A day of hard bargaining with my man in China...

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Spanky123, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    I talked down a man named Song-maker to $699 including shipping, which is important since I live in Australia. Should I bite? What can I expect in terms of tone> It's pretty. Made of
    Walnut. I am sure the pickup is nothing special. What would it cost to swap it out? Also, I wonder if I should ask him to upgrade to an adjustable bridge. Removeable neck, by the way. You can unscrew it in a minute.

  2. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    Worth $700? Keep in mind I am Down Under and have fewer options than Americans. The seller has a good reputation.
  3. This instrument doesn't have a D or Eb neck, hich means that you don't have the most important point of orientation that a double bass player has.
    The pegbox is very small, so the strings rub against the wood of the headstock.

    Otherwise not too bad, but I have never seen an acceptable EUB from China on ebay, and for me as a double bass player the first thing thows it out.
    (DB players even don't like to switch between D and Eb necks, and this one seems to be a F or F# neck.)
  4. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    Thanks for that. I don't understand about the D or Eb. I am a guitarist and just assumed the fifth string would be tuned as a B. How does the neck correspond to a D or Eb? How does that effect my playing?

    I am not that bad a bass player, BTW. I have 30 years of guitar playing experience, and although the DB is fairly new on my roster, I have a decent ear and much of my guitar technique can be imported to bass. I guess that makes me an old fart with newbie questions. :help:

  5. Place your index finger on the G string and place your thumb on the back of the neck directly behind the index finger....basically your left-hand playing position.

    Keep this hand position and slide your hand down the neck until your thumb reaches the curve where the neck meets the "heel." On most basses, the index finger will be on either a D or or an Eb. It really depends on what you're accustomed to as far as effect on playing.

    I prefer a D neck, as I use that heel curve as a tactile cue for intonation.
  6. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    Can I ask what sort of neck an NXT 4 has? That is my other option.

  7. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    The NXT is basically just one long neck; there is no heel or body attachment. NS Designs makes a false "heel" than can be stuck to the neck wherever you want it, at the D, Eb, or anywhere else.
  8. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    Thanks for the comments. The board effectively talked me out of the chinese bass and I bought an NXT-4 for $1,100 AUD on the local trading post. Done deal, I will get it by Courier next week. Basically new and with the tripod and the other thing.


    I would like to buy a small, portable amp. Not cheap, but one shelf down from the really esoteric brands. Any suggestions that go particularly well with the NXT? I own a Sansamp bass driver that I am predicting is going to sound pretty good with this bass.
  9. Not with an NXT but a Clevinger EUB, I use a Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-10T, about 9 Kg (18lbs). Fine for the bigband (for the rehearsals). A bit weak on the E-string on my double bass but OK for the EUB with neutral EQ settings. If it gets louder I have to reduce the bass anyway, so who cares.

    The AUX IN could be used for a passive bass guitar in parallel, but mute doesn't work there and you only have the bass guitar tone and volume control then. Not a real doubling amp, but useful in some of these cases.
    Since the effect loop opens the internal connection between preamp and power amp, the effect return is no option for doubling on this amp.
  10. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
  11. The 8T is no longer made by Genz Benz. But it is lighter indeed. I tried to get one in Germany, but there was none. Then I read the Talkbass articles about the 8T and the 10T and thought I would be better served with a 10T. Anyway, I had no choice and the price was good (for an imported amp).

    But be prepared that the 8T has less bass than the 10T.

    The 8T could be found in the US (I have seen one from a music shop on Ebay). It is basically the same as mine only my cab is a little bit larger for the 10" speaker and of course a little bit heavier.

    The nice thing about the Genz Benz shuttle is, that it is a one piece combo amp to carry but you can remove the amp, i.e. if you have a second box in the rehearsal room and then you only need to carry 1.5 Kg (3lbs).
    I play one gig each month with a bigband and can put a cab there, so I can go there with my large acoustic bass and the amp using bus and train.

    The amp sounds good, it is just not a real doubling solution for upright and bass guitar players. But it might work the way I told you before within its limits.

    I think you find nothing lighter as a one piece combo solution than the Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-8T on the market. Regarding carrying I would like to have 2kg (4lbs) less than mine.
  12. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    Thanks, I am not sure I am there, yet, but it is nice to know what works. It looks like there are a lot of Genz-Benz's on the market. This one strikes me as a bit pricey.

  13. That NXT-4 looks sweet.

    What kind of project are you working on Spanky123?
  14. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    Nothing special. I am in an acoustic blues band right now--Robert Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Big Bill Broonzy. Previously, I was in a fairly high profile Bluegrass band , but the bass player who had been with them for over a decade came back from an extended leave of absence and I got booted off the roster. I am not particularly good, DB is my new instrument, but my ear is pretty good from many years of guitar playing and I am better than nothing -- and I own a decent acoustic DB.

    I have found that it is unquestionably easier to get paid work on DB than guitar (guitarists come a dime a dozen).

    I don't have a 401k and DB is my retirment plan. What do y'all think of my financial planning? :D

  15. You won't find anything that is as light as the Genz-Benz Shuttle, as flexible (removable amp) and portable and works for EUB and double bass.
    US$600 for the 3.0-8T is a good price. The common price is US$700 and the price from the manufacturer about US$1000 (which is a bit high indeed).
    The 3.0-10T costs about US$100 more than the 3.0-8T.
    I payed 529 Euro (about US$722 or AU$694) for my 3.0-10T, because it was very slightly damaged (but almost like new, only the finish). But the export to europe (and probably also australia) costs some money, so the price was good over here. (Common price in germany was 700 to 800 Euro!)
    Be prepared that some US dealers might not send the amp to australia.

    If you only buy a different mini amp (without any box!) like the GK MB200 or EA Doubler you pay US$260 to US$800. The Shuttle 3.0 without the box costs US$520.
    OK, a Ibanez Promethian P3110 is cheaper and a complete combo amp, but heavier and uses a piezo tweeter.

    You might want to get the GK amp and a small box and pack the GK in some free space. But I think you would pay the same as for the Shuttle 3.0-8T.
  16. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    A little update: I went ahead and bought an Ashton thirty watt combo with a 10-inch speaker on the local trading post where I live. It was $100 and although I am not entirely happy with the sound, it meets my expectations for a $100 solution that is small, light, and rather loud. They should change the names on the EQ dials to "more fart" and "more hollow twang". I keep them at unity and do all my EQ through the Sansamp for an acceptable sound. It has a jack in back for an extension speaker/direct. It comes with a limiter switch that sounds surprisingly good.

    It is very similar to this one.


    I do not own an extension cabinet but it wouldn't surprise me if a decent speaker through the extension jack sounded okay. Aside from the cheap EQ, it is fundamentally inoffensive in quality and I have a good preamp anyway.

    DM, you recommended the Genz Benz. I had a look at this Youtube of the 3.0 8T, which I have an opportunity to buy:

    My impression is, that the mids and highs are gorgeous but an 8-inch speaker, no matter how good the quality, cannot move enough air to be convincing for professional use beyond a cafe-sized room. I would be interested to hear other's opinions on this. I am leaning towards a Roland Bass cube for a couple of reasons. First, it has all the neat bells and whistles that will take me weeks before I get bored of playing with. Second, I have never regretted the purchase of a Roland device. They have always delivered for me. It looks like I can get something portable in the 60 to 120-watt range with a 12-inch speaker for between $400-700. I am not going to purchase immediately, contenting myself with the Ashton as a temporary solution until I feel confident with a decision. I would like to purchase something that will be a selling point for my professional viability in auditions (the Ashton won't cut it, there, obviously. It looks like something a kid in a garage band would have. Actually a kid in a garage band sold it to me when he bought something better ;)).

    Has anyone here had experience using a Roland cube with an EUB?

  17. My impresion of the 10T is, that you can boost the low freqencies for low to medium volume levels, but not for high ones. But on the other hand, when the volume needs to get high I even don't ned the boosted low end, since it might get boomy.

    The good thing with the Genz Benz Shuttle combos is, that they are very light, could be carried as one piece, and the amp could be removed, so that you can combine it with a different box if you need to. Personally I'm thinking about getting a box for my big band gigs (every time in the same location) to left it there and only carrying the amp there.

    If you want something extremly light there will always be a compromise, but if you can use the very light amp with a different box when needed, you are very flexible and can go as light as possible with one piece to carry most of the time.

    My experience with a Polytone Minibrute II, which delivers 80W with the internal speaker, was that I often reach the limit (which is audible) with almost any band beyond a trio. I used another 150W amp with a matching box and this was OK for most situations.

    So 30W are OK for woodwinds and acoustic guitars (not amplified), but for piano and/or drums you need at least 80W. 150W are OK for a big band, a little bit more might be useful to avoid getting to the limits.
    You might get more out of an amp if you use a high pass filter (an adjustable one like the Francis Deck HPFpre would be good for this), since you don't need to amplify what the speaker cannot reproduce. But even in this case I think you want at least 80W to 100W sound output.

    (I know that sound output also depends on the speaker sensitivity, but this is seldom rated in the specs. I would call the wattage a rule of thumb for orientation.)

    Well, now you have a light amp. But since it might be too weak in a band context, it doesn't help much that it is light if it doesn't make sense to use it outside the living room.

    The lightest usable combo amps I know (except the GB Shuttle 3.0-8T) weighs at least 9Kg. Most combo amps over 100W more than 12Kg. Very few of them have a removable amp.

    If you want information about the 8T combo search the double bass amp forum, there is a lot of information in there. Probably also search for the 10T for comparison.

    8" speakers and even 6" speakers can sound good. Look at the crazy8, crazy88 and BigE cab discussions at the double bass amp forum (and also on the bass guitar amp forum). But I'm afraid this would kill your budget and at least the BigE also your weight limit.

    I would say: If you want the Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0-8T, also plan (!) to get a 12" box for those jobs where you need a loud low end. Be prepared to carry two pieces and more weight in these cases. You might find out that you don't need the extra box, so first try the GB combo as it is. There is a bass boost switch on the amp to enhance the bass with the small cabs.
    BTW, Francis Deck has a plan to build a nice 12"-speaker box on his website if you want to go the DIY route when the budget gets limited.
  18. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    My sole rig is a GB shuttle 3.0 8t combo. I actually bought the 8T ext but will sell it since I never use it. In the last two years I have't had any issues at all using the combo. Being able to use the head alone is worth the price alone. The combo can get much louder than it appears because of its size. I have played small acoustic type quartet shows to an 18 group show with drums and percussion. It ain't gonna cut it in a loud rock band, but you'd be surprised how nice it sounds. Also, coupling it against a wall or corner makes a difference. IMO.
  19. Spanky123


    Jul 22, 2010
    Thanks for the comments, DM and MI. One of many mistakes I made as a budding musician was to spend an enormous amount of resources pursuing large amplifiers. Of course, no one would hire me in a venue large enough to play these montsrosities -- but I was ready if they did! That first batch of amps was sold off long ago. Now I am more practical and look to buy equipment as the need arises. Has either of you played with a Roland Cube? Can you make any comparisons? One of the problems with the Genz Benz is that my only criteria for judgment is the Youtube video above and the recommendations here. I am going to have to spend a day traveling to music shops in order to test one out firsthand.

    Meanwhile I have been experimenting with the Ashton. I can get an interesting sound out of it by rolling off most of the treble on both the amp and the preamp. The best response I can get right now is pluggin it into a small Mackie board which goes into the RCA inputs of my stereo receiver. I have a reasonably good consumer stereo system through which it sounds wonderful for practicing. This is causing me to wonder if transparency is what I should be aiming for with the NXT-4, bringing to mind the possibility of getting a keyboard amp, which, all things being equal, tend to be a little cheaper than bass amps, yet have good bass response. Through my stereo amp, I can here some really nice mids and highs coming from the NXT, making me think that for amplification, I should just get out of the way and purchase something that lets the instrument speak for itself.
  20. I was driving to (and back) and testing the Genz Benz at least half a day, since I couldn't find one close to my location. I know this problem. At the end I ordered the amp with a 30 day money back guarantee, since I couldn't decide in the shop if I would keep it or not, but in the end I kept it. A bit larger than my Polytone Minibrute II, but lighter and with a clearer sound.

    A nice thing with the Genz Benz amp is, that every pickup I have (Shadow SH950 like an Underwood, Shadow SH965NFX like a Realist and Full Circle) sounds good with it. And I had a lot of problems with the sound of the Full Circle (even when using an impedance buffer) on my other two amps before.

    With the Shuttle 3.0 you have a DI out, that could be switched pre or post EQ, line or mic level, grounded or open. There is a effect loop, a line in (useful for doubling with an active bass guitar, at least mine works well) and a headphone out. If you need it loud put the amp into the PA and use your speaker as a monitor for you and the band only. And the 8T can be put on a speaker stand, which is good for hearing yourself and blowing the sound towards the band and/or the listeners. (The 10T has a foot to angle the box on the ground.)

    There are indeed other good small amps, but most of them are more expensive or cannot be mounted to the box for a single carrying load.

    You either get one fixed combo for anything and carry around more weight than you like or get a light solution that could be reconfigured with a larger box if you need it. I prefer the second one. At the beginning I was not too happy with the low end, but with the band this really doesn't matter. The living room sound only works in living room situations.

    You may want to ask in (one of) the TB amp forums if there is someone who has a 8T in Australia, maybe around your area. I know the country is large, but why not asking for it?

    I think the NXT has a passive output (no battery needed), so better get an impedance buffer or preamp with an impedance buffer (like the HPFpre) if you want to put your NXT into the mixer console. Otherwise the sound might get worse (specially the low end).

    A keyboard amp can work, but most keyboards are much weaker on low notes than on high ones, so the speaker might not be optimal for a bass. Also the tone controls have frequency ranges for a keyboard and not for a bass. I play with a keyboard amp on our rehearsals with only bass and treble controls, something is missing to set the sound. Even if I would have a mid control the frequency range would not be good for bass.

    Also note that most bass amps are made for electric bass guitar and these amps colour the tone which is not good for double bass or EUB. The Genz Benz is not completely neutral but the sound works well with double bass, EUB and electric bass guitar (with different tone settings of course).

    And the biggest problem of all: we players don't hear the sound of the amp as the listeners in the room hear it. So we cannot decide what works well and what does not.