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TheG

WHERE to buy a Double Bass.

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[b]Where to Buy a Double Bass[/b]

I have recently bought my self a new double bass. I knew it wouldn't be a straightforward process and was slightly apprehensive about even starting the search.

Anyway after travelling around and trying many basses, meeting various people and chatting to people over the phone, all of which was VERY useful to me, I now know a lot more about the double bass.

The first thing I had to decide on was how much I was going to spend. The next thing to do was to actually find where the basses were. I searched high and low to find luthiers/showrooms/private sellers etc, etc who had basses that could be tried out and were relatively easy to reach from Birmingham.

I have compiled a list here of my results. It is not supposed to be an exhaustive list at all and would encourage others to add more places that don't appear on this list. Hopefully it will help someone currently looking at buying a bass and ease the process slightly.




Hope its useful to someone:


[b]Tim Toft Violins[/b]
7/9 Station Road
Stone
Staffordshire
England
ST15 8JP
Tel: 01785 811860
www.timtoftviolins.com

This is where I eventually bought my bass. The team in there were very knowledgeable, easy going, friendly and very accommodating. They adjusted a couple of bridges on some basses allowing me to try out my Underwood pickup on them amplified.
************************************************************************************

[b]Turner Violins - (Nottingham)[/b]
1-5 Lily Grove
Beeston
Nottingham
NG9 1QL
Tel: 0115 943 0333
www.turnerviolins.co.uk

The showroom had a decent amount of basses to try of all price ranges.



[b]Turner Violins - (Birmingham)[/b]
1 Gibb Street
(off Digbeth High Street)
Birmingham
B9 4AA
Tel: 0121 772 7708
www.turnerviolins.co.uk

Although this branch doesn't have many basses to try they did said that they can arrange for basses from the Nottingham branch to be delivered to the Birmingham branch for you to try out. Could be useful and can save a bit of petrol!
************************************************************************************

[b]The Contrabass Shoppe[/b]
33 Clarence Road,
Walton on Thames
Surrey
KT12 5JY
Tel: 01932 248900
Mob: 07976 243334
www.contrabass.co.uk

Didn't go there in the end but they seem to tend to cater for the higher priced basses. Looks very good though.
************************************************************************************

[b]Thomas & George Martin[/b]
Babington Barn
Williamscot
Banbury
Oxon
OX17 1AD
Tel: +44 1295 750546
www.thomasmartin.co.uk

Out of the many basses I tried the Thomas Martin bass was excellent and I came very, very close to buying one. I visited George who was very knowledgeable and friendly. They have a large selection of basses of all prices. George showed me the wood stocks they keep and also showed me round the workshops. They seem to have a very good customer service indeed and also after service second to none. I was very impressed by the whole set up.
************************************************************************************

[b]Paul Bryant Basses[/b]
2 Summer Place
Kidderminster
Worcestershire
DY11 6QH
Tel: 01562 637024
[email protected]
www.bryantbasses.co.uk

The maker himself. Good quality basses and decent prices too compared to some others.
************************************************************************************

[b]M & J Healey Violins[/b]
(Malcolm Healey)
12 Rose Hill,
Sutton,
Surrey,
SM1 3EU
Tel: 0208 644 4700
www.healeyviolins.com

Good selection of basses. The setup of EVERY bass I tried was excellent, very easy to play indeed. It was a good example to me of how well a bass can be set up.
************************************************************************************

[b]Thwaites[/b]
33 Chalk Hill
Watford
Herts
WD19 4BL
Tel: +44 (0)1923 232412
www.thwaites.com

They had the most amount of fine sounding basses in a single place that I tried anywhere. Good place to try.
************************************************************************************




The following places I never visited although may have had contact with several of them.


[b]Peter Tyler Double Basses[/b]
1 Oak Stubbs Lane
Dorney Reach
Berkshire
Maidenhead
SL6 0DW
Tel: 01628 621560
[email protected]
www.tylerbasses.co.uk
Author of "About The Double Bass" an excellent book that helped to put me at ease about various elements of the double bass. It includes a section on buying a bass too.


[b]Tim Batchelar[/b]
28 Colbert Drive
Leicester
LE3 2JB
[email protected]
+44 (0)116 2899798
www.batchelar.com


[b]Kai Dase[/b]
43 Mansfield Road
Nottingham
NG1 3FB
+44 (0) 115 958 7663
+44 (0) 7967 695 847
[email protected]
www.kaidaseviolins.com


[b]Martin Penning[/b]
41b Lower Keyford
Frome
Somerset
BA11 4AR
+44 (0)7810 890 108
[email protected]
www.mpenning-luthier.co.uk


[b]Adrian Vickers[/b]
www.avcontrabass.co.uk


[b]Martyn J Bailey[/b]
Sible Hedingham
Essex
CO9 3HS
01787 461128
07761 470213
[email protected]
www.mjbl.co.uk


[b]Websites:[/b]

www.eBay.co.uk
www.GumTree.com
Facebook sales (been told that people do sell on here although I have no experience)
www.musicalchairs.info/double-bass/sales
www.musicalinstrumentsales.co.uk/dbassales.html

There are many other double bass luthiers and workshops based abroad that I know people have successfully ordered new basses from including Upton Basses ( www.uptonbass.com ) etc. I didn't go down this route although did get to play a very nice sounding bass that was ordered from there. There are many more.

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Peter J. Hall, Beverley. [size="4"]mobile 07901 591965[/size].

Does my bass work but also repairs, makes and deals in all the string family, mainly violins but he's got several basses in at the moment and also has the contacts to fit what you want to what's available. Also helps that he's a really nice bloke.

Steve

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I can vouch for Peter Tyler. Just bought a bass from him, fantastic experience, a really nice man.
His book is extremely informative covering all aspects of the Double Bass.

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Thanks for doing this. While I'm aware of all of the above it's really nice to have all of them on one list, will be very useful when I go on my search for 'the one', very soon I hope!

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Great summary. I got mine from George Martin but almost went for one at Tim Toft. I found the staff at Toft excellent - very knowledgeable, left me to try the basses and checked up. Turner's in Nottingham had more stock but a lot had not been checked out and set up. Also, when I went, I was being looked after by the restorer - very knowledgeable but I can't help feeling he had better things to do! In the end I fell in love with a brand new Martin.

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Excellent post - wish this had been around when I was looking a couple of months ago...

I visited Paul Bryant and George Martin and would have been very happy with either - in the end I went for the Martin, just felt better to me and as previously mentioned George's custom service is excellent.

Had my first rehearsal on it with the quintet last night and it was very well received - so much so they want me to use it on the gig on Sunday :)

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yes thank you for taking the time to point me in a good direction for buying,
all the best to you

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A great thread.Ran into a group of travelling buskers yesterday (2 trumpets, guitar, keys and double bass). Bass sounded great. They told me it was 150 years old and was for sale for £1000. Although the bass sounded great it looked like they were travelling with the bass on a chain behind the van. It could have been a bargain or a scam. Suddenly realised that I would not mind a new instrument(have a small bodied contra) but did not know the first thing to look for.

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[quote name='jwbassman' timestamp='1337860367' post='1666489']
Had my first rehearsal on it with the quintet last night and it was very well received - so much so they want me to use it on the gig on Sunday :)
[/quote]

It makes me laugh when electric bass players convert to upright. They take the new double bass to rehearsal and everyone is 'yeah, use it on the gig tomorrow'. They SO want the aesthetic of the bass that they forget that learning to play a double bass after an electric is like trying drive an articulated lorry after learning to ride a pizza delivery moped!! :lol:

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Nice thread TheG,

I was looking for a DB for ages

Sadly, there's almost no choice of where to buy one in the Cardiff/ South Wales area
I got lucky, because a very nice. local BC'er sold me hers
and I was very lucky that it turned out to be a nice bass

But when I was looking, I found the only sellers were a long way from me,
and even a long way from one another
all of which made comparing basses a very long process, and usually a long time between trying them out

I'm sure someone in the midlands area will find this useful
so thanks for taking the time out to compile this list

Marc

PS. Typically, within weeks of me buying my DB,
2 came up S/H in instrument shops in the same street in Cardiff!

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Ha ha ha1 Typical! I like it that 2 came up at once Marc. Same thing happened to me with a second hand car that I set high limitations on (including the colour!!!)

I didn't even want to start the process of looking for a new bass because I knew potentially what it could mean..

Im assuming that the ones I found here are mainly around the Midlands but surely there should be more scattered around the UK?

If anyone knows of any more add them to the list.

Edited by TheG

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Thanks for this very useful thread: it led me to the door of Thomas & George Martin and I'm collecting a 3/4 Concert later this week, very excited at the prospect. Also sold my G4M today so temporarily bass-less!

Pete

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Well done, Pete, you'll get a very nice bass. The Martins thin the table down quite a lot which means the bass has a great punch to it. Just tell George to make sure that your bass is finished a lot better than mine - which is probably the worst looking bass around. For miles.

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Excellent stuff Pete. I was really impressed with T&G Martin basses and there aftercare.

Exciting times. Sounds like you've had a bit of an upgrade. Cool.

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[quote name='lowlandtrees' timestamp='1399620341' post='2445851']
A great thread.Ran into a group of travelling buskers yesterday (2 trumpets, guitar, keys and double bass). Bass sounded great. They told me it was 150 years old and was for sale for £1000. Although the bass sounded great it looked like they were travelling with the bass on a chain behind the van. It could have been a bargain or a scam. Suddenly realised that I would not mind a new instrument(have a small bodied contra) but did not know the first thing to look for.
[/quote]

Most of the "music" that that particular group do is a backing track. I know them too well :(

Steve

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[quote name='bassace' timestamp='1400350102' post='2453149']
Well done, Pete, you'll get a very nice bass. The Martins thin the table down quite a lot which means the bass has a great punch to it. Just tell George to make sure that your bass is finished a lot better than mine - which is probably the worst looking bass around. For miles.
[/quote]

Would be interested to know what was wrong with the finish on your bass? Collected mine yesterday and it looks great but then I'd already seen it in the shop. It had been made for someone overseas who failed to come up with the dosh. Only problem is some rosin caked on the strings: someone obviously couldn't resist playing it!

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Hi Pete

I have seen several Martin basses and they are nicely finished. Not too sure what happened to mine. It's completely matt, there are lumps and bumps in the applied stain and I don't think there are very many coats so the thin finish is very vulnerable to rubbing and scuffing. That said it plays very well. Is yours fully set up or will they have it back to adjust? Their best luthier took mine back in and reduced the string height at the nut after it had been played in. Then he reprofiled the fingerboard where there was a bit of resulting buzzing. He did a good job while I waited.

A very nice bass indeed - just as long as you get a well finished one. You can easily get rid of any rosin cake by cleaning the strings with industrial alcohol which you can get from Maplin.

Wishing you a lot of joy with a very nice bass.

Roger

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[quote name='oggiesnr' timestamp='1400481527' post='2454148']
Most of the "music" that that particular group do is a backing track. I know them too well :(

Steve
[/quote]

Bloody hell. That passed me right by. The sound was very live. Are you sure? They told me they were Spanish and Portuguese but I thought that they were from another place.

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[quote name='bassace' timestamp='1400583319' post='2455062']
Hi Pete

I have seen several Martin basses and they are nicely finished. Not too sure what happened to mine. It's completely matt, there are lumps and bumps in the applied stain and I don't think there are very many coats so the thin finish is very vulnerable to rubbing and scuffing. That said it plays very well. Is yours fully set up or will they have it back to adjust? Their best luthier took mine back in and reduced the string height at the nut after it had been played in. Then he reprofiled the fingerboard where there was a bit of resulting buzzing. He did a good job while I waited.

A very nice bass indeed - just as long as you get a well finished one. You can easily get rid of any rosin cake by cleaning the strings with industrial alcohol which you can get from Maplin.

Wishing you a lot of joy with a very nice bass.

Roger
[/quote]
Hi Roger. It has been set up and has been settling there in the workshop for about 6-8 weeks since it was finished. I didn't arrange to go back at any particular time but they said any issues just get back to them. As I live in Exeter I would probably get any minor adjustments done by a local luthier. I've gently cleaned off the rosin with very fine steel wool and a cloth and that seems to have done the job. I'll get some alcohol though. Thanks for the tip. It's playing nicely, certainly better than my old G4M. I'm having to adjust to the standard Evah Pirazzi strings as I was playing the Weichs before.

Next job is to make a stand. I had the old one lashed to a couple of hooks with a bungee round the scroll - don't think that will do for this one! Will post a photo if I manage it.

Pete

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Really useful thread. Thanks.

I've been to Turner's Toft's and Thwaites over the years and liked Toft's best (as the people who restore and set them up are in the back room and available for a chat and all the basses were beautifully set up). However all three shops have a terrific mark up between what they pay and what they sell. Tried a bass in Turner's that they wanted 20000£ for .. found identical in a Sotheby's listing that had sold at auction for £8000 ( plus auction fees presumably, but still)

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I bought my bass from Ben at http://thedoublebassroom.com. He seems to be one of the few people with a good range of 'proper' basses (i.e. handmade and solid wood) at the lower end of the price range for such things (i.e. not all five figures...). I spent a happy few hours trying out ten or twelve nice instruments and would recommend him to anyone who wants to pick a good secondhand db from a broad selection.

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Toft's are dealers, hence the mark-ups, but they are open to haggling. I got my first cello from them. There's the big workshop at the back with I think three luthiers. A friend bought a nice violin there and with haggling got the price down nearly 30%. They have separate 'rooms' for cellos, violins, basses...

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