Bass players seem to spend more on instruments than six stringers...

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RockerRocker Frets: 2575
edited April 2017 in Bass
Just browsing through the Basses for sale on Basschat today and I was very surprised at the sums of money asked for basses.  TBH a lot of the models are unknown to me but if I were to put a guestimate on the average price asked, it would be around £2000.  Very few cheap bases, bases < £350, a lot around the £750 - £1000 figure and a surprising number at way above the last price.  I too found that new basses in Dublin shops were way more expensive than guitars.

So are bass players more affluent?  Is bass playing an older person thing, something to do when you get fed up churning out endless blues licks?


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22388
    It's something we do in between comparing FLAC and mp3 files! ;)
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22388
    Nah but seriously... a lot of cheap basses are utter tosh. It's something you learn after going through 4 or 5 Cort Action bass guitars .... should've bought myself a Stingray in the first place!!!
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  • equalsqlequalsql Frets: 3107
    It's coz they is fules, anyone kno that!

    I'm a bass player too. B)
    (pronounced: equal-sequel)   "I suffered for my art.. now it's your turn"
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  • A single, brilliant bass can cover a lot of genres. Guitarists are very picky. Probably unnecessarily so. 

    I've played a beautiful bass, a mayones I think it was, and it was stupendously good. My old musicman sub (USA one) was astonishingly good too, but this handmade beast was brilliant. Fanned fret. 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13148
    edited April 2017
    You could read your question as being quite flippant - but I don't think it is, actually. It's a good question.

    Are bass players more affluent? No, I don't think so.
    Older person thing? Again, no, I don't think so.
    Do you do it when you're fed up of blues licks? Nope. You do it when you want to go back to being a musician again.

    However, having said that - the interesting question is: Are basses more than guitars? Yes, and no. 

    If you look at the new prices for Fender basses vs. their guitar equivalents, then they are about on a par - basses are maybe a bit more. 

    Are cheap basses crap? Again, yes and no. Some of the new ones are pretty terrible. Some are ok. Received wisdom is that the Yamaha cheapies are actually flippin' great for the money. 

    @Drew_TNBD is right - the Stingray is a brilliant bass. And it's actually not that expensive even new when you look at guitar equivalents. I got my made in USA Stingray EQ3 with active electronics for about £1450. It's incredibly well made, it sounds great, and it was extremely well set up out of the case. A really good, really well made USA guitar will cost at least the same, maybe more. 

    I also have a MIM Precision - it's a 50's Classic Precision - with a nitro finish. I bought it second hand for £500. It's superb. At least as good as any USA standard I've played. Probably better than all of them. It's seen as a 'sleeper' over on bass chat, and they don't come up often - you have to snap them up quick if you want one used for good money. I'd say it's better quality than any £500 guitar I've played. 

    In the expensive territory, above £1k and beyond, I think the reason you see more basses for sale in this bracket over on bass chat is the sheer quantity of high/very high quality small makers available. Far more than guitar. Active, passive, classic styling, modern shape, headless, 4 string, 5 string, 6 string, exotic woods, fan frets, fretless.. you name it, they are out there and there's loads of them that really really do play and sound fantastic. 

    If you list out guitar manufacturers in that bracket that you recognise as at the top of their game, there's far fewer than basses..

    Fender (ish), Musicman, Rickenbacker, G&L, Lakland, Sandberg, Alembic, Wal, Status, Dingwall, Maruszczyk, Lull, Pedulla, Spector, Vigier, high end Yamaha, high end Ibanez, Shuker, Overwater... it goes on and on. And they are all just really really high quality. They are worth the money. So bass players buy them, and then bass chat is the obvious place to trade them or sell them. So much choice, variety, innovation and difference. Far more than in the guitar world. 

    But don't basses just go "donk, donk" at the bottom end? They can do. But they don't have to..

    I'm an odd ball. I've got some sensible basses. A Stingray, A MIM Classic 50's Precision, and a '74 Precision which was much less than a '74 Strat or Tele would have cost. For all of these I spent less than I would have done on an equivalent guitar IMHO. 



    Oh, and then there's the small matter of dropping over £6k on a '64 Precision which is the most I've ever spent on an instrument, ever. Is it the best bass ever? Nope. Does it sound 10 times better than my MIM 50's Classic? Nope. Is it 3 times better than my '74 Precision? Nope. Is it 4 times better than my Stingray? Nope. So why the hell did I buy it? Because when I first played it, it spoke to me like no other instrument has ever done in the past. 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13148
    As an aside, first bass gig in, um, 20ish years is on May 27th. I'll let you know how the MIM 50's Classic performs...
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22388
    edited April 2017
    My 3EQ Stingray cost me £750 used. Such a good deal - wont ever need another bass tbh!

    I've spent at least twice that on basses in the last 10 years. Fucking ridiculous when you think about it!
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13148
    Drew_TNBD said:
    My 3EQ Stingray cost me £750 used. Such a good deal - wont ever need another bass tbh!
    I had a used Stingray lined up - then the seller dicked me about so I got fed up and bought a new one. £750 is a good price tho.
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  • proggyproggy Frets: 1619
    This shouldn't be 'Off Topic'. This is interesting and passionate guitar talk.
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2583
    edited April 2017
    Bassists generally have less basses so more disposable cash vs guitarists with loads more guitars. They're refreshingly also less fussed about the name on the headstock 
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  • JeremiahJeremiah Frets: 305
    I'm guessing fewer people play bass than guitar, so there are fewer basses being made, which means less economy of scale so the manufacturers have to charge more to make the same profit.
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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 5989
    if you think basses are expensive then you really need to hang out on some of the US acoustic forums. There was a thread on one where they we listing their guitars, I posted with my larrivee OM05 (which go for about £1000 second hand, tho I paid a lot less) to which someone replied "that's a nice little beater, the sort of thing I'm happy to take busking or the beach". For a lot of them guys, several thouand is the base level.

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • Bassists generally have less basses so more disposable cash vs guitarists with loads more guitars. They're refreshingly also less fussed about the name on the headstock 
    This was my first thought. I know lots of bassists who have two basses- an "expensive one" and a "backup".
    I'd estimate that most of the guitarists I know have spent similar sums, but it's spread over 4-5 guitars.
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  • VimFuego said:
    if you think basses are expensive then you really need to hang out on some of the US acoustic forums. There was a thread on one where they we listing their guitars, I posted with my larrivee OM05 (which go for about £1000 second hand, tho I paid a lot less) to which someone replied "that's a nice little beater, the sort of thing I'm happy to take busking or the beach". For a lot of them guys, several thouand is the base level.

    Sounds like a dick. 
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  • mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 1603
    Our previous bassist went through 3 complete rigs in 4 years (Hartke, MarkBass and Ampeg). He bought 2 Jazzes and a Stingray in that time too. The Stingray had the most hypnotic neck I've ever seen on an instrument.

    I think we spend equivalent amounts but guitarists spend more on pedals. If I just bought guitars and amps instead of pedals I'd have quite a few more. 

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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9143
    As an aside, first bass gig in, um, 20ish years is on May 27th. I'll let you know how the MIM 50's Classic performs...
    I want a Review!
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 15371
    I know a few bass players and they tend to have one or two bass guitars whereas the six stringers I know, including me, have 10 or more guitars - I guess they think spending £2K on one decent bass is better that spending £200 on 10 ropey guitars. Maybe bass players are more intelligent .. :-)
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2575
    I put this in 'Off Topic' as there did no seem to be anywhere else it would 'fit'. The replies show that it interests a number of members. Where should I or a mod move it to?
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • webrthomsonwebrthomson Frets: 356
    Fretwired said:
    I know a few bass players and they tend to have one or two bass guitars whereas the six stringers I know, including me, have 10 or more guitars - I guess they think spending £2K on one decent bass is better that spending £200 on 10 ropey guitars. Maybe bass players are more intelligent .. :-)
    This is my experience too - have a wis!
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9143
    Rocker said:
    I put this in 'Off Topic' as there did no seem to be anywhere else it would 'fit'. The replies show that it interests a number of members. Where should I or a mod move it to?
    If only there was a Bass section.

    Or even a guitar section.
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2575
    Take your point @fretmeister but it does not feel right placing it in the Bass section. Where it is now.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 1800
    I've had a cheap ibanez bass and a squier 5 string. Thought they were alright, then I got a stingray 5 and i can see why you'd want to spend £1000 on it.
    I actually swapped that for a mayones 6 string fretless that I found in a cash converters. Couldn't play it at all but even then I could tell it was really high quality.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30909
    Bass players do in general seem less driven by fashion and the 'need' to 'nail' an exact sound/vibe/look/whatever than guitar players. With very few exceptions you can cover any bass gig that requires only fretted bass (or only fretless) with one instrument and you're unlikely to ever be criticised for using the 'wrong sound'. It's definitely unusual to see a bass player take more than a couple of basses to a gig - and very often only one - where the guitar player in the band will frequently have three or four.

    Whether that means bassists spend more on an individual bass because they can - not thinking they need so many - or that companies charge more because they're not under such price pressure, I don't know. There are also very good basses that are surprisingly cheap too.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13148
    As an aside, first bass gig in, um, 20ish years is on May 27th. I'll let you know how the MIM 50's Classic performs...
    I want a Review!
    I'll post up some thoughts and pics in a new thread in the Bass section when I get chance
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  • Whilst there's definitely some truth in the "bassists like one good bass instead of 10 alright ones" I also wouldn't read too much into the basschat marketplace. It's become known as a place to sell high end stuff, so that's what it attracts. Doesn't mean bassists don't use cheap gear too. 
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  • funkyfrazfunkyfraz Frets: 55
    Drew_TNBD said:
    Nah but seriously... a lot of cheap basses are utter tosh. It's something you learn after going through 4 or 5 Cort Action bass guitars .... should've bought myself a Stingray in the first place!!!
    I'd actually disagree with this.  Some very nice £200-300 basses. 

    Spend 300 cabbage wisely on a second hand bass, and you'll have a great bass

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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6818
    Whilst there's definitely some truth in the "bassists like one good bass instead of 10 alright ones" I also wouldn't read too much into the basschat marketplace. It's become known as a place to sell high end stuff, so that's what it attracts. Doesn't mean bassists don't use cheap gear too. 
    You also have to pay to advertise on Basschat which presumably reduces the flow of what appears on there. 

    I've certainly known bassists use cheap gear, or relatively cheap gear. The bassist in my old band had used some pretty expensive kit in the past (playing in Butlins backing bands)but he'd settled on a Squire. Set up how he liked he felt it was as good as his old expensive basses. 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3358
    Whilst there's definitely some truth in the "bassists like one good bass instead of 10 alright ones" I also wouldn't read too much into the basschat marketplace. It's become known as a place to sell high end stuff, so that's what it attracts. Doesn't mean bassists don't use cheap gear too. 
    You also have to pay to advertise on Basschat which presumably reduces the flow of what appears on there. 

    Where do people advertise the not quite so expensive stuff?
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13148
    crunchman said:
    Whilst there's definitely some truth in the "bassists like one good bass instead of 10 alright ones" I also wouldn't read too much into the basschat marketplace. It's become known as a place to sell high end stuff, so that's what it attracts. Doesn't mean bassists don't use cheap gear too. 
    You also have to pay to advertise on Basschat which presumably reduces the flow of what appears on there. 

    Where do people advertise the not quite so expensive stuff?
    Gumtree/fleabay/Facebook/here..
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3538
    As with guitars people get too hung up on the brand of bass guitars. That's fine, some are made from some gorgeous bits of wood and the craftsmanship on the dearer one's can be sublime

    As a tool though many cheap basses are fine. A couple of my friends are session bass players and generally just use standard Fender jazz or precisions. My own stepson is starting to make money as a session  bass player  and all he uses is a Squire Jazz which cost me £225

    Now double bass, well you can spend some serious money there!
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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