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WHERE to buy a Double Bass.

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On 09/10/2016 at 01:42, JoeEvans said:

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.

Another shout for Ben. Nice guy, down to earth and not pretentious. He has a changing stock, some from the estates of late jazz musicians.......eg Trefor Williams.

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Nice to revisit this topic and to look back at the ‘journey’ from 2012. The landscape has changed somewhat; Peter Tyler and Paul Bryant have both retired. Ben Packham has emerged on the scene and has some very nice budget basses as well as higher end stuff. My journey has ended and I’ve thinned my collection down, after all you can play only one bass at a time. My treasured instrument is a Bryant, it goes out with me at least once a week. Two gigs next week.

BTW I know of a very nice Martin Concert belonging to a player who is giving up due to ill health. Nice price and in the Middx area.

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Bassace - any idea if that Martin might still be available?  I'm in the market for something :)

thanks

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Hey.

I've got a small selection of lovely, restored old German flatbacks up for grabs at the moment. Also repair and maintenance. 

 I'm in Bath. Tom Allen 07983 629 478.

If you want something really special and newly built, go and see Martin Penning in Frome.

Edited by tommyjamesallen

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Nearly bought another (smaller and fancier) bass last week (my hands aren't getting any bigger but they are getting stiffer with age) ... someone else got there before I made my mind up; so, the hunt begins (again) for a smaller and better bass.  Lizsop isn't the only person who might like to try that Martin ;¬)

The trouble with dealers is Mark Up and VAT.  A reasonable dealer's markup is "only" 15 - 20%, but then add 20% VAT on the sale and on the commission and £10,000 is only buying a £6944 bass !!  Now think of the markups applied by the likes of Turners and you don't seem to get much for your money (though the big dealers will haggle and do a good trade in deal to soften the blow!)

Of course what you should get from a dealer is a bass that is properly setup - usually to your custom requirements - and some come-back if something turns out to be wrong and of course if you bought a £7000 bass privately, you could then spend £3000 doing it up (maybe). 

What do we reckon.  Are dealers worth the extra cost?

 

PS: good story I read about the "worlds most expensive bass" (at least, it was in 1999): 

"a Venetian double bass by Domenico Montagnana of c.1747 which topped Sotheby’s sale when it sold to a professional musician for £140,000. Interestingly, despite the fact that this was well under the £250,000-350,000 estimate, it still set a new auction high for a double bass

“The bass world is notoriously difficult to sell to”, said Sotheby’s specialist .. “most basses tend to change hands privately between players and not sell at auction which made pricing difficult to predict. Our estimate reflected that we were hoping to attract a collector or institution. However, the world of the bass player felt our price was a little ambitious”.

So glad to read that :¬)  hope it's still true.

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I saw a bass @ £350,000 at T&G Martins a couple of years ago. I’m sure it’s a killer orchestral bass but didn’t particularly pizz well - at least with the strings it had on.

This Martin Concert I previously mentioned was bought by a fellow bass player who I took to see what T&G had on offer. He liked it a lot and I agree it’s a nice instrument. He’s now fallen on ill health and has mentioned that he wants to unload his bass stuff, although he’s still looking forward to recovering well enough to go out on drums and guitar! I don’t want to be too insensitive and go in with both feet so I’ll need a little time before I mention his Martin again. Patience.

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13 hours ago, NickA said:

Nearly bought another (smaller and fancier) bass last week (my hands aren't getting any bigger but they are getting stiffer with age) ... someone else got there before I made my mind up; so, the hunt begins (again) for a smaller and better bass.  Lizsop isn't the only person who might like to try that Martin ;¬)

The trouble with dealers is Mark Up and VAT.  A reasonable dealer's markup is "only" 15 - 20%, but then add 20% VAT on the sale and on the commission and £10,000 is only buying a £6944 bass !!  Now think of the markups applied by the likes of Turners and you don't seem to get much for your money (though the big dealers will haggle and do a good trade in deal to soften the blow!)

Of course what you should get from a dealer is a bass that is properly setup - usually to your custom requirements - and some come-back if something turns out to be wrong and of course if you bought a £7000 bass privately, you could then spend £3000 doing it up (maybe). 

What do we reckon.  Are dealers worth the extra cost?

 

PS: good story I read about the "worlds most expensive bass" (at least, it was in 1999): 

"a Venetian double bass by Domenico Montagnana of c.1747 which topped Sotheby’s sale when it sold to a professional musician for £140,000. Interestingly, despite the fact that this was well under the £250,000-350,000 estimate, it still set a new auction high for a double bass

“The bass world is notoriously difficult to sell to”, said Sotheby’s specialist .. “most basses tend to change hands privately between players and not sell at auction which made pricing difficult to predict. Our estimate reflected that we were hoping to attract a collector or institution. However, the world of the bass player felt our price was a little ambitious”.

So glad to read that :¬)  hope it's still true.

You can expect to pay 100%-300% more at a dealer. If you know what to look for and you have a good luthier that you Trust, you can save a lot of money buying a bass in the private market.

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At the end of last year I spent £10k on a bass from Turners in Nottingham. I fully accept that I paid "dealers price"/"top price". If I knew what I was doing and had searched long and hard enough I could have probably picked a similar quality instrument for much less privately. But as I don't know what I'm doing, it was incredibly useful to be able to play literally 30 or 40 basses side by side to understand the differences, and learn exactly what I needed. They brought coffee and left me alone for as long as I liked, but also had the technical expertise to answer all my questions. Before I completed the purchase they let me take the instrument home (and on a gig) for a week, and then gave it a final fettle in the workshop at the end. If I ever go back and want to trade the bass in against another in their shop, they will give at least what I paid for mine in px. 

So no regrets - paid for the benefits of a dealer but used and appreciated those benefits. 

All of that said, after using them for an education, I might be more inclined to try privately next time.  

              

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I had a bass off Turner's for a few weeks once .. it's a great service; I did have to pay their insurance cost though and they did keep mine as a "hostage". 

It didn't work out, I didn't think it had been well restored and they were much too shady about its real price.  Could have saved haggling ( which I hate) by just paying the speculative £7000 on the price label and selling my own privately of course.  At least I had the chance to consider it. 

Back then, Bass Chat and Musical Chairs didn't exist tho.

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