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bass prices, are some worth it?

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10 minutes ago, TheLowDown said:

If a bass costs you above £400 and isn't diamond studded or laced with gold, you should question what you're getting for your money.

I have a couple of basses that cost over £400 and can honestly say they are better made and nicer to play than the cheaper ones that I own. One is a Fender and is a lovely instrument both aesthetically and build quality.

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5 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

I have a couple of basses that cost over £400 and can honestly say they are better made and nicer to play than the cheaper ones that I own. One is a Fender and is a lovely instrument both aesthetically and build quality.

Often it's about perception regarding how much people paid for their item. "Nicer to play" "and "better made" are highly subjective.

Scientists have have many times conducted real world experiments and found that people consistently perceive a higher priced item as being "better", even when it was the same.

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4 minutes ago, TheLowDown said:

Often it's about perception regarding how much people paid for their item. "Nicer to play" "and "better made" are highly subjective.

Scientists have have many times conducted real world experiments and found that people consistently perceive a higher priced item as being "better", even when it was the same.

You must be right then if scientists say so.

Bloody scientists there always sneaking in and meddling with my basses.

 

Edited by tegs07

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5 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

You must be right then if scientists say so.

Bloody scientists there always sneaking in and meddling with my basses.

 

Well if you think you're getting a better bass, then that's all that matters, eh. If you're more than happy with it, then there is no issue for you.

Edited by TheLowDown

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48 minutes ago, TheLowDown said:

Well if you think you're getting a better bass, then that's all that matters, eh. If you're more than happy with it, then there is no issue for you.

There’s no issue other than the fact that you’re just putting down sweeping blanket statements as fact. 
 

Edit: Don’t mean to sound as harsh as it reads. That is the trouble with written word., no tone or subtly.. that said standing by the essence of the text. Not everything Fender makes is mediocre, ash and alder are nicer than chipboard and sometimes you really do get better value when you pay more.

Edited by tegs07

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I'm astounded that Fender are able to charge the money they charge for their standard MIA kit.  It's production line and scale production which should make it cheap.  The whole concept developed by Fender was to make instruments from easily manufactured parts put together in the simplest way possible.   Comparing standard American Pro Precision at £1700 to a Spector Euro 5er out of the Czech republic at £1800 for example:

Fender body is alder, Spector is maple with a maple cap.

Fender neck is maple with reinforcement and a RW or maple FB.  The Spector is a laminated 3 piece maple through neck with RW.

Fender has a single passive P/U mounted on the scratchplate,  Spector has P/J config active body mounted.

Oh, and you get gold plated hardware on the Spector - personally that would put me off.

The Spector is clearly more complex to make, and it's not like it's being made in a sweatshop.

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2 hours ago, Doctor J said:

How do they compare to a Spector made in the US though?

Well, you can get a Spector Coda series PB style bass with a bolt on neck for less than a Fender Custom Shop Pino signature.  In fact you could add an optional burl cap and ebony fingerboard and still be less than the Pino.

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When I see some Custom Shop Fenders go for well over £3000 I'm a little miffed. Then I see a Lakland 5594 deluxe go for a little over half the price. I know what instrument I would choose.I really don't get the high end Fender basses market. Im not even sure how the Fender brand is so well regarded in the high end market.. .Especially at the Custom shop pricing. Ive played and owned quite a few custom shop Fenders and I still dont get it. Compared to the basses I've owned like Sadowsky, Suhr, Sei, Shuker, Fender dont come close  .  I would hold up a £1500 Maruszczyk to any CS Fender.

 

IMO. They do the sub £1000/£2000 market well. But 0ver £4000/£5000 even £7000 for a new custom shop fender. in my mind the brand doesn't carry that much worth. only my opinion of course

Edited by bubinga5
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8 hours ago, Doctor J said:

How do they compare to a Spector made in the US though?

I've got a Euro LX5 and it's right up there with any bass I've ever owned or played. Word on the street is that the preamp on the USA models are even better, but I'd personally struggle to justify the (hefty) premium.

I was very lucky to get my Spector new at a decent discount in a sale, but it was still a multiple of what a HB or a Sire would cost.

But do I think it's worth every penny? Absolutely.

And at the end of the day isn't that all that really matters i.e. are we happy with what we got for our money and being inspired to make music with it?

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9 hours ago, bubinga5 said:

in my mind the brand doesn't carry that much worth. only my opinion of course

I feel the same way about Harley Davidson Motorcycles. I guess this is where concepts of heritage, aesthetics and iconography kick in. 

Personally I don’t have the funds nor do I particularly want a custom shop Fender but if I was a highly paid banker looking for some pretty object to hang in the entrance hall that epitomised rock and roll then the custom shop Fender would do that better than a Spector ...

Edited by tegs07

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I suppose there is an arguement for artistic value too. I mean I can paint a pretty decent picture of a can of Campbells Soup but I'm guessing most people would rather have the Warhol version... (change art piece/artist to suit taste!)

Some of my basses do fall into the category of being a bit pricey, but they were made to order with very specific content that doesn't really exist in the non-custom world both in terms of electronics and aesthetics and I enjoy them equally for how they play and the joy that brings me as well as how the look - much like a good piece of art I can happily stare at these basses for long periods of time and admire the work behind the build. 

Having said that, I do believe there is a balance in all of this though - for instance (yeah, we all know it!) Fodera have some utterly eye watering price tags, and Alembic even more so, I mean $60,000 for Alembic is just insanity no matter how you slice it! Then there is the likes of ACG were the prices are incredibly reasonable for the outstanding craftsmanship and superb electronics - both on an easy par with Fodera and Alembic, and having played all three, personally in a 'value blind' test, I'd go ACG. 

It depends on the artist you want to paint your picture, at the end of the day, be it 100 people painting their little section of a 'paint by numbers' picture (I.E. a cheaper mass produced bass), or one truly skilled artist that has made a name for themselves over the years (The ACGs and Foderas of the world) it's your choice to make. Art, like basses is subjective - some are happy with seeing those cheap 'Live, Love, Laugh' wall stickers as art, some would rather a Rembrandt. Whatever you like, what ever you can afford, it's your choice! 

Edited by binky_bass
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17 minutes ago, binky_bass said:

much like a good piece of art I can happily stare at these basses for long periods of time and admire the work behind the build. 

And that is where some of the cost creeps in .. nothing wrong with a Ply or composite body unless you’re interested in grain, finish and weight. 
 

Cheaper machine heads and bridge are fine too if you don’t mind the finish peeling off after a year or two.

Cheap pickups and electrics .. don’t know how many folks I know that have bought £300 ish pounds bass then over a year is so swapped out all of the above and added £200 to the cost... when £500 or so on the second hand market would have got them a far better bass.

Edited by tegs07

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1 minute ago, tegs07 said:

And that is where some of the cost creeps in .. nothing wrong with a Ply or composite body unless you’re interested in grain and weigh

It is indeed were the costs creep in! A nice thick piece of acrylic stabilised buckeye burl with a complex grain pattern will easily cost as much as a medium priced bass, in fact depending in the luthier, it can cost as much as a USA Fender just for that top wood. But, for me personally, I'm happy to pay that (within reason!) as it makes my bass unique and I love the look. One of my guitars has a blue/yellow stained maple burl top and I could stare at it for days... In fact below is a picture of the section of top wood between the B string (it's a 7 string) and the upper bout, it is worthy of being framed and hung as a piece of art in my opinion. It looks like an alien worm floating through a nebula... I love it. Others may hate it, but for me this guitar plays better that any I have ever had, the tone is just incredible, and it also looks out of this world, literally! For all those reasons I was happy to pay the price, and am glad I did as there is nothing else like it and I would have regretted it if I later saw someone else bought it!

20200713_133555.thumb.jpg.bb7e8a87bfa4fe1a2dbe27e645b8c3a8.jpg

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Probably the best anecdote I have is MusicMan Stingray.

I first saw/heard one of these live when Simon Gallup from The Cure played one in the mid ‘80’s. It sounded great and looked it too and I wanted one. No budget then so was stuck with a Marlin clone P bass.

Fast forward a decade or so and I still couldn’t really afford one!

The Indonesian made Ray’s were a possibility though. Comparing the Sub to the real deal in the shop the gulf was massive, Nothing wrong with it but nothing brilliant either.

The Ray34 on the other hand well that was getting harder to distinguish but that cost a grand for an Indonesian made bass. However the money had definitely been used wisely.. in the end I got a deal on the display model and used it for years without changing a thing and it still looked and sounded great when I eventually sold it.

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It seems to me that musical instruments are one of the few items where we judge quality and relative price on the country of manufacture.  Do we necessarily think and Audi TT should be cheap relative to a VW Golf because one is built in Hungary and one is built in Germany, or that vodka made in the UK should be more expensive than vodka made in Poland?

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8 minutes ago, Nicko said:

It seems to me that musical instruments are one of the few items where we judge quality and relative price on the country of manufacture.  Do we necessarily think and Audi TT should be cheap relative to a VW Golf because one is built in Hungary and one is built in Germany, or that vodka made in the UK should be more expensive than vodka made in Poland?

I think there is a history to the theory of which country is better. Chinese built instruments are actually, for the most part, quite reasonable these days, however a few decades ago they were more or less total skip fodder. 

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6 minutes ago, Nicko said:

It seems to me that musical instruments are one of the few items where we judge quality and relative price on the country of manufacture.  Do we necessarily think and Audi TT should be cheap relative to a VW Golf because one is built in Hungary and one is built in Germany, or that vodka made in the UK should be more expensive than vodka made in Poland?

I guess, to at least some degree, the so-called "country of origin" effect is at play here. Some people think that a product from X must be very good whereas the same product coming from Y must be poor,  based on nationality and national stereotypes. This does not make much sense as production techniques (e.g., CNC machines) are nowadays pretty standardised and, more importantly, you can find great craftspeople in every country.   

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On 24/02/2021 at 07:32, binky_bass said:

I know this isn't a 'relic rant' thread, but I just don't understand the relic look... in any other industry it would be classed as insanity - 'Come buy your brand new relic'd Ford, we've smashed it up a bit for you to make it look like you've rolled down a genuine Californian hillside'. 

Why pay 60% over the odds for a bass/guitar that's been sandpapered a bit and had a few rocks thrown at it. They just look like battered instruments to me so why pay more for damage?? I don't get it. 

Even with true vintage instruments, the better the condition the higher the value, so it just seems like the attraction is people wanting to make it appear like they've been gigging for years and are seasoned pro's when they likely are not. Just my personal 2 cents! Opinion is subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder so really who am I to judge!!

I honestly don’t know why people bother with ‘relic rants’ anymore. I mean, they’ve been going on for years. Some people like them. Some people don’t. No one is going to convince the other of why they’re cool/not cool. So what’s the point?

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2 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

I'll leave this one here -

https://www.andertons.co.uk/bass-dept/bass-guitars/music-man-stingray-5-special-snowy-night-roasted-maple-maple-matching-headstock-white-pg-chrome-hardware

I mean, seriously? I'm not alone in thinking that this is crazy money for that?

I think we had this discussion before 🙂

I agree, crazy, crazy price and I doubt EBMM will sell many here and in the other countries where they go for similar money. For example, Thomann is charging £1,666 for the Special 4 HH in burnt apple (although, I doubt they will ever receive one, it always shows "in stock within X weeks, then, after some weeks, it starts again with .. 6-8 weeks) and for the new 4HH in raspberry burst (which I think is the replacement for the burnt apple), they want £2,399 (all without VAT, of course). I doubt anyone will pay the £700 extra. 😞

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14 hours ago, bubinga5 said:

I really don't get the high end Fender basses market. Im not even sure how the Fender brand is so well regarded in the high end market.. .Especially at the Custom shop pricing. Ive played and owned quite a few custom shop Fenders and I still dont get it. Compared to the basses I've owned like Sadowsky, Suhr, Sei, Shuker, Fender dont come close  .  I would hold up a £1500 Maruszczyk to any CS Fender.

The thing with Fender is that, along with Gibson, they are an iconic brand. The Custom Shop is expensive, and I would guess that most of their custom is from Blues Lawyers. Most working players with that kind of money to spend seem more likely to buy a vintage Fender or look elsewhere.

23 hours ago, TheLowDown said:

This is why I have bought inexpensive basses. I know how business works and I'm not taken in by brand names, marketing tricks("tonewoods" on solid bodies instruments, anyone?), or other tomfoolery.  I know that many people believe that the more they pay the better quality they will get, and that basses that are cheap(ie reasonably prices) will be made by some sort of slave labour by workers getting whipped if they work less than 23 hours a day.

If a bass costs you above £400 and isn't diamond studded or laced with gold, you should question what you're getting for your money.

When I went shopping for my last bass, I wanted to get the best instrument that I tried. As it turned out, it was quite expensive, but what I got was a high quality handmade bass (no CNC), in the configuration that I wanted. The tone wood thing isn't a gimmick and does affect the sound (IMO especially fingerboard material), and I was able to speak directly to the builder about what the best combination was for the sounds I wanted, and he knocked it out of the park. The fact that they were really nice people was a bonus.

I've got a few cheaper basses which I like and gig with, but none of them come close to my high end instruments in terms of quality of construction and sound.

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On 24/02/2021 at 08:34, Maude said:

Again, I agree, to a degree. If £5.5k (Rick 4005xc) was a reasonable recompense for the labour and materials involved then why don't all their guitars and basses start at that price. They obviously feel £2.5k is fair for a 4003 so why double it for the 4005, unless cashing in on the vintage values, which they're entitled to, it's theirs after all. 

That’s it in a nutshell. For any company, they’re free to ask what they want. Then it’s down to whether people want to buy it. If they do, then the price is right. If they don’t, then it isn’t. Worth it? No such thing really, it’s totally subjective. It’s seldom about how much something costs to produce. 

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8 minutes ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

I guess, to at least some degree, the so-called "country of origin" effect is at play here. Some people think that a product from X must be very good whereas the same product coming from Y must be poor,  based on nationality and national stereotypes. This does not make much sense as production techniques (e.g., CNC machines) are nowadays pretty standardised and, more importantly, you can find great craftspeople in every country.   

But it doesn't help when you have people chucking around phrases like "the china virus" - there's a worrying amount of Americans that hate anything that is built outside the USA. And that's based on prejudice as opposed to do anything to do with the goods themselves.

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