What bass to replace a Roscoe??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jim Dombrowski, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Hello all,

    I currently own a pair of Roscoe SKB-3005's (fretted and fretless), and I love the tone and feel of these basses. However, due to financial concerns, I'm considering selling the fretted bass and looking for something less expensive.

    I want to stay with string spacing similar to the Roscoe, and would prefer an active preamp.

    Besides Roscoe, my other favorite sounding bass is Lakland, but I prefer the narrow string spacing of the Roscoe.

    So, what 5-string basses have you played that feel like a Roscoe, and sound like a Roscoe or Lakland, and can be purchased used for $800-900?
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Here's a possible problem with your idea, from someone who has owned and sold a couple of Roscoes: if you only need around $500 it might be a workable plan. Any more than that and you might as well keep the Roscoe. If you're looking at US Lakland it'll probably be a straight swap. If it's a Korean made Skyline (nice basses IMO) then again it might work.

    If you're really happy with the sound and playability of the Roscoes I'd come up with another plan. I've played a bunch of basses and the Roscoe is the only one that plays and sounds like a Roscoe.
  3. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Thanks for your reply. I only mentioned Lakland as a bass that I really like the sound of (besides the Roscoe). I want to stay with a bass that has narrower string spacing than the Laklands.

    I'm pretty sure I can get close to $1800 for my Roscoe. It's a real beauty, less than a year old, and in like-new condition.

    I haven't decided for sure that I'll sell it, but I want to start exploring the possibilities.

  4. Stingray 5s have fairly narrow spacing compared to Lakelands. A Bongo might be another choice. AFAIK Bongos are going for like $1300 US, and a used SR5 can be had for $800-$1000 depending on the condition.
  5. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    man, i say keep that thing! a Modulus maybe- but the price difference isn't that much- like Brad said- its hard to find something Roscoe- like for less- if you get a sub $1000 bass, you might be in for a disappointment... compared to the Roscoe, that is...
    sell some dru.. er , ....blood or something,, keep that thang!! :bassist:
  6. Joe BassPlayer

    Joe BassPlayer Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I'd recommend a G&L 2500. I recently checked one out and was very impresseed with all of the good usable sounds I was able to get. The neck didn't feel noticably different than my Roscoe's. The string spacing is very close to the Roscoe's 11/16" (depending how you have the Roscoe's saddles adjusted). I recently purchased a G&L 1505 and the main reason I purchased it over the 2500 was because I felt that the 2500 sounded too similar to my Roscoes. Don't get me wrong, the low "B" on the G&L doesn't sound like the Roscoe but it is one of the better 34" scale "B" strings I've heard. Check one out. They can be purchased used for $600-$800.:bassist:
  7. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Are you sure you can't get a loan from anyone first? I see this as turning into a 'what the hell was I thinking?'-thread 6 months from now, when you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, reaching at the empty stand where your Roscoe used to sit...:(
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, keep the Roscoe. Selling a Roscoe would be a decision that I know I'd regret sometime down the line. There's nothing in the world that sounds like my myrtle body LG3005. I love that bass. That and my new BN5 are the only basses I've been truly excited about since I picked up my very first Alembic in the late 70's.

    Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. I feel for you man. If there were any other way, I'm sure you'd have found it. I don't know if you like Roscoes as much as I do, but whatever you end up getting I hope you'll like it. I remember the lean days when all I had was a ratty old Dan Armstrong. The important thing is to keep playing, no matter what happens make sure you have at least one bass you can hang with. Keep your fingers in shape. Once I even got a bass sitting job for my friend's upright while he was in Europe for the summer, and that summer I got into peak playing condition 'cause of all the exercise my fingers were getting. An electric seems like a child's toy after you've been playing a double all morning. So I suppose there's more than one way to keep your fingers busy. Good luck, I hope you succeed in your endeavors.
  9. Joe BassPlayer

    Joe BassPlayer Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    We've probably all experienced that feeling! I agree with Schwinn and Adrian when they say that you should definetly do everything that you can to keep your Roscoe. You typically loose so much when you sell/trade and trading down typically puts you in a position where you have to come up with significantly more cash to trade back up than you profited when you traded down.
    But sometimes we have to make tough decisions (particularly when it involves your family) and if you determine it's the right thing to do, you just have to do it. Check out the G&L 2500. If I didn't have the funds for a Roscoe, I'd certainly play one!
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Disclaimer: What I'm going to say is by no means a reflection on Roscoe basses:D

    Unless you have a firm sale lined up on yours for $1800 I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Even though you think it's worth it and I do too, doesn't make it worth it where it counts... to whomever is going to come up with the funds and give them to you. I got both of my Roscoes for ~$1400 used. They were both in excellent condition. I had an LG-3005 and an SKB-3007. How the heck does someone sell a Roscoe 7 string in mint condition with the Ultralight case for $1400?

    Because that's what the market will bear. Taking advantage of the weak resale value of boutique basses has been a hobby of mine for the last couple of years. It's why I got a top of the line Lakland for $1400, an amazing Elrick semihollow fretless 5 for $1100 and so on. Got to have a buyer to be a seller. That's usually the biggest obstacle to a sale;)

    Again, if you have a sale for it AND can actually get $1800 for it AND you need the funds, go for it. At that point given time you might find a used Roscoe for maybe $1200 or so and be $600 ahead.

    IME $1800 just doesn't happen everyday.
  11. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    Hey Jim,
    I just finished an awful summer trying to find the right bass to replace my Zon (it developed a defect so I had to bail on it). I probably lost around $600 this summer!! OUCH!! In retrospect, I really miss that Zon and probably should have kept it, and paid the BIG money it took to repair it. Hard call though.

    If you like the Roscoe (and I'm one of those that really digs Roscoes) then hang on to it. I'm with Brad in that it would be very difficult to get what YOU think the Roscoe is worth. The Market is just not there - bargain hunters may not allow you to sell it for $1,800. Once the price drops to around $1200-1300, they come out of the woodwork -- prior to that, they're good at maintaining radio silence.

    Bottom line: If you like the Roscoe (I"ve seen your Roscoe - it's EXCEPTIONAL!) hang on to it. Sell your car and get a beater. Get a part time job. Sell some jewelry you're not fond of. Take your kids' college fund and buy lotto tickets. SOMETHING! Just hang on to a bass that you're fond of. :bassist:
  12. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I totally agree with Brad here, Jim. I recently sold two Roscoes and they were both pretty special. The 7 had a one-of-a-kind headstock inlay by John D. at Bass Alone and the thing was gorgeous, played like butter and was in mint condition. It also had the strongest B sting I've yet encountered. I had it on EBay twice until I finally sold it and felt lucky to get $1800 for it. I had $2350 in it. The other one, a killer fretless 6 had a sick, mutant walnut top and the best bridge pup mwah I've ever heard. Again, it took a while to sell. I posted it here, ran it on EBay and felt very lucky to get $1660 for it, which was about what I had in it.

    In any case, I wish you luck. If you have a guaranteed local buyer, you may get your price. Otherwise, I think Brad nailed it.

    BTW, string spacing and too many other good basses were my reasons for moving the aforementioned Roscoes. I kept a nice SKB3006, however, with side LED's.
  13. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I've had 3 Roscoes. I have over time sold all three but I replaced them with other types of basses that suited me better. I really don't think you'll be able to replace your fretted 5 with a bass in the $800 range. Keith's quality is very high and the basses sound wonderful. My only idea would be a used Stingray or something in that vein. You may not find another bass, no matter what you pay, to make you as happy as you are now. The financial part may blow over eventually. I'd sell last resort. Best of luck

  14. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    I've had most of the mainstream basses including a couple of Roscoes, BN5, Q5's, 535's, Stingray 5's, Benavente, Zons, Brubaker, Lull and some I'm forgetting. My main basses right now are a Lull M5, Zon Sonus 5 and Zon Legacy Elite 5.

    I would really only count on getting a max of $1600 for the Roscoe and maybe less depending on all the normal specifics. But, you might get lucky and get more.

    The three basses I can think of in that price range you may want to check out are a G&L L2500 ($650-700), Stingray 5 ($800-900) and Peavey Cirrus 5 (haven't played one, but they get great reviews).

    I'm sure there are a few other options, but those would be my best recommendations.
  15. phogchris

    phogchris www.scarsoflife.com

    May 27, 2000
    Boca Raton, FL
    I know this is a shameless plug, but if you are looking for a really nice high end 5 for low cash and can sell that Roscoe for even $1600, you would end up about $700-$800 ahead. My Bossa is up for sale because I am broke and do not need a 5 string at all. The Bossa blows the Stingray's and Laklnad's I have owned away. I just can't afford to keep it.

  16. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    On the one occasion when I played a Roscoe 5, I was impressed with how similar it sounded to a G&L L-2500 (one was also in the store at the same time, so I ended up A/B'ing the two directly). Both can yield a growly/snarly tone from their two humbuckers, and have a ton of versatility.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I like G&Ls. I don't recall ever playing one that had a low B approaching a Roscoe. Roscoe low B's really are extraordinary IMO.

    Sounds like a pretty amazing L-2500.
  18. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Thanks everyone for your input! I'm glad I posted the question, as you guys have given me a lot to consider - especially the issue about perceived value vs. true value.

    Also interesting are the comments about G&L basses. Many years ago I was thinking about buying a pair of G&L's (fretted and fretless. I loved the tone, but I honestly could not warm up to them visually; especially their selection of colors and finishes. I kept looking at the models in the store, and at color options in the brochure, and ended up not buying them.

    I'm not desperate, but I really do need to pay down some bills. Taking out a loan is not the answer. While I certainly love this bass, I don't NEED to have a bass of this caliber. There are plenty of great sounding basses out there for a lot less money. True, they likely won't sound as good as the Roscoe, but few will notice and no one will complain.

    I'm not sure how I'll proceed at this point. So, when in doubt, do nothing.

    Again, thank to everyone who responded. What a great community!

  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Good luck, Jim
  20. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member


    Just a thought, but instead of selling the fretted Roscoe, sell the fretless. The MTD Heirs are a really nice sounding and playing fretless. I prefer the Roscoe fretless and the Zon fretless basses, but for the money, it's a great deal.

    Try one if you have a sore that has one.

    Good luck.
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