NBD: De Gier Elevation Custom 5 String !!!
in the summer of 2012 I was on the lookout for a boutique singlecut bass. I did alot of research about all the different builders that offer such models, Fibenare, Benavente, Sei Bass, Fodera etc.
I'm very picky when it comes to aesthetics and with all basses I found there was some small detail that put me off.
I knew what kind of specs I wanted, it should have a buckeye burl top, ebony board, 24 frets, modern sounding pickups.
Well, one day I more or less stumbled upon a De Gier 5 String Elevation on the website of a german music store, they offer a 30-day return policy, so I thought I can't go wrong there and ordered it.
It was exactly what i was looking for, a beautiful buckeye burl topped 5 string with lightweight swampash body, 24 fret ebony board, just gorgeous, it had Nordstrand Dual Coils with am Aguilar OPB-3 Preamp and I loved the sounds I could get out of it.
I was 99% happy with the bass but my mind kept cruising around the fact, that for "my" boutique bass I just would love some minor details changed, namly a ramp, wooden covers, and some switches for serial/parallel switching. So I returned the bass and contacted Sander De Gier about a Custom Build.
A few months later and here it is:
more pics here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...2010630&type=1
It's a 24 fret 5 string with lightweight swampash body, a gorgeous buckeye burl top, wooden covers, a really thick ebony fretboard (hope you can see on the pics, I love the fact that's it's so thick). Matching headstock (and backcover for that matter), Nordstrand Dual Coils with Aguilar OPB-3 preamp, 2 switches for parallel/coilsplit/serial wiring, the mid selector has a push pull function for 400Hz oder 800Hz.
It's a shame you can't see the bass in person, because if you like the pictures, trust me, it looks even better up close and personal.
I took it out of the case and was blown away by the craftsmanship, it's a handcrafted instrument and it is immaculate, there is not one spot on the whole bass where I could point to and say, yes, you see, handcrafted, it truly is a work of art.
At the end of the build process Sander sent me a preview picture with the gorgeous top and said he still needs to install the ramp and the switches, well, as I saw the picture I was really conflicted about the ramp because the top is just so stunning and in the end I couldn't do it, no ramp for my bass and to be honest, as soon as I took it out of the case, I didn't regret it one bit.
The playability, well, what can I say, the back of the neck is satin finish, perfect setup with low action but I can still dig in without any fretbuzz anywhere, and the B-String, wow. One problem with B-strings I often find is, that beyond the 5th fret, they tend to sound undefined and lose alot of tone, not with the De gier, I can play the B-string up to the 24th fret and it sounds unbelievable, very clear, punchy, articulate, simply great, 34" scale by the way.
The bass is perfectly balanced, I can put it on my right leg and smoke a cigar with my left hand and sip some whiskey with my right and the bass doesn't move on bit, no strap attached.
With the deep low cutaway the frets are super accessible up to the 24th fret and because the board doesn't get crazy wide on the higher frets I can easily reach the whole fretboard beyond the 12th fret and higher. The wooden pickupcovers go really high which is great because I can comfortably rest my thumb on the edge when I play the B-string, which is something I found to be a problem with alot of basses, when the pickup ends at about the same height as the B-string I can't anchor my thumb on the pickup, which is important, I find, when playing the B-String although I play with floating thumb on all the other strings.
The tone, I hope I can convey the greatness of sound this bass produces into words, I play through an aguilar tonehammer 500, everything set to flat, the bass eq set flat and it sounds just stellar, parallel switched it sounds very clear and articulate all across the board, in serial switching it gets really beefy with alot of bass. In serial switching, with a bit of knob turning I can really get awesome vintage sounding tones out of it, in parallel the notes just jump from the board crystal clear. One thing I can't really wrap my head around is, no matter what settings I do the tone has a really great punchy sweetness to it, I don't know if it is the ebony board or the combination with the swamp ash but no matter what, when I play it it feels like my ears fall into a soft and cozy pillow of warm bassy goodness. And the most interesting thing is the feeling of the bass when playing it, maybe it's the Cocco strings but the same sweetness I hear in the bass I feel in the fingers when playing, it's like my fingers and ears are gently put on dreamy bass pillows.
I'm really glad I had the switches installed because one problem I always had was quick sound changes. I play in a jazz band and always tried to figure out a way on how to set a good sound for walking and then quickly switch to another one for soloing, well, problem solved with the switches, the neck pickup in serial I get really bassy, beefy walking tones and for the solo I switch to parallel and the tone loses abit of bass and gets clearer, all at the flick of a noiseless switch, great.
Finally, I played quite some basses in my time (recently sold my Fender CS Jazz and Fender CS Precision, because although they sounded great, the played like an absolute mule compared to my De Gier) and once I find a bass that meets my requirements regarding the specs I like, there still is the question wether or not it can deliver that certain kind of magic you can only feel in your gut and I have to say, the De Gier absolutely does so. It's been quite some time since I bought a bass and really had that feeling in my gut that it's something magical and totally special and with the De Gier I have exactly that, truly a magnificient instrument.
If any of you currently think about getting a custom bass built and are unsure about which builder etc, please check out De Gier, I can't say enough about the work he does.
Hope the pictures work,
Sick bass! Congrats dude! Sound clips?
With a bass like that you better know all the notes above the 5th fret too ;)
Beautiful instrument, congrats!
just recorded some quick noodling over a ii-V-I in Cmaj,
hope this works ?
if not, here's the link. https://soundcloud.com/mrchrizmo/de-gier-elevation-solo
My chops are not yet up to par with this amazing instrument but getting there, getting there.
Hope you like it, if there's anything in particular you wanna hear, some specific pickup sounds etc, please let me know
WOW, Beauty! Sounds great too. CONGRATS
Maybe it's just me, but when I see a player show up with an instrument like yours I automatically assume there will be skills to match the instrument. Because usually guys start out on a more modest instrument, learn how to get the most out of that and then move on to some type of custom instrument. Not always, some of my favorite guys sound stay with Jazz Basses and actually sound worse when they occasionally play a Boutique bass.
But they still have their own phrasing,sense of melody, touch that will still make their voice come out no matter what instrument they play.
MrChrizmo,you got a big job ahead of you. You need to grow into your instrument, find a voice, learn about phrasing and melody, the pocket and all that because right now with the way you play, your instrument sounds sterile, no character, a blank canvas.
I don't mean to put you down, we all start somewhere (and I'm no Anthony Jackson either) but I may not be the only one thinking:
What is a guy who plays like that doing with a high end boutique bass?
Really, no put down here, but with a bass like that you need to be a serious player or people will scratch their heads.
So really, work on phrasing, don't just play patterns, let the melody breathe, try to hear something first and then play it.Learn songs and solos of your favorite players. Listen to singers and how they interpret a melody...
Here's a de grier clip of a real master
Hey Mr Chrizmo,here's an example for phrasing for what you seem to be into.
Two great players one boutique bass and an acoustic bass jamming over a blues,
( perfect place to start)
and a standard (There is no greater love, it's in the Real Book) nice interpretation of melody
Do you have the balls to post a sound clip and let us have at it?
What a nasty post. Despite your assertion that you're not putting him down your entire post was a put down and completely unnecessary. Who are you to decide whether or not someone is deserving of playing an high end instrument or not?
I agree with tastybasslines. I haven't even heard the sound clip, but I think that gimmieagig was deprived of affection as a baby and hence, is unnecesarrily mean. @ mr. Chrizmo nice bass dude. Before all else, have fun!
cool story bro.
what ! How dare you ! My playing is awesome !
just kidding :D
To be honest, when starting this thread I haven't put much thought to the "beginner player with high end bass" effect, maybe I should have.
My primary intention for the new bass thread simply was sharing my joy for my new bass with like-minded people and since tastybasslines asked for soundclips I threw together some.
Could the playing be better if I had taken more time, I think so, would it have been on a master/pro level, absolutely not. I'm not a professional player nor do I aspire to be.
What I found to be the most hurtful thing about your post is that in between the lines you more or less said I don't deserve this bass or shouldn't have it. I love this bass, don't take away my bass. ;)
Personally I think there is or should be no correlation between skill level and quality/"boutiqueness" of the instrument. If this was true I would be doomed to rock out my Squire until the end of days. (and most boutique builders would have to close down shop I think)
In any case, what I feel sorry about the most is the fact that now the spotlight in this thread is moved away from the star at hand, the bass.
Christian, you're a gentleman
I've been playing professionally and teaching for over 35 years and still quite often I myself get reminded that I might not be worthy of the instruments that I play. So in that regard you and I are a lot closer than Bona and I for example.
But if you like soloing over changes, here is a guy on youtube who I found just yesterday. He's playing a Squier with DiMarzio ultras and he's just shredding on that bass, goes to show that in the end the sound is in your fingers and the musicality doesn't come from the instrument. This guy is not famous, he works construction and is playing in bars in London.
Check out his great phrasing,the fluid lines that vary in length( breathing). You can really hear the chord changes even without the backing track just by how he outlines the chord structure.
All this stuff I'm still working on myself and wish I could do it better.
Anyway, enjoy your bass, it is a truly beautiful instrument.
I didn't mean to be a distraction from the purpose of this thread.
I just wanted to give you a few pointers, stuff you could focus on as you are growing into your instrument. Good luck with that.
Again I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.
I don't see the ramp or switches?:confused:
Christian, congrats on a fantastic instrument. May it help you make your music come true.
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