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What do more costly basses provide?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vindibona1, Feb 14, 2020 at 11:25 AM.

  1. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    less $ = some good
    more $ = all good
    mambo4 and J_Bass like this.
  2. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    More costly basses might have Graphite reinforcement rods in the neck to greatly stiffen it (and prevent dead spots), without the weight of steel rods.

    More costly basses might have Compound Radius fretboards to allow you to set the action lower.

    More costly basses might have Stainless Steel frets that will never wear out in your lifetime, and are super slick for bending.

    More costly basses might have Bone or Brass nuts that will last longer than plastic (and some say give better sustain).

    More costly basses might have better tuners, bridges, pickups, wood selections, fanned frets........
    smogg likes this.
  3. I wrestle with this topic all of the time, as do others or this wouldn't be such a frequent topic. Add to this I have other hobbies also (cycling, audio gear), which further compounds the problem.

    I still haven't come to anything resembling a decisive conclusion. I'm still just as confused as I've ever been.
    Claymore likes this.
  4. nickpc


    Jul 23, 2012
    I used to wonder the same thing, then I picked up a Sadowsky NYC. I'll never get rid of it, but my MIA Jazz may never get played again.

    I mean yes, it will, by me, but it's not in the same league as the Sadowsky.
    DrMole and Clark Westfield like this.
  5. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, erstwhile reed man Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Status among people who care about such things, and a sense of superiority over those who don't. And warm fuzzies about buying American. If those things are valuable it to you, that's what you get for the extra thousands. I'm not good enough to appreciate any subtle improvements in playability. :thumbsup:
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  6. - stunning woodwork
    - tone that is different from the masses (notice I didn't say better)
    a sense of rewarding an artisan rather than rewarding a money machine that is about shareholders...

    That's all I got.
    B-Lo likes this.
  7. Treblefree


    Apr 8, 2016
    I currently have 3 basses. 3 different price ranges. One was like $450 new, another like $700, and my newest is about $1,350 new.

    The cheapest is odd in that it has passive p/j pups with active 3 band EQ. It puts out a weaker signal obviously, but it sounds awesome recorded, looks good enough, and is pretty light. It is painted because it is lower grade wood. It is my only current 4 string.

    My middle $ bass has "better" EMG active pick-ups and a 3 mid selector switch and 3 band EQ. More electronics. A little prettier than the cheapest bass and is stained wood satin finish. It is a 5 string and I didn't give it much of a chance at first. I mean it really sounded good, but I never spent a minute setting it up and therefore played it less than my 4 string for quite a while. The action in the upper register just wasn't good when I bought it and I literally never made any adjustments like a moron.

    The newest 5 string I believe has more tone options than any bass ever produced. It is the first bass with Fishman active pups. 3 way selector for mids with different sophisticated scooping, 2 band EQ with boost and cut, and also a pullup volume pot that takes the humbuckers to single coils and you can start over all again with the tone options. It's almost too much to comprehend at first, but very fun. It has the best veneer, high gloss finish, most quality finish, higher end parts all the way around.

    After I got my new amp, I started tweaking with my mid-expensive bass and finally set it up properly. Now it is a joy to play as well.

    I love all 3 regardless of the price, but if I could only have 2, I'd probably sell my mid priced bass being a redundant 5 string with a little less flash, but no slouch in the tone department at all, but I love the way it sings to be honest and it is so light. If only 1, tough call. My cheaper bass is still really nice, a blast to play, and just sounds so good, especially recorded and it is the first new bass I ever owned so sentimental value would be hard to ignore. I played a lot of really cheap crappy used basses before I finally bought that one.
    bassrique likes this.
  8. TylerJ

    TylerJ Trying to find the elusive Brown Note Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2017
    I got my daughter a relatively inexpensive Ibby SR bass. I have a EBMM StingRay 5.

    The 'Ray feels better when I play it. More responsive, better neck profile and overall feel, and for me, a tone that I absolutely love.

    That said, I started on a pawn shop Sammick in 1996. Then had a Ric 4003 in JetGlo for about a week--the neck developed a serious bow that made it unplayable even after taking it to a tech. After the Ric, was a warwick Corvette, and then a StingRay (4 string). Of those, the 'Ray felt the best. When I made the switch to 5 string bass in 2005, I went with what felt the best, a 'Ray 5.

    While I can tell the difference between my daughter's Ibby and my 'Ray, my wife can't.

    My bass instructor is impressed with the build quality of my 'Ray, especially how solid the neck is, compared to some of their own instruments.

    So I'd have to say the difference comes down to components and the build process. More money seems, at least to some extent in my experience, equals better components and build quality (the Ric being the exception in this case) compared to my original Sammick.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 3:47 PM
  9. This is the most wise statement to ever grace these humble threads.
    JRA likes this.
  10. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Countless university faculty who have made research assignments to countless freshmen would have to disagree.
    JRA, packhowitzer, DrMole and 3 others like this.
  11. Based on comparing what I have now to the next tier up, any gains would be a short lived ego boost and endorphin rush. I doubt it would actually make me a better musician.

    I will say learning fret work, soldering, refinishing, neck swapping and other setup/repair tasks has given me a great instrument on a tight budget.
    B-Lo, JRA and TylerJ like this.
  12. nilorius


    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    100$ bass is usually made by a tradition design and cheap matterials and made in China or Korea, usually not a good sounding. +/- 1500 are more quality in every way and sound gives you a better and purified sound. Also they are made by recognized brand at the country in comes from. 3000$ and higher are mainly hand made custom shops. The sound can go even more than 10000$ when the design, materials, pickups and electronics are chosen individually from the buyer.
  13. red_rhino

    red_rhino Gold Supporting Member

    LOLOLOLOL! That made me laugh so hard I almost spit sausage onto my screen!
  14. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification and and Martin Keith Guitars
    I find $2000 sort of the top limit to consider to pay for a brand new bass coming out of a factory. Over that is custom made territory, for the kind of fit and individual tone design you'll never get out of CNC machining.
  15. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    $1,000 is my wheelhouse for a bass that ticks all of my boxes. I can go a little less, or more but since I like variety and have a limited budget, that's my area.
    CalBuzz51, Doctor Morbius and BOOG like this.
  16. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    I play Warwick basses.
    Their shape are often unique with Wood not seen often
    Very solid
    You won’t have to shim à Warwick
    The Warwick tone
  17. BOOG

    BOOG Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Let’s go eat some chocolate, kiss our SO, eat some chop suey and enjoy our bass lives.:D
    juancaminos and MynameisMe like this.
  18. Relayer71


    Jun 25, 2009
    Are you nuts???? And get chocolate all over my bass? Nah, think I'll kiss the wife instead.
    Stantor, BOOG and red_rhino like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    What do more costly basses provide? More money when you sell them :)
    Sixgunn likes this.
  20. I think the best value is in the $500-600 range buying used in mint or excellent condition. Best deal ever IMO is when you can find one with a scratch or defect on the back. No one else is gonna see it and if it doesn't bother you... perfect! It drops the selling price considerably. Got 2 instruments with rear blemishes at a deep discount and they look great from the front.
    DrMole likes this.

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