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Chinese Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Guinny, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Guinny


    Mar 24, 2013
    Hi everyone, I'm Guinevere and I play in the Inverness College orchestra, and I fill in for people in various local Klezmer bands.

    For the bands I don't want to bring my expensive carved bass and I want a laminated cheap model so I don't get a heart attack every time something happens around me. Things get crazy sometimes!

    I've been looking at some Chinese models, but I'm clueless. I've heard that the laminated basses don't sound as good, but that the glue in the wood makes them more rigid and durable?

    Do any of you had advice about basses that can take a beating? The sound is important, of course, but I already have a beautiful bass and the primary function of this one is to...well to stay in one piece :)
  2. The Shen plys are really well made and sound great. Some people on Bass Chat uk have had good experience with the Thomann plys.
    Tom Barret has an extensive range of Shens(from Plys to fully carved) and other basses in his workshop in Galway. He is a luthier and does first class set ups too.
  3. Guinny


    Mar 24, 2013
    Thanks. I especially had my eye on the cheaper Thomann models. The shop in Galway looks amazing! We don't have a dedicated shop like that around here. It would give me an opportunity to try a few. I'm going to convince my boyfriend to go on a little trip together soon :)


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    The Thomman 111 3/4 BR is a good ply instrument, robustly built and loud. It represents a best value for money option in the Thomman inventory. I laid hands on some of them and all showed the same characteristics. Reccomended as a back up bass.
    Since the Thomman's set up is elementary you'll probably need your luthier's help. Change the aluminium bridge with an ebony one, put Spirocores Mittel and everything will be fine!
  5. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    They don't sound as good as...what? Non-Chinese basses? Non-laminated basses? I'm a little unclear about how to answer your question.

    The very nature of laminate construction makes plywood basses in general more durable than solid-wood ones. But the same principles that make them more sturdy also make them less resonant; it's up to you to decide if the trade-off is worth it. A lot depends of the style of music you're playing, and the circumstances under which you're playing it.

    As to "Chinese" basses in general: we're well past the point where we could meaningfully lump all basses into a single category based on point of origin.

    You may want to look into hybrids, which combine the resonance of a carved top with plywood back and sides. Good luck!
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Somehow, I think the word "adjusters" got left out of this sentence....
  7. How many Klezmer bands could there be in Inverness?!?!
  8. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I'm guessing you mean tailpiece?
  9. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    That depends on which Inverness. I count 13 places that go by that name, listed on Wikipedia alone. One of them is near me, here in Northern California.

    I'm inferring from the reference to Thomann basses, which are popular in Europe, that this is probably the Inverness of Scotland. Do the winters get rather cold up there? That's another argument in favor of a laminate instrument.
  10. Well how many are in Inverness, CA? Inverness, QC I could see...
  11. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I wouldn't be surprised if every fifth person in Inverness, California is in a Klezmer band. It's a somewhat isolated coastal town, that's nevertheless within driving distance of San Francisco. Attracts a lot of artistic people, who rub shoulders with the rich folks who maintain a weekend getaway home there. Jerry Garcia used to live down the road a piece.
  12. Hi Guinevere.

    Welcome to TalkBass.

    As You can probably tell, people want you to fill in your general location :).
    Helps heaps when giving region/country/continent specific advice.

    "Laminated/ply basses (or any instrument) not sounding as good" is a common misconception, mainly because for some folks cheaper automatically equals not as good. Regardless of the item or instrument.
    True, laminated basses usually sound different than carved ones, but IMLE the laminated bass always sounds quite predictable, but a cheap carved one can be quite dead without a major surgery, ie regraduating the top.

    The durability of a laminated bass is magnitudes better though, so in Your case I'd look at a ply.

    Thomann basses are said to be very good for the price, but that still doesn't auomatically mean they're good investments unless You or someone near you can work on it.
    Not all luthiers are willing to work on 'em, ad those wo do, may be a bit expensive (or inexperienced).

    One advice a veteran TBer on a CCB thread once gave is worth considering as well: "Better to take an advantage of someone elses mistake than making Your own". Meaning of course that since the resale value of such a CCB is pretty low, it's well worth Your time to look 'em up second hand.

    Best of luck in Your search.

  13. Guinny


    Mar 24, 2013
    Thank you all!

    I never thought of getting a second hand cheap ply, because they're not that expensive to begin with. Your suggestion makes sense, T-Bird. I'm going to scour the market for that first. Mikman, thanks for the advice as well.

    I never knew there were so many places named Inverness around the world. I'm Scottish and with 'local' I include Edinburgh, Glasgow and down in Geordieland. I know it's stretching the term, but there's not too many double bass players around here. We can't be picky about driving a few miles, can we now?
  14. MIKMAN


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    Tailpiece for sure dear Eric.Thanks for correcting me!!!
  15. MIKMAN


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece

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