Where are good places to try out $5,000 range basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by eunchang, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. eunchang


    May 12, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    Let me introduce myself first since this is my first post in DB forum. I am a Korean jazz bass player looking for a new DB. I've spent 5 years in US and happily returned home with another degree and professional experience(10 months w/Maynard Ferguson). I've spent a lot of time searching and reading posts before writing this so please don't yell at me.

    To make a long story short, my cheapo unknown Romanian bass couldn't handle the new climate. I decided to get a new bass with more solid construction. I want to keep the cost under $6,000 but am willing to pay upto $8,000 if I really like the bass.

    Until now I didn't have much luck finding a right one, even though there are many super expensive basses here(remember all those Asians playing classical music).

    After reading all the raves about New Standards, Shens, Wan-Bernadels and more, I am even considering visiting US to shop one(only if I can find decent one locally). Airfare+shipping+import tax will be considerable amount of money though(at least $2,000 total I guess :crying: ). I am not sure those basses are worth that much.

    Also, in this case, I need to fly in to a location and spend a day or two trying as many "budget" basses possible. Where would be the best place? Steve Korsica(spell??)'s place looks attractive. Give me some idea.

    Or should I just order one without seeing in person to save airfare? If so, which one? Gosh, you guys are so lucky. Just order one and return it if you don't like it? :spit:
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    You can't beat the New Standards as a jazz bass. I have not heard one negative thing about them. Just order one and spend your time playing.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    That's exactly what I did, and I imagine you might get some flak for ordering a bass without playing it. But in your situation, which is similar to mine, it could be a good way to go. I have the hybrid New Standard La Scala. It absolutely gets the sound I hear in my head, and it plays effortlessly.

    I too envy the mainland guys who have a vast choice of great basses at their fingertips to try. For someone like me, the New Standard alternative was, fortunately, an experiment that worked out beautifully.
  4. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Bought my hybrid LaScala sight unseen/unplayed. No regrets.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Another vote for the hybrid LaScala. I had a trial period thanks to my friendly neighborhood Lluthier, but I was convinced that I had found my true love after about 5 minutes. The rest of the 2 week period was spent happily playing and scheming on how to convince my wife that I needed to write a check for $6000 soon. Even she - a non musician if ever there was one - was impressed by the bass, and told me "if you're really as happy with it as you seem to be, buy it now".

    The only negative things I've ever heard about it were from a couple of people who sat in on it and didn't care for my stiff strings (dominant orchs) cranked way up high...and even those guys raved about the sound. I'd say it's the closest thing to a slam dunk on the market. Good luck!
  6. eunchang


    May 12, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    I have read ALL the posts about New Standards and know there are a lot of memebers love New Standards to death.

    However with my situation -being located in Seoul, Korea, the actual cost I will be paying(including import tax and shipping) will be like $8,000 if I get a hybrid(I am not considering a fully laminated at this point). With the money you guys may be able to get a fully carved LaScala!! And remember, I cannot return it in case I don't like.

    Therefore my question is,

    are those New Standard hybrids(or Shen Willow and Wan-Bernadels) are good enough to compete $8,000 range fully carved basses? There are some basses under $8,000 I can get locally. Those weren't bad but I wasn't totally happy either.
  7. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I can give you a very enthusicastic thumbs-up for the Wan Bernadel. I've had mine for nearly a year and am very happy with it. My teacher is also very impressed with it and remarked that he didn't think I could've done better for $5k.

    Unfortunatley, I don't know much about Mr. Wan other than what I've heard from Steve Korcisca from String Emporium here in Arizona.
  8. dylanjohnson

    dylanjohnson Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Morro Bay, CA
    I just played Steve LaSpina's Wan Bernadel the other night at the Vanguard, and it sounded great. Bright, loud, with a nice, thick good fingerboard and great finish. I don't know about the consistancy between basses compared to the New Standards, but his sounded great!
  9. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Steve from the String Emporium has a one week no questions asked trial period for the Wans. He told me at the time I bought mine that only one guy has sent a Wan back to him and that was because the guy was completely anal about having a string length precisely to his specifications and it was off by a negligible amount (must of been a slab guy). I had to wait over a week because he was waiting on getting a crate back from someone who just purchased one. I pretty much decided I was keeping it as soon as I pulled it out of the case at the airport. Even my wife, whom I had to convince to let me buy a bass in the first place, loved it and told me I had to buy it.

    I really do wish I would've had a chance to check out the NS basses and a Shen but there're none to be found here in the Bay Area - hdiddy will back me up on this one. I think he can also back me up on how picky my teacher is when it comes to basses. :cool:

    MIne has willow back/sides. It gorgeous. The finish is incredible indeed. There's a young woman who does all of the finishing on Wans basses, I understand.
  10. eunchang


    May 12, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    Thanks for the input, guys. I am giving up visiting US to try out basses though.

    I've found one named Dittrich(Gabriele Dittrich 1988 I believe) at $7,000 here which I liked best until now. However, I've never heard about it and couldn't find any information. Anybody has an idea about the maker?
  11. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I Agree. It is a fantastic Bass sounding as good as Basses costing twice as much.

    As far as the maker 'Gabriele Dittrich' for $7,000, I have to guess it is a Shop Bass from somewhere even maybe China using a German name. Still, I doubt it can compete with the sound and durability of a 'New Standard'.