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I love cheap basses!

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On 24/10/2020 at 03:06, S.F.Sorrow said:

 

It's getting ridiculous how much extra money we pay for Big Brand logos on instruments that are only marginally better than the cheapest in-house brands. 

Dude, you will get kicked off basschat saying that ! I worked at a mattress manufacturer, they made all brands, cheap, expensive, same tools, same people, some of the same parts. Last guy ironed on the name of the mattress. Like guitars, your $200 (us) bass may have $2000 (us) bass electronics

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Like many here, I was determined to get the best, most expensive basses that I could afford in search for that perfect match of tone and playability

I happened to stumble upon an interview on YouTube with Tom morello and he mentioned he was once after the same thing then one day, decided to “just work with what I’ve got” something from that comment struck me and wondered if I could do the same. I started playing all of my cheaper basses more (mostly an Ibanez sr300) 

like some have said, with cheaper basses, your not so concerned with the bumps or knocks they can take and I found my cheaper basses are more fun to play after making what I had work for me. I sold off my nicer gear and am thoroughly content with a modified with PJ pickups sr300 (does that contradict my “work with what you have” statement?!) and a stock SR500, more tonal options than I know what to do with realistically between the two but quite happy with my cheap basses to the extent that I no longer  have the urge to look at the more expensive gear

bonus points with the wife also for reducing the amount of guitars and basses wherever you look in the house

Edited by donslow
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Here is my cheap Artist Guitars PB-2 Precision Bass copy ( with black hardware + DiMarzio upgrades). They are the Australian Harley Benton, except nicer name and nice script logo on headstock.

£99 plus a free gig bag, free clip on tuner, free pack of strings, free delivery. They sell a 3/4 version also.

These are so good for no money, and with a bit of set up play pretty damn well. They sell some very well priced quality guitar leads and cases also.

20201024_110427.jpg

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Although I've never had expensive gear, it's not to say I never wanted to have some.

There was a time, about 5 years ago, where I was going to save as much as I could for a 4 figure £'s bass, a cab from someone like Vanderkely or Barefaced, and an amp that was equally cool/hot/expensive.

However, apart from never really having that sort of money available even if I saved and saved, combined with that I've never really played enough to justify the expense I also had a bit of an epiphany moment. A band I was in supported a very well known local band one night. The bass player played a Squier Affinity P bass. These guys did maybe 200 shows a year. He also let me use his amp and cab, a Behringer head with a 112 cab that looked like it had been dragged behind a truck. I just thought, I need to get my priorities right...which was I had decent gear but I don't practice enough :D 

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5 hours ago, sprocketflup said:

One of my fave basses is a J&D jazz that i got off here, its bloody awesome and costs like £130 new

I had one that I bought for a gig I was doing in italy with a band i was in. I didn't fancy taking a US Fender in the hold of a plane so bought a j&d jazz and took that. I sold it after I got back but missed it so much that i bought another. I've since sold the US jazz and still have the j&d. Absolutely cracking workhorse bass.

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2 hours ago, Bleat said:

Here is my cheap Artist Guitars PB-2 Precision Bass copy ( with black hardware + DiMarzio upgrades). They are the Australian Harley Benton, except nicer name and nice script logo on headstock.

£99 plus a free gig bag, free clip on tuner, free pack of strings, free delivery. They sell a 3/4 version also.

These are so good for no money, and with a bit of set up play pretty damn well. They sell some very well priced quality guitar leads and cases also.

20201024_110427.jpg

Bloody shipping's a killer from Australia though. 

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2 hours ago, Marvin said:

Although I've never had expensive gear, it's not to say I never wanted to have some.

There was a time, about 5 years ago, where I was going to save as much as I could for a 4 figure £'s bass, a cab from someone like Vanderkely or Barefaced, and an amp that was equally cool/hot/expensive.

However, apart from never really having that sort of money available even if I saved and saved, combined with that I've never really played enough to justify the expense I also had a bit of an epiphany moment. A band I was in supported a very well known local band one night. The bass player played a Squier Affinity P bass. These guys did maybe 200 shows a year. He also let me use his amp and cab, a Behringer head with a 112 cab that looked like it had been dragged behind a truck. I just thought, I need to get my priorities right...which was I had decent gear but I don't practice enough :D 

I saw an Iron Maiden tribute band here in Bulgaria a couple of years ago. They all had Squier guitars and cheap amps and they were utterly superb! I've seen Maiden half a dozen times, and these guys were just as good, if not better. This whole brand snobbery thing is way out of hand imo. 

It's kind of reminiscent of middle aged men buying a Harley or open top sports car. 

Neither of which will make them race drivers. 

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10 hours ago, mrtcat said:

I had one that I bought for a gig I was doing in italy with a band i was in. I didn't fancy taking a US Fender in the hold of a plane so bought a j&d jazz and took that. I sold it after I got back but missed it so much that i bought another. I've since sold the US jazz and still have the j&d. Absolutely cracking workhorse bass.

I wonder who bought the original one...... :)

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13 hours ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

Bloody shipping's a killer from Australia though. 

They have stock here in the UK so delivery is free , though I guess might be a fortune to get one into Bulgaria!

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On 25/10/2020 at 07:12, Newfoundfreedom said:

My overall impression of HB stuff has always been, how the hell do they even make it at that price?

Because churning out  accurate wood and metal work on a CNC machine, especially in a cheap labour economy, is cheap.

Perhaps the question should be "Why does a standard Fender* cost so much?" Probably due to profit margins.

* Substitute brand name of your choice.

 

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21 hours ago, sprocketflup said:

I wonder who bought the original one...... :)

Haha, that was such a cool bass.

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In my limited experience it’s the twangy bits and pups that make the most difference, so a bit of investment in better quality (or hotter) pickups and choice of strings (not necessarily new) can make major differences. Then amp quality!

2006 Squier Affinity Precision bought for £50 has taught me lots about setup and modification and now sports SD QP’s, Copper foiled cavity, Hi mass bridge, CTS pots and switchcraft jack. Retained original strings temporarily so I could register the change in tone.

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14 hours ago, Count Bassy said:

Because churning out  accurate wood and metal work on a CNC machine, especially in a cheap labour economy, is cheap.

Perhaps the question should be "Why does a standard Fender* cost so much?" Probably due to profit margins.

* Substitute brand name of your choice.

 

You answered your own question - "in a cheap labour economy". If we want instruments (or anything else for that matter) that haven't been built by people who are paid as much gravel as they can eat, we have to pay a bit more than rock bottom prices. I'm fine with that - I wouldn't work for a bag of gravel, so why should anyone else?

Cheaper instruments also have poorer quality metalwork. fittings and electronics. The best way to get something that plays nicely for not too much money is to do as Slick Bass has done (see above).

Edited by Dan Dare
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I love my cheap Harley Benton, it's my first bass so I've got no comparison but for a little over £200 as B-stock it feels good, looks good, plays good.

I'm picking up a super cheap Cruiser jazz bass this weekend, it's going to be my practice piece for changing a neck, pickups and such..for the price it's basically disposable, still hope it's fun to play though.

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12 minutes ago, Pappabass said:

Not bad looking!!  Wonder if they would ship to USA?

If you click on the UK flag at the top of the page it'll give you a drop down menu where there's a US flag...click on that it takes you to the US site, and it says free shipping across the US.

 

Apologies if this results in you spending money you hadn't intended on spending :)

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On 25/10/2020 at 07:12, Newfoundfreedom said:

My overall impression of HB stuff has always been, how the hell do they even make it at that price?

Plus with Thomanns no quibble, postage paid returns policy, at I said, you literally can't go wrong. 

Report back and let us know your thoughts when it arrives. 👍

It arrived today - the £144 fretless jazz. First impressions - how the hell do they make it at that price 😂. It’s really heavy - I couldn’t play it on a strap for a whole gig. Build looks v good, set up pretty good - I’ll probably play around with the action but that’s personal preference rather than essential. Cheap and nasty knobs and pickup covers. Sound - it’s very good, in fact it’s marvellous for the price, plenty of mwah. You even get a jack to jack lead with it!  It won’t get lots of use but for those moments when only a fretless will do it’s a brilliant buy.

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On 22/10/2020 at 20:12, P-Belly Evans said:

This cheap? 177 quid from Thomann. 3 band eq with 5 way pickup selector. Good it is too! You can also have a passive single pickup MM5 SB for 117 I think

IMG_20201004_084316.thumb.jpg.d0349b56c18796d438d7da8db257ef9a.jpg 

I have the 4 string, its excellent. I have literally no desire to change anything , not strings, pups, nothing. However just for fun I put some square stick on 'inlays' on the fretboard. Pimped my Harley!!

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On 27/10/2020 at 14:42, Dan Dare said:

You answered your own question - "in a cheap labour economy". If we want instruments (or anything else for that matter) that haven't been built by people who are paid as much gravel as they can eat, we have to pay a bit more than rock bottom prices. I'm fine with that - I wouldn't work for a bag of gravel, so why should anyone else?

My emphasis (in my head at least) was on the CNC manufacturing .. the cheap labour thing was an afterthought. I was not defending the cheap labour economies, especially when they are blatently oppressive like China, far from it, but that's how it is at the moment. However, CNC manufacturing is also cheap in the west (though not as cheap as in the Far East), especially in long production runs, and most USA Fenders (as an example) are mass produced in this way. Yes they will cost more than Far Eastern products, but I don't believe that they need to cost as much as they do.

 

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3 hours ago, Count Bassy said:

My emphasis (in my head at least) was on the CNC manufacturing .. the cheap labour thing was an afterthought. I was not defending the cheap labour economies, especially when they are blatently oppressive like China, far from it, but that's how it is at the moment. However, CNC manufacturing is also cheap in the west (though not as cheap as in the Far East), especially in long production runs, and most USA Fenders (as an example) are mass produced in this way. Yes they will cost more than Far Eastern products, but I don't believe that they need to cost as much as they do.

Fair points, but I would suggest something further. It isn't just the actual CNC machining that costs. That is a relatively small part of building instruments - it only really applies to making the components. Assembly, setting up, QC and inspection, which will be more intensive in the US (partly because the manufacturers need to justify the higher prices charged for US built instruments) is the greater part of the process. If it is done by people who are paid properly, that has to drive up the price. In the Far East, the instruments probably come off the production line and into the boxes with relatively little setting up or hands on input. I agree that the price premium is high for US-built instruments and have no doubt that there is an element of manufacturers charging more for them because they can, but I don't think that's all there is to it.

Edited by Dan Dare

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47 minutes ago, Dan Dare said:

Fair points, but I would suggest something further. It isn't just the actual CNC machining that costs. That is a relatively small part of building instruments - it only really applies to making the components. Assembly, setting up, QC and inspection, which will be more intensive in the US (partly because the manufacturers need to justify the higher prices charged for US built instruments) is the greater part of the process. If it is done by people who are paid properly, that has to drive up the price. In the Far East, the instruments probably come off the production line and into the boxes with relatively little setting up or hands on input. I agree that the price premium is high for US-built instruments and have no doubt that there is an element of manufacturers charging more for them because they can, but I don't think that's all there is to it.

I think we're pretty much in agreement here.

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