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What is a Great Price for a Great Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Al Caldwell, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. Al Caldwell

    Al Caldwell

    Mar 18, 2003
    St.Louis , Mo
    Some companies believe that if you raise the price of the instrument ,that
    increases the value of the bass. Some five string basses cost $50,000.00 dollars and some seven string basses are $700.00 dollars in Guitar Center.
    Is it art, are we collectors or musicians? What is a real world price you would pay for a custom bass? What is a real world price you would pay for
    a production bass? I had this disscusion with a bass student and we were
    surprized by eachothers answer. I buy stuff I can't afford all the time, but what is too much? Please tell me what you think. Also tell me what great deals are out there for a great student custom bass. Al Caldwell
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The player is always far more important than the gear. As long as the bass plays well, everything else is just icing on the cake. I often say that if I were a man of lesser means, I could get by just fine with an MTD Kingston 5 (fantastic budget bass, IMO).

    But as an old phart with a certain amount of disposable income, I buy better than that ... because I can. Lots of us do. Expensive exotic wood laminates are bling-bling and nothing more. But artists have been decorating their gear with bling-bling from day 1; nothing wrong with that unless they're spending more than they can afford.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I dont think i would ever spend over $1500 for a bass. Just not worth it. Theres great basses for better prices.
  4. We all know there is no one answer for this question. Bass prices are often as much a function of the economics of the maker (his rent, wages, insurance, desired profit margin) as they are affected by the actual cost of materials or quality of components. Therefore, some makers will always be a good deal relative to others. That said, it would appear to me that Elrick and Roscoe are good deals for those who want custom level basses. I think that G&L Tributes and Lakland Skylines are great deals on factory instruments. Apparently Sadowsky Metros are great deals too for those with deeper pockets for a semi-production bass. Personally, my own finances are limiting me to the $750-1500 range for the immediate future.
  5. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Al, it's a dilemma I am faced with right now... there is a bass i have been GASSING over... it's a used Celinder 5, it has all the specs i would want in a bass and the demos on the celinder site have the sound that is in my head, but it is priced beyond what I am willing to pay for a used bass, and beind a dealer, i am spoiled by dealer prices, so this would be a bass that woudl cost me more than some GREAT new basses. Still, i THINK i want this bass really bad, and if it turns out to be all that, well, we make a living playing, so , what's too expensive??? i know you had to pay a fortune for you knockout Benavente 9 ...
    i don't know... but there is good news for your student, bidget basses get better all the time, as in a Kingston, or a Lakland 55-01.. there are many choices there...
  6. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    People prolly sick of me pluggin it, but I think the Dingwall Afterburner is one the best basses you could ask for in the price range. Everyone ive shown it too thats played it guessed I payed twice what I actually payed for it. So Id say $1500 for one of those is plenty good.

    Then again I was just telling a friend of mine at work here:

    "So many basses I dont need, and so little money to get them anyway" ;-)
  7. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    I need a job. Then I'll get a Warwick Corvette Standard. Then maybe an old fretless jazz, but not too old.

    I might get something more expensive in about 15 years when I'm a much better bassist and when I could afford it. Though right now I don't want anything uber expensive even if I did have the money because I just don't play well enough.

    Oh yeah, I want a Ric too.
  8. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    a great price for a great bass is anytime you can get a wonderfully great bass for a lot less than you are willing to spend

    generally speaking the brand new prices on basses by Stambaugh, Huff, Eshenbaugh, Mike Lull, and Brubaker are what I would consider GREAT and the used prices on those basses is an out and out steal

    but ultimately what makes something a great bass comes down to the individual bassist
  9. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    for a pro? $2500-$4500 us is reasonable to me, semi-pro or playing for fun?$500-$2500,newbi's can get something for $500-$300 that they can learn on.one of the problems i have seen is the people who can afford super-high end gear are usually not pro player's, this what drives up the price on the high end of bass's because they have more of a collecter's vibe than a player's vibe.i have 6 working bass's and each one has a purpose in my work on a regular basis,but when i talked to a well known super-high end builder about making a bass he told me i should sell all of my bass's so i could afford to buy one of his needless to say i didn't but it does make you wonder who buy's all those $55oo-6000-7000-and up bass's check out some music http://www.soundclick.com/willhoward
  10. one of these days I could see myself paying $2000-$4000 for a nice custom bass. if you think about it, some people go out and buy a car for $100,000 dollars and its not like they really need it or are pro drivers. they just buy it because they have always wanted one and have reached a point in their lives where they can buy it. so if you think about it spending $4000 on a real nice bass is not too crazy. and the bass will hold its value much better than a $100000 car.

    I can't think of a production bass that I would want that costs much more than $1000.
  11. Baseman


    Mar 31, 2004
    I'm not a pro, but I've been playing for at least 20 years.

    As far as bass prices, for me this has to do with wanting to try something different. ... something 'bigger and badder'.

    I'll usually sell one of my current basses to ease the pain and improve the quality. Doing this over time is a LOT less painful in the long run.

    For example, you start with a $300 bass, sell it for $150 a year later and buy a $600 bass, sell that a year later for $400 and get a $1000 bass ($1350 total over 3 years outlay)... and so on.

    True, this example economically may not make sense (however if you're using credit it might be less expensive) but from a 'satisfying the GAS attack' it makes perfect sense. I'm going to be able to afford a $3500 bass in a year or so, but I'm having fun with my $2000 one now... and I ALWAYS have something to look forward to.
  12. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    It's up to the bass.
    I paided $700.00 for a 1975-P bass 100% original,
    custom color-Dakoda Red. Plays and sounds great.
    I also paid $2200.00 for A custom made bass.
    It did not play or sound like a $2200.00 bass. sent it back.
    There are still good deals out there.
    Keep looking.
  13. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    I'm buying a new thumb NT on X-mas or a little later, but i've been playing for 2 years (in november 28), I'm not a pro or a semi-pro but i'm not a newbie, I really like playing bass, I ejoy it a lot and I'm spending €2300 becuase I have thumb GAS, Im in love with the low end and its the best price-value that I can find for that price range here in Europe.
  14. [​IMG]
    rather self explanitory
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have Basses worth $50K and over but they are 200 years old. No Electric BASS is worth $50,000 as a Bass. You are paying for something other than a Bass. I don't care who owned it. The best 'Functional' Bass is the world is only worth a fraction of that.
  16. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I think my current limit is the $1500 mark-i'm 18, and work retail at the mall so saving up $1500 is an accomplishment. About a year's pay after gas [for my car], strings, and upkeep/other costs.

    As i get a better job over time, and fine tune what i want-i can see myself buying basses that cost $1500 yet i can also see myself spending $5k on a bass if i feel like i can use it/want it more than i want something else. In econ class-we called it "cost" and referred to it as something along the lines of it cost us the best other use of the $5k. So if i'm at the point where there isn't a better use [gotta stay current on bills, start to put money away, stay in good financial standings] i'd be willing to pay whatever price, $5k being a somewhat arbitrary number.

    Now on an upright bass [i'm a doubler]-i won't go into that as my first bass will end up costing around $2500 plus setup-for more info go read the DB boards. :D

    That's all
  17. BenderR


    Jun 1, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    I think the law of diminishing returns is at work here. I tend to buy relatively inexpensive gear and I have always been fairly happy with it. I had two MIM Fender Jazzes which cost little and sounded quite good. I could have afforded to upgrade to a USA built Jazz Bass but I couldn't really see the return on investment.

    Recently, while under extreme duress :) I purchased a Warwick Corvette Fretless which I feel offered a noticeable improvement in sound. The Corvette cost me roughly twice what a MIM Fender would. Now I could go up to a bolt-on Thumb or even a neck-through Thumb and gain some further improvements in sound but at this point I am more than satisfied with the Corvette so I doubt it will happen any time soon.

    The scale goes on up from that point and of course there are asthetic issues as well as functional issues. A beautifully ornate instrument does not necessarily play any better than a plain-Jane instrument of equal quality but it still legitimately costs more than the stripped-down model.

    There is also the matter of affiliation. Some players want an instrument because they identify strongly with a well known artist and want the same axe. There is usually a premium for that. A lot of Black Stratocasters have been sold over the years because of Clapton and a lot of Sunburst Jazz Basses have been sold because of Jaco. There is nothing wrong with that IMHO but it can affect prices simply by virtue of demand.

    Fortunately, we have a lot of choices out there and everyone gets to find the point where the returns are not worth additional cost for themselves.
  18. to me it really all depends how seriously you take bass. here is an example using myself.

    i am turning 16 on tuesday. i got my first job a little under three months ago, and have not spent a dime. i have worked my ass off all summer washing dishes. by the time september comes, i am hoping to be the proud owner of a conklin GT7. this to me, will be empowering. i will be celebrating my dedication of over 3 years to playing bass, and i will have something to show for my work this summer. i feel that this is reason enough to put out over a grand on a new bass. this act of saving up will prove to the people around me, that i am a mature young adult, that can handle the responsibilities of a job, without blowing my money on clothes, cds, girls, etc. also, this will be my last chance to get a really good bass, before i need to start saving for university. basically, i guess it all depends on your situation.
  19. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    man, that is great to read that. I sure didn't have my act together that much when I was your age (or 26 for that matter, unfortunately!) I truely believe that if anyone is motivated enough they can achieve just about anything
  20. i turned 18 this year, last october i put my kubicki on lay by and paid it off $100-$200 each week out of my pay, i was only getting paid about $300 at the time...but it was something i loved and wanted desperately, now i have it, and im out of a job, the price of strings is too much now :p ...elixers eventually, they still cost $120