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Hybrid Hawkes #30

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Greg Clinkingbeard, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I picked up my new Hybrid Hawkes from the carrier today and I can only say WOW!!!!!! This is a lot of bass for the money.

    Let me give my impressions after playing it for just a few minutes.
    There is good and bad, but mostly good.
    This bass moves a lot of air and is much louder than I imagined it would be. Compared to my plywood Christopher, it's no contest. The Upton is much, much louder. I have Spirocores on both basses, although the Chrissy has worn them for about six months.
    The tone is very punchy, rich in overtones and quick. I can get a lot more out of this bass with less effort.

    The set up is very good. Jack cut the bridge so that I have about 5mm on the G and 7-8 on the E string with plenty of room to go lower if I ever wanted to. The bridge is cut and shaped very well and the feet set perfectly to the top. The fingerboard is perfectly planed and polished to a mirror finish.

    The guys at Upton gave me the exact look that I was after on this bass. It's very dark and chocolate, with just a hint of red and amber tones. Just a bit of antiqueing and a matte finish makes the bass look like an old friend.

    Now a few negatives. The bass has a slight twist between upper and lower bouts that causes it to rock on a level floor. Also there are a few chisel or plane gouges in the top that one might expect in a bass in this price range. These minor flaws don't affect the tone or playability one bit.

    I also had a misunderstanding regarding the fingerboard. I would have prefered a beveled board and believed that I could specify that at the setup phase. Unfortunately, when Jack called me last week to tell me the bass was being setup, it was too late. I would have had to wait several more weeks and didn't feel it was worth it. The bass plays great with the rounded board.

    The Mooradian 3/4 bag fits like a glove. I bought a RSII pickup, but haven't spend enough time with it to comment.

    Over the past few months, I've played a lot of basses in, and above this price range. In my area, nothing below about $5,000 compared to the Hybrid Hawkes.

    Yes, there are pictures, but somebody will have to help me them.:D :D
  2. Mr.Phil


    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Congrats on the bass! I can't wait to see pictures, these things just keep getting good reviews. Can you elaborate on the twisting?
  3. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    Really, the twisting doesn't concern me much. When I unpacked it at the carrier, I noticed that the back side of the upper bout sits maybe 1/4" off the floor. Eyeballing down the left side confirms it. I suspect a lot of basses have this issue.

    I want to mention that both the top AND back have inlaid purfling. For $2600 they could have painted it on the back and I wouldn't care. The finish on my bass is much nicer than those shown on the Upton site.

    My bass came with a hollow aluminum endpin :meh: With a painted woodgrain finish it looks good. I just expected a solid 10mm pin, but it's something I never really thought about and it is a nice pin.

    Phil, just make the drive and play one.
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Is the endpin one of the Upton graphite ones? If so, I think that's highly desirable. I changed from my solid regular endpin to one of those when my baby was last at Upton for new strings and various tweaks.

    You'd think of lowering the strings from 5 mm on the G and 7-8 mm at the E? Wow, that would be way too low for me. Just an observation--not a criticism.
  5. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    That does sound like the graphite endpin. That is what came on my Hybrid.
  6. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I'm pretty sure the endpin is aluminum. It is shown on the web site as an option being used on about half of their basses. I am able to scratch through the finish and see metal also.

    No Drurb, the strings are perfect where they are. However, it's nice to have the option for adjustment if it is ever needed.

    :help: :help: How do I post photos????????????????????:help: :help:
  7. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Ah yes, I see. My rod is gray (sounds risque). Is yours black?

    If anything, I'd think you'd want the option to raise the strings. Yes, I know that we all have different styles of play and personal preferences. I do not mean to preach. I'd just like to share a story, off-topic as it is. Years ago, after too long a hiatus from playing, I bought a hybrid from Gary when he was in his little one-man shop in Griswold, CT. I had been used to playing with the string height set VERY low. Gary delivered the hybrid with Spirocores set at about 6 mm on the G and 9 mm on the E. I complained. He said I should trust him and that in little time I would get used to and enjoy them where they were. If I didn't, he promised to re-do the setup at no charge (there were no adjusters). He was right. Boy, was he right! I have come to realize that, for me, that string height is the only way to get that nice, bold percussive double-bass sound. Well, I'm now on my second Upton bass (a carved) and the strings are set at about 6-7 mm on the G and 8-9 mm on the E. In addition, I've been studying with a fine jazz bassist near where I live and I could never get "that sound" without the string height I have (as a minimum).

    clink, I would never, ever presume to tell an experienced player how to play or how to set up his/her bass. I just wanted to share my experience so please don't interpret my story as telling you or anyone else around here what to do. The reason I bothered to say all of this is that the Upton Hawkes, as you have discovered, can produce a quite powerful, bold, punchy sound. It's pretty cool with the strings set higher. I've played them that way at Upton's shop.

    As for posting pictures, photobucket works really well. Check it out. They give you links that you can just paste into your posts here. Let's see some pics!!!

    Congrats again!

    P.S.-- I assume you'll be changing your profile to reflect that you have the Hawkes and that, for now, you don't desire a better upright. :)
  8. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    Drurb, my endpin has a woodgrain finish on it that looks like a greyish ebony.
    Thanks for the tip on the string heights; I'll try it.

    The bass isn't quite as red as it appears in the photos. Much more chocolate.

  9. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    I don't post this in a defensive manner but just to address these concerns.

    As far as twist, nothing like that is going on, imagine the top and the back having the exact same pattern. With that in mind imagine as the top was being glued on, just 1mm of movement/deflection and the "rails" of the edges are not now perfectly aligned...it's that and nothing else, its not common but we see it once in a while. No built in tension......nothing, just not a perfect perfect alignment (by a mm or less)

    Chisel gouges....well honestly this is done intentionally to give an organic...hand crafted look and feel.

    We do not, nor will we ever offer a beveled board unless it was specifically requested at time of order.

    PS the endpins are a brushed aluminum for light weight and durability! Hey stop scratching it :smug:

    Enjoy the bass baby, and welcome to the fam! :bassist:
  10. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Pretty bass!
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    That is the prettiest coloring I've yet seen on one of the Uptons. Enjoy, clink!
  12. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Shweet. Looks to be about the same shading as my LaScala.
  13. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    Thank you for the compliment.

    I told Dennis at Upton that I wanted the Bass to be dark, chocolate and old looking.

    Marcus, I'm sure the guys at Upton take your comment as high praise. The LaScala is a beautiful bass.
  14. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    damn. and I'm like down the street from Upton.

    I dunno how many more gigs I can do on my ol' Kay. You don't measure string height on my bass in millimeters, I can tell ya that! More like inches. Or maybe Hectares. But dig my Popeye forearm...!
  15. Tritonis


    Jul 20, 2006
    Welcome to the family. :)
  16. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I played a big band gig last night and the Hawkes did great. My set up (SWR WM10 and Ext cabinet, Fishman Pro Platinum EQ) was unchanged other than using the Hawkes/RS2 instead of the chrissy ply/Underwood.
    In a larger room than usual the volume knob was lower, but the low end punch was there in spades. My tone was warm and round, but still with good definition. My only wish was for more top end as I had the treble cranked and kept fussing with the pickup placement. The amplified tone is darker than the acoustic tone for sure. Oh well, still not bad for her first night out.

    The bari sax player all the way across the stand (20 feet) came over to tell me he liked the sound. The band needs to feel the pulse from bassist and he said he could hear and feel (no jokes please) me better than ever before.

    Curiously, I just noticed the Spirocores beginning to mellow out. They're already losing the edge. I've been playing them to death.:oops:

    Got a rehearsal for a quinted this evening and I'm anxious to see if I can get through it with little or no amplification.
  17. Tritonis


    Jul 20, 2006
    I played a gig in a large dining room last night with a trumpet, drums and piano, and my Hawkes didn't even need an amp. Sounded great too.
  18. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    What strings are you using?
  19. clink,
    did Upton do a color other than their standard one for you? If so, did it cost extra? I'd like to see a photo of it. I'm thinking of buying a Hawkes and I'd love a darker colored one.
  20. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    the pictures on the site are from the most recent Hawkes to leave the bench...just FYI.

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