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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / I love cheap basses S101 NBD

Contributing Member

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Feb 18th, 2018 08:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

I love to find hidden gems masquerading as cheap instruments.

I was looking for a beater bass after selling my Squier Affinity P-bass to a high-school kid. I picked this up off my local Facebook market. An S101 P-bass copy + 2 straps + cord + decent gig bag + new or little-used strings for $81. I didn't argue with the guy, I just paid his asking price.

I believe these were made by the same factory that makes Samicks and other inexpensive vendor basses. The headstock says S101, but no model name or serial number anywhere on it.

Everything is in good shape and not beat up. The hardware appears to be nothing special, but certainly functional. The frets are in good shape, just a little sprout, but not sharp. After all it is the winter fret sprout season. The neck was slightly back-bowed, making some of the lower frets rattle.

I get it home and put a little relief in the neck, raise a couple of bridge saddle just a smidge and set the intonation.

In 20 minutes, I have a great playing, great sounding instrument that I would be willing to take anywhere. CNC manufacturing is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I may get around to doing something about the fret ends or I may just wait for the more humid part of the year to return.

I love to see people's faces when I show up somewhere with some low-name/no-name instrument and it meets all the needs of the music.

This bass is destined to be left at church for when I or the other bassist is too lazy to bring an instrument or when the opportunity to play unexpectedly presents itself.

$80 S101 P-bass copy


Texas Gulf Coast

Fender Aficionado BF Lifetime Member
Feb 19th, 2018 06:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

VERY nice price on a cool bass.

For $81, you got a lot of stuff.



Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Feb 19th, 2018 01:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

What a neat and inspiring report you've given us.

My whole music life has been spent buying basses 20 times more expensive than cheaper basses but not getting 20 times the sound or playability.


Contributing Member

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Feb 19th, 2018 03:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

George, while I can understand the love of vintage and boutique instruments, for me basses are tools. I would rather spend my money on having a varied stable of serviceable tools than have 1 exquisite tool.

I have 10 basses. I like a variety of formats. None of them are the same. Precision, Jazz, Peavey, Musicman, G&L, Yamaha, plus some a couple of weirdies like an old 25in scale 60's or 70's Kent. It is a mix of 4 and 5 strings. They all play well and I would gig with any of them, except that two are more for "shock" value to see peoples reactions at a rehearsal or a gig.

All but two are used. Most cost between $300-650. I have two more expensive at at $1250 (new) and $850 (used).

I lucked out on my G&L American L2500 because the Ebay seller listed it as a less expensive Tribute model I noticed the toggle switches were oriented in the American direction (front/back), not the Tribute orientation (up/down). Bang! a real 1989 G&L for the price of a Tribute ($600).

My Musicman is an an American S.U.B.5, an "economy" model with US workmanship, but a slab body, painted neck and a textured flat finish. All the savings on body finishing made the price lower (used at $650).

I really enjoy deciding which bass to take to a rehearsal or gig. My criteria are music style, what I feel like that day. Sometimes I even pick my axe by matching it with the color of my shirt!


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Feb 21st, 2018 04:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

maestro...excellent post and I agree with everything you said.

My fun with inexpensive basses for the last 30 years has been all about finding one and then swapping things out until I have just the right combination to make the bass inspiring to play. The appeal of cheap in this case is that it isn't going to devalue the bass to find another neck for it or some different pickups....and so on.


Contributing Member

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Feb 21st, 2018 07:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

Beaters forever! Mod 'em! Leave 'em out all over the house! Take 'em to gigs and open mics without worry!

The only problem is that once it is modded and setup into a great player, I bond with it, become protective of it and would hate to have something happen to it. And that negates the basic definition and principle of owning a beater.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Feb 22nd, 2018 02:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

It’s almost a lottery/crap shoot of parts assembled that make a great bass. I could agree that the higher end stuff will have a larger percentage of great instruments than the lower end assembly of materials. The other half is the hardware and set up.

Some extremely inexpensive instruments are fabulous. Many are greatly improved by a little attention to set up.

It’s still pretty subjective to musicians as far as what one prefers over another. All in all I think the range of quality is getting tighter.

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / I love cheap basses S101 NBD

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