Beginner Double Bass (revised-EUB??)

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Llewellen, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    After years of playing electric (including fretless recently) I'm seriously considering acquiring a double bass and spending considerable time to build reasonable technique. No orchestral music - mostly stuff like acoustic blues, light jazz, maybe some occasional bowing for experimental things.

    Zero chance to try out any where I live so I have been burning up the internet search engines. I came across these four, all at more or less the same price point, and wonder what any of you may think of them (or others):

    - Gollihur Estle Louis carved or laminate
    - Upton Bohemian hybrid
    - Kolstein Liandro DiVacenza hybrid
    - Samuel Eastman VB95 laminate

    Thank you.
    basspraiser likes this.
  2. rknea


    Jan 16, 2007
    Queretaro, Mexico
    My pick out of those 4 would be the Upton...but then again, I've had my eye on an Upton Bohemian hybrid for a while. I'm impressed with everything I've researched and read about them and their customer service and the quality of their instruments.
  3. Any of those models would be a good pick.
    okcrum and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  4. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    If I were in your shoes, I would make sure to get the bass from a reputable source that: a.) Provides some kind of warranty and b.) Has already inspected and set up the bass thoroughly.
  5. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    I agree completely. As far as I have been able to research and determine here on TB and elsewhere, Gollihur, Upton and Kolstein all have good reputations for follow up service for the instruments they sell and all of them include a full set up in the purchase price. The Eastmans are available from a variety of dealers.
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Can't take the ferry to Seattle and visit Hammond Ashley?

    This purports to be a list of luthiers in BC, with at least 3 in Vancouver...
    Listing Double Bass Luthiers Canada.

    Not that the folks you mention aren't Sterling Humans, but it's always a good idea to play as many basses in the shop as you can to find the one that speaks to you...
  7. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    I may well end up making a trip to Seattle or California to check out some instruments in person, although that won't likely be too instructive since I am an absolute newbie wannabe on the instrument. Of course, I could pluck some strings to listen to the tonal qualities and also take a good look at the build and finish quality. Still, when in unknown territory it's always a good idea to have a knowledgeable guide so that's why I'm asking questions here.

    There are indeed some double bass luthiers in Canada and here in BC. In fact, there's one (James Ham) with a world class reputation just an hour's drive down the road in Victoria. Doesn't matter: one-off luthier creations are far, far out of my price range. Upton's are the only North American made ones I have found so far that have what you might call an entry level instrument. The others I mentioned are made abroad, either in Asia or some countries in Europe. I'm not averse to offshore instruments, in fact that ABG (Furch) in my avatar was made in Czechia.
  8. What are you talking about? Jake de Villiers and Gerard Samija are fine luthiers in Vancouver, members of these fora, and nice helpful guys.

    They’re also plugged into the local market and will almost certainly have a line on a bass that suits you and your budget. Or they’ll get one for you.

    Would you marry someone after one blind date?

    Why would you consider buying a bass that way?
  9. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    Thanks for the info. That's what I was asking for in my original post. Who said I was going to buy an instrument sight unseen?
  10. bassmanbrent

    bassmanbrent Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    The L & M here in Vancouver has a bunch of Shen basses in stock and some are killing! If the Victoria or Nanaimo stores carry any, you're likely to find something nice that you could even finance, if you want.

    Also, and I hope I'm not breaking any forum rules here, I am just about to list a reasonably priced carved bass for sale in Vancouver. It's a great bass and is about as cheap as you'll ever get a solid wood bass for. PM me if you're interested.
  11. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    That's interesting because the L&M website doesn't show any Shen instruments at all. They show only Schoenbach (which I think is their own label), Stentor and Eastman, with only one of those in stock in Nanaimo.

    I'm going to be in Victoria on the 24th of this month on other business so I will definitely check the L&M store there to see what they have in stock.

    I'm not ready to pull the trigger on a purchase just yet but let me know when you list yours.

    BTW for those of you not in Canada, Long & McQuade (L&M) is by far the largest musical instrument retailer here, by at least a couple of orders of magnitude. They have dozens of bricks and mortar stores across the country and a large online store.
  12. oldNewbie

    oldNewbie Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    There are many instruments that will work well for you but the luthier is more important here , especially since you don't know. And especially if there are good people nearby, getting stuck on brands like they are cars will do you less good than building a relationship with your luthier.They will have instruments set up for beginner/student and will point you in the right direction. And have other people (them) play the instrument, and stand back, since every double bass sounds different 5 -10 - 20 feet away than it does under your ear.
    Then get a teacher.
    Good luck !
  13. “especially since you don’t know.

    That’s the crux of it. Experience is a cruel but effective teacher. If you don’t have any, you’re a babe in the woods.
  14. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    I don't disagree with what has been advised by KungfuSheriff and oldNewbie. However, based on years of experience in buying and selling electric basses, and advising newbies regarding same, I would offer this comment with respect to a first instrument (and only regarding a first instrument). The instrument is likely to be resold to another beginner at some point, either because the original owner's ears and/or developing technique demand a better instrument or he/she loses interest. A recognized brand name is easier to resell in those circumstances.

    For example, Cort is a large Korean company that has made electric basses for years to be sold under other company's brand names. They now offer their own brand of very good quality basses well under $1,000CAD that, with a good setup, are completely competitive and usable even in a pro live situation. At that beginner level it would be easier to resell an inferior quality Fender Squier bass, simply because unsophisticated newbies will be drawn to the Fender brand.

    All that said, Samija's website shows quite a number of basses for sale on consignment (beginning at about $3,000CAD) so I will definitely contact him.
  15. bassmanbrent

    bassmanbrent Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    L & M sells plenty of gear that isn't listed on their website. I'm not entirely sure why... I'll send you a PM with details about my bass. Gerard Samija knows it, so you can ask him about it as well, when you talk to him. BTW Gerard does incredible work at very reasonable prices, and is as honest and ethical as they come. We're lucky to have him around these parts.
  16. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Well, I'm going to chime in here with the standard recommendation:

    Rent a bass for 6-12 months, take a bunch of lessons, and THEN start looking to buy your own.

    At this point you don't have the foggiest idea what you like and don't in basses. Plus you don't have any playing skills to evaluate them with.
    ZachWWW, HateyMcAmp and Drang22 like this.
  17. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    Excellent advice. Actually, I do know the tonal characteristics I like but you're right, I have no playing skills to be able to determine if I can get that sound out of a particular instrument.
    HateyMcAmp likes this.
  18. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    Some people think I'm crazy but, as Diogenes of Sinope said, "It's not that I am mad; it's that my head is different from yours". I ask Columbo-like questions and glean information from between the lines of the excellent responses on this thread. All of which has lead me to this consideration:

    I don't want to have to buy a different vehicle to transport my bass at this point. I don't want to face a posse of neighbours seeking to tar and feather me because they can't stand the sound of me learning to bow. Given the genres of music I will use the bass to play, perhaps I should be looking at acquiring a used full scale EUB and taking lessons to work on building technique. I already have the amplifiers and headphones. If all goes well and I'm still hearing the need for a fully acoustic 3/4 bass, I can sell the EUB and move on. Admittedly, they are not the same instrument but it might be a more practical starting point.

    Further comments/suggestions?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    oldNewbie likes this.
  19. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Yes, I play mostly URB these days, and have both a 3/4 size carved bass and an EUB. . I have an Eminence EUB that is very close in feel to my 3/4 size carved bass. It uses standard DB strings, and with care can sound pretty good when amplified. I regualrly use mine when gigging since I play alot of outdoor gigs that are fairly loud. Used ones here on TB regularly sell for $2k or thereabouts (might be more for you taking shipping into account). I like it much better than the "stick"-type EUBs. If you decide that its not for you, then you can resell it and recoup all or most of your investment. When playing unplugged, its loud enough for you to hear but not the neighbors. And lessons is a good idea, as I'm sure you've read about EB technique does not translate to EUB at all.

    Good luck with your search!
    Llewellen likes this.
  20. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    As long as the front passenger seat lies down, you can get a double bass in virtually any car. It's just that you'll be unable to carry other people in the car.
    HateyMcAmp likes this.