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Old 03-27-2007, 09:53 PM
Jonathan Kilroy Jonathan Kilroy is offline
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Default Buying a double bass...

First, Hello to all, and thanks for the community. I am a guitar player historically but have made a change (in my head alone for now) to the double bass. I have saved enought to do this in a fairly significant way and am now ready to buy an instument. Yeah, Im a rank beginner on bass but I don't want to start on a beginner instument. I want to grow into and with something for a while... a long while. I'm looking at a 2006 Shen Rogeri 800 for 8000.00 vs a Juzek 1960 ~ 70 7/8 with a C extension and a few cracks in the ribs that seem stable for 10,000.00. The problem is without looking at them (hard to do) the Juzek has that sound you hear on a record cutting through a tight jazz run and seems to punch out the low end better. The Shen, (can't help but look at it) has a clearer more musical sound that I'm too inexperienced to know where it may be headed with my increasing abilities. 2000.00 bucks is a significant financial difference to me but I don't want to be an idiaot... How often do 7/8 Wilfers.. I mean Juzeks come around? (I'm 6-3 and have pretty big paws... so the size does not feel big)

Anything to help my late night anguish is welcome... i just want to get a bass and start playing... thanks jdk
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:15 PM
Jonathan Kilroy Jonathan Kilroy is offline
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Default Buying a double bass...

If you had 8000.00 to spend on a double bass and were looking for awesome arco and great pizz...... what would you be looking at?

This is a real dilema so help me out. Thanks. jdk

Last edited by Ken Smith; 03-28-2007 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Moved from 'Forum Introductions'
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  #3  
Old 03-27-2007, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kazama View Post
If you had 8000.00 to spend on a double bass and were looking for awesome arco and great pizz...... what would you be looking at?

This is a real dilema so help me out. Thanks. jdk
http://www.kensmithbasses.com/Double...ble_basses.htm

Since you asked here, the ones in that range would be the Corsini's and high end Shens as listed on my website above.
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:26 AM
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Kazama,

What kind of applications will you be using the bass for? (This could make a difference in which bass would work better...)

Are you primarily a jazzer? Going to music school?

Secondly, can you get the basses on approval and get them side by side? This would make it easier to compare. If not, do you have a teacher or mentor you can bring them to and play for them? They can help you with your decision.

You have to find the bass that speaks to you. Try a bunch, and then make the most informed decision you can.

FWIW
Brian
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:29 PM
Jonathan Kilroy Jonathan Kilroy is offline
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Default Formerly Kazama...

hi again... sorry if this is in wrong area; trying to find way around.

I can appreciate what the instruments are doing well vs another but I was clueless as to whether the Juzek is really worth that kind of money. (10000.00 for 7/8, 1960 ~ 70 with multiple stable cracks in ribs and a C extension and poor finish condition but sounds great) The Shen sounds great as well for 8000.00. Ken has indicated a couple to view at his site and those are beautiful instruments that likely sound great as well.

I am rank beginner but with a musical background and I want and have saved to get a decent bass from the start and look forward to making it sound better every day as I improve. Style will be all over the place. Were going to Fiddle Camp this summer but training in classical lessons.
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Old 03-28-2007, 11:07 PM
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Cool Cracked Juzeks..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Kilroy View Post
hi again... sorry if this is in wrong area; trying to find way around.

I can appreciate what the instruments are doing well vs another but I was clueless as to whether the Juzek is really worth that kind of money. (10000.00 for 7/8, 1960 ~ 70 with multiple stable cracks in ribs and a C extension and poor finish condition but sounds great) The Shen sounds great as well for 8000.00. Ken has indicated a couple to view at his site and those are beautiful instruments that likely sound great as well.

I am rank beginner but with a musical background and I want and have saved to get a decent bass from the start and look forward to making it sound better every day as I improve. Style will be all over the place. Were going to Fiddle Camp this summer but training in classical lessons.
The workmanship of the Wilfer type Basses as supplied to Juzek were not as good in my opinion as todays high end Shen Basses. The Juzek Basses were Shop/factory made Basses supplied to the NYC Schools and others as well. These were student grade Basses as compared to the older handmade Basses available between 1930 and 1966 or so. The exception is the Master Art series identified by the Violin Corners and super high flamed Back and sides. Even these Basses have cracks now.

Juzek, Wilfer, Pfretzschner, Morelli, Roth and all the other import Brands are fairly similar in quality with the exception of the current condition and the grade of wood used. These are mainly German Basses made for the commercial distribution market to supply to shops or schools in USA.

I have owned many Basses by these Shops in the past and personally know members of the Juzek Family as well as knowing Sam Shen and the CSC gang. If you like the sound of the older Bass, be aware that one with many repaired cracks can be high maintenance over time. Also, most Basses I but I have taken apart and completely re-built as the repairs are more often budget fixes to patch it up and keep it on the road. You can spend 5-10 on a middle of the road restoration. Also, do you yourself have an expert to help you look at these old Basses for Bass Bar or Soundpost cracks, sunken top, neck repairs, set-up need, fingerboard health etc etc etc..

Any of the above mentioned items can run hundreds to thousands for EACH problem you find. A new Shen? I would trust it. I currently have 3 Shens on order as well as 3 Calin Wultur Basses to replace the stock I sold. In those Basses I will get a high end model from each the best Chinese and best Romanian shops.

The two Shens I have are 5 and 10 years old. NOT a Single crack ever and not even a humidifier was used to control the conditions. I trust the Corsini's will hold up as well.

I know one local player with a very old Juzek/Wilfer Bass in great condition that he turned down 10k for it. On the other hand, I have seen some that I would not take for free as the repairs will exceed its value even fully restored.
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Old 03-28-2007, 11:19 PM
Jonathan Kilroy Jonathan Kilroy is offline
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Default Wilfer/Juzek quality...

Thanks Ken,
You raise an important point that I hadn't really considered... maintenence. The Juzek looks like a warhorse and although I'm buying from reputable luthier, this one (Juzek) is a consignment and the Shen is the shop's.

I have seen on a list of basses and price/quality/finish details that the Shen Rogeri 800 is "european" made.. is that true?

Look at this list; the Shen is at the bottom...

http://www.violinsetc.com/ViolinsEtc/basschart.asp
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Kilroy View Post
hi again... sorry if this is in wrong area; trying to find way around.

I can appreciate what the instruments are doing well vs another but I was clueless as to whether the Juzek is really worth that kind of money. (10000.00 for 7/8, 1960 ~ 70 with multiple stable cracks in ribs and a C extension and poor finish condition but sounds great) The Shen sounds great as well for 8000.00. Ken has indicated a couple to view at his site and those are beautiful instruments that likely sound great as well.

I am rank beginner but with a musical background and I want and have saved to get a decent bass from the start and look forward to making it sound better every day as I improve. Style will be all over the place. Were going to Fiddle Camp this summer but training in classical lessons.
The bass is only worth $10,000 if you pay $10k. My gut says, go with the Shen-but that is hard to say without seeing/hearing. You could spend that other 2K on a great bow. The other question is, how bad do you want a C-extension? You could spend the much just putting on the extension on the Shen...

Once again, do you have a teacher you can play them for? This will help tremendously.

Brian
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:19 AM
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Exclamation The bass is only worth $10,000 if you pay $10k?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Gencarelli View Post
The bass is only worth $10,000 if you pay $10k. My gut says, go with the Shen-but that is hard to say without seeing/hearing. You could spend that other 2K on a great bow. The other question is, how bad do you want a C-extension? You could spend the much just putting on the extension on the Shen...

Once again, do you have a teacher you can play them for? This will help tremendously.

Brian
Actually, a Bass is only worth 10k if it is salable for 10k on the general market. One newbie paying 10k for a Bass doesn't mean he can turn it over anytime soon and get his money back.

There are 100s and 1000s of Basses available for sale. It is a buyers market and not a sellers market unless you are talking about a rare and desirable pedigree that half the pro community waits for one to come available. With 'generic' Basses either Juzek, Shen or any other similar makes or brands you have plenty to choose from.

It takes a good eye, a lot of experience and a person with Luthier experience if not a top Luthier to judge the value of a Bass with existing repairs like the Juzek you mention. Just for the sake of discussion, if this Bass is 10k in the condition it is in now, what does the seller think it could sell for if fully restored to its best possible condition with graduations corrected and the Bass in its best possible tonal condition?

Heres a Bass of mine that I took in on trade broken and unplayable towards an Italian Bass. After about a 10k restoration, it was a great Bass. This is the same Bass before it was restored. This Bass was a large 7/8ths length wise and had a huge sound. Even the string length was shortened with a 'block cut'. The BassBar was actually part of the top which was typical for factory German Basses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The wood was overly thick and both the Top and Back had to be re-graduated.

Most cracks can be judged from the outside of the Bass but until you open the Bass, you have no idea what other work will need to be done to restore the Bass properly. A Bass like a Juzek is often not worth the trouble. A newbie might be attracted by the older sound it has but a smart buyer can see thru its factory made style and keep looking for a cleaner or better repaired Bass. The person to judge the condition, cost to re-repair and overall value of the Bass is NOT always the shop you are buying it from.

Did you know that in the 1960s a carved Juzek Bass cost only $200. directly from the Juzek family in NY at Metropolitan Music. The Highest grade 7/8th Master Art Bass was still under $1000. How then on this planet is a poorly repaired Juzek worth 10k today? He would be lucky to get that if the Bass was in mint condition.

My money is on the Shen unless the older Bass you find is in much better condition.

On the Bow thing, the 2k is a good entry level Pro Bow as they run 4-15k for the best relics and new makers as well in that range. We have Bows that list for $200-$600 that would easily do. Other Shops I have seen sell similar grades of Bows from $600-$1200. The difference is usually the marketing.
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Old 03-29-2007, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Actually, a Bass is only worth 10k if it is salable for 10k on the general market. One newbie paying 10k for a Bass doesn't mean he can turn it over anytime soon and get his money back.
My point exactly... that bass is only worth 10k if the buyer pays 10K for it. He didn't ask what the re-sale value is... nor did I qualify that as well. Are there other Juzeks that are selling for 10K? (I normally see their price points in the 6-8K range as well.)

With all due respect Ken, if I could sell a Juzek for 20K- does that not mean it is worth 20K to the person that bought it? Do I really care if they can sell it for 20K to get their money out of it? Will he hold on to it for 20 years and then sell it for 25K? Who knows?

Brian
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Old 03-29-2007, 01:22 PM
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Lightbulb Prices..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Gencarelli View Post
My point exactly... that bass is only worth 10k if the buyer pays 10K for it. He didn't ask what the re-sale value is... nor did I qualify that as well. Are there other Juzeks that are selling for 10K? (I normally see their price points in the 6-8K range as well.)

With all due respect Ken, if I could sell a Juzek for 20K- does that not mean it is worth 20K to the person that bought it? Do I really care if they can sell it for 20K to get their money out of it? Will he hold on to it for 20 years and then sell it for 25K? Who knows?

Brian
Not to get into an argument Brian but there are countless numbers of these imported basses floating around in the country and I have heard so many people picking them up in the 2-6k range and some in great shape that I don't think a poorly repaired one is worth much at all. Recently Arnold had one that Jed completely restored beyond the level it was ever at even new and that sold only for around 8k.

Yes, if you pay 10k for a Bass, that day it was worth 10k to you. My point is more of what is the going rate for these Basses and their ranges of models and conditions. I happen to know them fairly well and too many 'plain Jane' Juzek labled or named basses try to market as a Master Art because of a Purfled design or a diamond in the button. When I bought my 3/4 Master Art they only had 2 or 3 of them. Mine with the Wenzel Wilfer label, a 7/8ths with WBW engraved in script under the button and maybe one more they had. They offered several models but only the Violin model with the highest flamed maple combined usually with individual tuning gears were the expensive ones. The rest came in as just regular basses sold by the grade of wood that Germany supplied.

The best way to judge the quality of a Bass in my opinion is with a Bow playing orchestral works. This is the most demanding array of sounds demanded of a bass. Playing Pizz with an Amp is no way to judge quality. The better the Orchestral capabilities, the more valuable the Bass is. You can plug in just about any 'table top' with Spiros on it and sound acceptable for Jazz but acoustic Orchestra Bowing is where we separate the Men from the Boys Bass-wise, and player wise on occasion..lol
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:54 PM
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Cool

Ken,

I think we are saying the basic same thing. No argument here. To me, a Juzek bass (in generalities) is not worth 10K. I got a lot more bass than that for 10K. I was also patient and waited for a long time...

Having said that, I have seen and played some REALLY nice Juzek basses in my day as well. Some I would have considered paying 6-8K for if I was in the market, based on their sound. However, I know the difference between the higher end and the plywood. Most noobs do not.

Most of my students end up with a Shen or Christopher, as I feel that these basses (here go the generalities again) are better quality than anything else out there for the money. (In the student lines)

My biggest point is that there are no absolutes with basses. There are some awesome Juzeks and some awesome Shens, but as with anything there are some DAWGS as well. Consider each bass on its own merit. Play as many as you can. Play them for someone else, and have someone else play them for you. Then you can make a good, informed decision.

Bass shopping is fun, scary, exciting, and can be sad ($$$) all at the same time!

Don't rush!
Brian

Last edited by Brian Gencarelli; 03-29-2007 at 08:57 PM. Reason: re read.
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Old 04-02-2007, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ken Smith: The best way to judge the quality of a Bass in my opinion is with a Bow playing orchestral works.
Clearly you haven't heard me play with a bow!

Seriously though, what is your opinion on Wilfer basses sold as Wilfers? I'm asking because there is one in NYC that I'm very interested in.
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Old 04-02-2007, 03:54 PM
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Exclamation Which Wilfer?

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Originally Posted by Michael Case View Post
Clearly you haven't heard me play with a bow!

Seriously though, what is your opinion on Wilfer basses sold as Wilfers? I'm asking because there is one in NYC that I'm very interested in.
Which Wilfer is this and about when was it made? I suggest you try a LaScalla Carved as well from AES. Same level of German workmanship but Arnold's design, set-up and neck set. There are at least 4 or 5 Wilfers over the last 70 years or so that I know of and the work varies by the makers, period, model and materials used and then some. To me, asking about 'A' Wilfer tells me very little because it can be almost anything in terms of good to bad in general terms.
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Old 04-02-2007, 04:03 PM
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It's a Wilfer #10, about 20 years old. It's a bass being sold at Ideal music in NYC. The name carved in the back is Emanuel Wilfer. They want $4700. for the bass. Actually the NS LaScala really interests me. I'd like to be able to play one though. Does Arnold usually have one around for people to try?
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Old 04-02-2007, 04:18 PM
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Lightbulb ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Case View Post
It's a Wilfer #10, about 20 years old. It's a bass being sold at Ideal music in NYC. The name carved in the back is Emanuel Wilfer. They want $4700. for the bass. Actually the NS LaScala really interests me. I'd like to be able to play one though. Does Arnold usually have one around for people to try?
You will have to call Arnold and ask him. On the Wilfer, it is no better in quality from what I have seen. Now you will just have to compare them each as Basses and pick the one you like. the NS will have a professional set-up. The Wilfer will probably need to go to a shop like Arnolds to be set-up if you want the same level of playability.
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Old 04-02-2007, 04:24 PM
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Yeah, I figured the Wilfer would need set-up work. I figured that at the price they want I could get a good set-up and still be in the area of the retail price I've seen them go for. But I do have to say I think the NS is probably a better bass all around. I'm gonna contact Arnold and see if I can arrange a visit and play a NS. Once again Ken, thank you for creating an environment where one can ask a question about a bass and not be bombarded by small time bass shop owners trying to sell you a lesser instrument.
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Old 04-02-2007, 04:44 PM
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Exclamation Wilfer deal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Case View Post
Yeah, I figured the Wilfer would need set-up work. I figured that at the price they want I could get a good set-up and still be in the area of the retail price I've seen them go for. But I do have to say I think the NS is probably a better bass all around. I'm gonna contact Arnold and see if I can arrange a visit and play a NS. Once again Ken, thank you for creating an environment where one can ask a question about a bass and not be bombarded by small time bass shop owners trying to sell you a lesser instrument.
Also, the Wilfer has a repaired Crack. If this is near the Bass Bar or Sound Post, it will hurt the value and if not repaired well, will need to be re-done and this is not a cheap repair. For $1500 more, you can buy a new Wilfer #10 from MetMusic/Juzek as listed on their website. The #10, is a 'plain jane' carved Bass with nothing fancy in terms of wood.
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Old 04-02-2007, 04:53 PM
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Thumbs up alternate?

Also, this Bass is 10 years old, in great looking shape and without a single crack and still in a similar price range.



Also, nothing 'plain' about this beauty at all. Great for Orchestra or Jazz.
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Old 04-02-2007, 04:56 PM
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She sure is purty.
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