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Czech-Ease bass version advice needed...

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Jeremy Morgan, Nov 30, 2018.


Which Czech-Ease model?

Poll closed Jan 18, 2019.
  1. Hybrid (H1)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Vintage Ply (K1)

    12.5%
  3. Carved (C1)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Standard (CE)

    12.5%
  5. Something else

    75.0%
  1. I'm thinking of buying a Czech-Ease travel bass. I'm in the UK, and they are very rare here, so I'm unlikely to find a used one unless I am lucky.

    If I buy one I will have to take a bit of a punt, and order by mail, so my main problem is choosing which model to go for.

    At the moment the Vintage Ply (K1) or Carved (C1) from the three new models look the most appealing to me, but it's difficult to tell from the description which would be most suitable.

    I am mainly planning to use it for Big Band (amplified of course), and possibly musical theatre work. I have a very nice Thomas Martin full-size DB that I use for orchestral stuff, but would like something more portable for the Big Band. I got fed up taking a full size DB to the Big Band and have been using a plank for the last few years - but I do miss the sound/feel etc. of the DB!

    Anyone out there have any advice, especially if you have played/heard the various models?

    At the moment the Vintage Ply model is probably favourite, as I'm looking for a punchy sound to cut through the melee of a Big Band, but if the perceived wisdom is that it is worth spending the extra on the carved, then I am happy to go that route.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    There is a pretty endless amount of better options out there now. I'd re-think this idea.
     
    wathaet likes this.
  3. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    The CE is only shorter than a 3/4. Is that very meaningful for non airline travel? The original ply version really doesn't sound like much, IMO. Haven't heard the others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
    KUNGfuSHERIFF and wathaet like this.
  4. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    I would go for a normal body removable neck.
    If you can swing a bit more money and don’t use it for orchestra the C21 Charton or Suit-bass are options I quite like playing.
     
  5. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Totally agree - the Czech-Ease was a rush job in a desperate time. Someone was grossly overcharging someone in the chain and it comes down being half of a super basic bass for three times as much. The Kolstein, Chadwick hybrid, Guy/Dawson, the fly away, the Auray and countless others are better options.
     
    oliebrice likes this.
  6. Thanks for the input Damon.

    Maybe you could elaborate? Most of the other candidates I have seen are stick type basses without much (if any) acoustic chamber, or possibly the Eminence which seems to be the next closest rival.
     
  7. Just seen your second post come through so ignore my previous reply....
     
    damonsmith likes this.
  8. Looking at the other options mentioned, ideally I was looking for an instrument that I wouldn't have to assemble/disassemble, and would take up less room in the house, so the Kolstein looks interesting.
     
    Earl likes this.
  9. I had an Eminence. It sounded and felt like a toy.
     
  10. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    While it is expensive, it is much more of a serious instrument. All the CE versions are grossly over-priced IMO.
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    My understanding is the Czech Ease basses are, to all intents and purposes, Strunals that have had the lower bout chopped down. Anybody have any other info?
     
  12. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    That would make sense. I remember some claim that they were a "special design" or something, I don't see that text around now. That would still make them grossly over priced. The Chadwick mod. is more extensive and still comes way under in price difference between the Shen model and the Chadwick model.
    Strange that they added the hybrid and carved models but no removable neck model.
    I don't know the Chinese bass history, but, these were around before Shen established their reputation, at least.

    It came off to me as a gross cash grab to gouge touring bassists when they showed up, but, it may be a bad deal earlier in the chain of manufacturing or modification. I might be a bit sore that I couldn't afford one, or that I would have bought one if I had the money - I am not sure which!
     
  13. statsc

    statsc Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    I owned a laminate Czech-Ease for a while. Tone was decent for a laminate, and I flew with it once with no problem with the travel case Gage sells for it. I never could get used to the aesthetics of it or the Eb neck, and got tired of answering questions about the look of it (“What happened to bottom part of your bass?”). I eventually sold it and got an Upton Standard with a removeble neck, which I’m much happier with the sound and feel of.

    For your purposes, the Kolstein model many have mentioned here seems like a good bet.
     
  14. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    I own a hybrid one. I tried the laminate and I tried the fully carved in the hybrid all in the same day. To me the hybrid was it significant total improvement over the laminate but the fully carved was not much of an improvement for the increased cost. I am very happy with my hybrid version. I don't travel. I just use it as my main bass around town now. I live in New Jersey and have had it the gages shop several times for maintenance so it's in very good shape and the setup is very good so I'm sure that's a factor. Go online and look at videos of Dave Holland playing his hybrid. He seems to like it
     
  15. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    There are also some good videos of Chris Wood playing one and I think Marco has some videos up also. Pretty representative of the sound I think. As long as it's set up well you're going to love it. It doesn't sound quite as big acoustically, but through an amp I think it actually has some advantages over a full size body bass.
     
  16. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I don't think they are not possible to sound good on. I recorded with one. They are just over 2 times more expensive for what are than they should be. Therefore a waste of money.
    Also, as far as the OP is concerned, that lower bout being cut off won't save you much space at home or on the bandstand.
    The Kolstein, the Eminence or a nice EUB are the ways to go for that.
     
    Earl likes this.
  17. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    actually will save some room. in my station wagon i no longer have to have the neck and scroll up between the front seats. everything sits in the back so now i can have a passenger in the car instead of my amp on the front seat. and for me, i sit when i play, so this allows me to sit in a regular size chair. i no longer have to bring a stool, so one less thing to carry, and for orchestra pits with low ceilings this can also be a benefit. i also like being lower, closer to my amp so i can hear better without turning up. i considered a kolstien also, and the choice was not easy. if i didnt have personal access to david gage for my setup work i might have gone the other direction. cant go wrong with either i think, but the kolstein is not cheap either.
     
  18. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I mean, over-paying for a cheap factory bass as well as over-paying for set up work doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. If you have money to burn, I guess.
    Taking a bass like that to Gage (even though he has them made) is like sending a Glasser fiber glass bow to Sue Lipkins for a rehair!
    No matter how you slice it, it is a fractional part of a low end student quality bass. Of course, while most of us can make do with a well set up student quality instrument, I hope we have better things to do with 5 grand+.

    The Chadwick is an ethically priced modified student level instrument, the Kolstien is nice bass designed smaller from the ground up.
     
  19. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    id argue that the kolstein bass, albiet nice, is every bit of a factory bass as the czech ease. do you think barrie actually makes them? possibly made in the same factory even. either way, they're both european factory basses with a $200 difference in asking price. barrie's bass does have a nicer varnish ill say that. but underneath its an eastern european factory bass, but a very nice one. heck, i payed big bucks for one of his european factory basses that he puts his name on. i still own it. sounds like someone has a grudge against gage for some reason. most of the setup work he did for me was free because he stands by his product. (i got it done when it was new). i'd hardly call that overpriced. going forward i would expect to pay a fair price for any work done. both basses are very nice. ive played both multiple times. for me it just comes down to which shape i was looking for, and the fact that its easier for me to get to manhatten than long island. but back to the op original question, out of all of the versions, i thought the hybrid was most worth it. carved didnt do much for me and i didnt like the sound of the laminated one at all. and i played a few of each version.
     

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