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Re: Mexican Bass

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Posted by Michael Francese ( on April 30, 2002 at 22:09:56:

In Reply to: Mexican Bass posted by CASH on April 30, 2002 at 19:26:28:

: My family just bought a "new" upright(we have a couple bassists). It is supposedly a mexican bass. It has chevron wooden inlays(i hope you know what chevron is). It is hand carved...i can tell by the edges. It is a 3/4 size bass. It has a little crack at the top where the soundpost "rammed" into the front inside of the bass. I cant tell what brand it is because it was repaired and the back was patched on the inside with a quite large piece of wood. It has a fixed wooden endpiece. It is the lightest bass I have ever held, nonetheless, it has an awesome sound. I have brand new nylons on it. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW AROUND HOW MUCH THIS BASS IS VALUED, given the info. I bought it for 300 bucks(good deal for almost any bass). Any help?


I live in south Texas,3 miles from the Mexican border,and also acquired a Mexican bass about a year or so ago. While it is impossible for anyone to give you accurate information as to its worth,keep the following in mind:
1}Many of the istrument made in Mexico are handmade in some shops,many of which make furniture as well as violins and guitars;most of these shops don not label their work.
2}My bass was made entirely by hand,with hand tools,and without the benefit of jigs. The Mexicans are a gifted and clever race of people-they can make magnificent things with a minimum of resources. My 5/8 size bass,which is about 50 years old,and is of plywood sounds better than the new Chinese basses commonly available. I,too paid $300 for mine. I replaced the strings,tailpiece,endpin,cable and bridge,which cost me $400. But $700 is about what its worth.
3}Mexican basses tend to be very lightly constructed. If you replace the nylon strings,as I did,with light gauge Corellis,for example,you might find that the top will buckle. The bottom block may be shallow,and may not accept a standard endpin. Many Mexican basses use an old-fashioned wood peg,instead of an endpin.
4}Many Mexican basses where designed for club work and folk music groups,so don't be surprised if you find out that nothing about them coincides with the dimensions and appointments of basses build for symphony or jazz work.
5}If the bass is playable as is-use it and enjoy it. Figure that a playable bass of any kind is worth at least $600-800. Don't throw good money after bad. I used my Mexican to get started playing again. With a pick-up and a little amp,I do very well at jams and small drummerless gigs. The Mexican fits in my 3-door Saturn whereas a 3/4 Kay,for example never would. I can lug it around at festivals and not worry if it gets beat up. My bass cost $700,but to me its priceless because it filled a need. However,if I sold it,I'd ask for$500-600 because that is really what its worth.

I repeat:with Mexican basses,nothing is standard,as they are individually handmade.
-Be careful re-stringing or replacing parts;the bass may not take the strain.
-If you're serious about bass-playing,aim for getting a legit axe,like one of Bob Gollihur's Bulgarians,and use and enjoy the Mexican for fun.

Michael Francese

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