7/8 Christophers?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Lia_G, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    In an earlier thread I started, someone mentioned renting a plywood 7/8 Christopher from Hammond Ashley in Seattle that 'sang like a carved bass' (paraphrasing his words. Does anyone else have opinions about the 7/8 Christophers, either the laminated models or the hybrid??? I'm a big guy (6'4") and the idea of getting a 7/8 seems nice, if there's a benefit in terms of sound, for example.

  2. MarkRubin

    MarkRubin F L T

    Mar 14, 2005
    Austin TX

    I've owned both plywood and fully carved Christopher Basses, both 7/8th size. I'm 6'2" and 340lbs, so I qualify as either a big guy or a really big guy depending on how much lard is consumed in your local culture. I have nothing but nice things to say about them.

    They were both outstanding instruments for the money I paid for them, and I'd still have the carved bass were it not for a '27 Roth in my life now. I found the plywood bass light of weight yet very durable with a lovely round sound very good for bluegrass, country and even jazz work. The fully carved bass (A Prominece model if I recall) became a Cannon after replacing the sound post with a hand carved and fitted one (a standard upgrade in the shop I work part time at.)

    My singular caveat is that the ribs seemed a bit thin on the carved bass, and hence not as road worthy and durable as some new European basses I've seen. It was however, twice the volume and response as any new bass I've played. A lot of that has to do with set up, strings ect..

    I reckon a Hybrid model would contain the better elements of both basses. Let's speak frankly, a 7/8 bass doesn't make a big guy look SO damn big. With my old 3/4 bass many people thought I played a 1/2 size, no lie.

    Attached are pics of the plywood Christopher playing Polish dance music and the carved Christopher in a movie (playing behind Gwyneth Paltrow in fact..)

    Attached Files:

  3. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Thanks for the info & pics, Mark!

    All the best,
  4. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    I have a 7/8 Christopher bussetto model, and I like it just fine.

    It doesn't really feel like a big bass to me, though (I'm 6' and 200 lbs on a good day). The size difference is more in the rib depth and bottom bout width -- the mensure and, I think, the body length, are the same as the 3/4 model.
  5. Tanglehead


    Nov 27, 2004
    Boulder, CO
    I've had my Christopher 7/8 401 F (lower end fully carved) for just about a year now and (... just looked at my practice log and it was actually only 9 months ago...) I would heartily recommend it to anyone. Both my orchestra section mate (only two of us at this point) and the conductor have commented on the huge, deep tone. My teacher too has commented on how it sounded big when I first got it and especially after coming back from a break how it had really opened up in terms of sound - shedding 2-3 hours a day has many advantages....

    I'm about average for a middle aged guy (6'1" / 200) and it doesn't feel big at all, but it is just a 42" scale. The size difference seems to be in the lower bouts, as was previously mentioned. Just be aware of that when moving around, especially in foreign, close quarters. I put a visible 'gronk' on the left side lower bout edge coming off stage when the conductor said something to me. (I guess there are times you should keep your eyes OFF the conductor.)

    I haven't played a lot of jazz on it, but I like the sound I get both jazz pizz and orchestral and arco. I think I'm sold on both 7/8th basses in general and Christopher for sure. The only thing on my GAS list now is a 5 string or Extension setup - at the moment anyway.

    Good Luck and I say go for it !

  6. Rammel


    Sep 6, 2006
    Bodoe, Norway
    I`ve got a 603F 7/8
    It sounds great and are to play.
  7. The very first DB that caught my ear was a 5-string 7/8 Christopher hybrid model. I think it was their professional series. It had a huge swelled back and the top was just gorgeous to hear and see. It sounded really full on all 5 strings. I'm only 5' 11", but my hands are large and I have long arms and I had no trouble getting around on that one. I didn't buy it after having it for a 7 day approval period primarily because (sadly) this one had some delamination issues here and there on the ribs that showed up very prominently when the humidity and temp took an early fall nose dive. I must say that this defect probably is not typical of Christopher basses;- and I have never heard one that sounded bad in any size or configuration plywood, 5-string, 4-string, all carved, or hybrid. They might be a wee bit spotty on the construction but the sound department always delivers and I have seen very many Christophers.

    In spite of the rib situation, that bass was sold the next time I went to the shop. They don't appear too often in that size and string configuration, so I opted finally for the 4/4 Kremona-Bulgaria 5-er which is about the same size as the 7/8 Chrissy but fully carved. While I did not get to put them sided by side, I think the two sound very similar and I think the bigger bodied basses like these do benefit from a richer low and low mid-range sound. There is a fullness that is definitely not there on the 3/4 instruments that I've played, particularly when you get these big ones in a nice sized room on a wooden stage floor. You can rattle the window panes and chandeliers with these with no amplification. My experience is that the larger DB's don't sound that much louder until you have some madolins, guitars, etc. chiming in. Then you can really hear how much more low end they have, and for me that is what bass is all about. It gives you a firm grip in the frequency range that no other instrument occupies, so it really stands out. That big bottom bout is about 27.5 inches and it does more than fill up your bass bag. :D