Posted by Ed on November 13, 2001 at 13:31:38:
In Reply to: Re: sad bass situation posted by Don on November 10, 2001 at 10:13:38:
So does Andy not want to play anymore?
Anyway Jeff, before you take Andy's advice and "dismiss" Don's commentary, you should probably be aware that Don has played jazz with some extremely creditable players (Eddie Hazell and Vic Juris to name a couple), studies with an extremely creditable player (Michael Moore to be precise)
and is in the bass section of the Ridgewood Symphony. He owns several wonderful basses, several more basses that I would be happy to own and his luthier also repairs, restores and maintains instruments for many of the premier players in the NYC area.
He knows what he is talking about.
As far as setting up the bass, it's much more than just fitting a new bridge. In the first place, you may not need a new bridge. You may just need to have the bridge cut for adjusters.
There is some room for play with the soundpost and placement will affect the sound of the instrument. Strings are the easiest part of the equation, you CAN change those yourself. The neck may need re fitting, the fingerboard may need re dressing. And after all that you may still end up with a bass that is only marginally better sounding (but it should be "easier" to play).
But it's more than likely going to be up to you to front the money for it. How many more years are you going to be in the music program there? If you have a few years to go, you may be able to but the bass from them ESPECIALLY if you have sunk a lotta money into setting it up (I know a number of people who got their first plywood this way). If your teacher says that they don't have the money to pay for it, they are not "lying" to you. The arts budget is the first thing to go in just about every public school system. But all is not lost.
Check with local luthiers. I know in NYC Dave Gage keeps old sets of strings around the shop, for just this kind of thing. Check with the local universities to see if they have some kind of program that brings high school students into the university music system for lessons, etc. You may be able to get the use of the universities instrument in exchange for committing to a year or so in their music program. Especially bassists!
Check to see what grants are available for instrument loan, instrument repair and maintenance in your area.
Oh, and don't worry about the whole "jazz strings or classical strings" thing whoever it was was talking about up there, that ain't right. You use the string that gets the best response for you on the bass you play. Jazz guys and classical guys use the same strings, different strings whatever sounds good.
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