Help with choosing an instrument please?

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Posted by John Precious on July 03, 2000 at 13:56:59:

I, like many others on this site, have realised that
the acoustic upright bass is THE instrument for me.

I have also played other instruments on my journey so far:
guitar, violin (far too small), 'cello (still too small)
bass guitar (fretted and fretless).

My current instrument for the past three years is an EUB with
which I am delighted.
It is not, I hasten to add, an upright fretless guitar, as many appear to be,
but an acoustic upright in all except the bulky, amplifying, body
with pickups in the modified bass bridge.

My dilemma is this.

I really want an acoustic upright for complexity of tone.

So, I spent a day visiting one of England's finest dealers.
A trip to bass heaven - over twenty double basses in one room
ranging in price from 700 GBP (US$1,000) to 12,000 GBP (US$18,000).

I spent two hours looking and playing.

I failed extract any satisfying sounds from virtually all of them
(playing pizzicato). I didn't think to try them with a bow.

This manifested itself mainly in what can best be described as
"Lots of thump, but very little tone" - particularly on the A string.

Is this due to my (lack of) technique?
Was I under-exciting the instrument perhaps?

Could it be cured by "set-up" of the instrument?

Or is it a mixture of both?

If set-up, then it will be very difficult to convince a luthier to
set up every instrument in the shop just so that I can decide
whether to buy it or not.

If it is technique (which I suspect) please let me know how to cure it
as It ought to pay dividends on my EUB also.

Anyone interestd in listening to my recent playing will find a real
media file on my web site (

Sorry this is a long post. Any help will be very gratefully appreciated.

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