Expensive Laminate vs Cheap Hybrid upright

Hey guys,

In college I was a bass guitar music major who fell in love with doubling the bass for certain situations, but in my senior year my house burned down and my bass went with it. Between that and finding a job I haven't been able to afford another upright bass for a while, but recently came into a job that makes that a bit more plausible, at least for a bit of an intermediate level instrument.

I've narrowed it down to two instruments: A relatively expensive laminate bass(msrp 3500) and a relatively cheap hybrid bass(msrp 2400).

Let me give some details as to what I like about both, starting with the Hybrid.

The hybrid is Chinese made(which I really don't mind, it keeps the price down). Its a laquer varnish, carved front and laminate all around. Gamba shape with very comfortable shoulders, lightweight and easy to get around. It has a decent sound throughout the entirety of the the neck and at it's price point I could start saving up for a flatback or a carved someday.

The laminate on the other hand is Romanian. A spirit varnish, the instrument features carved solid ribs with a laminate front and back(though I believe there might be some real wood laid over the the laminate. Theres some flame to the back. Whether it improves the sound or is for show? I honestly don't know enough about bass construction). Its a violin corner bass with high shoulders akin to an english Hawkes bass. A little harder to get around because of the shoulders and a little heavier by comparison, it comes in a 3/4 and a larger body variant. It has a nice powerful low end but sounds a bit more dead towards the top. I probably would end up throwing on some spirocores to counter that. I do worry that the spirit varnish will dent a little easier than the laquer varnish of the other instrument, but I have tried a variant of this bass with the laquer and the sound doesn't even compare.

So I guess all other things having their own charms, strengths and weaknesses; I need some advice: Am I going to get more value out of the laminate? What could possibly go into a laminate bass that makes it more expensive than other laminates or even some hybrids? Does the virtue of one instrument being a hybrid make it a better bass by itself? If I want to use it as my main upright for a while, should portability and hardiness factor more than sound? Is there anything I should be considering that I haven't yet?

submitted by /u/nachoiskerka
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Source: Bass