New backup bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by mjt0229, Mar 6, 2014.


  1. mjt0229

    mjt0229

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    I've been wanting an inexpensive second bass for a while. Although 90% of my playing is classical music, I enjoy Americana, Dixieland, and old-timey stuff. Every time I think about bringing my Arvi out to a bar to play a show, though, I have visions of the Blues Brothers at Bob's Country Bunker.

    Recently, I noticed a crack developing on the top of the Arvi. With a couple of gigs coming up, I couldn't really be without a bass. My old Wultur finally sold (that's a long story, don't get me started), so I decided to put some of the consignment towards the purchase of a laminate bass that I could use for rehearsals and that I wouldn't feel bad about lugging around town or hauling into the local dives to thunk out a few tunes.

    I tried a couple of basses last weekend and ended up bringing home a Shen SB80 - the cheapest of the lot, but still a surprisingly fun bass to play. It's very easy to bow and the smaller string length makes it a nimble player. It's also a rather loud bass - I can easily get plenty of volume, even if the tone is a little uninteresting. I think it probably needs a little setup work (the strings feel a touch close together and the bridge fit doesn't look spectacular). It came with D'Addario Helicores (not sure which flavor), which I don't love, but I haven't decided what strings I want to try yet. I'd need a good hybrid string, but I really dislike a lot of the standard choices for hybrid strings.

    My biggest complaint, actually, is that the varnish looks very cheap - it's sort of an ugly plasticy reddish color that's not particularly natural. Maybe there's a way that I can take out the shine a bit and not stand out so much in an orchestral setting.
  2. KUNGfuSHERIFF

    KUNGfuSHERIFF

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Which model did you get? The lowest-end model(s) have a sprayed-on nitrocellulose lacquer finish like an electric guitar, rather than a traditional spirit varnish.
  3. mjt0229

    mjt0229

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    I got the lowest-end model - an SB80. The finish definitely looks like a cheap, sprayed on lacquer. I'd have preferred an SB100, but I couldn't find any in the Seattle area, and I needed the backup so I could take the Arvi to the luthier next week. Besides, the SB80 sounded decent and played well, so it seemed like ordering an SB100 from somewhere wouldn't be a great idea since I wouldn't have the chance to play it first.
  4. mjt0229

    mjt0229

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    Photo attached, in accordance with the rule (pics or it didn't happen).

    Attached Files:

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  6. powerbass

    powerbass

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Location:
    western MA
    you can buff out the finish w/0000 steel wool. For a professional buffing job you would use a lubricant like Murphy's Oil Soap and water. Dip the steel wool in the solution and rub lengthwise w/the grain, wipe off and check progress. Scotch Brite pads work well too, most hardware stores carry sheets of it, you will want Fine which is the green color. You can use a lubricant w/these as well.
  7. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Location:
    Burlingame, California
    Disclosures:
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    The SB 80 (red) and SB 90 (blonde) models both have the very durable lacquer finishes. The SB 88, the same general specs as the SB 80, has a red-brown oil varnish. The SB 100, with similar general specs as the SB 90 with upgrade tuners, also has the red-brown oil varnish.
  8. mjt0229

    mjt0229

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    Well, I felt guilty putting up a picture of the new bass without showing off the old one too. I don't want it getting jealous.

    Attached Files:

  9. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Location:
    Burlingame, California
    Disclosures:
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    I just saw a similar Arvi over at Gael McKeon's shop in Berkeley the other day. I like the long lines and the quality of woods used.
  10. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Disclosures:
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Hi MJT, I'm glad you're enjoying your 80. We'd like to steer you away from steel wool, it's a bit course and would probably leave visible marks and swirls. Micromesh should be alright. I think the best plan is to just play it, and let the shine come down naturally. Six months from now you may be quite happy with the look.
  11. SteveFreides

    SteveFreides

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Location:
    Ridgewood, NJ
    You might find this thread interesting:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f17/strings-arco-plywood-basses-1057407

    -S-
  12. mjt0229

    mjt0229

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
  13. SteveFreides

    SteveFreides

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Location:
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Don't know if you bought new but if so, are strings supplied by Shen? Perhaps John Sprague could tell you what's on there ...

    -S-
  14. mjt0229

    mjt0229

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    I'm pretty sure they were put on by the shop locally. I could probably call down and ask, I guess.
  15. KUNGfuSHERIFF

    KUNGfuSHERIFF

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Those are Helicore Hybrid Lights.
  16. SteveFreides

    SteveFreides

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Location:
    Ridgewood, NJ
    That's a worthwhile phone call to make, IMHO. If you're shopping for strings on a bass you own, you certainly want to know what's on there now that's giving you both the goods and the bads you near in your instrument. At the very least, you don't want to buy another set of those.

    -S-
  17. SteveFreides

    SteveFreides

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Location:
    Ridgewood, NJ
    KungFuSheriff, you are indeed a fount of knowledge about all things bass.

    It seems Helicore Hybrids stand a fair chance of being the least popular string.

    -S-
  18. KUNGfuSHERIFF

    KUNGfuSHERIFF

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Nah, just stricken with OCD.
  19. daddarioorch631

    daddarioorch631

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Location:
    Farmingdale, NY
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, D'Addario & Co.
    Hi there! My name is Josephine and I work with D'Addario. I'm sorry to hear you weren't happy with the Hybrids that came on your bass. I'd love to help find you the best set for your instrument.

    Feel free to shoot me an email or send me a message if you'd like to talk strings!

    josephine.llorente@daddario.com
  20. byrdzeye

    byrdzeye

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    I recently got a Shen SB88, and am very happy with it so far (just over 3 months). I love the look of the finish as it doesn't have the "cheap" look of the shiny basses. It came with Helicore Pizz Lights (to stiff for me, and hard on my old hands and fingertips), and I spent time with Eric at Upton discussing better strings for it, and playing a number of basses in their Mystic shop. I was interested in the Zyex strings, but they just didn't seem to have any "umph" to the sound, so I passed. I really liked the Oliv strings, but not at over $700 a set, so I'm going to go with Evah lights instead. These seem to be great basses for their cost, and I'm sure you will get lots of enjoyment from yours.

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