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PerryJ

Antoni Debut or Gear4Music Deluxe?

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Hi, this is my first post, so apologies if this has been covered before. I did take the time to search the forum but didn't find the answers I'm looking for. Bassically (sorry, had to be done once), I've been playing bass guitar for about ten years and have decided to have a crack at playing double bass. I've read some pretty scathing reviews of the gear4music instruments and all the advice on saving for a proper one, but the fact is that £500 is all I can reasonably afford (and all the wife will let me spend, for that matter...) Both of these instruments look pretty similar and come with a similar package at about the same price. However, the gear4music one has a solid top, which I'm led to believe would be preferable to the fully laminate Antoni bass. Although this may be true, I'm guessing a better quality laminated bass is going to be a better investment than a poor quality bass made from supposedly better materials. So, in short, I don't know what I'm doing and would appreciate any advice, especially from anyone who has played either of these instruments. Thanks in advance.

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Annoying, isn't it? You really want to try DB but you don't want or can't afford to spend £1000+ on something that you might not get on with and all everyone an say to you is 'don't pay less than £1500 as anything costing less than that will be s#*t'.

As long as you're not expecting great tone, then your £500 will easily get you started. Someone on here has a Gear4music bass that they bought for about £400 and they love it.
Tone wise, there probably isn't a lot of difference between basses at this price- you'll get a lot more tone improvement from a decent set of strings and a few lessons to sort out your technique that you will from the solid top over the laminate

I reckon that you're right about the cheap laminate being a better buy than the solid top. Most of the CCB horror stories are about solid top basses that haven't been seasoned properly and split as soon as you introduce a bit of temperature variation. Bear in mind that your new bass won't be playable out of the box. The soundpost and bridge will be down and you'll need to have this set up professionally, so make sure you allow for this in your budget.

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[quote name='PerryJ' post='865818' date='Jun 13 2010, 11:44 AM']Hi, this is my first post, so apologies if this has been covered before. I did take the time to search the forum but didn't find the answers I'm looking for. Bassically (sorry, had to be done once), I've been playing bass guitar for about ten years and have decided to have a crack at playing double bass. I've read some pretty scathing reviews of the gear4music instruments and all the advice on saving for a proper one, but the fact is that £500 is all I can reasonably afford (and all the wife will let me spend, for that matter...) Both of these instruments look pretty similar and come with a similar package at about the same price. However, the gear4music one has a solid top, which I'm led to believe would be preferable to the fully laminate Antoni bass. Although this may be true, I'm guessing a better quality laminated bass is going to be a better investment than a poor quality bass made from supposedly better materials. So, in short, I don't know what I'm doing and would appreciate any advice, especially from anyone who has played either of these instruments. Thanks in advance.[/quote]

Welcome to the world of DB. With my limited experience i would say the 100% plywood is good if you plan to use it for busking, as solid tops are much more sensitive to climate changes. Thoman.de seems to sell good beginenrs instrument (recommended here on the forum). And why not seek a second hand instrument here on the forum, as the Antoni is really crap (that finger board is soft wood painted black!) to be honest (i am just restoring one...) I am sure you find something better and you'd want a good sound, not just look + shape of a double bass. Just research a bit more and converse with the DB'ers here.

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[quote name='TheRev' post='865862' date='Jun 13 2010, 12:23 PM']Annoying, isn't it? You really want to try DB but you don't want or can't afford to spend £1000+ on something that you might not get on with and all everyone an say to you is 'don't pay less than £1500 as anything costing less than that will be s#*t'.

As long as you're not expecting great tone, then your £500 will easily get you started. Someone on here has a Gear4music bass that they bought for about £400 and they love it.
Tone wise, there probably isn't a lot of difference between basses at this price- you'll get a lot more tone improvement from a decent set of strings and a few lessons to sort out your technique that you will from the solid top over the laminate

I reckon that you're right about the cheap laminate being a better buy than the solid top. Most of the CCB horror stories are about solid top basses that haven't been seasoned properly and split as soon as you introduce a bit of temperature variation. Bear in mind that your new bass won't be playable out of the box. The soundpost and bridge will be down and you'll need to have this set up professionally, so make sure you allow for this in your budget.[/quote]

Thanks for the reply, you're right on with the money thing. As for tone, I'm not expecting anything special. I view it in the same way as when I bought my first bass guitar, a Hondo Fame (me neither) P-Bass copy, with a warped neck and no electronics which cost me less than the new set of strings I adorned it with. It sounded awful and was painful to play, partly because you could've parked a bus between the strings and the fretboard. However, it served it's purpose and was duly replaced with a Musicman Stingray which was a revelation in both playability and sound. I figure I'll do double bass the same way, as it's practically learning a new instrument altogether anyway. As for setup, I've been quoted £30 for the sound post and £65 for the bridge. Sounds reasonable to me but, I honestly don't have a clue!

Edited by PerryJ

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[quote name='janmaat' post='865866' date='Jun 13 2010, 12:26 PM']Welcome to the world of DB. With my limited experience i would say the 100% plywood is good if you plan to use it for busking, as solid tops are much more sensitive to climate changes. Thoman.de seems to sell good beginenrs instrument (recommended here on the forum). And why not seek a second hand instrument here on the forum, as the Antoni is really crap (that finger board is soft wood painted black!) to be honest (i am just restoring one...) I am sure you find something better and you'd want a good sound, not just look + shape of a double bass. Just research a bit more and converse with the DB'ers here.[/quote]

I was a bit suspicious of the "Ebonised fingerboard and nut"! The Thomann site has a few interesting options though, so many thanks for that. As for second hand, the main problem I have with that is a lack of transport and patience. I've been looking for the last month and had little joy but, it's definitely worth thinking about.

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I played an Antoni for a few months several years ago, when skint and otherwise double bassless. Unless they've got much better since then, I'd avoid them if at all possible. Mine was a bright orange plywood box, with a crap painted softwood fingerboard which was really uneven and bumpy. For £500 I'd look out for an older German or Eastern European laminated bass (maybe even hybrid or solid if you're lucky). They come up fairly often and would be much more servicable and could be re-sold for what you paid if you upgrade.

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[quote name='Beer of the Bass' post='865928' date='Jun 13 2010, 01:45 PM']I played an Antoni for a few months several years ago, when skint and otherwise double bassless. Unless they've got much better since then, I'd avoid them if at all possible. Mine was a bright orange plywood box, with a crap painted softwood fingerboard which was really uneven and bumpy. For £500 I'd look out for an older German or Eastern European laminated bass (maybe even hybrid or solid if you're lucky). They come up fairly often and would be much more servicable and could be re-sold for what you paid if you upgrade.[/quote]

Thanks, I think I'll avoid that one then. Odd that the uneven and bumpy softwood fingerboard wasn't in their specifications... :) I'm leaning towards the Thomann at the moment, but keeping my eye out for second hand bargains.

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[quote name='keeponehandloose' post='865938' date='Jun 13 2010, 01:59 PM']Ebay item 180519317796.
This looks good.[/quote]

I've been watching that one on e-bay. My trouble is location, I'm in North London and the bass is in Bradford.

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I've read that the "Made in Europe" Thomann basses are made by Strunal. I've seen one or two Strunal basses in the flesh - they're good for the money and would be preferable to the Antoni. They start at £625 though...

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[quote name='Beer of the Bass' post='865973' date='Jun 13 2010, 02:31 PM']I've read that the "Made in Europe" Thomann basses are made by Strunal. I've seen one or two Strunal basses in the flesh - they're good for the money and would be preferable to the Antoni. They start at £625 though...[/quote]

An extra £125 is possible, whereas an extra £1000 is not!

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I've been working on and off as a consultant for G4M in York & their Chinese manufacturers for the last few months, working with them on the orchestral string range. Basically, all of these instruments come (at the moment) in quite a basic state. Remember that you pay a very cheap price in the first place & G4M is not a luthier or specialist dealer, so expect to spend a bit on a decent bridge, decent strings & a tailwire (a must!) before your bass is up to spec.

I'm playing one of the Archer models which I've worked on extensively & it's holding it's own in the country's top big bands - A band mate asked if it was my twenty-grand bass, it sounded so good! - so with a little modification here and there, you can get a great bass for not much money.

We're working with the Chinese manufacturers (I met the factory owner a few weeks ago) to improve the state in which the instruments come over, so after a raft of proposals, I'm hoping the next couple of batches will be arriving with some of my suggested improvements.

Edited by OutToPlayJazz

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[quote name='OutToPlayJazz' post='866034' date='Jun 13 2010, 03:24 PM']We're working with the Chinese manufacturers (I met the factory owner a few weeks ago) to improve the state in which the instruments come over, so after a raft of proposals, I'm hoping the next couple of batches will be arriving with some of my suggested improvements.[/quote]

So, I should buy a gear4music bass, but not until you've sold out of the current stock!?

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[quote name='PerryJ' post='866049' date='Jun 13 2010, 03:34 PM']So, I should buy a gear4music bass, but not until you've sold out of the current stock!?[/quote]

Well I don't sell them, I'm only helping them out with the quality control, but in my own personal experience, yes they're a lot of bass for the money. Just be prepared for getting some setup work done & changing a few bits (as you would with any budget range DB.)

I put a Werner tail wire on mine & had it re-bridged, re-strung it with some nice Thomastik Dominants & I've re-sanded the neck and beeswaxed it. The Archers are a fully carved Canadian maple bass, so the core instrument is very good.

The £500 one you're looking at is also a good core laminate bass with a solid top. Again, factor in getting a decent tail wire, strings and a setup from a luthier and you're getting a lot of bass for the money.

The current batch of Archer basses have a massive shove to the sound as well - I was in a few weeks back re-setting the sound posts on the latest batch.

Edited by OutToPlayJazz

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[quote name='Beer of the Bass' post='865973' date='Jun 13 2010, 02:31 PM']I've read that the "Made in Europe" Thomann basses are made by Strunal. I've seen one or two Strunal basses in the flesh - they're good for the money and would be preferable to the Antoni. They start at £625 though...[/quote]

Yes, the Thomann "Kontrabasse 1, 2, 3, 4" range are Strunal models from the Czech republic & the Thomann "Kontrabasse 11, 22, 33, 44" range are all made by the Hora company in Romania.

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[quote name='OutToPlayJazz' post='866053' date='Jun 13 2010, 03:40 PM']Well I don't sell them, I'm only helping them out with the quality control, but in my own personal experience, yes they're a lot of bass for the money. Just be prepared for getting some setup work done & changing a few bits (as you would with any budget range DB.)

I put a Werner tail wire on mine & had it re-bridged, re-strung it with some nice Thomastik Dominants & I've re-sanded the neck and beeswaxed it. The Archers are a fully carved Canadian maple bass, so the core instrument is very good.

The £500 one you're looking at is also a good core laminate bass with a solid top. Again, factor in getting a decent tail wire, strings and a setup from a luthier and you're getting a lot of bass for the money.

The current batch of Archer basses have a massive shove to the sound as well - I was in a few weeks back re-setting the sound posts on the latest batch.[/quote]

Sorry, when [i]they[/i] sell out. I do appreciate the advice however, the main problem with the Archer is the price. Once set up properly and with the improvements you suggest, the cost ends up being about double my £500 budget.

Edited by PerryJ

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Quick question... can anyone tell me why this laminated bass [url="http://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_kontrabass_111.htm"]http://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_kontrabass_111.htm[/url] is so much cheaper than the plywood ones? Other than the finish, I can't see much difference and I've been led to believe that laminated plywood is the superior material. One worrying thing about the Thomann site is their disclaimer concerning errors in site content. Does it mean they can get away with advertising an ebony fingerboard and delivering a softwood one!? I know they can't get away with that in England but, I'm not really up on my German advertising laws...

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[quote name='PerryJ' post='866107' date='Jun 13 2010, 04:17 PM']Sorry, when [i]they[/i] sell out. I do appreciate the advice however, the main problem with the Archer is the price. Once set up properly and with the improvements you suggest, the cost ends up being about double my £500 budget.[/quote]

Just thinking on that one... Obviously, you're not going to get a well set up new bass for a £500 budget, but you can get pretty close with the "Deluxe" 3/4 model. let's see...

G4M Deluxe 3/4 Bass........... £420
Tail wire ............................. £ 12
Bridge/setup ....................... £ 60

These basses come with both a semi-hard (stupidly large) and soft cases, so you could ebay the coffin for a few pounds, say £50 & put that towards some good strings. You're not a million miles away. :)

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[quote name='OutToPlayJazz' post='866138' date='Jun 13 2010, 04:41 PM']Just thinking on that one... Obviously, you're not going to get a well set up new bass for a £500 budget, but you can get pretty close with the "Deluxe" 3/4 model. let's see...

G4M Deluxe 3/4 Bass........... £420
Tail wire ............................. £ 12
Bridge/setup ....................... £ 60

These basses come with both a semi-hard (stupidly large) and soft cases, so you could ebay the coffin for a few pounds, say £50 & put that towards some good strings. You're not a million miles away. :)[/quote]

Plus strings, sound post and delivery... This whole thing is far more difficult than I'd imagined!

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Thanks for all your info OutToPlayJazz. I'm a noob to this instrument and I've been addicted to my Stagg EUB since I got it 3 months ago, to the point where I have a similar budget to the OP and a hankering to dip my toe in the world of the big boys. Many thanks to you and all the others who replied.

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No problem, Graham - Just to be clear, I only work as a consultant with the MD of G4M & I don't get any money if you guys buy a bass or anything. What I've said on here today is purely from personal experience & the Archer in particular is well worth looking into with some common sense modifications for the base price. The last two Archers I reset the soundposts on had the same deep boom mine does, so they're definitely building them consistently.

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[quote name='PerryJ' post='866123' date='Jun 13 2010, 04:31 PM']Quick question... can anyone tell me why this laminated bass [url="http://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_kontrabass_111.htm"]http://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_kontrabass_111.htm[/url] is so much cheaper than the plywood ones? Other than the finish, I can't see much difference and I've been led to believe that laminated plywood is the superior material. One worrying thing about the Thomann site is their disclaimer concerning errors in site content. Does it mean they can get away with advertising an ebony fingerboard and delivering a softwood one!? I know they can't get away with that in England but, I'm not really up on my German advertising laws...[/quote]

Not to be a pain but, this is really bugging me...

Edited by PerryJ

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check out www.gedo-musik.de as well - they have a good reputation apparently, I had some replies to my post on here a few weeks ago about them - and they say they're luthiers although you'll probably need some stuff doing to it when you get it

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