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What is the best bluegrass double bass for under $2500?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by JC Pat, Sep 6, 2008.


  1. JC Pat

    JC Pat

    Sep 6, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    I am looking to buy a double bass that will be used primarily for bluegrass
    and country music. I would be playing outside and traveling with the bass so I was thinking a fully laminated bass might be the way to go (not to mention cheaper). I am hoping to keep the price under $2500 and was wondering if anyone had any good suggestions about the best bluegrass
    bass in this price range. Also does anyone know of any good places to buy double basses in the NYC area?
    Thanks
    Pat
     
  2. An old Kay with a decent set up...
     
  3. Ditto Jason.... check ebay or classified, craigslist, etc for a local used bass: Kay, Amer. Standard, Epiphone, etc. Might be hard to get within that price range though as some of these have become hot collector's items. Either way, you'll want to make sure it's set up well so factor that into the price (a few hundred typically).

    If you can't find one of these or if you would prefer a new bass, look into a Shen, a Christopher, an Upton, or a bass from
    bassesonline.com

    Laminate basses are very common in bluegrass circles so that will do fine. Better not to stress over cracks and damage due to rough treatment or changing weather conditions.
     
  4. JC,
    What all have said previously are good considerations, especially how laminates are becoming more expensive these days. Though the old Kays seem to be prolific in bluegrass circles I seem to recall a few of our luthier members have said they have a potential neck joint weakness. I personally have a '52 Kay with violin corners that I now treat with kid gloves after learning about the neck join.
    As you can see regarding the sub text under the avatar you may want to consider a laminated Cleveland from AES.
    It is lighter than my Kay, pushes a little more air that the Kay since it is a large 3/4, small 7/8 size, and is solidly constructed. Check with Arnold to see if he has a trade in, or as I was, fortunate enough to purchase, a used one around his shop. It will probably be somewhat above your budet but for tough conditions and heavy usage, it will be more than worth it. Good luck with you search and purchase.
    Jim
     
  5. jtlownds

    jtlownds

    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    Since you're in New York, I would go over to metropitan Music and pick up a new (old stock) Eberle for under $1K, and take it to a luthier for a proper set up. It's a lot cheaper than paying collector prices for an old kay or American Standard, and IMHO it's a better instrument too.
     
  6. Bass

    Bass

    Nov 10, 2003
    Canada
    +1 Buy an Eberle.
     
  7. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Hey Jim, did you mean to say 'Ideal Music'? :)
     
  8. The Cleveland is incredible but quite a bit above your budget. I always felt that an old Kay is a much better bass than an Eberle but it has been a long time since I've played one.
     
  9. Gearhead43

    Gearhead43

    Nov 25, 2007
    NorCal
    Check out Shen basses also. Try and find a store that you can play a few, basses all sound different even among the same makers.
     
  10. If you can find a deal on a New Standard, heck yeah that would be my choice (in fact it IS my choice)... but you would need to find a VERY motivated seller to stay in that price range.
     
  11. jtlownds

    jtlownds

    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    Yep, that's what I meant to say. I think my alsheimers is kicking in again, :meh:
     
  12. jtlownds

    jtlownds

    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    TBer Elisa recently went to Ideal and bought one of their Eberles with Steve's basic setup. I played it last Thursday standing right beside an old Kay C1. There was absolutely no comparison. That new Eberle was an absolute cannon. I was very impressed. I have never been a big fan of skinny necked Kays, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
     
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Jim, I think its merely early-onset old-timer's disease that's causing you those lapses. I have a full-blown case myself! :D
     
  14. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    I'm seeing more and more blonde Shen SB 90s at west coast BLuegrass festivals. For myself, I gig with a 7/8 German-made bass unless it is an extremely hot and dry day, when I'll use an old reconstructed American Standard.

    Steve Swan
     
  15. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Newberg, OR
    I have a Blonde Shen SB-90 that I love. I primarily use it for Jazz but I'm weird. I think folks mostly buy it for Bluegrass. I paid less than your budget brand new and set up.
     
  16. Gufenov

    Gufenov

    Jun 8, 2003
    I'm surprised no one has metioned Upton's "UB Standard" models.
     
  17. JC Pat

    JC Pat

    Sep 6, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks for all the input! I am seriously considering an Upton Standard. I would love a New Standard Cleveland but it's out of my price range. An old Kay is appealing as well but I have gone vintage before and regretted the upkeep. Thanks again for all the feedback. Anything else would be greatly appreciated.
    JC Pat
     
  18. Bass

    Bass

    Nov 10, 2003
    Canada
    DRURB must have fallen on his head.

    I have a European Upton, but think I would prefer the Upton Standard, I think it looks better, and maybe the shoulders are a bit narrower?

    Does anyone have one of these who can offer an opinion on this model? I must have missed the threads.
     
  19. I have the 'basso rasa" poplar laminate and I am very pleased with it. It has a big sound and is very lightweight. Set up with Pirazzi's, it is great for jazz, etc. The shoulders are narrow in comparison to the Professor model; the lower bout is wider than standard. Hope this helps.
     
  20. uprightben

    uprightben

    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Any bass that you find in that price range that is well put together and in good repair can be made good for bluegrass.
     

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