Those cheap upright basses...

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

User avatar
scott anthony
suffering 'studio suck'
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon May 31, 2004 1:00 pm
Location: jersey

Post by scott anthony » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:53 am

A few kinda basic things I learned shopping for mine...

A 3/4 size instrument (the most common size) is easier to play in tune than a 1/2. The scale of the neck fits better with intuitive finger placement.

The plywood instruments are typically more suited for bluegrass and such than a more expensive carved instrument. Less sustain and more punch. It's that "doom" you might be looking for.

Budget at least a hundred or two for a real setup.

I played a few of the chinese things (all sounded pretty bad) and ended up saving and spending about $1800 for an eastern european plywood bass... good luck!

User avatar
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3233
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:23 pm
Location: Oakland

Post by calaverasgrandes » Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:24 pm

oh yeah, the sizes (1/2, 3/4, 5/8 etc) are not linear. A 1/2 is not half the size of a concert bass. Some folks like the 1/2 because its closer to electric scale length. The 3/4 size is by far the most common. And full concert basses, while it may seem cool, are just so freaking huge even I need a stool to play one. And I am 6 foot and 230!
Lemur's basses start at $1500 or so. These are chinese basses set up by them. They are a pretty well respected company in Orchestra and jazz circles. Only just recently offering asian import basses. Most of their other stuff is European of much higher price. ... mber=BA109
Also look for a used Englehardt. these are often band instruments at high schools/jr colleges.
??????? wrote: "everything sounds best right before it blows up."

takin' a dinner break
Posts: 189
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:20 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Post by firby » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:32 pm

Come to Cincinnati. Go downtown to CCM and talk to the faculty. I am in Cincinnati. I'll buy you a beer for being cool enough to appreciate double bass.

PM me if you go.

I'm a bad man!

gettin' sounds
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:34 am
Location: Gainesville, FL

Buy carefully if you want to be able to sell and/or enjoy...

Post by kweis7 » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:49 pm

I'm a guitar player (mostly jazz) and not a bass player but I have been around tons of URB players for many years and without a doubt you should be careful about spending money on a URB. If you buy a cheap one that is not an exception to the rule that you get what you pay for you'll be stuck with an instrument that you don't like and nobody else wants.

Also, the cheaper basses are harder to play in tune and learning to play in tune with good tone is the key. It is hard enough to play a high quality bass in tune, let alone a crappy piece of plywood. If the bass is out of tune then everything else sounds out of tune and you might not notice tooooo much live but throw some mics up and you'll notice right away on playback.

If you could rent a decent bass and take just a couple lessons from a real pro you'd be way ahead in finding a deal on a bass and also learning how to play in tune. Just my 2 cents.
you know less than you think you know, I know I do

User avatar
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3233
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:23 pm
Location: Oakland

Re: Buy carefully if you want to be able to sell and/or enjo

Post by calaverasgrandes » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:00 pm

kweis7 wrote: Also, the cheaper basses are harder to play in tune and learning to play in tune with good tone is the key.
TOTALLY true. This is the main reason I hate Palatino basses so much. I struggled with mine for several years until I realized it wasnt me. i had good technique (played cello since grade school, plus 25 years of electric bass), the bass just didnt have a capacity to sound good.
A lot of cheaper basses dont even have ebony or rosewood fingerboards. They have "ebonized" softwood boards. Which means they are just the top of the neck painted black. Ditto for the tailpieces.
Speaking of, there is a place I think its called luthiers supply? that sells actual ebony tailpieces and nice maple bridges for dirt cheap. I'll look for it when I get home. Good way to upgrade a used/cheap bass.
??????? wrote: "everything sounds best right before it blows up."

User avatar
gimme a little kick & snare
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:56 pm
Location: Dayton, OH

Post by Lukey » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:07 pm

Thanks for the tips. I think I might rent one from St. Anne's, or at least stop in there.

I've only been to Hauer once in the last five years. I went to high school up here, then lived in cincy for a while. I was pretty sorely disappointed with Hauer's selection when I came back to check it out. Maybe I just caught them at a crappy time.

I thought about trying to chase down someone at CCM. I might just take you up on that beer, sir.

takin' a dinner break
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:37 am
Location: Berkeley, CA

Post by Winstontaneous » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:32 pm

I rented a Palatino for several months before buying an upright. Unless you can find one used for under $400 I wouldn't recommend buying a Palatino/Cremona/other cheap Chinese bass. I'd only suggest renting one from a shop that lets you apply rental dollars to the future purchase of a better bass.

As others have said the parts/workmanship on these basses is pretty appalling. There's very little acoustic resonance and the stock setups/strings leave much to be desired, which increases the possibility that you'll play too hard and hurt yourself.

IMO the asking prices of Kays in the last 3-4 years are out of line with their actual worth. I've played some I'd pay $1000 or $1500 for, but none that I felt was worth more than 2K (just saw one for $4250...yikes!) Engelhardts are made in the old Kay factory, I've seen used ones with pro setups/strings for about $800.

Best bet is keeping an eye out for a used Shen or Christopher plywood bass. I'm still kicking myself for not buying a used Shen SB100 I saw at a Music Go Round 3 years ago (price was $800, was worth probably twice that).

As others have mentioned, the Double Bass forums at are one of the best resources around. Good luck!

re-cappin' neve
Posts: 771
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:06 am
Location: South Bend, Indiana

Post by Harry » Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:27 am

I got one for sale for $1000
A Strunal 3/4 size.
I'm not sure of the model# but it's the one with real ebony fingerboard and tail piece(not the ebonized??? wtf?)

like new...comes with gig bag. South Bend Indiana(about 4 hours from Dayton)

If you do buy one I would advise that #1 play it 1st and #2 go for the real ebony fingerboard.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 51 guests