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What's a Sweet Price Range for a New Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AudioDwebe, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Or, at what price range does the law of diminishing returns kick in?

    I'm only guessing, but it seems to me that a sweet range is $750-$1500 or so, and diminishing returns seriously kicks in beyond this price point.

    Am I pretty close, or way off the mark? I'm pretty curious about this.

    Thanks for any input you may have.
  2. s3lggiW


    Aug 24, 2011
  3. $700.
  4. +1 this seems to be the cut off point IME.
  5. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    I think you nailed it. $700 alone excludes too many choices. With $1500 you start to include staples like American Standard P and Jazz basses, Rickenbackers, etc. Below your range you still have some good choices, but are limited to offshore production. IMO, there are three levels of bass more or less:

    1) Mass produced offshore
    2) Mass produced but with a degree craftsmanship
    3) Low volume high craftsmanship production

    You can get good basses in all three categories. $1500 covers 1 and 2 very well. Category 3 is where the cost goes up fast, and the improvements are less obvious in terms of sound, playability, etc. What you do get in category 3 undoubtedly is greater attention to fit and finish, the highest quality and prettiest woods, the best hardware finishings, and the list goes on. From 5 feet away there is little difference between a category 2 and 3 bass unless the 3 happens to display a spectacular wood grain on the body.

    There are many players who have access to as many category 3 instruments as they want, and while they own plenty they may still have a favorite instrument from category 1 or 2.

    Category 1 basses can sound and play great, often times as well as a category 2 bass. There's nothing inferior about a bass just because it only costs $500. However, this broad range also happens to be where 99% of the really awful basses reside. If you're buying in category 1 simply remember that each bass is unique, and no two are going to be exactly alike (true for all basses). In this case pay close attention to fit and finish, sound, playability, and look for whatever X-factor makes it a great bass for you.

    Just remember to put a few $'s aside for a tort pickguard and then post a pic here so that everyone will tell you what a sweet bass you just bought. Affirmation by your peers will make any bass a great bass.
  6. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Since Fender got the Squier line squared away?

    About $250
  7. You're not going to get a better answer than this. Time to close this thread.
  8. I'd say $700 to $1000 will buy you a nice bass. This covers a lot of nice Fender models, a few Musicman models, and a slew of other brands. Our local Fender dealer usually has a $999.99 price on some great Fender models listing for as much as $1,600.00.
  9. The main thing is play before you buy. The last $1000.00 bass I bought played better and sounded better than it's $2,500.00 kin. I think quality varies from instrument to instrument whatever brand you're looking at. This is probably not as common when you're buying the $5,000.00 range basses. More than I'm willing to spend.
  10. I guess it all depends on what the OP means by "diminishing returns".
  11. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Well, a $1000 bass isn't usually twice as good as a $500 bass. But a whole ton of people are happy to pay the extra. Also, do you want active or passive, bolt on or neck through, 4-string or extended range, simple paint job or fancy wood top, etc. All these things play in to the price and an individuals "break point" for spending.
  12. It's all personal happiness.

    A good $250 Squier will make the right people unbelievably happy.

    $700-800 is where I would probably cut it here.

    There's an Ibanez SR506 I'm looking at for $600. It instantly made me feel better than any Fender line I played. Fender's aren't my thing. Ibanez is. I could go Prestige for $1200 or so, but it's a much smaller difference for twice the price.

    More money does tend to get you more options, bigger warranty, sometimes better service, name recognition, etc.

    I'm a little peeved the $700 SBMM Ray35 only has three color choices. The $1,500 has many color choices and pickguards. Most people can't tell the difference otherwise.

    Spending lots of money on things makes us feel better about it sometimes.

    See if you can glean something useful from that. The law of diminishing returns is when more money makes you incrementally less happy. For some people, just spending the money on a '58 Goldtop Les Paul is worth it. There's no diminishing return for that.
  13. A sweet price for a new bass is 50% less than street retail.
  14. Thanks, everyone, for all your input.


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