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Old 03-29-2007, 02:08 PM
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Default Christopher Basses and Resale/Trade Value

Hey all -

So, I'm in the market for an older European bass (as my current thread called Juzek NY? demonstrates) and I think I'm close to finding the right instrument out of a few that are currently available in my city.

My question now is what to do with my 7/8 Christopher 401. It's carved back and top (new info to me indicates laminate sides, but I'm not 100% on that...) and I've really liked the bass for the 2 years or so I've had it. It has a great big sound and is pretty accessible for a 7/8 bass - likely because the meansure is right around 42 inches.

I've been given advice by people around here I trust with conflicting opinions to either keep or sell this Christopher. I do like the sound, but I'm in this for the long haul and plan to continually upgrade until I've found what I consider a 'lifetime' instrument.

Music is a serious avocation; I'd consider myself semi-pro, as I make only 10-20% of my income playing and teaching bass.

Clearly, my choices are to keep or sell/trade the Christopher. I have about $3200 into it with Bobelok case and Full Circle. If I were to keep it, I don't think it would be played much. If I were to sell it, I'd probably just keep the proceeds in savings for now OR invest in a better bow.

Any thoughts on how the resale value will be affected over time? Are there opinions in terms of whether these basses are expected to increase in value over the years, or am I going to be losing capital if I hang on to it and think about selling in a couple years' time?

Seems like the Shen's might have a better chance of increasing in value over time, but this particlular instrument does have a better sound than most - it actually speaks and projects better than the Christopher 502 I play next to in a community orchestra - and they were set up by the same luthier...

Any thoughts from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

Brian Casey
aka Tanglehead
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Old 03-29-2007, 03:05 PM
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Cool Sell, trade or keep..

Dealers make a profit when they sell Basses new and used. If it were me, I would give you less than MY wholesale cost for a new one towards a more expensive Bass unless I was making a huge profit on it. Then I could make believe that you can have full retail credit on your Crissy if and when you upgrade.. Yeah, right.. Do you drive a car?..lol

Since you do play gigs and teach Bass as well this Bass is worth more as a second Bass for you on let's say outdoor gigs or less desirable venues that you wouldn't bring your good Bass to as well as a Bass for your students to play when they come for Lessons. Also, you can consider the value of the Bass as a one time insurance premium as each time you take that Bass out, the good one is home safe and sound.

Look, I like making money in business just like the next guy but the reality is that new merchandise is worth less than half what you pay the day after you leave the store. Selling it privately is the other option but being that it is a relatively new Bass and still available not like some 50-300 year old Bass, you will have to take less than the new cost in most cases.

If you must sell or trade the Bass in for monetary reasons, then pick the option that works best for you. I just wanted to point out the reality of things from a dealer viewpoint.

On your Bass, if the Ribs are Plywood then the Back may be as well but I don't know your particular Bass. Many Plywood Basses today though have solid non-ply bent Maple ribs as well.

If you can afford to keep your Bass and also upgrade at the same time then the value of having a back-up is greater than its market price.
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Old 03-29-2007, 05:24 PM
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Thanks, Ken. That's exactly the kind of perspective I was hoping to get.

I had been told by pro who has a couple basses I'm looking at to sell the Chrissy as soon as I could - once I got a better bass, of course - because the resale value would drop quickly. I wasn't sure if I agreed, but mostly because these basses get pretty good reviews and this particular instrument has received high praise from other players and musicians.

I think I'll likely keep it as long as it makes sense. I also have the option to trade it in to the dealer I bought it (used) from at what I paid for it, minus any specific wear issues. It's still in fine shape and the last time he saw it, he said it would garner what I paid for it two years ago.

I hope to be posting pic's of my new (older) German.Czech bass pretty soon to hopefully get your feedback on what it might be. I'm looking at several right now and waiting to see more in the next week or two.

Thanks again,

Brian
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:55 PM
JoeyNaeger JoeyNaeger is offline
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When I got my Solano, I thought about selling my hybrid. I eventually decided to keep it and I'm glad I did. On the whole, I don't play it that often, but there have been several instances where it saved me a lot of trouble. I had my solano in the shop for a while once. Also, I was flying to a summer camp once and discovered that my Solano couldn't fit in the travel trunk I was borrowing the night before I left. In both cases, my hybrid saved me a lot of hassle, and made it well worth keeping it.
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Old 04-03-2007, 06:13 PM
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I vote for keeping the Chrissy too. I have a hybrid that I plan on keeping upon the purchase of another bass. I play some outdoor and questionable venue gigs and would like to have an extra bass for those situations. Plus I remember when my bass was in the shop for two weeks getting a new fingerboard, I had to play a few gigs on electric. There's no bigger drag than straight ahead jazz on an electric bass, well maybe not having ANY bass is a bigger drag. You get my point.

Good luck in your search,
Mike
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:55 AM
Flint Buchanan Flint Buchanan is offline
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if you were on the right, instead of the left, coast I might make you an offer on that chrissie. I've been very happy with the tone and construction of my hybrid, and have thought about going to the fully carved if the right oportunity came around.

Here's another option that just came to me-find a deserving bass student and loan them the christopher. I don't know all the in's and out's of liability, but it could help an otherwise underprivelidged person know the joys of playing a quality instrument.

Otherwise, I'd keep her. You've already taken the depreciation hit, and my money says that eventually things coming out of china are going to get more expensive. Then you'll start to see an increase in the cost of these currently budget grade instruments and we'll be looking at them the way folks look at the wilfers and juzeks now.
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Old 04-05-2007, 09:29 AM
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Just remember Kays were bargin basement instruments at one point in time.
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Old 03-21-2009, 06:55 PM
Richard Prowse Richard Prowse is offline
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I've just checked the website for the Auckland guy who imports Christopher basses and the 500s that arrive in May will cost around NZ$10,000. I paid NZ$5,500 for mine!
Richard 1 - Life 734
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:04 PM
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Unhappy ah..??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Prowse View Post
I've just checked the website for the Auckland guy who imports Christopher basses and the 500s that arrive in May will cost around NZ$10,000. I paid NZ$5,500 for mine!
Richard 1 - Life 734
Richard, he asked this question about 2 years ago. You think he's still waiting for a reply?
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Old 03-22-2009, 01:48 PM
Richard Prowse Richard Prowse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Richard, he asked this question about 2 years ago. You think he's still waiting for a reply?
Ken, my friend, the passing on of information is like water finding its way to the ocean, or a lost soul's search for enlightenment. What are two years compared to eternity?

No, probably not - I just thought that it was interesting information. Sorry, I'll go and sit quietly in the corner (imagine that purple guy used here).
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:49 PM
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Default timing is everything

So, yes, I kept the Christopher these past 18 or so months. I used it primarily for orchestra work, as the Pfretzschner didn't project like the Christopher did - but it had a remarkable sound, especially for jazz.

Now, however, you'll see another post in This New Bass that describes my NEW (to me) German bass. I'm intending to use this German bass for my orchestral work from now on. This means, including the Christopher I now have three basses, so the topic of this thread is still very much relevant.

I've considered putting the Christopher up for consignment at a local shop, or passively trying to sell locally. I'm not hot to sell it, but I don't intend to play it much at all, and I'd rather have it being played than sitting in my basement where it is now. (My wife's limit is two double basses in the house, and until I convert the garage, the living room doubles as my practice room - just after everyone else has gone to bed.)

I might use it as fodder to trade into a REAL bow....

brian
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:02 PM
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Cool humm..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Casey View Post
So, yes, I kept the Christopher these past 18 or so months. I used it primarily for orchestra work, as the Pfretzschner didn't project like the Christopher did - but it had a remarkable sound, especially for jazz.

Now, however, you'll see another post in This New Bass that describes my NEW (to me) German bass. I'm intending to use this German bass for my orchestral work from now on. This means, including the Christopher I now have three basses, so the topic of this thread is still very much relevant.

I've considered putting the Christopher up for consignment at a local shop, or passively trying to sell locally. I'm not hot to sell it, but I don't intend to play it much at all, and I'd rather have it being played than sitting in my basement where it is now. (My wife's limit is two double basses in the house, and until I convert the garage, the living room doubles as my practice room - just after everyone else has gone to bed.)

I might use it as fodder to trade into a REAL bow....

brian
Was there any possibility along the way of trading the Chrissy in towards a better Bass so you didn't end up with the 3 you have now? Like cars, I would rather have just one but basses are easier to park..

Lol.. look who's talking. If you ask me how many bass 'I' have (not my commercial inventory) I would need to sit down and figure it out as well as where the all are as far as the ones out for restoration.

Still, one Bass (or maybe two if the jobs call for it) is all most of us need.
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Old 04-23-2009, 03:49 PM
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Default trade in

Hi Ken - yes, there was a possibility of trading the Christopher in, but the people that offered me anything for it dind't have what I was looking for - either they had basses that were out of my price range that I wanted to basses that I didn't feel would be a significant improvement over the Christopher.

I'm thinking now that trading it in toward a nice bow ($2000 range and up) is where I want to be headed. I'll probably be checking with my regular luthier to let him know this is my plan. I might also sell it on my own toward the same end, as long as I can find potential buyers in this financial climate. I just shelled out mid-4 figures for a bass, why shouldn't I find someone else willing to spend half that?

I do think that having 2 basses is a good idea, if a person can afford it. If one needs to go into the shop, it's good to have a backup, and for those recurring gigs with a secure storage area, it's nice to be able to avoid cartage every day. I'm contracted to do a run of The Producers this Summer, and I plan to keep a bass on site the 4 days I'm working each week.

Thanks, as always, to everyone for their perspectives.
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Last edited by Brian Casey; 04-23-2009 at 03:51 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-23-2009, 04:18 PM
Joel Larsson Joel Larsson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Casey View Post
just shelled out mid-4 figures for a bass, why shouldn't I find someone else willing to spend half that?
The mysteries of life...

Sounds like a sound idea to get a good bow, though! For 2k you could get a good master bow.
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Old 04-23-2009, 05:33 PM
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Question really?

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Originally Posted by Joel Larsson View Post
The mysteries of life...

Sounds like a sound idea to get a good bow, though! For 2k you could get a good master bow.
And what Master Bow would that be now? A real Master, Classic, new maker or a wannabe? I have not seen Master grade French Bows in the last few decades anywhere near 2k. Even 20 or 30 years ago my Sartory was more than that on the market.
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:40 AM
Joel Larsson Joel Larsson is offline
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Ah, hm, just checked where the dollar is at these days... turned out that it was about two thirds of what I thought it was! Oh well. Always the up to date guy.

Edit: Over here in Europe the Döllings, Hoyers and their counterparts starts at about €2-2,5k. The better ones sells for over €3k. €2000 would make about $2600.
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:55 AM
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Cool yes.. but..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Larsson View Post
Ah, hm, just checked where the dollar is at these days... turned out that it was about two thirds of what I thought it was! Oh well. Always the up to date guy.

Edit: Over here in Europe the Döllings, Hoyers and their counterparts starts at about €2-2,5k. The better ones sells for over €3k. €2000 would make about $2600.
Yes, ok, but Dollings and Hoyers are NOT what I would consider a 'MASTER' grade Bass Bow. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Survey 100 Pro Orchestra Bassists that play French bow and list what they use. To judge what a Master Bow is, make sure you survey the Master players in the Major Orchestras like the LSO, NY Phil, Philly, National, MN, etc.. I think that the German Bow might be more popular in your area but for French Bow prices in USA, check with the USA and UK Orchestras.
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:22 AM
Joel Larsson Joel Larsson is offline
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True, I know only one person who plays a French bow made by Hoyer; he had some copies made of his own old French pedigree bows (which it is safe to presume are still his main bows).
You'll quite easily find a French or German bow by one of the Döllings for about €2k and slightly below, although I see why that would appear as too cheap a solution to some people (which it probably is).

I was just making the point that this is where you will start getting bows made by a real master maker; isn't this what the word "master" refers to?
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