthetic touches (matching headstock veneer, pickup covers and custom one-off finish)nor discussing my tonal goals with the people at the shop.

    One of the biggest reasons I chose Dingwall is because his design philosophy seems to be very, very close to what I believe. Almost everything he does makes perfect sense to me, and as such, I didn't need to do much tweaking to get in the ballpark I was looking for.

    For the record, I've been down this road before, with a guitar. It was good fun...like the month+ I spent going back and forth with the guy who was carving the neck...while we traded specs for the nut dimension! Not to mention the other details. It really came out perfect, and was well worth the wait and the fun on the way.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Wiro, why the price $5,000? The great majority of high quality boutique basses can be had for less than that amount new, at least here in the US. To me high end would start around $2,000.
  9. Just because you have $5 000 or so to spend doesn't mean you have to. There are some amazing basses out there for way less.

    Maybe you first need to spend some time trying out as many instruments as you can get your hands on to see what really suits you. Once you've short-listed a few, only then consider the price.

    Good luck and happy hunting!:)
  10. $5000 is a high end bass? Man If I spend more than $500 I am embarrassed to tell anyone!
    I am probably going to spend about $1500-2500 on my next axe. I was hoping that would get me into custom-ville but that doesnt look likely. Myabe I will find that a KSD or Geddy Jazz will do the job for me, then I am getting some amps/effects to make up the difference!
    Sometime before I die I DO want to get down with a luthier and get my own "custom". Before I go there I need to learn a lot more about the available preamps and pickups, and tone controls. And woods etc.
  11. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Basically it started with a desire for a better sounding, better feeling and better built bass. Then I tried a lot of basses. In all price ranges. The first time I did this I was looking for a 5 string. I tried Spector, Pedulla, F Bass, Dingwall, Ken Smith, Music Man and probably some others that I don't distinctly remember anymore. Anyway, the Dingwall was the last bass I tried and in my mind it was down to either the Dingwall or the F bass. The Dingwall made a bigger impression on me. Since both were about the same price I went with the Dingwall. After playing that bass for a couple of years I ordered what could be considered a custom Dingwall, but is probably more like a custom optioned Dingwall. At that point I had more of an idea of what I wanted tonally and in terms of looks. I wound up with a great bass that sounds deadly.
  12. PMC89


    May 1, 2006
    New Jersey
    half of it comes down to this fact. a bass reaches a certain value where the components themselves will no longer sound or play better, just add look and flash. and im not talking pearloid pickguard flash. i feel dingwall afterburners start off basically as good as a dingwall can sound/play. the add ons that a prima offers typically are for look. not that thats a bad thing. just different.

    personally, i don't even like exotic looking basses. for me, i like a swamp ash body with a burst or dye job. thats all i need. but thats me, and not you. so let the players play what they want, spend what they want, and maybe that 5k bass won't make you sound better, but it sure will make you want to practice more. so maybe in the end, it indirectly will.
  13. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    I've never spent more than $5,000 USD on a bass, but the experience usually goes like this:

    1) Learn about talkbass.com from a friend, web search or othewise
    2) View the Bass forum and see threads with testimonials from those who have tried Sadowsky, F Bass, Zon, Modulus, etc...
    3) View all these basses (pic after glorious pic), almost wishing you were the "bass burgler", infamous for extracting TB users from their prized possesions.
    4) Bargain with your S.O. promising everything in the world, including jewels, dinners at nice restaurants, vacations etc...
    5) Contact the manufacturer and discuss options, etc...
    6) Lay down 'da card' and hope that you can cover it.
    7) Wait what seems like a lifetime
    8) Receive the instrument... (blessing the carrier after he/she hands you the box)
    9) Open the box... (cursing the day that styrofoam packing popcorn was invented) ok, slide the case out carefully.
    10) Once the box is out, it's like opening the tomb of King Tut... you don't know what's going to happen.
    11) See the instrument for the first time - the look, the feel is different, but beyond your expectations.
    12) Plug 'er in and just play - ahhhhhhhh yes, this it IT!

    Repeat steps 3 through 12.
  14. PMC89


    May 1, 2006
    New Jersey
    hasn't happened to me yet. but yeah. thats the ticket. :smug:
  15. If you're not constrained by price, and you're looking for a fretless, I would recommend checking out Curbow's offerings. Best playing and sounding fretless I've ever tried. Very punchy and the best neck you could ask for. If you're looking for something on the warmer side with a softer attack I would look to try a Roscoe with an ebony board. YMMV
  16. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    For me it was actually value... kind of strange, eh?
    I bought a used Nordstrand NJ4 Deluxe because it had everything I was looking for at the lowest price. Comparing it to high end production, basses, I must say that I am much happier with this bass than I could imagine I would be with something like, lets say, a MusicMan or Modulus bass. Its the little, intangible things that count. I also have expensive tastes. Yeah... not much reasoning here. For 1700, it was mostly reasoning that I used to determine to pull the trigger. Im thinking that for a bass that would cost me 3k+, there would be a lot of emotional thinking.
  17. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    I only have one $5000 bass (Ritter Roya 4). I bought it because I could, and because I wanted to see what a $5000 bass had to offer. I chose Ritter because the reviews I read indicated that it was more than a fancy woodwork project with a lot of aftermarket bolt-ons. Jen's re-engineered the bass, the electronics, pups, everything to his specifications.

    How do I feel about it? It is very light (7-8 lbs), small, and the neck and fretboard are perhaps the most playable of my basses. I have the triplebuckers, so I have passive and active sounds (significantly different) as well as single and dual coils, active has bass, treble and sweepable (80hz to 1,.5Khz) midrange. You can switch and dial in a wider range of tones than any other bass I have seen.

    Oddly, I'm not all that crazy about the look of the Ritter ... it's a bit Teutonic for me, like a Mercedes dashboard, with gold trim. I think I like the basic Fender J design best. But the Ritter does deliver on tone and playability, and that makes it worth the $5K
  18. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    With the quality of midrange basses these days the only reason I can think of to buy high end is if you have money burning a hole in your pocket.
  19. PMC89


    May 1, 2006
    New Jersey
    it depends also on howyou define "high end"

    one man's high end is another man's "pieceofcrap"

    i define high end as adding alot of cash for other aspects besides sound/playability. such as flashy and good looking exotic woods, pickup covers, and other amazing but unnecessary features.

    at this point, i'm just looking for a nice fretless 4 string, with an ebony board and a light weight body. thats about all.
  20. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Cool. Then find me a midrange fanned fret bass with a 37 inch scale length.

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