Casady vs. DiPinto - battle of the semi-hollows

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by craigb, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Hey Y'all,

    Since I'm entering serious GAS mode for a semi-hollow with magnetic pickups I thought I'd see if anyone has tried both of these basses (or has other suggestions). I've had a Casady before for a short time (it had the separating fretboard issue so it was returned). It sounded good to me but some of the ergonomics weren't that great for me.

    I currently have a Godin A4 and 2 G&L SB-2s. I'm thinking a semi-hollow with magnetic pickups would combine a lot of what I like about both of these types of basses and maybe hit a sweetspot that would let me call it "the one" (a futile pursuit, but what the heck). I like the warmth of the Godin but there's something about the piezo-only sound that gives me fits (at times). The G&Ls have more growl (less warmth and smoothness) and are superbly comfortable for me (the A4 has some ergonomic issues that I've worked out).

    The DiPinto is a new contender in this space. It looks pretty good (and somewhat similar) to the Casady but has some distinct differences. Dual single coil pickups, not a complete floating top (I'm thinking they'd promote it if they did) and quite a bit less expensive.

    In this corner we have the Epiphone Jack Casady signature bass.
    • $718.99 from
    • 34" scale
    • single low impedance humbucking pickup with varitone control
    • fully floating top
    • front strap peg on back of neck heel (ugh)
    • noted for clarity of tone and ability to move from acoustic-like warmth to nasty snarl
    • case available for $79.99

    And in the other corner we have the DiPinto Belvedere standard bass
    • $486.99 from
    • 34" scale
    • two single coil pickups
    • chambered body
    • also available in metallic gold to match the Casady
    • no case available

    I've not seen either of these locally. Has anyone tried the DiPinto? I've got the BP review which is positive. So any input and possible alternatives (Yamaha BEX-4C, Fender HMT) would be appreciated. I'm leaning towards the Casady (fully floating top, reknowned clarity and warmth) but the lower cost of the DiPinto is attracting my cheap instincts.

    I'm watching for used Casadys but have just started the GAS watch.
  2. takeout

    takeout Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Kansas City area
    Can't speak to the DiPinto (although I'm deathly curious to hear what you find out), but I love my Casady.

    One thing to note: if you're mail ordering, you might want to go with the DiPinto. Mail Order + Epiphone Quality Control = crapshoot. You might get a winner, you might get a dud. Epi's are definitely try-before-you-buy basses. The good ones are awesome though.
  3. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado

    I've tried the DiPinto. It played and sounded very nice for a semi-hollow at under $500.00. And, this is coming from a man who at one time never would have given an instrument like that any consideration.
  4. Yggdrasil


    Aug 16, 2001
    Casady - re. some issues brought up above.The quality control is reported to be much higher than other Epis, you're not going to find many to try in a store; (I've now bought three sight unseen in the last 3 years - all new, none with problems)

    Best route is to order from Jack himself at $835. (including case ,restrung setup/inspection AFAIK).They say "out of stock" at Jorma's Ranch, but phone & ask:

    FPR Casady Sig

    Or used, I've seen them go from $500 - 650 recently on eBay & Bassgear - they come up often enough to wait.

  5. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Then there's Epiphone Allen Woody.. No F-holes but semi-hollow body, gorgeous looks and two mini-HBs in neck and middle position. Price is somewhere between DiPinto and Jack.


    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I have played both Basses and respect both.I did a session with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma who used his Dipinto on both tracks,thru out the 7 or more hours the bass just sounded good and I have to say on the rough mix the bass sounds awesome.nice with a warm clarity.but the bass is more verstile than that.(I have played many basses of various price ranges and Dipinto is on my list as a bass of very great quality and playability at an affordable price) I just spoke with Chris Dipinto yesterday and he's working on a fretless and a 5 string model.
  7. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Due to the Tacuma connection (one of my all time favorite bassists) I have been VERY curious about the DiPinto, but have, as of yet, been unable to try one out.

    I have a Casady, again, after selling my first one to a student, and simply love it. There is something intoxicating about this bass...something that both incites and invites you play it..and then play it more!
    The tone is, of course, gorgeous. And, the bass is quite verstatile. It suits my chord-instensive style of solo bass playing very well.
    Plenty of depth and amazing clarity.
    In ensembles, it cuts thru very well, indeed.
    I have tried that Allen Woody bass, and was fairly underwhemlmed.....but that is just me.

    As to you A4, a bass which I also have and hold very near and dear,one suggestion I might make is to try a set a TI Acousticore Strings. They really bring a 3-dimensional quality to the sound of the piezos, and allieveiate any "clackiness" which you might be encountering. Very smooth and balanced and they last forever.

  8. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    That's what I heard also. ;)
  9. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Charles - thanks for the input, man. I appreciate it even though you are still mad at me ;)

    Dave - I should have known a Reverend recommendation was coming from you. I had a regular Rumblefish and it didn't do a lot for me. The P-J ones look very interesting to me (particularly since my favorite G&L, the SB-2 is P-J) but I haven't seen a used one of those yet. I dislike buying new since I have a history of not keeping things for very long. If I see a used P-J 'fish it will definitely get a long look.

    Max - I know what you mean about the Casady. The one I had just had a supportive presence that was great with the band. If it hadn't had the separating fingerboard I might have had to keep it and work on the ergonomics. Unfortunatly on my A4 the truss rod won't move for me and I haven't had it in the shop yet. It's perfect with the flats it has on it so I know that to change to strings with different tension I'm going to need to get it fixed.

    Tsal - the Allen Woody has 2 things I'm avoiding at this point in time: short scale (I like heavy strings on my 4s because I find any E smaller than .105 too floppy on a 34" scale) and with a pickup right at the end of the neck. I'm still wanting a clear sound and not the woolier sound I personally associate with that pickup placement.

    Jauqo, Yggdrasil, Osama and Takeout - thanks for the input, I appreciate it.

    I've pretty much decided to try the DiPinto route. It's in my price range and seems to definitely be worth giving an extended tryout. Music123 has a couple of gold ones on ebay now so I'm going to try and get one of those (it will save me a few bucks off of ordering one directly from them). I'll post more on it if/when I get it.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
  11. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I played the Belvedere at Chris' shop. I was impressed with the sound and the balance of the bass. Another very well crafted Korean instrument.
  12. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    You know that you're welcome Craig even though I'm still :mad:. :D ;)

    Let me know how it works out for you. The one that I tried was like the one is the picture in your original post. I went back to the local store that had it but it was long gone. A Belvedere might just be in my future.
  13. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Well, I "won" a DiPinto on ebay from Music123 (brand new, authorized dealer, saved a few bucks over their website price). It's gold and they were unable to tell me if the actual bass is different from the "standard" ones (their gold picture doesn't have the pickup selector switch) or not. Either way it will be interesting to get one in and check it out.

    I'll follow up once it arrives and I've had a little time with it.
  14. DrPFunk


    Nov 17, 2002
    Try some "old school" flatwounds on the Woody, and I think you will be suprised at how non-spongy the action is. I love mine. It really suits my playing and the band that I am in.
  15. I love my Casady. I think the pickup and the varitone switch have a lot to do with its sound. I also bought mine sight unseen and unheard, but I was lucky and got a well built one. I think it'll be hard to beat the Casady in the sound department, but I could be wrong.

    Good luck with the DiPinto.

  16. Yggdrasil


    Aug 16, 2001
    I agree the Casady reigns supreme in the sound department compared to the other semi-hollows I own or have owned: Lakland HB; Lightwave Sabre A,Guild Starfire.

    I'll be interested to hear more about the diPinto...
  17. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    The DiPinto arrived yesterday (Halloween). It came with:

    - gig bag (unexpected, thin, nothing overly exciting)
    - thin molded cord
    - no tools (bummer)

    It's brand new from Music123, an authorized dealer, so I've got 45 days to decide whether it stays or goes.

    No pictures right now as I'm leaving the plastic on the pickguard and pickups until I make my decision.

    Looking it over it's nicely put together - one finish flaw on the side of the neck where it goes in the pocket (some orange peel/wrinkled looking paint). The whole back of the neck is painted gold. A bit heavier than I expected (but not "heavy"). On a strap it balances pretty much even (hangs horizontal - no neck dive problem) but the nut is out a bit to the left (strap button is above the 16th fret). I put my Strapture strap on it ( and that moved it to the right which was more comfortable for me.

    Sonically I love the way it "sings" in the upper registers. It's going to make me really want to work on my double-stops as they sound so good. It's not as loud acoustically as my Godin A4 but it's usable unplugged for solo practice. With the brand new rounds on it that it came with (nickel, I think since they didn't turn my fingers black) it's pretty bright.

    The pickup selector works to provide front, both, back pickups and the tone is noticeably different between them. The tone control doesn't do as much as I'd expect - I'll have to take a look at the component values it has on it. Using the pickup selector, tone control and plucking up by the neck I can get a pretty warm sound. And aggressive, snarling tones are available in lots of flavors as well. It doesn't get as "acoustic"-ey as the A4 can, but it's not a piezo on a fixed bridge either. Overall with the brand new rounds it's pretty zingy. I can see a set of groundwounds or flats in its future for me - although I'll wait until these strings age a bit before I change them out.

    As I use it this week I'll see if it's an ergonomic fit for me. I think it can be made to work and that it's going to replace my G&L SB-2 in my small bass lineup. I need to see how the single-coils handle my rehearsal environment and someday (when we are gigging again) see how they handle the outside world. I've got my eye on HB replacements for it if needed (Rio Grande Pitbulls).

    With both this bass and my A4 I'm really appreciating the added resonance from the semi-hollow construction. It's been too long since I had the Casady so I can't really compare the sounds - but ergonomically I like the slightly smaller neck on the DiPinto and it hangs/balances better with the smaller body and strap button on the front of the body (instead of the back of the neck heel). I'd like to compare it side-by-side with a Casady someday (but think future semi-hollow acquisitions will be targetted at those with upper body horns that would allow them to hang better for me, i.e. Rob Allen, Fender HMT or A/E, Carvin AC40).

    Right now my thinking is that this is a "keeper" (how cheaply I use that word ;)) but I want to give it a week of solid play before I make that determination with the question being ergonomics, not sonics.
  18. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Well, it's going to have to go back. As much as I like the sound and feel of the semi-hollow I'm just not able to get comfortable with it. My wrists are telling me "send it back". Even the strapture strap isn't enough to get it in a comfortable position for me.

    For now I'll stick with my G&Ls and Godin. I'm still sold on semi-hollow, I just need different ergonomics to be comfortable. I'll have to keep my eyes open for semi-hollows with upper horns.

    But I would recommend the DiPinto as a very nice bass, particularly for the price.