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Everything posted by NickA

  1. I bow and pluck. Should be bowing between the end of the finger board and the bridge but plucking over the fingerboard so the bit you pluck doesn't get sticky. BUT I have a bad habit of tensing up during difficult bowed passages so the bow rides up over the fingerboard. Just wipe the strings down with a rag with some alcohol on it .. easily cleaned ( have a bottle of undrinkable cheap Sainsbury's gin in my bass playing room for the purpose )
  2. So just buy a brand new one? Do a blind test and see if you can tell which is which.
  3. Probably more in the workmanship than in the sound. Some of the alembics are just crazy with pointless features like inlaid patterns on the fingerboard and those careully carved omegas etc ... affects the sound and playabilty not one jot; but looks good on the American dentist's wall. Much as I like boutique basses, if the extra work is purely aesthetic, forget it.
  4. I'm in the happy position of owning two (yes TWO) Wals ... why would I spend so much? Well, the fretless is IMHO the very best fretless money can buy and back in 1998 when I bought it, it was cheaper than a warwick streamer. The fretted one; bought at "today's prices", well it was very expensive for an electric bass, but, curiously, 2nd hand Wals never lose value, so really it's no different (apart from being more fun) to having a few £k in an ISA. For what I play on it, a Smith or an Alembic might suit better (and have better ergonomics) but they lose value at such a rate it really would be expensive. Hence, I guess why ancient mass produced fenders are expensive, no one loses money by buying them .. and that drags up the "relic" market and the Fender replica production models. Though if anyone thinks those are an investment .. I expect they will be disappointed. NB: Nothing new about "relics" btw; used to be called antiqueing. I have a 120yr old cello that was antiqued at build - the antiqued bits haven't changed over the decades, but damage has accumulated around them so now it looks "old" as well as "antique". My double bass is just "damaged" which affects its value downwards ... a little; but for what it looks like it's still worth plenty because it still sounds good (and it's old .. which adds kudos cost; people think old wood sounds better ... it doesn't really). But yes, beer o'clock. Good thread though.
  5. Not on my dolphin pro 1. Bit pointless really. The coil tap on the other hand, I really like. Jazz bass mode. Az
  6. How can it be so cheap? Made by Chinese slaves in a "re education centre"? Even an Indian made neck through 5 string Chowny is £1500 ( does have Aguilar electrics tho)
  7. It's the massive 100Hz ripple from the unsmoothed rectifier that tastes so good. There's tingle for you.
  8. It's a lovely bass whatever its name. ...and a very fair price if you live in the EU.
  9. Get some good rosin. Nymans is best, but hidersine is ok. Use lots to begin with. Make sure you're not bowing too close to the bridge (gets good tone but harder to do). Make sure the bow moves at right angles to the strings. Practise starting the note; you have to dig in a bit to get the string to start vibrating, then ease the pressure to keep it going. My teacher used to make me bow open strings sloooowly making the sound last the full length of a slowly moving bow.Trying to start with lots of quick notes is a killer. Strings are an issue. Some strings don't bow well ... though I'm bowing heavy duty spirocores at the moment, that's on a nice carved dB with an £800 bow. Eva Pirazzi strings are a nice bow and pluck compromise (at a price and maybe ott for an eub?)
  10. Roasted maple with a gun oil finish. Yummy. Almost enough to make me buy a new stingray. Oiled ovangkol quite nice too. The unroasted maple neck on my double bass is 150 yrs old so even if aging is accelerated it will probably be OK.
  11. This is why I don't like trying instruments in music shops, that kind of sneery snobby superior attitude is pretty common. (the Bass Centre back in the 80s in Wapping is the honourable exception, they were great) On the contrary, I found the wapping lot really snotty but bass direct really helpful ( though I never talked to them about anything that " mainstream" we have a shop in town for that). The gallery are also really nice; and to my surprise, so are Wunjo. Still, best to deal with other bass chatters; no VAT no profiteering, very little cow poop.
  12. Re chamber screening ... The pickup holes won't really need it, and copper foil is hard to do in small spaces. Conductive spray paint works really well though, it's what Electric Wood and Warwick use (and what I use for work) and it does no harm to spray the pickup holes with it. I mention this because I accidently ordered two cans of it from RS so have one spare ( and for free ) if you want it. PM me if you do and I'll drop it off on one of my essential work trips around Derby.
  13. I like Nymans, but dropped and smashed it. Melted it back into a block but it isn't the same. Got some Kolstein as a replacement ... comes in a nice gold container, but that's the best of it. Go Nymans. Hidersine do several different grades, used to like their stickiest for cold winter churches ... but it turns to toffee on a warm day.
  14. That's a lot of wire! You're right though, just use simandle (1 2 4) further up the neck. I've always been a 1 2 3 4, 1f1f player on electric; so would take some getting used to. Stunning price:quality ratio.
  15. The only use I can think of for those ashtrays is to hide badly aligned pickups. What WERE they for? Screening against radio frequency interference maybe? Might help a bit in that respect. Anyway, I shouldn't stress over it, it won't change the sound and that poorly fitting pick guard is perhaps a bigger issue.
  16. 36" !!!! 😕 I'd need different hands. Bet the B string is good though and lots of drop tuning possibilities.
  17. Transactions between businesses are pretty much unaffected, though there is more paper work to do. Sandberg can knock off Germany's 19% vat and the UK dealer can add our 20%. Difficult I guess for someone like bass direct who import a Smith, say, from the USA and then want to export it to a buyer in the EU ... It's not made in the UK, so EU import duties apply as well as VAT. Who'd buy from a UK company?
  18. Just choosing that new 'cello bow from several sent in the post from Caswell's (all around £1k and the carbon one is best . so far): found this in the process though: at Bowspeed.com ANDREW McGILL England. Round pernambuco stick, silver-mounted ebony frog with fischbein eye and slide and triple adjuster.. 82.3gr. £2,950 And a nice video of Tom Martin and Andrew too: Tempting .. but £3k is a bit beyond my ability level ('cello or bass) I think.
  19. Quite: I wouldn't recommend it. you may get unlucky with the customs people and lose an expensive instrument. A friend went to live in Korea and took a load of vintage port with him (bankers, honestly); told customs the wine wasn't worth much being a) old, and b) Portugese; Korean customs were fine with that! But much stricter on camcorders (as the Koreans made those). When I lived out there myself I used to buy cameras, laptops etc in Singapore, claim the VAT back at the airport and just carry them into the UK; but everyone has cameras and laptops; so they don't question you. A couple of Alembics might be more obvious!
  20. So, Brexit. Big changes when buying a bass, or anything else, from the EU. As I import stuff for work, I had to look into this .. and here's what I found (corrections gladly accepted). Buying privately That last minute "no tariff" deal means that we avoid having to pay import (aka customs) duties, but we still have to pay VAT. There is no exemption for 2nd hand goods. The shippers will pay the VAT for you and then demand you pay them back before they deliver the goods; they will also add "a small administrative fee" and you have to pay VAT on that as well. So let's say you buy a Bass from France for £3000, plus £100 delivery. The shipper adds a £20 admin fee. Total Bill = £3120. Total VAT = £624. Grand total = £3,744. Buying from a company If you buy from a company they should deduct the VAT from the selling price. So that £3000 French bass should only cost £2500. Then you pay £2500 + £100 shipping + £20 admin + £524 VAT = £3,144. Not too bad. The VAT rate varies from country to country eg 20% in France, 25% in Sweden, Germany 19%. Buy from a shop in Sweden and it might be cheaper than you expect! BUT: there is this thing called the Marginal VAT rate for 2nd hand goods, whereby a company that bought a bass from a private buyer for £2000 and sells it for £2500 to another private buyer only pays VAT on the £500 profit (and in the UK only 16.66% VAT instead of the usual 20%); so they're not going to deduct more than £83.33. Ways around it? Not a lot! You can get the seller to declare a false value ... then you will pay VAT on the declared value. It's fraud of course. But does a customs grunt know the difference between a rare vintage precision and an "antiqued" squire. You can go collect the bass in person (post Covid!) and bring it back as hand luggage ... but if the customs people are bored or over keen they might want proof you took the bass away with you prior to bringing it back. The official proof is a thing called an ATA Carnet - these cost over £300 (I've used them for taking tools to S Africa and Australia); you don't "have" to have one - you can just argue the toss. But it only works if you take one bass out, bring another back and no-one spots the difference (my experience is that if you have a Carnet, they check the paperwork, but not the goods). It's fraud of course. Experiences I'm interested in hearing what actually happens. So it would be good if people buying from the EU (or elsewhere) can post their experiences below. How much VAT were you charged, how much "admin fee" and was the shipping delayed at all?
  21. Bottom F#. That's erm.. 23Hz!! Can you hear it or does just do strange thing to your innards (sub sonic weapon style)
  22. Taken me over a year to get used to a 5-string (also a Wal) ..and still sometimes hit the wrong string! The extra neck width (the Wal mk2 5 is quite chunky and my fingers are short and stubby), suddenly having to contend with right hand damping and having an extra string after 50 odd years of playing things with only 4 strings make things harder than I'd expected. Still have to look at my fingers now and then (BAD habit) but it's worth it to be able to stick in a low D and better still not change position so much. I think the recommended technique is to base your hand with the first finger on fret 5 ( ie play "bottom" Es, Fs and Gs on the B-string ) but on the Wal Mk2 at least, you get a different sound from when you play in first position (index finger on fret 2) so I still move my hand back along the neck, even if the note could be reached on the B string. So many options!! Don't think I'd every buy another four string.
  23. ... or as it turns out ....not.☹️
  24. No exemption for 2nd hand goods from abroad it seems. Basically, Vat hasn't been paid in the UK yet, so you have to pay it. The rather thin trade deal did include zero duty though, so we're saved that at least when buying from the EU.
  25. Buying from the EU: see https://www.simplyduty.com/import-calculator/ a £1399 bass (assuming that includes shipping) will cost you £1678.80 though the shipper might charge you an admin fee on top of that. Seems there is not duty to pay (not sure why) but there is VAT @ 20%. If the seller is VAT registered then they should knock the local VAT off the price - but private sellers tend not to be. It's a sad thing that private sellers are now disadvantaged over commercial sellers.
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