Why your school would be wise to buy new basses from us.
In a word; Set Up. Set up is what a luthier calls the process of fine
tuning the play ability of an instrument. As delivered from the builder,
99 out of 100 stringed instruments are literally unplayable. Unfortunately,
many novice buyers/players are unable to discern this and therefore find
the process of learning to play unnecessarily difficult, and are more often
than not discouraged to the point of giving it up. A properly set up bass
in easy to play (really), develops it's true potential for volume, and
sounds it's best on every note. The tolerances involved in good set up
work are surprisingly subtle, and the craftsmanship to realize these tolerances
is the result of many years of refinement. Every new bass that goes through
this shop is refined to such a degree that a professional player would
not take issue where set up is concerned. This value added is worth between
$200 and $400 in the unlikely event that you were able to find a comparable
luthier in your area. Some distributors offer what is called a "factory
set up". While it is theoretically possible for this to be a good job,
I have not yet seen an example of such a set up that made the grade. In
fact the bass I am offering has had a factory set up according to my supplier,
but the truth is they simply can't afford to put in the necessary time,
even if they had the skilled help. Fortunately, they do no harm to the
Why you should Not buy the cheapest bass available
I judge a School Bass by these characteristics, in order of importance;
Playability, Longevity, Volume, Tone, and Physical Beauty. Longevity is
the issue here. There is no reason why a properly built bass cannot last
for hundreds of years if it is well maintained and not crushed too badly.
Unfortunately for the unwary buyer, there are plenty of basses on the market
that do not qualify as properly made.
The glue must be a type than truly hardens and yet will respond to
a luthier's tricks when a repair is required. Animal hide glue is best,
though titebond will do. Many cheap instrument are put together with production
techniques better suited to cabinet work, and I have seen outright failure
in less than a year, though most often two or three years before the diagnosis
is terminal. It is possible to spend hundreds of dollars propping up the
imminent failure in this period of time.
It is also important to have an ebony fingerboard. The fingerboard
is responsible for much of the necks resistance to bending under the considerable
pull from the strings. Also, the surface of the fingerboard is where much
of the precision in the set up is applied, and ebony maintains its shape
while resisting wear and tear better that any other easily attainable wood.
It has no peer.
Good tuning machines are important first because it's hard enough to
get in tune at all, let alone having to work with jumpy gears that then
slip while you're looking the other way, and second because better tuners
stay that way virtually for ever.
Cheap strings are not worth having, and become even less desirable
as time goes by. A great deal of the sound of a stringed instrument depends
on the string, don't scrimp here. A well made string lasts many times longer
The least expensive bass we are willing to sell gets a glowing report
card in all these categories. The bottom line is that you won't be throwing
your money away, you'll be investing in the future.
What about Volume and Tone and Physical Beauty?
Volume is important because if there isn't enough, you can't be a part
of the music. Our school bass has plenty of volume. In fact, You have to
spend a lot of money to get more sheer volume.
Tone is another thing. It is hard to talk about and opinions vary,
to say the least. It is the biggest difference between inexpensive and
expensive basses. The bass we're talking about here sounds as good as any
other to the unsophisticated ear, but I'd be lying if I said it sounded
as good to me. The sound is certainly pleasing and not at all ugly.
The double bass is a beautiful creation, like the rest of the violin
family, and our bass is no exception.
ORIGIN: Our bass comes from my main Chinese supplier, Eastman
Strings, and while they do not manufacture it, they distribute it and allow
me recourse should "things go wrong". This is important to you, as it means
not only that I believe it's a reliable instrument, but that they do too.
I have found Eastman Strings to be a good company to deal with, and they
have been around for many years.
CONSTRUCTION: Our bass is made with laminated top/sides/back.
This means that it will prove durable in the school environment. The school
bass of choice 50 years ago was the Kay Bass. Many are still in service
because they also were made this way, though our bass outperforms the old
Kay by a stunning margin. Our bass has an ebony fingerboard, German made
tuning machines and bridge w/height adjusters included, as well as a decent
adjustable end pin (students come in all sizes) and a durable, well fitted
bag with plenty of handles to aid in storage and transport.
PRICE: I will sell you one of this bass for $1600.00
fob my shop in Petaluma, CA. For each additional instrument in your order,
I will discount the total by 4%, up to 6 instruments, or 24%. So six would
be $7296.00. If you are in a position to order more than ten instruments
at one time, then I can deal further, as I then get more serious attention
from the distributor.
SHIPPING: I am including handling and packing at this
price. Basses are bulky, though not too heavy, and are successfully shipped
through our local trucking company's. The cost varies with distance from
a minimum of about $70 to about $200 maximum in the continental United
States. It usually takes less than ten days. I am willing to promise you
your order within 30 days of it's receipt here. In the event of more business
that I can handle in a timely fashion, you will be advised before you commit