Hybrid Christopher's

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Ashley Long, May 22, 2005.

  1. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    Hi folks, I was just wondering if you guys know whether the hybrid basses by christopher are any good? Im in the process of considering purchasing one of the 5 string models of the 300 series.... any thoughts?
  2. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    I purchased one about 2 years ago and I've been very happy with it. My teacher will often comment on how good it sounds. When I had Obligatos on it he said that it sounded like a $12,000 bass.
    etorgerson likes this.
  3. I have a 4-string Christopher and I think its a great bass for the price. Same deal as kwd; its always being mistaken for a much higher-priced instrument.

    If you're going to get a 5-string, though, I would consider getting a 7/8 rather than a 3/4.
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    +1. Just spend the time & money for a good setup, the right strings, change the coat hanger and you'll have a winner on your hands.
  5. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    Thanks guys. I think the 5's are only available as.7/8 I would probably change the coat-hanger etc on any bass I bought just to be sure (I even did it on my Vuillaume). I like the sound of a hybrid bass, and for the work I do they suit very well. Looked at an All Basse 6-er but I only have little hands! :D
  6. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    ...another happy hybrid owner. Same experience with folks playing and complimenting...
  7. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I don't own a Christopher but I did a web search and found some interesting models. The fully carved 600 level "master" bass is a really beautiful looking bass.
  8. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I got my 3/4 four-sting hybrid Chistopher about 15 months ago and still love it.

    Good luck . . .
  9. I played a very nice Chistopher hybrid 7/8 5-stringer a couple of years ago and almost bought it. It was sweet. It kind of was the bass that got away and now I have a different big 5 string I like but the Christopher was definitely what made me want a big 5-er with a nice spruce top. The top on that one was real nice. The fingerboard was real sweet too. The tuners and endpin were good. I think the shop where this bass was had already fixed the tail gut. If you want a nice 5 string, I think the Chris could make you happy. :)
  10. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I have a Christopher Carved Top Fiver. I should have not gotten it, as I was ill-informed, young, and bought it online. It actually sounds pretty good, which is comforting to say, since it's never had a proper setup. It will get one once I get to NYC this Summer.

    What's bad about it? Well, if you read some other threads you'll see that a good fiver is a VERY hard thing to make properly. For this price range you'd be better off looking at a 4 string maybe. The ebony fingerboard is not that great; bridge so-so, tailpiece wire - no good. Lightwood painted tailpiece - put an MPM one on, big difference. Endpin looks nice, but has begun to fall apart. Also mine came with the neck warped a bit in one direction. It also came with a patched top - on a new bass!!!!

    Bottom line - if you're gonna get one, don't make the same mistake as me, and get it from a luthier, properly setup, and checked out that it's ok.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that I got a lemon. Most people around here adore their christophers. After my first setup, I know I will too (even how she is now, I love her :) )
  11. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I bought mine "at a distance", shall we say, which is quite heretical amongst our TB cognescenti but can very much make sense depending on where you live. It's easier to find a Sasquatch around here than a decent bass for sale, new or used. Rest assured you will not self-ignite or be Eternally Damned if you buy a Christopher from someone far away. Use common sense.

    Upon getting mine I immediately ditched the tailpiece and the tailpiece wire. Cheap junk as Alexi says. The bridge on mine was pretty soft and cheap but very decently turned out by the luthier I bought from (at a distance.) Endpin OK, fitted well and still in service a couple of years and a couple hundred gigs and rehearsals later. A decent ebony board but it's very thin -- won't take too many dressings in its lifetime. I slapped some new Corellis on it and started making nice sounds practically right out of the shipping crate. (BTW, the instrument was crated in much the same fashion Paul "Daddy" Warburton mentions in the shipping-from-Cyprus thread. Worked great.) The instrument has been opening up very nicely in the two years I've been playing it. Are there better instruments. Absolutely, all over the place. Is my instrument welcome musically wherever it's been? Absolutely, always.

    That being said -- and I didn't say this before, I'm glad Alexi did -- I'd be a little more hesitant going after a fiver this way. I don't have vast experience with 5-string DBs but I don't think I could live with a flabby, lifeless low B. I know I can't on slab and I think on DB it would bug me even more. The four-string instrument is much more a commodity than the five.
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    +1 on the TP. I switched to an MPM TP and that made a big difference. For strings, I get a great sound out of a set of Kolstein Heritages. But mines a 4 string as well.

    Perhaps you should consider a Shen 5 stringer too. Doesn't Ken Smith have one? You can ask him.
  13. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I'm just wondering about the popularity of five string DB. I have never seen anyone playing one in Chicago. I've seen them in shops but never live. Do they usually have low B? High C? What is the practicality of use in jazz?

    Sorry to derail but I have always been curious.
  14. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    I dont know nuch about Shen, are they the same sort of price range? I would tune mine with a high C. I use 2 basses at the moment, a regular 4 string and a chamber bass (ADGC) and having a 5 string would combine the both meaning I wont have to carry 2 basses to a gig.
  15. Ashley, if you are looking at 5-stringers available from a distance (because most of them are...) you might also check out the fully carved basses from Bob Gollihur. I really like mine. It is the larger size 5-string and has a great deal in common with the 7/8 5-string Christopher I tried out a few years ago. The dimensions are quite similar, although the Chris was violin shaped and this is a gamba, they are very close to the same size. I think they sound similar as well, but I couldn't make a direct comparison, so I speak from memory. I do know the Chris was strung with helicore orchestras and since my new bass came with those that could be another reason the sound seems similar to me.

    The tail gut on my bass is stranded cable with a nice secure cable clamp. The tailpiece is a very well dyed hardwood. There is no reason to replace it, except for the Pecanic tunable design. The tuners are very similar to the Chris tuners and the endpin is somewhat better, IMO. It operates very smoothly and has an extra heavy duty screw on rubber tip. The biggest practical difference is the neck and fingerboard shape. The Chris was rounder and more dowel like with a very high arch in the FB. My new bass's neck is flatter feeling front to back and the FB is not such a steep arch. Bob can have one of these shipped to you pretty easily. He has 3/4 and 4/4 sizes. The 3/4 might be good for inclusion of the higher c string. I use the BB so I opted for the 4/4 size, which by some standards is closer to 7/8.

    Quite honestly, if I had seen these side by side, I'd probably still choose the Bulgarian bass from Bob. The sound quality is quite similar to the Chris. I think the manufacture is somewhat better though.
  16. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    Cool Thanks man! Im resident in the UK so will shipping still be ok?
  17. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    By the way, have you had any luck with the paul rogers discs?
  18. Bob has shipped those basses to France, so you are probably in luck. I've gotten more curious about the shop that builds them since I got mine and I found an interesting tidbit about the shape of the neck heel, which has a gentle curved taper that I've not seen on many basses. I saw the same gentle curve on this bass at Contrabass Shoppe that was made in Markneukirchen, Germany in 1929, which is the town where the Bulgarian shop founder apprenticed in the early 1920's. It is interesting how these little details will persist in a maker's tradition. The Bulgarian basses have a "Markneukirchen" neck heel. Perhaps there's more to it than the heel of the neck.

    Another tidbit I noticed was that the neck block in my bass (visible only with a mirror) is signed by the shop master. It is identical to the signature on the certification of manufacture that came with the bass. His surname is the same as the founder, Georgiev. Originally the shop was started by 3 brothers in 1924, so it seems to survive as a family endeavor.

    I ordered the Paul Rogers solo CD. I haven't received it yet. I don't think it has been long enough. Thanks for hooking me up with that. I'm sure it'll get here eventually.
  19. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    Cool, no worries. What finish does your 5-string have? Would there be are chance of some pictures?
  20. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Silver, although that Bass is from Markneukirchen it is not typical at all of that School of making. That is a French Design that a few, very few Germans have used. I have seen a Bass by A.Ebner (1903, Germany) and a few others like that. All others Basses from that region are more typical German like Wilfer, Pfretczschner and the like from Northern Germany.