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Engelhardt-Link ES9 Swingmaster.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by anniefidl, Oct 16, 2002.


  1. anniefidl

    anniefidl

    Oct 15, 2002
    Novato, CA
    Hi Folks! I'm new to all this chat stuff. Am ready to upgrade from my Chinese Cremona to possibly an ES9. Would appreciate some feedback from anyone currently playing an ES9. I play acoustic swing (vintage & western), some old jazz standards, some bluegrass. I prefer a thinner neck and the old Kays have a nice size/feel. I'm concerned about resonance and wonder if these newer plywood basses SOUND GOOD? Haven't ever actually seen or heard one. Please e-mail me directly if you have any info! Thanks. Annie
     
  2. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    I play bluegrass, CW and swing. I purchased a new englehardt ES9 a couple of months ago. Had quite a bit of setup work on it - new bridge, endpin, strings (eudoxa - i've used before). Sounds great. Neck is alot thinner than my old american standard. I don't have any bad comments for it. After all the work and the strings, i have about $1800 in it - maybe a bit much but i'm happy with it. I play mic'd through the PA. No amps in bluegrass.
     
  3. anniefidl

    anniefidl

    Oct 15, 2002
    Novato, CA
    Thanks for your comments, tsolo! I'm curious as to why you needed a new bridge and endpin in addition to setup. Did you buy your ES9 on-line?

    Annie
     
  4. I have one. It's great. I paid 1500. I then put about 500 in setup (new bridge, endpin, strings). Sanded neck, did some other things, I don't know the terminology. It sucked right out of the factory but the setup changed everything.

    I'm extremely happy with it.
    -Julian
     
  5. Henry

    Henry

    Sep 26, 2002
    Flerda
    Proprietor of Superior Bassworks
    This will be the next bass I buy. :)
     
  6. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    i bought it on line - through ebay. looked around online for quite some time before i went to ebay. won it for $1425 + shipping. then i found i could get it from music123.com for $1399 with free shipping (a start of school deal or something), oh well. the strings, bridge and endpin were really cheap and i couldn't tighten the endpin tight enough to stop the rattle. it was metal. the setup made quite a difference and was worth the money. i think it will play in nicely as it ages.
     
  7. anniefidl

    anniefidl

    Oct 15, 2002
    Novato, CA
    Hi, again, Tsolo.

    Thanks for the tip on Music123. Went there, but the shipping is not free on basses (oversized) so you probably got the best deal you could have. Bob G also sells them for around this amount. The great news at 123 was that there were several customer ratings, all giving this bass 5 stars and saying great things. I'm more and more interested in this bass now. Thanks for taking the time to respond and help me out in forming an opinion!

    Annie
     
  8. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Of course, someone with no previous experience who buys a beginner bass from an on-line discounter may not be the best judge..!

    If you can't find a good local luthier, I'd go with a bass from Bob or Lemur.
     
  9. anniefidl

    anniefidl

    Oct 15, 2002
    Novato, CA
    Hey mje -

    I may be green, but I do have some healthy callouses! What else do you know about this bass specifically or E-L basses in general? I still haven't actually seen one in the flesh--er, wood, as it were. The narrower neck appeals to me (I'm currently playing a Cremona starter bass that I'm not too happy with) and the price. Don't know if I'm ready to jump into the over $2k league. Also, sheepishly, the plywood factor sort of appeals because maybe it could be knocked around a bit more without getting hurt? (as in transiting to gigs, etc.) But any suggestions you may have for me (polite ones, that is) will be greatly considered.

    Thanks. - A
     
  10. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    i bought it for several reasons. there are no englehardt dealers close to where i live. i don't want to worry about humidity and all the other headaches that accompany a carved bass. i'm very rough with my uprights. i played several at festivals and liked the way they sounded. i took a chance buying one online. i know what sounds good to me. this one sounds good. i was lucky. but i'd still recommend anyone try one. and i thought this was a friendlier site. so long...
     
  11. anniefidl

    anniefidl

    Oct 15, 2002
    Novato, CA
    Thanks, again, tsolo. You're kind to take the time to respond to me and I appreciate it. I don't think the above thread by mje was meant as a dis to you but rather to my earlier comments indicating that the customer rating on the music123 site all gave this bass 5 stars and good comments. No matter what anyone else thinks, if YOU like the sound and are happy with the playability of your instrument, that's the kind of info I'm interested in. I again invite other Swingmaster players to respond to me with their input.

    You guys are fun.

    A
     
  12. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    i didn't think you dis'd me, i believe the yankee did.
     
  13. jugband

    jugband

    Jan 16, 2001
    Music123 likes to play with their shipping rates. I looked at the Swingmaster, and got a shipping rate of $62 repeatedly for several months. I thought that was their standard price, but a couple of months later, it was $118.

    Also, the last time I checked www.gollihur.com, Bob Gollihur was about the same price. Check him out for pricing. He only shows list prices on the website, and you have to email him for what actual purchase prices are.

    I wound up getting a fully-carved bass from Bob. I'm waiting for it to be built in Bulgaria, even as I write this...
     
  14. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I was really speaking more generally about the problems with mail order basses from discounters who aren't specialists. If 123 shipped you a real dog, would they replace it? Would they even recognize it?

    My luthier doesn't like the E-L basses, but a good many people do. From what I've heard, though, you absolutely have to spend some time setting them up- neck, bridge, and possibly resetting or even replacing the soundpost. They don't arrive as real ready to play instruments.
     
  15. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Hey Infidel:

    I agree totally with mje. I have made this same point in many other posts. If you cannot put your hands on the bass before buying it, make sure that whomever you place an order with allows you an adequate trial period. Take it to a luthier or at least a very experienced player who can give you a fair appraisal of its playability.

    Please don't let your desire for a new bass cloud your better judgement.
     
  16. ksdaddy

    ksdaddy

    Jul 5, 2002
    Caribou, ME
    Thought I'd throw in my two cents. I had never owned an UB until June. In fact, I probably only had my hands on one a half dozen times in my life. I bought an Engelhardt EC-1 (the cheapest USA made bass around, I believe) from music123.com for $819 plus $62 shipping. First off, let me tell you that the folks at music123.com are very polite and accomodating on the phone, then once they've got your money, they disappear. The bass sat on the loading dock for about two weeks before they finally got around to shipping it. They were evasive about the whole thing. Finally it came by common carrier. The driver drug the box to the back of the trailer, and I thought my heart would stop. The box was smashed from every angle. I immediately opened it in the driver's presence, so he could document any damage. There was none. Despite the box looking bad, EL does a pretty good job of suspending the instrument within the box, strategically placing cardboard blocks to keep it from moving around, and providing a little air space between th ebass and the outside of the box. Notice I said EL does this; music123 probably didn't even open the box while they were in possession of it. So I unbox it. The only thing I had to do was install the bridge. Yes, yes, I can hear it all now, I should have taken it to a luthier and spent another $500 getting it tweaked. Well, I didn't. This bass is built like a Humvee, and unless I have a problem, I'm not messing aroudn with it. I did change the strings to Corelli 370s because the general opinion was that the stock strings sucked. Well, there was a difference in tension, and maybe a little improvement in tone, but did I get $100 worth of improvement? No. Would I buy Corellis again? No. All the chatter is about Spirocores, maybe I'll try a set someday. I did fit an Aubert bridge to it, because the factory bridge was just plain ugly. I fit the Aubert nicely, thinning it, shaping it, etc, which was quite a chore, but it fits nicely and works well. As to the tone of an EL, well, honestly, I have no basis for comparison, since this is my first UB, and I live in northern Maine... not a lot of UB boutiques around. I did fix the rattling end pin, once and for all. It took about ten minutes and didn't cost a dime. I emailed the info to both Cal Reeves at EL and also to Bob G, neither one of them seemed interested. Well, buddy, all I can say is there's a lot of money being spent on replacing EL endpins... mine does NOT rattle. Now for the big question: would I buy another EL? Based on the workmanship and playability, yes, I would. Would I buy another EC-1? Probably not, I'd probably spend the couple hundred extra for an EM-1, simply for the rosewood board (the EC-1 has a maple board painted black, and looks cheesy.... but then again, there's a bunch of old Kay C-1s out there with the same shortcomings...) Is there any disdadvantage to buying an EL? Yes. The fact that you will have to constantly defend and justify your purchase to other bassists. I bought it because it was cheap, it was new, and it probably won't fall apart in my lifetime, but ELs have absolutely no snob appeal. Oh, one last thing, would I buy from music123 again? For price, yes. For honesty and customer service, no. If you MUST buy "long distance", buy one from Bob G or someone like him. Chances are they'll at least give it a quick once-over before sending it out to you.
     
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    If you buy it from Bob, it'll be right before it ever ships, no doubt about it. His customer service after the sale is also the best I've ever experienced.
     
  18. anniefidl

    anniefidl

    Oct 15, 2002
    Novato, CA
    Still highly interested in ES9s. Lovin all the feedback from bassists. As I have small hands, I prefer the thinner neck. I also play a LOT with a pickup (an older Piezo with my Pollytone Minibrute II guitar amp), and I'm hearing that plys may actually be less problematic when electrified. Also less problematic with temp & humidity changes. We play a number of outdoor gigs, sometimes approaching 100 deg. or sometimes quite cool/foggy. I have noticed my funky old Cremona still stays pretty in tune (if you can call it that) no matter what the weather. Currently have it set up by a great luthier with Helicore strings (don't know the grade). I'd be ready for a slightly more responsive string, maybe spirocore? or--suggestions please. Those darn heavy steel strings raise an instant blister, however, so I'm staying away.

    Thanks about 123 also. They sound like most modern bizniss folks and I'll stay clear. Bob G on the other hand has been extremely helpful and responsive and sounds like a good guy!
     
  19. jugband

    jugband

    Jan 16, 2001
    Actually, I'm pretty sure that Music123 never was in actual possession of it. They have Engelhardt basses drop-shipped, direct from the factory. That loading dock was at Englehardt... unless Music123 dragged their feet getting your order sent out. My guess would be that E-L got behind on production. I've heard about fairly long delays on Swingmasters due to that, in the past.
    No, actually Bob has them drop-shipped also, unless you specify otherwise. He says that they usually come playable right out of the crate, though a luthier set-up will improve ANY factory-built bass in some way or another.

    You CAN have Engelhardts AND his Bulgarian basses both shipped to him first, if you want to pay double shipping, but he advises drop-shipping. You may not have to get it set up, and if you DO, better to spend that extra shipping money on a local luthier.

    What I've heard about Engelhardts, when I was VERY seriously considering one, is that everyone hates the bridges, which are typically the second thing to go, after the strings.

    I very nearly got a Swingmaster, but then I got "Gear Fever", and decided on a Strunal carved-top, then Strunal fully-carved, and wound up ordering one of the carved Bulgarian basses last week.

    Of course, EVERY factory-built bass comes with "shipping strings", some of which aren't good for much more than holding the bridge on.

    My current bass came with strings which felt like recycled winch cable off the front of someone's Jeep. (I've got Eurosonics on it right now, and I love them).

    Bob's Bulgarian Bass Builders (Small String Shop, not Factory) ship with D'Addario Helicore Orchestra strings, at his request, but apparently they originally used "Shipping Strings" too.

    BTW, I think the "rattling endpin" problem was fairly common with Kay basses, and remains so with E-L.

    I seem to recall thinking, while I was shopping, that Kay basses have always had a particular problem with endpin-rattle, I might have to deal with it on my new ES9 too.
     
  20. ksdaddy

    ksdaddy

    Jul 5, 2002
    Caribou, ME
    The fix to the E-L endpin rattle is so simple it's stupid. Loosen the strings, remove the tailpiece, and pull the endpin socket out. On the inside of the endpin socket, you will find a rubber or neoprene o-ring in a recessed groove. Carefully remove it. There is a small portion of socket between the o-ring groove and the end of the socket. THIS is where the rattle comes from, guaranteed. I took a few thousandths off this surface with a Dremel tool, and no more rattle, period. When done, re-install the o-ring, pop the socket back in, etc. See photo.