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Re: cheap parents...I NEED HELP!!

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Posted by Rich Laird on December 20, 2001 at 22:06:30:

In Reply to: cheap parents...I NEED HELP!! posted by Thomas on December 20, 2001 at 16:32:32:

: i am a student, and my parents are looking for a string bass for me. i've made sure that theyre not going to get me a mass-produced chineese bass, but they are still very cheap? whats a good laminate/hybrid/carved/whatever bass for relatively--i mean very little. Thanks!

One thing to stress is that the specific make of instrument isn't all that important at this stage of the game. What is important is that whatever bass you get is in playable condition and well set-up. That means no major cracks or open seams, bassbar, soundpost, bridge, etc. are all well-fitted to the instrument and in proper adjustment. The fingerboard should be "dressed" - meaning that it is sanded so that it does not cause buzzes on certain notes.

None of this has anyhing to do with whether it may have some nicks and scratches.

Set-up and restoration can be done by a good luthier. If your not sure whether a bass is totally playable, it would be a good idea to have any instrument your considering looked at by a qualified luthier before you make any offers. You need to know what it's going to cost you to get the bass ready to play before you really know what you can afford to pay for it.

You also need a good set of strings, a decent bow, and some reasonable form of cover. That all needs to be figured into the budget.

Your next stop should be There, you will find a listing of luthiers in your area. Your best bet is to establish contact with one or more of them. They may have something in your price range for sale - or some ideas on where to locate one. But have it checked out. You don't want to shoot your wad and then find out you need five hundred dollars worth of work done before you've got something you can play.

By the same token, doing a little legwork is probably the best way to end up with the most bass for your money.

Talking round numbers, I would think you should be able to get a reasonable quality laminated bass, e.g. Englehardt, in good shape, well set-up, for maybe $1,500 - bow and bag included. Probably less if the seller is really motivated.

Yeah, that's probably a grand more than one of those Cremona (Do they call those Merano now?) or Palatino kits they sell on eBay. But, from what I understand, they usually don't even come with the bridge'll need the fingerboard dressed and probably some more work. I have no experience with those basses myself. But I've heard of people spending the five hundred plus shipping for the kit, taking it to a luthier and dropping another five hundred...and then the damn thing falls apart with the first big change in the weather.

Find a luthier first and go from there - you need his expertise.

Best of Luck!

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