Re: Size and dealer

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Posted by Rich Laird on November 30, 2000 at 08:48:08:

In Reply to: Size and dealer posted by Joel on November 29, 2000 at 15:53:25:

: Getting ready to purchase my first bass and I need a little help.

Welcome to the Doghouse!

: I fully commit when I plan to do something so I have no intention
: of buying an $800 bass and beiing unhappy with the sound. I plan to spend
: about $2500 and get the proper lessons:

Getting a teacher is a great step - your teacher should be able to help you find a good bass. So, I wouldn't be in a hurry to buy anything before you've lined up a teacher. But you also need to do you own fact-finding etc. to make sure your getting what *you* want as well.

: 1. I'm 5 feet eleven and I carry comparable weight and strength. i.e I'm
: a big guy. What size instrument should I be looking at? I held a 3/4 the
: other day and it seemed small.

I'm just a tad taller than you and agree that a 3/4 seems smallish. Other things come into play too, like the slope of the shoulders and even the string length. When I took the "big plunge" I bought a 7/8 and am very glad I did. I agree with the others who said a 4/4 might be hard to sell. But I've noticed that 7/8-size basses seem to be going for better prices than 3/4.

You've asked a really important question here - and don't let someone else make up your mind for you. Something a lot of people don't seem to think about enough is whether the overall size and shape of an instrument is right for them. Having said that, I also think you may have difficulty finding many instruments in your price range that are larger than 3/4. I believe that most of the "manufactured" as opposed to "hand-crafted" basses only come in 3/4, but I could be wrong.

: 2. I saw Bob golliher's web page for the fully carved bass, solid spruce
: top, solid maple sides and back, rbony finger board. Has anyone heard feedback
: on this instrument, good or bad?

Bob Gollihur seems like a good guy, but I haven't seen/played any of his instruments.

: 3. Anyone out there play a 5 string or have comments on it?

First off, I would agree with the others that this is something you probably don't want to worry about just yet. For one thing, to buy a five-string for $2,500 means your going to sacrifice other things in terms of overall quality. Also, all the teaching books etc. are based on a four-stringer and - until you really get going - that fifth string will be pretty much a "fifth
-wheel". This is something else you probably ought to talk about with your teacher.

Here's another thing to think about (maybe you've already have). The extra string can be either the top string (where the bass is tuned C-G-D-A-E) of the bottom string (G-D-A-E-C, some people tune the bottom string B.) Generally jazz players use the first tuning, orchestral players use the second tuning. If you're thinking of using the orchestral tunming, be careful. The low-end resonance on that bass needs to be really exceptional. I had to do an orchestral performance (which involved extensive solo lines) on a Kay five-string (which was designed to be a five string jazz bass) and it was just ghastly. It just was not intended to support that low-end - a real bummer. Personally, I wouldn't even thing about a five-string bass unless I was going to spend (minimum) 12 grand. In addition to the resonance factor, the top needs to be able to support the added tension, etc.

And I agree with the guy who said "read, read, read". The more you know the better. I hope that helps - and good luck!

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