Just a theoretical question really.
What could possibly be wrong with it?
What are the main differences between cheaper and more expensive double basses?
What would it cost to fix these problems if possible?

Not quite the same question but does an electric upright employ the same technique as an acoustic upright? Something tells me you get better quality for money with electrics so I'm considering getting a EUB to learn on.
I can't break it down technically, but I've bought a cheap no-name cello before, and it actually worked out pretty well. It needed a little work at a local violin shop (don't remember exactly what they did, it was a while ago, I think it cost around $50), but even before that, it was adequate for a noob.

That said, if you're looking at EUBs, I'd recommend Ergo. They cost a tiny fraction of what most other EUBs go for, they're all handmade and fully customisable, and I really prefer their simple aesthetic over the NS stuff, especially. Oh and you don't need to flip any switches to go from pizz to arco.


The 4-strings start at $700.
what could be wrong with it? bad bridge (some come on backwards), warped fingerboard, soundpost, bad strings, high action, low action. a host of things.

I just paid $750 for fingerboard work, a reglue and a new pickup and strings.

with double bass, go big or go home basically. getting a good instrument for $1500 is better than buying a
$700 POS and having to get $1000 in luthier work on it so that it can be a workable instrument.

I got a good deal on my bass on craigslist when I bought it. go to stores and bass shops around your parts and look. internets a no go unless it's craigslist. always try before you buy.

the only EUB's that are akin to playing real basses are far more expensive than a regular bass. EUB is more like a fretless bass you can bow on.

also as far as different basses. cheaper ones have shittier setups with subpar woods and parts. most cheapies FEEL horrible and sound bad. but feeling is the worst. as physical an instrument as it is, it gets made worse by bad basses.

you cam get good plys. doesn't have to be carved to be pro. it's just that good plys tart around $1100. that's for like average to good quality.
Last edited by primusfan at May 13, 2011,
hey primusfan, can we have stuff to look for and/or specific brands to get or shy away from?
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Quote by Spaz91
So, as a double bassist yourself, would you say an EUB is a good introduction?

It might be, but you'll certainly be missing something. An acoustic upright bass responds to technique in ways a solid electric upright never will. The electric uprights like the Ned Steinbergers are amazing and well worth getting for their own qualities, but if you truly seek the tone, responsiveness and the feel of an acoustic upright, then there's nothing like the real thing.

As for cheap ones, they have the same problems as do cheap solidbody electrics: they're not well-constructed, they don't hold up under heavy use, the string spacing and intonation can be off and the better you get at playing the thing; the more you will appreciate that it's a cheapo and you'll grow to hate it. In the end, you'll end up spending even more money on a good one.

From what I've heard, acoustic upright basses are like boats. For those of you who don't know, the official definition of a boat is "a bottomless pit into which the owner endlessly pours money." If you're going to be droping a few hundred here and there for the rest of your life, you might as well drop it on something you actually like and respect.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Thanks for making this thread, I've been having a lot of the same thoughts myself lately.
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actually the definition of boat is
still applies though
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Quote by Spaz91
So, as a double bassist yourself, would you say an EUB is a good introduction?

not any better than fretless bass IMO. the really expensive yamahas and eminence EUBs try to approximate the feel of the upright afaik, especially as far as stance. from the EUB's I've played, I'd say they're really just novelty fretless basses. and if they are good they're twice the price of a decent upright.

@ humanity: things to stay away from:

Chinese basses. for the most part these are crap.

stay away from Palatino, Cremona, Saga, Bellafina, etc.

my bass is a Chinese ply (Samuel Shen) set up by a well-respected luthier who did some wonders with it.

which leads to the next tip: ALWAYS buy in person. preferably a bass shop/luthier but could also do a private classifieds buy. these guys will NOT steer you wrong. you may think they're hassling you for more money but this has never been my experience.

other than that, if it feels good and sounds good, do it. but never buy a bass online off a big
box type seller. one because customer service is crap and two they don't know a damn thing about bass.
Quote by primusfan

my bass is a Chinese ply (Samuel Shen) set up by a well-respected luthier who did some wonders with it.

Shen gets good love in general over at TB as the only decent Chinese cheapy. I spent an hour trying one out at an area string store and I have to say I was really impressed with the feel and volume of it for something like $1200 in good shape used. If I wasn't so cash strapped, I would have bought it.
Exactly what primus said, buy big or go home, EUB's are only really good for getting your intonation down, the rest just doesn't feel like a bass, for one, your stance will already be different.

When you get down to higher end uprights, they don't go by brand, rather luthier and century. I haven't really delved into all the tech specs of uprights, focused on my playing more so i can't really recommend and brands, i that know kay is pretty respected, and most people take theirs to a luthier after buying.

My bass is also chinese, but it's laminate, the soundpost, board and bridge are all set up well but the back and the side have come apart on the side of the bass and i need a re-glue (or a new bass). Mine's a cheaper (i'd say about 1,000 AUD) bass and having played real wood basses I can say that the difference between cheap basses and good basses is huge.

I think i'm gonna buy my teachers bass though, i think it's a really dark maple bass, c. somewhere in the 1800's and it's german, it sounds amazing though and is one of the coolest looking basses i've ever seen, really dark and aged wood, an authenticly ages upright.

Also, buy everything in person, i know a guy that bought an upright on impulse and then discovered it had a horrible wolf tone which is when the bass is being bowed and matches the the natural freq. of the wood or something.
I bought a used carved Ji upright for 1500 USD. I love the thing, but I had to put in a decent amount of cash into it. From the start, it needed a new bridge (250 USD) and a new sound post (50 US). I also had to have the fretboard planed twice now and will probably have to have that replaced in a year or two (500USD +) Like Dave, I am blessed with a great local luthier.

Stay away from Cremonas and Palatinos. Just read the reviews out there on TB and other sites. They speak volumes.

On EUBs. Poor sub for an Upright and really their own instrument. They only get good when you start looking at the NS Design models and above.
My first double bass that i owned was a Cremona, and yes it was terrible and i quickly got rid of it. It would have cost a good 700 on top of the 600 i paid to get it playing nicely and that doesnt mean it sounded good.

I sold it cheap and then bought an old 1940's hora hybrid double bass and the difference was incredible. It sounds great and plays amazingly well. When i have money theres some things id like to do it but its fine at the mo. It cost me 1200 euro and was 3rd hand. It will last me the rest of my life if i want it to.

You have to spend 1K plus id say in the uk. Theres several been up for sale over there. Some laminates are great and play very very well and sound good. Shens as mentioned are good. But there are a huge amount of double bass's out there from multiple makers and there all different. If you can get the money bring an experienced player with you because theyll be plenty of things you wont notice that will cost you later.

Its a big investment and a lot time to get proficent at it.
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Quote by Spaz91
This is depressing. ¬_¬

So in order to get any decent upright, acoustic or electric, I'm going to have to sink at least a grand into it?

It's probably one of the most expensive instruments out there, and it's one hell of a pain in the ass.
Yep id defiantly recommend it. But hell you could get lucky and find something playable for under a grand but the chances of that are slim.

And yes there basterds to transport until you get used to it.
Yamaha TRB1006
Fender MIA jazz bass
Hora Hybrid double bass
Hartke lh 500
Ev 606L
Epiphone les paul
Yes, and taking one up to the third floor of a restaurant with switch back stairs isn't fun either...

But yeah, despite the transport issues, the cost and amount of practice you have to put into it, its the love of my musical life.
I think this is one for when I have a post-grad job maybe. I may still get a cheap EUB though, from listening an looking I think they're closer to an acoustic upright to a fretless electric and, like you said, its an instrument in its own right. I'd like to try experimenting with bows and effects.