choosing between gewa, hora and strunal

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Jans, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Jans


    Jun 4, 2019
    Hello to talkbass community, I a new one here. I am a beginner, I practice on 1/8 cheap DB from over 1 year, I think it's time to change it for the bigger one.

    I went through some topics and FAQ, I read whatever I found about the brands I mentioned in the title - I guess I got a basic knowledge on low budget DBs for beginners.

    I am about to buy a student version DB with hard wood top and ebony neck (budget 1000-1300 euros).

    Would you recommend one of these brands more than other: Gewa, Hora, Strunal?
    I mean is there any quality difference really between these basses - again I speak about student version with hard wood top and ebony neck.

    I tend to Hora, I know Thomann sells it under its own names. Strunal version I look at has hardwood, no ebony neck - student Strunal with ebony neck is a price level higher.

    Thank you for any advice!

  2. My first bass was a rented gewa, I've never played a strunal bass but would gamble on them sounding better as I had a guitar from them once that was good for the money. The gewa wasnt pleasant sound wise. My teacher was surprised that a carved top could sound so much like plywood
    VictorW126 likes this.
  3. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
  4. wjl


    Jul 18, 2017
    near Frankfurt, Germany
    endorsing nothing except maybe free and open source stuff, like Linux
    Hey Jan,

    I don't own a DB up to now, but I was looking at the same selection and price range as you, and here is what I've experienced so far:

    Brands don't matter as much as setup. I've been to a Luthier here in Frankfurt (close to where I live), and they import and set up Chinese basses (Christopher), and have some smaller factories in Romania making basses for their "house brand" which is "Gasparo" (not to confuse with the old Italian luthier of the same name). Plywood Christophers start at around 1500€, hybrids at around 2200, and solid carved ones cost more of course. The Christopher "100" and "200" (100€ more) sound suprisingly good, a hybrid ("300") would probably be a good choice. The Gasparos start at over 2500 and are all carved, their cheapest one is wonderful and would have been my choice at my visit for about 2800€.

    I've also been at Thomann together with my daughter lately, and briefly looked at their offer which is cheaper. The three-digit ones (like "111") are Chinese of unknown (to me) origin, the two-digits (like "22") are Hora, and the one-digit are Strunal. Material looks ok(ish), but from the Hora website I know that they let their wood dry for about 5 to 10 years which isn't much - Strunal doesn't give that information, but if you want a proper rested wood (like 25 years or so) I guess we're speaking about a totally different price range. Such high quality wood would cost more raw than you or I have for a complete and ready instrument...

    The Horas and Strunals are ok as I wrote and as you can read in numerous other threads on this page, but don't expect them to be anywhere near a properly set up instrument by a Luthier. The latest thread about a Thomann bass I remember from here said that the bass bar was too long (which explains why it doesn't fall when they lower the string tension and take off the bridge for transport), so work has to be done on these, which raises their prices again. Also, the setup on all basses at Thomann (also higher priced instruments in the 8k€ price range) was just plain awful, I wouldn't have considered any of these basses as ready for the job.

    So my conclusion until now: I'd go back to that Luthier if I wanted to buy. And instead of looking for brand names I'd grab everything which is there and try to play, get a feeling for the instrument. The right bass for you will choose you as they say, not vice versa. And: a nice hybrid Strunal at Thomann starts at maybe 1800€, but you'd still have to take it to a Luthier - and the end price will be more like the Christopher "300" then, so for a really nice "beginner" instrument I'd consider something around 2k€ at least. Don't know if a Hora hybrid (like Thomann "22" for maybe 1200€) could be set up as good and be a good long-term "investment", but I'd be very interested in an answer to that myself. But my take away: these Thomann instruments don't carry their real end price yet...

    I ended up not buying any until now, because we have a heated floor which is just plain poison for a higher quality instrument. And a Plywood bass I'd rather rent for half a year first, and see if I need a hybrid (for bowing and such).

    Hope that helps,
    and cheers,
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  5. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    When heat drys out the air, you need a room humidifier to keep the humidity at around 38%. Then, all will be well with a carved bass.
    wjl likes this.