When (beginner, intermediate, advanced, ...) can one truly appreciate a high-end bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JPK_DK, Sep 5, 2020.


  1. sunnyboy010101

    sunnyboy010101

    Sep 19, 2013
    I have been (and am) a piano player, guitar player, keyboard player and bass player. I love them all.

    Time was every musician seen on TV was playing a pseudo-grand piano... all the wood, but the camera would invariably pick up the "Yamaha KX-88" weighted controller that had replaced the action. There was a time when either the Roland A-80 or the Yamaha KX-88 were king of the weighted controllers. The bonus was you could always get another synth module (or in the 90's, a sampler) and replace or upgrade your 'instruments' anytime.

    I still have my KX-88 and a rack of synths from the '90s. Love them all. :)

    But I also grew up with a very decent upright piano and played a few grand pianos at recitals in my youth.
     
    imabuddha, JPK_DK and Guild B301 like this.
  2. Kinky Afro

    Kinky Afro

    May 24, 2012
    Melbourne
    I think your bass should improve with your playing. If your happy playing cheap gear thats all well and good but I don't think beginners should start off on high end gear. They won't appricate it and would have no where to go up from there.
     
    JPK_DK likes this.
  3. That was not the case when I began. I believe Asian automation has narrowed the quality gap. However, you don't have to be a great musician to appreciate fine craftsmanship.
     
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  4. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    I admit that I was lucky when I was young and had indulgent parents I had then chance to own three new 1967 basses: Fender Mustang, Fender Jazz Bass and Gibson EB-O The Fenders went for too little but the Gibson when sold gave me a return that beat out most financial instruments including a fair number of stocks and bonds. Now I live the life of a retiree living on a Squier budget. But I am having alot of fun
     
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  5. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    No, cheap instruments are still cheap instruments. 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, today...cheap is cheap. Still sound alright, and the necks are decent. But, shotty hardware, bad soldering, poor wood selection, quick finishes, poor body routing, stripped screw holes, cheap screws in general, high or low cut nuts, high frets, poor dress, bad shielding, and cheaply wound pickups VS handmade quality in its finest...(weighs the options) i gotta say that the gap is still pretty apparent that cheap is still cheap. Will it play? Yes. Will the other play better? Yes. Can you get used to it? You can get used to anything. Is it cheap? Yes. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth the price difference? To some. Is it worth it to me? No. Is cheap bad? Nothing's bad if it plays.
     
    JPK_DK likes this.
  6. bottomzone

    bottomzone Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2005
    You need to play high-end, medium-end, and low-end basses to compare the craftmanship, playability, features, and tones. There are noticeable differences. Then you can decide if the high-end basses are worth the extra money if you can afford them.
     
  7. chris_b

    chris_b

    Jun 2, 2007
    Bad or inappropriate basses will hinder your playing and can hold you back. If you feel that is happening you should quickly move to a bass that makes you feel better and enhances your playing. It doesn't matter if that bass is a Fodera or a Squier.

    I've had 3 bass related "WOW" moments. First, when I bought my Fender Precision in 1969, then when I bought a Lakland 55-94 in 2003 and finally when I bought my Sadowsky in 20016. I don't care if no one else noticed, the step change improvement in feel and/or tone at each stage made me very happy, and I think that made me a better player.
     
    Matt R, PhatBottomBass1 and JPK_DK like this.
  8. Matt R

    Matt R Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Newbury Park, Ca.
    IMHO a bass with a great set up can make as much difference in playability and inspiration to play, as an expensive bass.

    I've swapped Stingray basses with student's while I re-strung and set up their bass. The parent reported their child was playing longer and playing "their own" music during the time they had the loaner.
     
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  9. Agreed!

    If you have a Fodera all out of wack, it's going to feel, play and sound like it!

    Every "race car" has an exceptional mechanic on the team!
     
    equill and JPK_DK like this.
  10. sunnyboy010101

    sunnyboy010101

    Sep 19, 2013
    I think as well there's a difference between 'cheap', inexpensive, and 'off priced'. The dollars you may pay out may be the same, but the quality can be vastly different.

    Now in the 'new' market, I think there is less room to play, as price points must be met. Very occasionally a decent brand may try something new with a lower price, just to get some players. However mostly you pay for quality, up to a point. I believe that beyond a certain level of quality, you can be paying mostly for a name (brand) or for some type of 'bespoke' build, whether perceived or actual.

    But in the used market, we all read stories of the gold-quality find at bargain prices, usually because the seller had no clue (really? In this age of internet???). But what I've seen more often is items sold at the wrong venue being the bargains. A chain guitar store accepting a synth module on trade may dump the synth at a ridiculous low price simply because they don't want it around, and don't want to be bothered with researching it (time does cost money).

    In the case of my current bass, it is something custom built. It's a fretless fender copy (long neck) with no name, no brand and no real identifying marks. The shop that consigned it called it a Schecter (which is most certainly is NOT) - I think because that was a 'foreign fancy' brand in western Canada (at the time) and not easily checked (internet did not technically exist for 'us' until a few years later). So they sold it for $400 CDN because they wanted it gone, not because anyone bothered to evaluate it. Given the quality of the pickups, tuners, pots and other hardware, as well as the overall build quality, it was probably worth a lot more. But they wanted it gone because it didn't have a Fender label. My gain. :)
     
    JPK_DK likes this.
  11. I guess "cheap" is a relative term. I play a Warwick Pro Series Corvette which cost a fifth of the price of my Infinity. 20131029_0304.JPG It's finish isn't quite as good. It doesn't look quite as nice. It's tone isn't quite as bright, but it's not far off. 2011 Pro Series Corvette Standard Bubinga WPS L-000420-10 1822.JPG
     
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  12. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    I play a custom pj and a talman 600. 20200823_131512.jpg
    I finished and modded the talman. The Purps cost me $830 from the ground up. If I bought it, or had someone else make it for me, it'd be somewhere over 1500. The talman cost me $600, + about 150 for tuners, bridge, pots, wire, and finish.

    The Talman is a cheap bass.

    The Purps would not be a cheap bass if I didn't build it.

    Finish: I did them both so...finish is what it is.

    Quality: Purps has better everything. Love the Talman neck though.

    Playability: Purps plays better. Talman feels better. Purps can get lower action. Talman is lighter. Talman is smaller and has more space between the body and strings, which is great when slapping.

    Sound: Talman everyday of the week. Purps is far smoother. Talman sounds absolutely huge.

    20200905_102634.jpg
    The mikro I bought my 5 year old for $175 is a cheap bass. It feels cheap. It sounds cheap. It is cheap. Still fun as hell to play though, and has a great playing neck. Too small for me, so feel is out. But, this little thing plays great. Sounds like crap though. But, what do you expect for a sub $200 5 year old's instrument? New pots and pickups, and a little love in the electronics cavities, and it would be a pretty decent little bass.

    Is cheap bad? Nothing's bad if it plays.
     
    JPK_DK likes this.
  13. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    You are totally right. I have been driving Volvos since 2000 and had great luck with all three of them (well except #2 got totally by a tractor trailer truck but Volvo safe is form real---my wife walked away uninjured but the car took one for the team and was totalled. My first Volvo was an S40 which drove like poopie til I changed dealers and it ran like a top for 17 years until the engine wore out. The key word was I found a really capable service dept at the higher priced but closer to my house Volvo dealer. I have friends who took a bath dumping relatively new 2000 S40 sedans because their dealer was like my original deal, they didn't know how to fix them. I have never stopped going to the guy who knew hos to fix and performance improve Volvos. I think its exactly the same with basses. When I was young the repair guy at the music store was a retired professional violinist who taught himself to be a luthier and a violin maker to maintain his own very expensive fiddle. This guy could max performance tune and repair anything with strings--actually he was pretty good with brass, woodwinds and pianos too as well as repair replace parts in amps as well I never knew what a set up was back then because ever instrument that sold was properly set up and any instrument that came in for repair got a set up. I guess a guy who can adjust a tuning post in a fiddle with long nose u shaped tweezer to find its perfect sweet spot would figure out how to do an expert set up (he maintained my two basses, my father's violin and my violin and viola way back when---all of these including my dad and Mr Mitchell Petruzza master violin maker/luthier are long gone) but luckily I found a good luthier now I have taken bass back up in retirement
     
  14. Peter Hess

    Peter Hess

    Aug 21, 2020
    I have found the main difference between a less expensive instrument and a higher end one is playability. Over the years and many different instruments later not one of my instruments played as well as my Alembic epic.

    I have the bass ~10 years and have not once had to set it up. I didn’t use it for a while and when I finally took it out of the case it was as perfect as the day I got it.

    so what’s my point? You can spend $800 or $8000 on a bass and the first thing that will jump out is how it plays. I’ve played hundreds of instruments from my very first hagstrom to a pbass to several Gibson’s, a couple of rics and not one of them played like the Alembic. If I was in a position to lay out 20 large for one of their series or mark king models it would be a no brainer.
     
    JPK_DK likes this.
  15. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The better you are, the more you can get out of any bass. The better player you are, the more you know what you want out of a bass. Ideally, a person can get a bass and rig that gets them the sound and fee they want. The cost being the only limiting factor.
     
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  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jul 29, 2021

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