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bass prices, are some worth it?

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7 hours ago, binky_bass said:

This is the point I've debated with. 

There is nothing wrong with a cheap bass, but there may very well be something a little sinister about how it's made, not just the pennies on the pound some of these people get paid, but the responsibility behind sourcing the materials to make them. Cheap is often cheap because someone is getting a bad deal, and that someone is usually the person who physically made it. I would rather pay more knowing that everything is a fair deal, though I appreciate I am in a fortunate enough position to have the luxury of taking that stance. There is a question of morality between the pros of a cheap bass and the ethics behind its creation and the expense of a custom bass which supports a single craftsperson. The same arguement can be had with almost everything we consume - cheap is cheap for a reason, though buying something expensive isn't always proof of a better product. The choppy waters of ethical buying are often hard to navigate with purposefully confusing currents put in play by those who wish to steer you towards a particular purchase. 

Nothing sinister about it,  stuff just costs more in Western countries.  Tax mostly, and profit margins all add up on instruments made in the UK... or US... or Denmark etc.  There can sometimes be a lot of wastage as well.  Jason at Fodera was telling me they only make 10% margin on their instruments and they reject a lot of the wood they buy in bulk, on the grounds it's not up to par. Sometimes western made boutique instruments aren't made in the most efficient way. 

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14 minutes ago, Kiwi said:

Nothing sinister about it,  stuff just costs more in Western countries.  Tax mostly, and profit margins all add up on instruments made in the UK... or US... or Denmark etc.  There can sometimes be a lot of wastage as well.  Jason at Fodera was telling me they only make 10% margin on their instruments and they reject a lot of the wood they buy in bulk, on the grounds it's not up to participate. Sometimes western made boutique instruments aren't made in the most efficient way. 

That very interesting on the margins indeed thanks for that - people have to have a model and therefore price for what works for their business.

Musicman I think were mentioned earlier, I have no doubt their prices are higher as they do not mass produce as much as other companies, they run smaller batches if I am correct

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5 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

That very interesting on the margins indeed thanks for that - people have to have a model and therefore price for what works for their business.

Musicman I think were mentioned earlier, I have no doubt their prices are higher as they do not mass produce as much as other companies, they run smaller batches if I am correct

Not only that, Jason also said that in the US it costs a LOT to provide employees with things like a pension plan and healthcare that in the UK people take for granted as a right.  Alembic look after their people as well.  I don't know about the others.

27 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Luxury yachts are probably the best example of the one eyed views on ''trickle down theory''.

On the one hand it's the rich pissing on the poor.

On the other hand luxury yachts employ a lot of skilled tradesmen to build and maintain them. That's a big industry here in NZ.

Do you live in Auckland perchance?

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32 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

It’s akin to what I said earlier about margins 🤘🏾👍🏾

Yes but there's still the matter of perceived value.  Indonesian factories are just as capable of making a Fodera type bass, they can do it more efficiently. 

Although Fodera do the same thing as PRS and let their necks sit on a shelf for a year or so to calm down as they work on them bit by bit.  What we never find out is how much time that takes above and beyond the basic manufacture of a neck somewhere in Asia and whether the mark up reflects that extra time.  Same goes for roasted necks (although that budget brands like HB are offering them on instruments suggests that the roasting process doesn't add a significant extra cost). It seems like some of the US boutique brands are running very high overheads.  None of which can be rationalised to overseas customers beyond 'that's just how it is'.  

But THEN you have the makers who are set up for mass production jumping on the boutique band wagon, more or less saying 'oh yeah, we produce instruments that can be every bit as good as Fodera - they're hand built [from CNC rough cut parts], we use the finest [within budget and spec] woods and the best that forty year old technology can offer, we're gonna charge you twenty percent less than a Fodera!  What a bargain.'  And the more gullible players, who perhaps are inclined towards the social aspects of brand loyalty than a tool for gigging, want to buy into that.   And the mass manufacturers are laughing at what they can get away with, all the way to the bank.

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I guess if someone is very rich, their whole concept of what is 'worth it' is different from ordinary people.

I mean if you've got tens of millions of pounds, why not pay a few thousand for an artistically reliced bass? 

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7 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

Luxury yachts are probably the best example of the one eyed views on ''trickle down theory''.

On the one hand it's the rich pissing on the poor.

On the other hand luxury yachts employ a lot of skilled tradesmen to build and maintain them. That's a big industry here in NZ.

True. That’s were it gets difficult with the whole “eat the rich” debate. My views have mellowed as I have got older. 

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13 hours ago, Kiwi said:

Yes but there's still the matter of perceived value.  Indonesian factories are just as capable of making a Fodera type bass, they can do it more efficiently. 

Although Fodera do the same thing as PRS and let their necks sit on a shelf for a year or so to calm down as they work on them bit by bit.  What we never find out is how much time that takes above and beyond the basic manufacture of a neck somewhere in Asia and whether the mark up reflects that extra time.  Same goes for roasted necks (although that budget brands like HB are offering them on instruments suggests that the roasting process doesn't add a significant extra cost). It seems like some of the US boutique brands are running very high overheads.  None of which can be rationalised to overseas customers beyond 'that's just how it is'.  

But THEN you have the makers who are set up for mass production jumping on the boutique band wagon, more or less saying 'oh yeah, we produce instruments that can be every bit as good as Fodera - they're hand built [from CNC rough cut parts], we use the finest [within budget and spec] woods and the best that forty year old technology can offer, we're gonna charge you twenty percent less than a Fodera!  What a bargain.'  And the more gullible players, who perhaps are inclined towards the social aspects of brand loyalty than a tool for gigging, want to buy into that.   And the mass manufacturers are laughing at what they can get away with, all the way to the bank.

Thou doth protest too much. If people want to buy (or buy into) something, it's their money. Their reasons for deciding how/where to spend it are theirs. It's not for anyone else to accuse them of being "gullible", etc. I note you live in China. Do you have an axe to grind here?

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8 hours ago, TJ1 said:

I guess if someone is very rich, their whole concept of what is 'worth it' is different from ordinary people.

I mean if you've got tens of millions of pounds, why not pay a few thousand for an artistically reliced bass? 

I honestly don't think that even if I had tens of millions I'd go out and spend a few thousand on a bass, I wouldn't go out and spend  £1500 on a pair of jeans and I couldn't see myself drinking £500 bottles of wine*.

* maybe one - as I have one that was a gift.

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1 hour ago, Dan Dare said:

Thou doth protest too much. If people want to buy (or buy into) something, it's their money. Their reasons for deciding how/where to spend it are theirs. It's not for anyone else to accuse them of being "gullible", etc. I note you live in China. Do you have an axe to grind here?

I build my own instruments.

How quickly you siezed on my location though. Pretty unusual.  Perhaps you are the one with an axe to grind?  

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19 hours ago, 4000 said:

This is a dilemma. I’ve had instruments built for me by some of the best luthiers out there, but they’ve never (so far at least) hit the mark. Tony Levin once said the only way he can tell you if he likes a bass is by playing it. I suspect I’m the same. Even with a specific template (woods, hardware, electronics), there are too many variables. 

This is one of the reasons I have backed out of having a custom instrument made for me. The fear is not so much that the bass wouldn't deliver the spec I want, more that I doubt if I could spec a perfect bass and finding that out after spending a fortune would be hard to stomach. That said,  I have bought high end instruments that were close enough to the kind of spec I would like if I could afford them new. So far I have been fortunate that they all sound and play great and have enough variance in sound for me to make choices when deciding what to take on a gig. 

A worthwhile price for a bass or any instrument is a personal thing, but I do suspect some manufacturers are taking advantage of the romance of the vintage and classic tag when it comes to pricing basses and guitars.

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44 minutes ago, Nicko said:

I honestly don't think that even if I had tens of millions I'd go out and spend a few thousand on a bass, I wouldn't go out and spend  £1500 on a pair of jeans and I couldn't see myself drinking £500 bottles of wine*.

* maybe one - as I have one that was a gift.

Why not? I don't believe you could take it with you into the afterlife.

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I’ve got no problem spending any amount on a bass if it’s something that I really want , But I’m struggling at the moment to part with the amount of money some are asking for vintage jazzes, which is what I like , the last 3 years has seen a massive increase in value 

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2 hours ago, TJ1 said:

Why not? I don't believe you could take it with you into the afterlife.

There are many other ways of emptying one's pockets, some of which could be considered more worthy. :|

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3 hours ago, Kiwi said:

I build my own instruments.

How quickly you siezed on my location though. Pretty unusual.  Perhaps you are the one with an axe to grind?  

I was wondering whether you work for one of the big instrument manufacturers there.

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I think spending several thousand on a bass that is extremely customised to your exact tastes, scale, wood choices, neck, pickups etc. and that doesn't exist out there in the retail world, and it brings you joy in any capacity be it playing, looking, holding etc. and you can afford it without going into debt, then I see absolutely nothing wrong with it! The same would apply to a vintage instrument that you can't buy new. It's all horses for courses, and if you're perfectly content with a serviceable cheaper bass, then that's all good too! I like to discuss opinions and see where other people place their values, but it is our differences that make us unique, we should celebrate them! 

 

 

 

(Of course anyone that doesn't agree with me is WRONG!!!! 😁 )

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I think there's a difference between an expensive boutique bass like a Ritter or an Alembic and the Fender Custom Shop stuff.

With a Ritter you can look it at and see that it's different from other basses, there's nothing else like it.

With the Fender you're always asking the question  'Is this really £7K better than a bog standard Precision?'

Edited by Cato
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44 minutes ago, Cato said:

I think there's a difference between an expensive boutique bass like a Ritter or an Alembic and the Fender Custom Shop stuff.

With a Ritter you can look it at and see that it's different from other basses, there's nothing else like it.

With the Fender you're always asking the question  'Is this really £7K better than a bog standard Precision?'

And is the bog standard precision better than a cheap as chips Sire

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2 hours ago, Cato said:

I think there's a difference between an expensive boutique bass like a Ritter or an Alembic and the Fender Custom Shop stuff.

Probably more in the workmanship than in the sound.  Some of the alembics are just crazy with pointless features like inlaid patterns on the fingerboard and those careully carved omegas etc ... affects the sound and playabilty not one jot; but looks good on the American dentist's wall.

Much as I like boutique basses, if the extra work is purely aesthetic, forget it.

 

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6 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

I’ve got no problem spending any amount on a bass if it’s something that I really want , But I’m struggling at the moment to part with the amount of money some are asking for vintage jazzes, which is what I like , the last 3 years has seen a massive increase in value 

Shame you are not down the road from me my good man, or you could try my old shape Sandberg Marlowe DK - i reckon it would be right up your street and more affordable to boot!

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2 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

But I’m struggling at the moment to part with the amount of money some are asking for vintage jazzes,

So just buy a brand new one? Do a blind test and see if you can tell which is which.

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6 minutes ago, NickA said:

So just buy a brand new one? Do a blind test and see if you can tell which is which.

@Cuzzie might specifically want a vintage one - they might 'sound' the same or similar, but there is something overtly cool about a vintage 60s/70s Fender even if I'm not a Fender man myself! 

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Just now, binky_bass said:

@Cuzzie might specifically want a vintage one - they might 'sound' the same or similar, but there is something overtly cool about a vintage 60s/70s Fender even if I'm not a Fender man myself! 

It’s not me its @Reggaebass !

But I wouldn’t mind a vintage either - probably a P tho

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11 minutes ago, NickA said:

So just buy a brand new one? Do a blind test and see if you can tell which is which.

I’ve got new basses but I like the history and the mojo that surround vintage jazzes , and they don’t depreciate like new ones tend to 🙂

Edited by Reggaebass
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