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What do I need besides a bass (costs of ownership)?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Sgroh87, Jul 15, 2014.


  1. Sgroh87

    Sgroh87

    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I'm looking at getting my own bass soon and I'm trying to budget what I need. The bass I'm looking at comes with a padded case and a bow. What additional costs come up soon after the initial purchase?

    I'm probably going to need a setup. I play mostly jazz (but some arco) so I'll probably need a pickup. What are the installation costs on those? If it doesn't come with an adjustable bridge, should I get one? What about fresh strings? I was thinking something like either the Helicore hybrids or the Zyex strings.

    So what else am I looking at? How much do you think I should expect to hold in reserve for extras and not spend on the bass itself?
     
  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Well, you didn't say where you were going to get a bass. Setup could be included in your cost or it could be +$1,000. It could come with strings that you'll keep for years or you might need to budget +$100-200 for a set. Pickups as cheap as maybe $100 for a K&K or a used Realist or a couple of hundred. i wouldn't suggest more than that on a pickup, but it's tough to go much cheaper unless you find something on our classifieds. Ideally you might get a DB friendly amp, but maybe that can wait if you have a good BG amp, but you may want an impedance buffering pre-amp then. $50-150. (as a side note, this is a good case for the Realist, which doesn't need to be buffered)

    And lessons. Yes, lessons. I've got a Dallas referral for you and you do need them and should budget accordingly.
     
  3. Sgroh87

    Sgroh87

    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I can't really go into specifics but I work for a music store and I can get employee discounts. Its not a string specific shop but I can get basses in. The ones I'm looking at retail for between $2200 and $3200 and come with a padded bag and bow. My teacher recommended a luthier and said that a basic setup on the junky student bass I'm renting would be around $50. I had assumed that it would be somewhat similar for a new bass of higher quality.

    I was planning on getting a Realist, and I have a decent BG amp right now.

    I do have a lesson teacher at the local community college. He has his doctorate and I'm only paying $200 for a semester of hour long lessons, but if you wanted to PM me your contact's information I'd at least speak to him. I know how important lessons are, trust me. :)
     
  4. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    A setup is a must, especially if you are getting it into a general music store, as you are looking at a factory setup when it comes in. Depending on how much work is needed, the price can vary. If it's just adjusting bridge/nut slots a tiny bit, that's not nearly as expensive as adjusting/replacing the sound post, planing the fingerboard, or a new bridge, all of which could be requirements.

    From there, depending on the bow it could greatly benefit from a rehair and possibly adjusting the balance. A lot of general music stores have bows that have sat in a warehouse or their shop for ages with cheap hair in them and balance points all over the place, both of which make the bow very user unfriendly. A fresh cake of rosin is also a good idea.

    As mentioned, the strings might be fine or need replacing, and you will likely want a tuner and metronome if you don't already have one. Something to protect the floor if that is a concern to you, a pickup, appropriate cable, shoulder carry strap or wheel depending on your preference, and other misc. things like a music stand, some music, a stool etc.

    I cannot offer specific prices/costs because of your discount situation and the variables associated with setup.

    Other things to consider are humidity control and an adjustable bridge depending on your climate, repairs as they come up, and recurring costs. Strings are expensive, repairs are usually based on an hourly rate and time adds up fast, I heard of a shop that is apparently charging $160 for a bass rehair now, travel is challenging and expensive, and other things pop up occasionally.

    Double bass playing is expensive. But if it is important to you, there is usually a way to find the money to make it happen.


    Mike
     
  5. Sgroh87

    Sgroh87

    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I've already got a music stand, books, rosin, and a tuner metronome combo (as well as a clip on piezo tuner). The bass comes with a bow (Brazil wood for the cheaper outfit and pernambuco for the more expensive) and a padded bag that I believe has backpack straps.

    I know that the advice is to get the best bass you can afford, but the better bass is very close to the upper limit on what I can spend and I'd hate to get it only to immediately need several hundred more dollars worth of supplies and work to get it in good working order.

    I'm also a little anxious because I've only been playing upright for a few months now. I've wanted to play upright for years and my teacher says that I'm advancing really fast, but I feel a little guilty spending that much on an instrument that I'm so new to. My company has a somewhat frustrating policy that employee pricing is something that has to be paid for up front, meaning no financing at all and no rent to own if I want my employee pricing. I know I'm getting a better deal than the average person on the street, but still...
     
  6. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Make sure your Health Insurance covers Psychotherapy...
     
  7. Sgroh87

    Sgroh87

    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    What's that supposed to mean? :p
     
  8. kdrabbit

    kdrabbit

    Mar 18, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    Don't scrimp on the quality of the bass, get the best instrument you can afford, you won't regret it. All the other stuff can wait, you can make do without all the "extras" for a long time. The key is to have the instrument and practice, practice, practice.
     
  9. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    There is some very good general advice here ... most important is to get the best bass you can afford and don't get too wrapped up in the "candy & frills." Unlike most slab basses, all of that extra fluff means very little and it can always be added later on. 2nd most important is the lessons, get a good teacher to help you develop the right technique. And the psychotherapy advice is REALLY not a bad idea :cool:
     
    Don Kasper likes this.
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Tell us about the bass offered at your store. I realize you get a discount, but you may be better off with another instrument, and may not spend any more.
     
  11. Sgroh87

    Sgroh87

    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    Its an Eastman VB90 for not much more than a Thompson ply bass or an Eastman VB80 for significantly less. The 90 includes a pernambuco bow and the 80 a brazilwood bow. Both have padded cases.
     
  12. Mvilmany

    Mvilmany

    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    You also need an Ampeg SVT and the 8x10 cab of course. ;)
     
  13. Sgroh87

    Sgroh87

    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
  14. More important than the type of wood used to make the bow (pernambuco and brazilwood are made from different parts of the same tree) is the fact that the VB90 has a carved top and not a plywood top. THAT is where you should be spending your money.
     
  15. Consider the cost of this one on the 2nd hand market vs it's retail price. When you go to trade it in on something better you will be looking at less than what this one is selling for on craigslist as your trade in offer. Have you checked what is available locally on the 2nd hand market? Generally, if you are connected to the music scene, you can do better than employee discount prices by buying used.

    The thing with student instruments is that students buy them. Students also stop playing and parents sell them. A decent student instrument shouldn't be hard to find locally.


    I'm in the industry and the last new instrument I purchased was an inexpensive fender guitar as a Christmas present for my daughter. Her upgrade was purchased 2nd hand since she was more interested in a better instrument than in it being brand new.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  16. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Good, it's probably a decent bass although there will be variations even among the same model. Best case scenario, you play and inspect before you buy. As has been said, you'll probably need some setup work. For comparison, prices for this bass and other similar, such as Shen, usually will include setup and decent strings when purchased from a bass shop. That could be worth $100-500. If you go mailorder on your own, get the setup done by a double bass luthier who knows what they are doing.
     
  17. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    It's a joke...
    Thanks.
     
  18. yeah, Insurance won't cover it! :meh:
     
  19. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Suddenly I see some bad advice popping up here. Don't buy a 1/2 sized bass. period.

    The loss of value used of a 1/2 sized bass is unrelated to the value of a well cared for 3/4 sized Eastman (same brand) if you wanted sell it later.

    I PM'ed a bit with the OP, who is keeping a few things private for reasons I respect. He has a good teacher who is also advising him. The difference in cost between the two basses you're looking at is not significant. Spend the extra money, get the better bass, even if you have to wait and save or put off a few things like pickups. Buy a cheap starter bow and/or a cheap, used pickup to get you by if you must. Get the better bass.

    I think either one will be fine, but you have a good opportunity to buy a bass that will take you further and be more enjoyable to you.

    I know it's hard. When I bought by current bass for about $5,500 (it's worth easily $8-9k now) and sold my plywood bass to get it (for what I paid for it) I was struggling with the cost for some of the same sentiments you're expressing. It didn't feel right to spend so much. A jazz mentor said "Why? It's less than you'd spend on a junky car and it will mean so much more to you".

    Best advice I ever got. Get the better bass, you have a good opportunity that may not be there for you next time.
     
    Sgroh87 likes this.

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