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Worth buying expensive?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KleineMerel, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. KleineMerel


    Jul 19, 2019
    Being on the lookout for new gear and noticing how quickly high end gear on average looses its value second hand, would it not make more sense to just buy a good low end one every x years?
    For example high end Fender Professional / Elite loose about 10-15% first 3 years. Then slowly decreasing and only if in good shape.
    For that kind of money I could get me like about 4 good Squiers or nearly new Standard/Player....
    Knowing yes that the premium ones have that (little) quality extra.

    It remains to be seen if within 20 or 30 years, todays gear will be treasured as much as original 60s/70s gear is today?
    bassballs27 likes this.
  2. BassmanM


    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    This is only of interest for people who keep flipping their instruments. If you keep and play your high end bass, why would you care about its value in bucks?

    Also note that the cheap ones lose their value as quickly, even if (to some) it may not appear to be that much moneywise.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    You might want to broaden your thinking unless what a nicer instrument might offer means nothing to you, in which case buy a lower end instrument.

    Yes, new basses can depreciate. The cool thing is that you can also buy them after they do that. That doesn't seem to be factored into your question.
  4. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    If your concern is about the depreciation of a new bass, get a used one.

    I'm not sure that I agree that cheap basses wear out quicker and have to be replaced sooner.

    If this a different take on the, "I can sound just as good on a cheap bass as I do on an expensive bass", line of thought, well that's an old, much discussed, unresolvable and pointless argument.

    The reason people buy more expensive, high end basses is because they believe that those basses give a better playing experience and sound better. If you have that view, a Squier is not going to make the cut. If a Squier gives you that experience then use one. If you take care it will last as long as any boutique bass, but you won't get what a boutique bass brings.

    So forget what the other guy is playing, be guided by your budget, ears, preferences and you'll play the best bass for you.
    Kokoman, wmmj, LowActionHero and 16 others like this.
  5. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Car salesman try to convince you your car is worth significantly less after 30k miles. They get to low ball you at trade-in and sell you a new car. Then they resell your used and make two profits. Fact is if it’s good to you and you keep it 100k or more you’ve got way past your moneys worth out of it. The better constructed the car the better car you have to repair. Your car, drive it as long as you want.

    Basses don’t wear out the same way. I’d rather play the bass I want to play for as long as I want or next to forever. If it’s a good bass someone will actually want it when you want to sell. A cookie cutter inexpensive mass produced bass won’t be wanted by a newbie. They will want something new. That points to buying up market used.

    Discover for yourself which bass calls to you and sings in your hands. That’s all that matters.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass!!!!

    Buy used when it comes to basses. There are too many good ones out there that have taken to hit you speak of.

    I've done a flip-flop lately on amps. I'll likely buy new next time. But basses don't have as many parts that can wear out. Even the ones that do can mostly be easily replaced (other than frets... which can be expensive).

    But something you really like. Then relax and enjoy it without sweating the money. Nothing produced today is likely to he collectable in your lifetime. Your tastes in basses will certainly change over the years. So get the bass that plays/sounds the best to you now as long as you don't go into debt to do it.
  7. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    Clearly the value of a quality bass is not something that you really understand, so just get the cheap bass.
  8. HeavyJazz

    HeavyJazz Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    Certain "expensive" makes tend to hold their value far better than others. Sadowsky and Fodera are good examples here. And there's a good reason for this. A seasoned player's hands and ears know why.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Actually if you buy new you can lose more than the cost of a midrange bass on a boutique. So a $5k bass that's worth $3500 used took a pretty good hit as far as resale value. $10k bass could be worse. But buy that bass used and resale value will likely be far more stable.

    OTOH it's difficult to lose $1500 on a $500 bass.
    Joedog and Beej like this.
  10. Mastodon2


    Feb 27, 2008
    Is it worth buying expensive? That's totally up to you. Can you afford it? Can you buy it without feeling guilty for spending the money? If you can't answer an honest "yes" to both of those then a top-end bass probably isn't for you.

    You might be the kind of person who thinks a Mexican Fender can give you exactly the level of sound and feel that you need and anything more is surplus to requirements. In that case, a top end bass may not be for you. I'd still recommend you play a Ken Smith, Pedulla, Fodera, MTD, custom shop Spector etc, just to see how good these top-tier instruments are, even if you don't think you'd ever spend the money on one.

    Imagine that you need a car to drive to work every day, get some groceries and go on the occasional road trip. A Mazda 2 would be a very economical and sensible way of doing that, but if you had the option to have your dream sports car, say a classic Ferrari (without the hair-raising bills!), don't you think it would be more fun to do it in the Ferrari?
    DrMole and Omega Monkey like this.
  11. bassstrangler


    Mar 2, 2015
    I'm not sure where the logic in owning 4 Squiers instead of one nice bass lies. I recently saw a post of a member who bought 22 Squiers instead of a birth year bass. $7000 in basses, used market worth half, maybe.

    Would you rather own 4 used Kias or one new Toyota?
    BlueTalon, jamro217, obimark and 3 others like this.
  12. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Not really. I modded a $200 Squier with $1000 worth of parts and I figure if I sold it I'd be lucky to get the $200 back.
    ...And the bulk of that was a $600 plain-jane neck with side dots only and no inlays. I could have easily gotten fancy and gone over the $1500 mark.

    But then I don't buy basses in order to turn around and sell them.
    BlueTalon and DJ Bebop like this.
  13. REV


    Jun 18, 2006
    New or used, if a bass really speaks to me then I'm gonna buy it. I'd never buy a Fender instrument without playing it first.
    Wisebass and ajkula66 like this.
  14. libanass


    Oct 16, 2009
    Well, having bought a used Fodera over 8 years ago for a certain amount of big money, and having had it as my main bass, and knowing that today, a Dealer (yes, dealer), would take it back from me for MORE than the price I bought it, I think that's a pretty sweet investment ;)

    Buying expensive won't necessarily make you happy, but buying what you like the most will. If a 500 bucks bass makes you the happiest, so be it, get that, if a 5000 bucks makes you happiest and the 500 bucks won't, definitely do not buy 10x 500 bucks one, you will regret all of them, and not having investing in the 5000 dream bass you really wanted. All basses will require constant maintenance (a bit less on some brands like Modulus, Zon), more string changes, more room, more headaches, and if you won't like them, that'd be a bummer

    If you're worried about devaluation with expensive instruments, buy used, and clever = Brands with good reputation, like Fodera, Modulus, Sadowsky, etc..
    If you buy one from your local luthier, and have it custom build to you, it will still cost you thousands (if only you know how much work a luthier puts into hand building a quality instrument, you'll understand), and if you stop liking it and want to sell it, even though it might be a spectacular bass, it will never sell, or it will for peanuts, and I mean, you might be losing over 90% of the new price value, unless someone really knows that luthier, and wanted exactly the same bass as you, and wants to spend money, and doesn't mind a used bass, and, and.. your chances are very high to lose tons of money on resale

    Better stick with the big guys, that is why I love Fodera so much, they are reasonably priced for what you get, incredibly versatile, hold their value really well, and they are dead serious about quality, and have been since day 1. Of course a new Yin Yang Deluxe is 12k, used it is 7k, that's the big loss after the first resale, but it will probably cost 7k used forever! (depending on the condition of course)

    Buying multiple instruments for versatility is another thing, and the good news on basses, is that fret wear is really really low (as compared to guitars for example with their tiny edge cutting strings), if you don't play a lot and take care of it, your only single main bass can last a liftetime, or at least 20 years!
    Ggeorges likes this.
  15. It’s wildly different from brand to brand. For example dingwall is a relatively small company that struggles to make basses fast enough for consumer demand so theirs usually a long wait to get basses and I think that’s part of why their resale value is so good. With fender they used to hold value really well but I think their resale value has dropped in recent years partially because there are just so many of them out there these days. It’s market over saturation. Warwick is probably the brand I’ve had with the worse resale value. Basses that cost $5k new you’ll be lucky to get $2k for when you sell (and I’m not hating on Warwick, as some of you know I’ve had more Warwicks than any other brand I’m just being real)
    packhowitzer and libanass like this.
  16. Relayer71


    Jun 25, 2009
    I both agree and disagree.

    Yes, it's better to own one thing of good to great quality than several lesser quality things. But perception of quality can be subjective.

    It's also kind of different with instruments because you're getting different tools for different situations/sounds when you buy multiple basses.

    Of course, that is moot if you're buying multiples of the exact same model!

    Personally, I am all for if you can afford it and you want it, buy it. You won't know if something is for you unless you try it.

    And then you find out one of the following:

    1) You just found your perfect bass you'll never part with (and may have acquired chronic GAS and may spend more time window shopping than playing!)

    2) Your current inexpensive bass works just as well or better for you.

    3) The new bass is nice and all, but not for what you paid.

    4) You can't tell the difference!
  17. libanass


    Oct 16, 2009
    True, Warwick, even though it is well known, is hardly a clever investment, unless on a used, and really good deal.

    They're very special looking and sounding, and a lot of people dislike them, including me.. I think perhaps Spector can hold their values a bit better

    But that's a constant problem with manufacturers who release high end basses, but also low end ones. Their high end category resale value start to suffer at some point, their new sales also decreases, and they start focusing on low-end, and decrease overall quality, which is what happened with Fender/Gibson a long time ago. The only difference with those, is that they have many more big players behind them endorsing their instruments. But as you said, there is so many of them on the market, that their values start to drop by 50% or so..
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
    Nephilymbass likes this.
  18. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    I think low end gear that cannot even be sold often goes unnoticed...rotting away in a dumpster.
    instrumentlevel likes this.
  19. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    I think most custom shop instruments suffer this problem.
  20. libanass


    Oct 16, 2009
    Why this makes sense, is often because some low-end gear cost less than the investment required for them to be repaired/refurbished!
    Imaging a 1k used instrument with dead frets, is still worth to visit a luthier for a fret job, now look at a 200 bucks worth instrument instead... Maybe still good for the winter, if you run out of wood to heat the house!
    Justinian likes this.

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