Spending more and spending smarter: the same thing, or not? Let’s talk cost vs. value.
When is it a good idea to spend an extra $1000 on a bass? What about $3000? What does it buy you?
Dave, tell me about the most expensive instrument you’ve bought:
- Eli Barreto custom built bass
- $2000-ish range
- In terms of cash money, I paid something like $1800 for a brand-new Gibson Thunderbird IV bass back in 1994.
- Great instrument, but stupid to buy it new; ate all the depreciation, sold it for maybe $1000-1100 a couple years later. I hardly ever buy new anymore.
What was the best value in an instrument that you’ve ever owned?
- Fender Aerodyne jazz bass
- Main gigging instrument for several years
- Got all the money back out of it
- As usual, a one bass guy 🙂
- Tough choice because now I’m all about the used value buy
- Most ever saved: Paid $950 for a mint, almost never played Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay 5, my first five-string and my main bass for over a decade
- Best bass for the money: my Lakland Skyline Darryl Jones 5-string. Paid $800 and it came equipped with custom Lindy Fralin pickups, and the stock pickups were included in the price. I dropped another $300 on a John East preamp and this is now my main bass.
- Next to that, a Sire V7 Marcus Miller 5-string. I think I paid about $650 new (rare exception!) shipped straight to me. Probably the best value instrument out there. Sounds like basses that cost 3 times as much. Reference Scott Devine’s recent A/B shootout with a high-cost jazz bass that retails at $3500. (Video link in show notes)
Why buy an expensive bass then? Things you get (or should get!)…
- Quality of the machinery (like bridge, tuning machines)
- Quality of the wood (often extensive chambering, often super-light)
- Fit and finish are usually premium
- Attention to detail and custom requests