Episode 019: High Cost vs. High Value

Episode 019: High Cost vs. High Value

Practical Bass
Practical Bass
Episode 019: High Cost vs. High Value

Spending more and spending smarter: the same thing, or not? Let’s talk cost vs. value.

Music: JahzzarPlease Listen CarefullyspinningmerkabaUrbana-Metronica (wooh-yeah mix).

Show notes

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?

  • Dave
    • Fender Aerodyne jazz bass
    • Main gigging instrument for several years
    • Got all the money back out of it
    • As usual, a one bass guy 🙂
  • Paul
    • 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

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