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Christopher, Strunal, or Sunrise?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Spearhead, Mar 14, 2003.

  1. I have made the commitment to go ahead and get a double bass because I just dont feel comfortable playing jazz on my electric, and I need it for school. I have opted not to get something cheap or chinese and instead want a good entry level student model that is well built, primarily because if im going to jump into this I dont want to waste my time and I want something to last a while. I have narrowed it down to three models; the Strunal Intermediate bass, The Sunrise Solana (advertised at lemur), and the Christopher DB102. As of now my choice is the Christopher, but as i probably wont have the opportunity to play any of these before making the purchase I wanted the opinions of people who know more about this issue than i do. Thanks in advance.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Not that it should really matter, but I believe that Christophers are Chinese basses.

  3. They are, and the Sunrise basses are, too, if I'm not mistaken.
  4. From the little knowledge I have I am pretty sure Christopher is an American company. The Sunrise name though is korean. I am not automatically going to dismiss a bass because of where its from, I guess I meant I just didnt want a palatino or something of that nature. That is why i am asking you guys.
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The Chrisopher company is based in Chicago.

    The basses are made in Beijing. (I'm looking inside my Christopher right now).

    However, I love mine, and will probably buy a Christopher plywood or hybrid sometime as a backup to my carved.
  6. The Christopher is a Chinese bass, but it represents the very lowest level of the really good Chinese basses.

    It's as different from a CCB (Cheap Chinese Bass) as a Chevette is from a Corvette.

    There's nothing wrong with the better Chinese basses, such as Christopher, Hima, Shen, & Eastman, but they are, of course, priced accordingly.

    You're considering the all-plywood Christopher & Sunrise versus a Hybrid Strunal, if you mean the A535 (5/35) or A520(5/20).

    Hybrids really aren't horses of the same color.

    The carved top on the Strunal will probably make it sound better than either of the all-plywood basses. It'll be louder and have a more open, less percussive sound.

    Of course that's "probably"... All basses are individuals, and all setups are done by different people. A really bad or badly set up fully-carved bass won't compare favourably with a really good plywood that's been set up well.

    You can also get hybrid Christophers, but they run about $600 more than the hybrid Strunal.

    Check out Jim Laabs' Frankfurt http://www.jimlaabs.com/stringinstruments/basses/frankfurt.htm

    The Frankfurt (which I think is also Korean) is described as having Solid Carved Spruce Top from Fridgid Slow Growth Climates The description sounds like it is a hybrid for $899. You could call them and talk to Troy Laabs about it. 1-800-657-5125

    Sunrise?? Well some arch-top guitars that you find are made just like a carved bass, in that they start out with a piece of wood that is as thick as the swell is high.

    So if there's a half-inch swell, the wood starts out at least half-inch thick. Then they carve out the underside where the swell will be, and carve the top side around the edges, where the swell won't be, until it's down to final thickness, maybe 1/8 of an inch(actually a little less for a guitar).

    Then there other arch-tops which have tops that start out as a 1/8" flat sheet of wood, which is softened then pressed over a form. This saves tons of time & wood, and the sound is very similar to one with an actual carved top, but not the same.

    This has been going on for decades, and the majority of the arch-top guitars you find for sale these days are made that way, since the market for $3000+ guitars isn't that wide.

    There basses around now, too, that are "Solid Wood", but not carved. They're formed just like the $500-$1500 arch-top guitars.

    If it makes a difference to you, and if you see a description that says "Solid Wood", you might want to get a clarification on that. Some of Lemur's Sunrise models are described as "fully-carved", and some as "Solid Wood".

    I've also heard that the Lemur's Korean Sunrise basses aren't the equal of what's sold cheaper at www.jimlaabs.com.

    Luscombe Violin sells the Christophers already set-up, or they knock off 10% if you want to have it set up locally. http://www.violins.ca/basses.html The cheapest model all-plywood that still has ebony fittings runs $1500.(get no "ebonized" fingerboards!)

    If you're looking at the Strunal 5/20 or 5/35, they are hybrids, and I think the first Hybrid Christopher runs $2125
  7. Yeah, and Strunal is in Mountainside, New Jersey... or at least they have an office and a warehouse there.
  8. ?
  9. If someone said they would give you the top model of bass made by either Shen, Eastman, or Christopher, whichever you wanted, would you choose the Christopher?

    I liked that "?". Wish *I* could be that concise!
  10. So Shen, Eastman, and Christopher are the only basses coming out of China?
    I have played Michael Moore's Christopher, and I'd take it in a heart beat. I've not played Shen and Eastman. If they aren't also plywoods, the comparison is invalid. People whose judgement I trust praise Christopher basses. None have said a word about Shen and Eastman.

    So do I.
  11. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Don good. I like.
  12. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
  13. I own a Shen bass... 3/4 fully-carved. I can't say anything about Christopher, but my Shen is a fantastic instrument. They make several levels of intruments, within the whole family of string instruments. There's everything from plywood basses to carved, some designed by a couple bassists in the Rochester Philharmonic.

    My Shen is my first DB, but I love it... beautiful tone & well-built. I'm definitely a big advocate for Shens.
  14. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I have experience with Shen, Christopher and Eastman instruments. They are all pretty well made. None are masterpieces, and, of course, every individual instrument is unique, even though they are "factory" made. In my opinion, the Shen instruments evidence better attention to detail, workmanship and finish quality. I sell the Shens because they are consistent and I rarely have to repair one for a disgruntled buyer. Christopher has cheapened their line by distributing too aggressively. Every music store in the country, whether they understand basses or not, seems to have become a Christopher dealer. Mass marketing, in the musical instrument business, is usually a precursor to quality problems, and overexposure always leads to a drop in value.