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Stylon Pilson

Good bass shops in or around Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire

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I've got the day off on Monday and am thinking of going out looking for a new 5-string. My usual go-to is Andertons in Guildford, but I was wondering if there are any other places that people can recommend that have a decent enough range of basses that there'll be some interesting 5ers on offer. I've got half a mind to try out Bass Direct but it's a 90 minute drive which is a bit far if I'm not going up there for any other reason.

S.P.

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Posted (edited)

Guitar Village in Epsom [edit - Farnham! sorry for confusion] has a small room of basses, I think all stock is on their site so you could check if anything is of interest. It certainly won’t have the selection that Bass Direct has. Is Bass Gallery in Camden too much of a hike?

Edited by tedmanzie
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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, tedmanzie said:

Guitar Village in Epsom has a small room of basses, I think all stock is on their site so you could check if anything is of interest. It certainly won’t have the selection that Bass Direct has. Is Bass Gallery in Camden too much of a hike?

Do you mean Guitar Guitar in Epsom, or Guitar Village in Farnham?

Bass Gallery is a bit of a journey, yeah. It would take me as long to get there as to get to Bass Direct, if not more. Again, if I were going into London for any other reason then I would consider dropping in, but I don't want to make the journey just for that.

S.P.

Edited by Stylon Pilson

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There's a huge Guitar Guitar in Epsom; I seem to remember they carry a wide range of the "usual suspects" - Fender & Squier, Gibson & Epiphone, assorted Stingrays and a few pointier models. Guitar Village, as mentioned above, often has some more esoteric stock (aren't they Farnham rather than Epsom?).

It's a shame Kingston lost Hands Music a couple of years ago. Never the biggest range, but they had some nice-looking G&Ls and a few more unusual models last time I went in.

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6 minutes ago, Stylon Pilson said:

Do you mean Guitar Guitar in Epsom, or Guitar Village in Farnham?

Bass Gallery is a bit of a journey, yeah. It would take me as long to get there as to get to Bass Direct, if not more. Again, if I were going into London for any other reason then I would consider dropping in, but I don't want to make the journey just for that.

S.P.

Sorry! Guitar Village in Farnham was what I meant to type :)

Although Guitar Guitar in Epsom does also have a small ish selection of basses.

 

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PMT in Oxford has Fender, Ibanez and a few Ricks, not much else i noticed. The little one in Thame had a fair few Reverend last time i was in, and a proper old Fender SIX, but that was a couple of years ago.

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Just now, MoonBassAlpha said:

PMT in Oxford has Fender, Ibanez and a few Ricks, not much else i noticed. The little one in Thame had a fair few Reverend last time i was in, and a proper old Fender SIX, but that was a couple of years ago.

I was about to say that Vintage and Modern sometimes have some interesting basses in stock, but best to phone and see what they have before driving over.  Oxford PMT is usually well stocked with basses, including Sandbergs.

Personally, I've never found the drive to Bass Direct to be wasted, even if I am half an hour closer to it than the OP. Unrivalled selection of basses.

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My experience of Guitar Village is that it's a great shop, and is exceptional for guitarists, but well below average for bass players - very much a token effort (unless you really, really like Ibanez's).  Like Tedmanzie says, the stock is all on line so it's worth having a look before you set off...and having just done the same  there are very few five strings in stock, although a slightly more interesting selection of four strings than anticipated due to a few second hand basses.  But nothing that would get me to go there rather than Andertons if I didn't specifically want one that I can only find in Farnham

GuitarGuitar usually has pretty decent levels of stock, although I haven't ever been to their Epsom store.  However, their website does show which shops the basses are in, so you can check in advance whether the ones you want to try are actually in Epsom

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Posted (edited)

Okay, so I've had a look into these options:

Guitar Village in Farnham doesn't seem to have much in the way of 5 string options (see here). There's a Tanglewood Curbow (I actually tried the 4 string one of these in Electro Music in Doncaster many, many years ago. Not bad, but it wasn't love), an Epiphone Tobias (which I've heard bad things about) and a couple of Ibbys but they're both marked as out of stock.

Guitar Guitar in Epsom - I could figure out how to filter their online product list to just in-stock (see here) but not how to further filter it to just in-stock at one specific store. I've sent them an email.

PMT in Oxford - good online store, was able to filter it to show just 5 strings at Oxford (see here) but the result is mostly Ibanezi. The thing is, and I feel really petty to admit this, but I have an inexplicable dislike of Ibaneziata. I'm sure that they're great basses, and everyone says that they're decent players, and some of the finishes are downright gorgeous, but that headstock and logo will always remind me of teenage onanists who learn to slap before they can even play fingerstyle, and I want nothing to do with that.

Vintage and Modern in Thame doesn't seem to offer much in the way of 5s either (see here), but to be honest with a name like "Vintage and Modern" you can't be terribly surprised if it's mainly 4 string Fenders and Hofner violin bassen.

Hmmmm, maybe I should just go back to playing a 4 string.

S.P. 

Edited by Stylon Pilson
Fixed broken link

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14 minutes ago, Stylon Pilson said:

Okay, so I've had a look into these options:

Guitar Village in Farnham doesn't seem to have much in the way of 5 string options (see here). There's a Tanglewood Curbow (I actually tried the 4 string one of these in Electro Music in Doncaster many, many years ago. Not bad, but it wasn't love), an Epiphone Tobias (which I've heard bad things about) and a couple of Ibbys but they're both marked as out of stock.

Guitar Guitar in Epsom - I could figure out how to filter their online product list to just in-stock (see here) but not how to further filter it to just in-stock at one specific store. I've sent them an email.

PMT in Oxford - good online store, was able to filter it to show just 5 strings at Oxford (see here) but the result is mostly Ibanezi. The thing is, and I feel really petty to admit this, but I have an inexplicable dislike of Ibaneziata. I'm sure that they're great basses, and everyone says that they're decent players, and some of the finishes are downright gorgeous, but that headstock and logo will always remind me of teenage onanists who learn to slap before they can even play fingerstyle, and I want nothing to do with that.

Vintage and Modern in Thame doesn't seem to offer much in the way of 5s either (see here), but to be honest with a name like "Vintage and Modern" you can't be terribly surprised if it's mainly 4 string Fenders and Hofner violin bassen.

Hmmmm, maybe I should just go back to playing a 4 string.

S.P. 

You're right, the GuitarGuitar website doesn't let you filter stock by store (as far as i can work it out) so it's a slightly painful process of going into each bass, which will show which shops have them in stock

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I wouldn't completely dismiss Ibanez, my last three purchases have all been Ibby six string basses and I've never slapped a note in my life - always played fingerstyle and recently diversified into plectrums because some of the stuff I play needs that extra attack. 

 

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1 minute ago, FinnDave said:

I wouldn't completely dismiss Ibanez, my last three purchases have all been Ibby six string basses and I've never slapped a note in my life - always played fingerstyle and recently diversified into plectrums because some of the stuff I play needs that extra attack.

Oh, I know that, which is why I'm a bit ashamed to admit it. Generally I pride myself on being the kind of person who doesn't get too hung up on brand names - an anti-gearsnob, if you will - but something about the Ibanez brand has just been too badly tarnished during my formative years.

S.P.

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Just now, Stylon Pilson said:

Oh, I know that, which is why I'm a bit ashamed to admit it. Generally I pride myself on being the kind of person who doesn't get too hung up on brand names - an anti-gearsnob, if you will - but something about the Ibanez brand has just been too badly tarnished during my formative years.

S.P.

You're missing out, though, I just put down my SR 506 (£540 brand new a few months ago) to use the computer, and it is one of the most comfortable and versatile basses I have played - quite honestly, makes my Fenders, Gibsons look bit sad, to be honest, so I have sold a few and bought more Ibanezes. I even sold my Alembic recently to fund this madness!

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Basschat - is my favorite all things bass market place, apart from strings and batteries all my gear is from here. 😊

Bassgear was great in Wokingham, can still be contacted on line, or a trip to Warwick where you can park, or fight your way the the Gallery Camden, best go by skate board and a taxi back if you buy something 😁

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Posted (edited)

I've bought a few bass guitars from Guitar Guitar in Epsom, they have the biggest range I've seen for a non specific bass guitar shop.  Mainly Fenders with a selection of MM and Sterling's along with various Ibanez guitars.  They quite often have a few Laklands, Sandberg's and Mayones guitars too but probably only few examples of these brands .

Edited by PJ-Bassist
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any particular reason why you're not heading to Andertons, given that they have made a big effort to improve their bass selection over the last couple of years?

And any particular price range?  That might influence whether it's worth making a specific trip to one of the more specialist shops, or a well stocked generalist

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9 minutes ago, Monkey Steve said:

any particular reason why you're not heading to Andertons, given that they have made a big effort to improve their bass selection over the last couple of years?

And any particular price range?  That might influence whether it's worth making a specific trip to one of the more specialist shops, or a well stocked generalist

I was looking for an alternative to Andertons just because it seems to be the place where I most often end up. The bass room, while a great idea in principle, starts to feel a bit claustrophobic if you're not the only person there.

Price range is fairly broad. Historically I've tended to spend up to £500 on a bass, but I wouldn't be averse to spending a little more if it's something that really gets the blood flowing. Ritters and Foderas are probably a bit too much to justify though.

S.P.

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9 minutes ago, Stylon Pilson said:

I was looking for an alternative to Andertons just because it seems to be the place where I most often end up. The bass room, while a great idea in principle, starts to feel a bit claustrophobic if you're not the only person there.

Price range is fairly broad. Historically I've tended to spend up to £500 on a bass, but I wouldn't be averse to spending a little more if it's something that really gets the blood flowing. Ritters and Foderas are probably a bit too much to justify though.

S.P.

Probably worth a trip to Guitar Guitar, they have a reasonably selection for under 1000£.  

I bought a lakland 44-01 and a Fender MiM Deluxe PJ there.  I've also tried some Sandberg Electra's and SUB stingrays for around that price mark last time I went.  Ibanez have a few nice guitars in that price range too that GG usually stock.

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one other to throw in, although it's well outside your preferred area, is GAK in Brighton - a lot of choice in your price range (the website shows 36 five strings in stock below £500, though only 21 if you exclude Ibbys).  One caveat that mates have told me that what is in stock on the website isn't always in the shop, it's in the warehouse, and that the online price may not be the same as the shop price

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20 minutes ago, Monkey Steve said:

one other to throw in, although it's well outside your preferred area, is GAK in Brighton - a lot of choice in your price range (the website shows 36 five strings in stock below £500, though only 21 if you exclude Ibbys).  One caveat that mates have told me that what is in stock on the website isn't always in the shop, it's in the warehouse, and that the online price may not be the same as the shop price

Yeah, that'd be a 2 hour drive each way for me - that's well beyond my desired distance.

Andertons have a similar system where most of the "in stock" stuff is actually in a warehouse, but can be retrieved with a couple of hours' notice. The thing is, I don't have a specific bass in mind. I'm just looking to try out some options and hopefully discover something that inspires me.

S.P.

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GG Epsom would be worth the visit. I popped in there just the other day whilst passing - it’s my local.

They’ve the usual large selection of Fender stuff ranging from Squier sub-500 quid up to 2k + MIA stuff, and most points in between, including a Flea Jazz. Plus that rather nasty 5k+ P bass with the black sprayed edging and black raccoon mask around the pick up, if you fancy gawking...

A couple of nice 2018 Rays in there too plus some Sandbergs and a Ricky.

Quite a few really nice Ibanez basses 500 quid up to 1k, some acoustic stuff and that electric upright thingy on their website, plus a couple of those rather cute Epiphone Jet shorty basses at around 300 quid.

You can park quite easily just around the corner in the Hope Lodge pay and display or alternatively just a 2 minute walk away in the bigger car park behind the Odeon (which is in the Upper High Street).

Just my tuppence worth.

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UPDATE: I took the advice of those above and paid a visit to GuitarGuitar in Epsom. Nice place, great staff. Came home with a Lakland 55-01.

Thanks for all your help, peeps!

S.P.

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1 hour ago, Stylon Pilson said:

UPDATE: I took the advice of those above and paid a visit to GuitarGuitar in Epsom. Nice place, great staff. Came home with a Lakland 55-01.

Thanks for all your help, peeps!

S.P.

Lovely guitars - I massively regret selling my 44-01.

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On 03/01/2019 at 13:30, Stylon Pilson said:

PMT in Oxford - good online store, was able to filter it to show just 5 strings at Oxford (see here) but the result is mostly Ibanezi. The thing is, and I feel really petty to admit this, but I have an inexplicable dislike of Ibaneziata. I'm sure that they're great basses, and everyone says that they're decent players, and some of the finishes are downright gorgeous, but that headstock and logo will always remind me of teenage onanists who learn to slap before they can even play fingerstyle, and I want nothing to do with that.

Incidentally, I felt that I should follow up on this. In Guitar Guitar there were some 5-string Ibanezum on the wall, and in the interests of challenging my prejudices, I asked the sales assistant to also get one of those down so that I could try it and attempt to open my mind. Pretty big of me, right? Anyway, started to play it, and something felt wrong about it, the strings seemed a bit loose. Checked the tuning and, yep, the person to play it before me had dropped it by a tone. I rolled my eyes at having my Ibanezist stereotypes so blatantly confirmed. Brought it back up to pitch, and gave it a really good crack at it, but alas nothing was working for me. Wherever I put the EQ, it felt like something was missing, and the whole size and shape of it didn't really feel like it belonged to my body. For a laugh, I scooped the mids and boosted the bass and treble, slapped a few notes, and was instantly whisked back to my formative years, in pubs where teenagers would play "metal" which basically consisted of going THARRAKATARAKATARAKATARAKATA with great speed and intensity but very little groove or melody.

S.P.

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