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Re: Help with locating a great 3/4 upright bass!

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Posted by Tim on February 20, 2002 at 08:24:45:

In Reply to: Help with locating a great 3/4 upright bass! posted by Randy on February 20, 2002 at 01:14:24:

A used Kay would be good for your purposes, though it may be difficult to find a good one in your price range. It might be worth your while to buy a broken/damaged kay and spend a couple hundred bucks having it repaired and set up properly.

If you get frustrated with trying to find a Kay, you might consider a Shen or Christopher plywood bass. They are of excellent quality and have a satisfying tone. The new Shen plywood basses have a darker finish to them and come with ebony fingerboards.

As for the difference between carved and plywood basses, carved basses will generally have a richer, louder, more resonant tone quality. They are also more responsive and the tone will improve more over time.

Carved basses also require more maintainence than a plywood. Occasionally the seams need to be re-glued or possibly cracks repaired. The humidity of a carved instrument needs to be carefully regulated to avoid such problems. Sometimes a carved bass requires a summer and a winter soundpost which need to be changed by a professional luthier annually. Plywood basses are much more durable and require much less attention.

There are also hybrid basses available, which have carved tops and plywood ribs and back. These offer an improved tone and response over plywood basses and require less maintainence than a fully carved bass. These are a great choice for amateurs and students who play a variety of styles.

My guess is that, considering the types of music you want to play and your price range, you will be best off with a good quality plywood bass.

Whatever you decide on, it will be well worth the $100-$150 you will spend to have the bass set up by a professional luthier.

Also, do yourself a favor once you find the bass of your dreams and invest in some private lessons with a reputable teacher. You are best off learning with someone who can teach classical technique at first, as this will give you the best foundation to build on as you play in other styles.

Good luck!

: I'm a guitar player who has always wanted to start playing upright bass. I'm in search of some direction on what to look for in a bass. I know I don't want some cheap Chinese bass. I want something with TONE that I can use to adapt to my many different styles of music. I'll primarily be playing Rockabilly, Traditional and Alt-Country and Bluegrass. I want to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,200 to $1,5000.00. I'd prefer a darker stain to the wood. ebony fingerboard etc. I reside in Colorado. What can you tell me about ply vs/ carved tops? Is a used Kay the way to go? Anyone have something for sale////ket me know! ANY help you can give me will be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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