Well, I'm asking this question in regards to a friend of mine so here goes:

He recently came back from our local guitar store and told me he was very surprised at the sound and quality he was getting out of this jazz bass he was fooling around with. I've seen these particular basses (as well as guitars) and from what I can tell they're these chinese made starter instruments. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how or why my friend thought it sounded so good. (especiallly for $180 brand new; he's definitely not a beginner he knows his way around basses)

So I was helping him research something about this guitar company (Austin Guitars) and I can't really find any reviews or lists of features or anything. Our main concern was what the bass was made of and parts and whatnot. Their main website lists all their guitars as being made with "hardwood" bodies, but that sounds like cheapo Squier talk to me.

My hope is that someone who lurks the bass forums here can tell me whether or not Austin instruments are solid for their price. (My friend is obsessing over modding a jazz bass, so I'm not sure what other specfics I can give)

Hmmm I seem to recall a thread regarding Austin basses a while back. Austin is a cheap, low-end guitar/bass company. Your friend may have found a gem, but I wouldn't expect anything too nice out of Austin. The hardware is something to watch on cheap basses, I recall someone saying the bridge fell off on theirs.

As for the wood, hardwood really doesn't tell you anything. It can be used by some companies to cover up inconsistencies in the wood used on a certain model, or to try and hide the fact that they used particularly cheap wood. On the other hand, Musicman labels all their Stingray models as having "select hardwood bodies" in some of their more recent advertisements (they use nice swamp ash for the Stingray bodies). You never know quite what you'll get with "hardwood" on cheap basses unless you scrape some paint off

EDIT: if your friend is obsessed with modding a Jazz Bass, tell him to buy and mod a used MIM Fender (they go for around $300 give or take), or a Squier (not an Affinity series Squier).
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Last edited by Tostitos at Jul 13, 2010,
I'd like to know more about Austin too. There's a 5 string in my local shop, and it looks and feels nice, very professional, but it's only ~$200.
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I recall someone saying the bridge fell off on theirs.

That may have been me D:

I really didn't have a good run with my starter Austin. For the two years I had it(I barely ever took it out of the house, and took good care of it), The Bridge popped off, the jack became faulty and needed repair, and a pot broke. So yeah, it was pretty cheap, but the quality is on par with the price tag, so if you're extremely tight on cash go for it.
I still use my austin as my main bass. Then again, I did refinish it and redo all of the electronics. Anyways, the tone's pretty good and it plays well enough. If you want a cheap bass I would recommend Austin over Squier. It's cheaper and mildly better quality

EDIT: I changed the electronics for preference (18v EMGs) I never had any problems with signals cutting out or jacks coming loose. Also my bridge has never popped off.
Last edited by Fuzzycows5157 at Jul 14, 2010,