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Calin Wultur to Emanuel Wilfer

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by lnichols, Apr 13, 2015.


  1. I'm thinking of a slight upgrade for my "arco" bass. I currently have a 2009 Calin Wultur Corsini bass. Looking at a 2014 Emanuel Wilfer 402 (also looks something like their #10) bass.

    I've played several Wultur basses and mine is the nicest sounding of the bunch. Fairly easy to play. It doesn't have the nicest finish I've seen. The wood isn't especially beautiful. The only problem it's had was that it needed the A string tuner hole "adjusted." It was slightly mis-drilled, causing a slight bind in the tuner.

    The E. Wilfer I'm looking at is billed as an "upper register" bass, allowing somewhat easier access to thumb position. The finish is excellent, the wood looks nice, it plays and sounds very nice. Nicer than the Wultur.

    Any thoughts on one vs the other?
     
  2. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I have played several Calin Wultur basses. While some are definitely nicer than others, as would be expected, they seem to maintain a certain level of quality. I've only played a couple of E. Wilfer basses however. I don't think it is so much one brand vs another as it is an individual bass, no matter the label, that is the one for you. I've played several basses that didn't look like much but sounded and played great. Also owned owned a very pretty bass that didn't work out. Anyway, if you find a bass that feels like the one to you, and you can afford it, I'd say go for it.
     
    drurb and Eric Hochberg like this.
  3. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Wilfer is a German family who have been making basses for over a hundred years. They have a long family tradition and a deep wood supply.

    Calin Wultur was started in 1996 in Romania. No choice at all for me, really. If the Wilfer has the sound you're looking for, get it.
     
    robgrow, lnichols and Steve Boisen like this.
  4. Thanks, Jake. That's kinda what I thought. Thanks for confirming. I'm going to go play the Wilfer some more tomorrow with my own bow.

    lnichols
     
  5. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Can you take your current bass with you so that you're comparing the two in the same sonic environment? It can make a big difference.
     
    Champagne and lnichols like this.
  6. Thanks, Jake. I'll take my bass and bow. Looks like tomorrow now. The person I normally deal with isn't there today. Thanks again.

    L.
     
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I recently tried a Wilfer and it was AWESOME. Played great, sounded great, and super comfortable on hands with no callouses :laugh:

    The reason I liked the Wulturs better was because they had more clarity. For me, I want to hear the intonation...even if everyone else can too. So could the wolves hiding inside, but that's the way it goes. That deeper, muddier sound is awesome too, as well as more forgiving to everyone's ears, but that's not my sound.

    I think being conscious of the "canvas" you want to "paint" your art on is important. If you've got that, it will be easy for you to know if the Wilfer is right for you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I'm not sure it's that easy to generalize. How were the basses set up? What strings were on them? On and on and on... One thing about Wulturs is that their quality and sonic characteristics seem to be highly variable. At least that's been my experience. Jake's suggestion about playing the two in the same room should be taken with great weight.
     
  9. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    That's interesting. I only tried 2, and between them and another bass that I found ideal I could hear almost no difference...despite their unique setups and strings. Granted, I was looking for a particular sound and so it made sense those 3 "favorites" would end up sounding similar.

    But again the Wilfer was extraordinary and extremely comfortable to play. It sounded fantastic!

    Give me another 10 years and probably my ideals will evolve further.
     
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Your ability to discriminate will develop as well. I can't imagine playing any two basses and not hearing meaningful differences, especially with different setups and strings. If the Wilfer speaks to you, then it seems you have your answer. I think it's revealing and helpful to have another player play the basses while you listen several feet away. The basses should be played in the same spot and you should listen from a fixed location as well.
     
    JoeyNaeger likes this.
  11. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    No doubt Wilfers are great, but the Wulturs met my needs more successfully.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  12. vejesse

    vejesse

    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    Carpathian spruce is known for potentially having a brighter sound and brighter could mean more clarity. Not sure what Wlifer basses use for spruce but the Calin Wultur instruments use Carpathian for sure.
     
  13. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    That's interesting. Yeah, "brighter" could also describe my experience with the Wultur's vs. the Wilfer I tried. But I didn't feel like I had lost anything on the low notes with the Wulturs, which is part of why I prefered them. I certainly didn't feel like the Wilfer had anything lacking on the low side!

    It's hard for me to dislike the sound of any bass, really, despite the kind of sound I like to have for myself.
     
  14. Tried both my Wultur and the Wilfer today with my bow. Different strings. I liked the strings on the Wilfer vs. mine, but the overall feel might not be worth the $$. My Wulter feels pretty good. I think I'll change strings and try both again tomorrow. Maybe save my $$ and do more research on something that might be a more significant upgrade in the $10-$15K range.
     
  15. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    You are smart to change strings, I might also recommend bring a friend who can play while you listen with your back turned. My shop carries Wulturs and Wilfers. I think you'll be fine going with the one you like.
     
  16. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I'm finding my Wultur's general tone to be as sensitive to string tension as it is to string type. That may also be worth exploring, especially if the strings get saved for the upgrade bass to explore with.

    I heard all my basses before get affected by this, but only get a deeper sound as tension increased. For my Wultur, it also gets muddier...
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
  17. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    I think this is true of all double basses

    Deeper sound (more lows) makes for "mud". Brighter strings may compensate for that by producing more high frequencies.
     
  18. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    The funny part is that I was only looking for a bass that bowed well for me on spiros. I didn't intentionally look for a bass that showed more sensitivity to changes than I was accustomed to.

    Really like the Wulfur I have now, I guess.
     
  19. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    As has been said on the forum, "If it bows well and sounds good with Spiros, that bass is a keeper".
     
    robgrow and KUNGfuSHERIFF like this.
  20. dkimbrobass

    dkimbrobass

    Jul 16, 2011
    Knoxville, TN
    Couldn't agree more, and I love my E. Wilfer. Love it.
     

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