Now it has a shielding issue. It is super quiet (save the 60 cycle hum) when I’m touching the strings or bridge, but crazy buzzy when I’m not, which is not the 60 cycle hum. Evidently, I’d not noticed it from always touching something on it. I got copper shielding tape, totally shielded the electronics cavity, it got better. I pulled the pickups, shielded the the pickup cavities, it got WORSE.
Here’s my frustration:
WHY CAN’T I GET A BASS THAT JUST EFFING WORKS?
Every bass I’ve gotten in the last… well, since I started doing B2B, has been problematic. Let’s take a look:
Carvin LB20. Bought on OfferUp. Looked great in the pictures, discovered after buying that it was really worked over and needed a lot of effort. Had a fret buzz problem with the G string I couldn’t figure out, I think the nut was bad. Sold it.
Ibanez SR500EPB. Bought on Reverb. Looked great in the pictures, discovered after receiving it there were all sorts of pick marks, the pickups were crooked, and the E string saddle was bad. Swapped saddles around to make it playable, bought a new bridge. Still have to install bridge and figure out crooked pickup.
Carvin B4. Grounding issue, also had to install a neck shim to get action where I wanted it (bridge was bottoming out on E string and it was still too high). Had to remove bridge and reseat ground wire. Minor shielding issue, not enough to make me want to tear it apart, but enough to bug and make playing it not as fun as it could be (because I otherwise love this bass).
G&L JB-2. Grounding and shielding issue. One of the ground wires was not soldered properly, had to re-solder it. Thought I’d fixed it, realized there’s a shielding issue. Discussed above.
Four basses, all problematic. None of them cheap or discounted. I take that back, the SR500EPB was… the seller said it was “holiday price drop”. I didn’t think that was suspicious in August, but I do now.
I just want a nice, one-step-above entry level bass that I can play and not worry about. I worry about playing ALL of these basses because they’ve ALL got problems, and the G&L is unplayable. And I’ve fucked with it so much (soldering, shielding) that I’m certain I’ve voided any warranty, so I’m going to have to pay some luthier to probably re-shield and re-wire it, because I love the way the damned thing feels.
Yep I know the feeling. I had to return two Fenders this year, and I was so bummed about the whole thing that I barely practiced for almost half a year. Buying online is always a gamble, be it new or used…
This is no comfort at all, but you’re in the middle of a Poisson Distribution. Simeon Poisson was a French mathametician who did a lot of work on randomness, and it seems that random occurances don’t get evenly distributed over time.
In fact, they come in clumps. You can see this in baseball. A perfect game gets pitched about every 20 years. But when you see one, you generally get several over the next 2-3 years, and nothing for decades again. I say this because there is an element of luck in every perfect game. It applies to anything though. It’s why you see people hitting the lotto a second time.
It will end. Always does. I did research into the nature of randomness once after I encountered a really bad spell of luck, it’s all based on math.
I know your frustration. Especially from the last 3 I bought. A G&L which I ranted about here, a Squier VM PJ and a Fender PJ Deluxe. The problem is not so much that they were not as I expected but the lying sellers. If they had just been honest I would have still bought 2 of the 3 and been happy with them. The fact that you have been in some way swindled really makes it hard to enjoy playing, as you have stated. Just so fed up of people being so decietful. It is worse when you are passionate about something and its hard to find something you are satisfied with and it would be nice to have a good story attached to getting it.
My solution is to sell them off at an appropriate price considering their faults and declaring them or trade them in and just go new. I actually gave away the Squire to someone I know was just happy to have it.
I bought a few new basses. 2 cheap (my first 2 - EKO and Ibanez) which I’ve sold since and 2 mid priced a BC Rich (sold) and recently a P bass. They way I see it (at the moment), when you buy new you are paying for not wasting your time and at least you’ll have some warranty/ exchange period to deal with the hopeful smaller chance of problems. So get it on sale and enjoy the time you’d have otherwise wasted.
The alternative is to by cheaper used deals, expect nothing, mod it, play the heck out of it and don’t worry what the heck happens. Its all a mind game. The only problem here is people are even selling the older basses for outrageous prices. When I see a MIM Fender from the 90’s for as much as a new one and they state “you save the tax” I am wondering where it all went wrong. Used is used and you don’t know what its been through or how long it will hold. And what ever the seller says, don’t believe a word, do your own investigation the best you can.
I know none of this helped your situation but at least you are not alone with bass buyers remorse due to being mislead.
I stick to low price basses. Low price, low expectation, just as much playability as expensive basses, and zero disappointment.
This quote in the OP caught my eye: “one-step-above entry level bass”. There is no such thing as “entry level” or “one step above entry level” once you realise what you’re paying for and not paying for.
Thanks for the replies everyone. Pretty much, I just needed to vent. I spent a day trying to fix the G&L and got absolutely nowhere, so I was ready to throw things out windows.
For the G&L, when it’s not buzzing like an angry hive of bees, it plays and sounds amazing. So I’m going to stop futzing with it. I’m going to find me a good luthier/repair shop (prolly 13th Street Guitars in HB, CA… I hear NOTHING but good about them) and let a pro fix it.
I’m not completely dead in the water. The SR500EPB plays and sounds good and I love the Ibanez form factor. I still worry about the bridge, but I’ve got a replacement from Ibanez ready to swap in if needed. The crooked pickup is just a visual annoyance, it doesn’t affect playability. I’d love to fix it but after yesterday I have little confidence in my “guitar repair” abilities so will probably let it sit.
I don’t know what I’m going to do with the Carvin B4. It’s playable, but there is a wee bit of a shielding problem or something dealing with the bridge pickup… when the bridge pickup is on, there’s a buzzing that goes away when I touch the bridge. It’s not bad, nowhere near the G&L, and it disappears when the neck pickup is on (with either the bridge pickup on or off). And I don’t want to make it worse. I love that little bass, so I don’t think I’ll sell it. Probably ship if off to get fixed professionally after I deal with the G&L. I wanted a Carvin for too long to not have one in my stable.
So, again, thanks for allowing me to vent, and for all the supportive comments.
The used market on the likes of Reverb is still stupid. The average price for a used Mexican P Bass is between 80 and 90% of new. It’s improving but slowly.
So If I lived in the USA (which I think you do) I’d buy new from someone like Sweetwater. Find a reasonably priced bass I like and buy it. Get it and a)there’s something wrong with it or b) you just don’t like it then get them to send a shipping label and send it back. They have a superb return policy. If i lived in the US I’d have more stuff from them.
Rinse and repeat this process until you find something you like. It’s a crap shoot buying used if you can’t pick it up and play it. Add to that the stress and learning curve you have to endure to try and fix stuff you’ve never worked on before.
There are literally dozens of fantastic basses around the $500 range. It’s never been better in terms of quality IMHO.
Yep, things really open up around the $500 price point.
While it’s true that the prices on the used market are kind of high right now, if the seller is reputable I have found that it’s a more reliable source of quality than new. New instruments come with a warranty of course, but if you look around the forum, most people’s tales of woe have been from new instruments with defects.
On the other hand, I have found used sellers to be pretty honest in their descriptions and also you can ask them questions about the specific instrument.
But really, both new and used have some element of risk; it’s just that with new you are definitely paying the maximum amount and taking an immediate hit once you open the box, and then potentially having to return it or get warranty work done (as with 25% of my new basses). And the turnaround time for warranty work is not really great right now.
Whereas with used, you are at the mercy of the honesty of the seller, so it requires more judgement on your part. And you’re stuck with what you buy, for better or worse; but then again, someone else took the depreciation hit on it, so selling will be at less of a loss for you, or maybe even a profit.
I’ve noticed the prices here have really gone flat and expensive basses just aren’t moving. I’ve had my Schecter for sale for a couple of weeks now at around the $200 usd mark and I’ve had no bites at all.
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Used market here in NYC is basically back to normal, some even really good deals. Squier CV around 300. You still have the occasional ‘opportunist’ trying to be dopey, but overall there is a deluge of basses for great prices. You always can go a little lower than the price they want too. Takes patience to wait though. The other thing I like about used is no tax.