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Hello and need an opinion

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Whit Townsend, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Thinking about a new UB to gig with. My old Kay needs a lot of TLC. Play mostly bluegrass.

    Looking at Englehearts cause thats what I'm familiar with, but just found the King Bass site. They brag on durability. Don't want a sparkle or fame job, but could live with a blonde or solid black one.

    The imported Kings are priced about like a Swingmaster or other top of the line plywood Engleheart. Anybody know how the Kings compare to a similarly priced Engleheart? Durability? Feel? Sound?

    I currently play an old 51 kay. Use Supernils and fairly high action. Like a good low thump. Use a Fishman thru the board when I need the volume, not the best, but I put up w/it cause I move around a lot and don't really care to use a stationary mike.
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The other thing to consider is puttng that TLC in. Unless your bass is an absolute POS, a new fingerboard/bridge/soundpost and even tuners is going to go a considerable way towards improving both the health AND the sound of your bass.

    $1800 for a new bass or $1800 for an OLD bass that plays like a new one...
  3. Ultimatly I want to do both.
    The old girl has gotten too dried out in her lifetime, and I have to be very careful with her. Can't let her get too damp or too dried out. Any bump and I'm loosing lamainations.I still want to use her in the studio or at gigs where I can protect her.

    But I want a new plywood bass I can take to festivals, inclimant weather, knock around without having to be so careful.


    Aug 26, 2005
    I think Ed's correct, but if you are intent on ditching your Kay, I'd hold out and look for a vintage American Standard or a vintage King Moretone (as opposed to the new King brand), or another good Kay before I'd waste a dime on an Engelhardt. I'd also look at no-label European plys or hybrids. These alternate choices are around-- even the vintage Standards and Moretones, which have it all over the best Kays-- I saw a nice King Moretone for sale on ebay within the past 6 months in the Seattle or Portland area and it went un-sold on auction! I've got one and its hands-down the finest sounding plywood I've ever owned or played. Be patient and another will show up.
  5. <<<I think Ed's correct, but if you are intent on ditching your Kay,>>>

    Jezz, I never said anything about ditching the Kay.

    I'm not in the market for a "vintage" bass, plywood or otherwise. I'll keep the one I currently own, thank you.

    I just want something that can take some abuse and would appreciate an opinion on an affordable durable new plywood bass with a decent enough tone. I know all about englhearts, and I've seen enough cheap chinese basses explode on people that I know that ain't gonna do.

    I thought I asked a straightforward question. Seems like someone could give a straightforward answer around here. If not I guess this board is a waste of time.
  6. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    Try looking at a Strunal plywood bass model 50/4.

    This one has the ebony board and fittings.

    Good sounding and durable bass for the money IMHO. I bought mine as a back-up to my good bass.

    There are some on-line sites that carry them as does Sam Ash music if you are near one.
  7. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    If I were looking for a new plywood, I'd consider a Shen laminate bass. I played one in Greensboro at Beerman's shop last spring.

    I had taken one of my American Standards down to Bob for a neck set. I played a Shen plywood that day that blew me away. I came back home and told me son (killer bassman) that he was going to go with me when the neck set was done (about 5 weeks) and I wanted him to play the Shen bass.

    The Shen ply bass was gone and Bob hadn't been able to replace it yet. At that time, Beerman was selling those basses for about $1600-$1800 and he would put on any brand of string, do a proper setup on the bass and send you happily out the door.

    Check them out and take care of that old Kay,
  8. Thanks Mike.
    My experience with Chinese basses is that the sound was tolerable, but the necks were really chunky. I prefer the thin neck like on my Kay or an Engleheart. I know of 2 Chinese basses that exploded within 6 months, and a coupla other ones that are holding up well. Don't know if they were Shens tho, my guess is that they were 500-700 Crappolinos or something.

    How did the neck feel on that Shen compare to say a 50s Kay or a new EM1?
    Was that Greensboro NC?
  9. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    The problem, Whit, is that pretty much only Kays and Engelhardts have necks that thin. Having said that, you can have the neck thinned on any existing bass to make it feel a little more familiar. For what it's worth, however, it seems that most folks who change from thin necks to thicker necks have no regrets.

    The cheap Cinese basses I've played (a la the eBay specials), have almost invariably had fence-post necks. The quality Chinese makes are a different story; certainly more substantial than your Kay, but definitely comfortable.
  10. Check your PM inbox Whit. Since we live in the same burg you can try my Shen and do a direct comparison.
  11. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Newberg, OR
    +1 on Shen quality. No comparison in build or feel to Cremona or other "ebay" brand Chinese. I also agree that while the neck is not as thin as an Englehardt or Kay, slimmer that above mentioned cheapos. Certainly in the range where a luthier could take it down to comfortable for you.