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king doublebass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by andy311, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. andy311

    andy311 Llama Taboot Taboot

    May 24, 2007
    oxford, ms
    im thinking of getting my first upright bass because i think it would be a good challenge and really fun. also my mom used to play in an orchestra setting so i got a decent (free) teacher.

    im looking at the king basses because they look awesome and are in my price range (3000-4000) but i do not plan on playing rockabilly, more like jazz and some experimental kind of rock stuff. so im wondering if the king bass is like a one trick pony or anything, and also if they are decent basses in general.

    my other option im looking at is an upton, ive heard nothing but great things about them.

    im also wondering about 5 strings, and if anyone can give me a review of an upton 5er

  2. heylo. i was in your position a couple months ago. with 3,000 to 4,000 you can get one heck of a bass. I wouldn't even think about touching the King basses for the life of me.

    You mention Upton. If you could spare an extra 1000 I'd really look into getting one of the Upton professors made for you. Someone here just got one and posted pics of it and it looks gorgeous.

    Here's the general answer you'll get from TBers:
    1. stay away from the king
    2. go and try the upton... if you're in the area go talk to gary at upton bass
    3. fill out your profile so we can hook you up with some luthiers
    4. try as many basses out as you can with 3,000 to 4,000 you never know what's sitting in the corner of a luthier's shop or in the closet of some private owner.

    best of luck
    post pics when you receive it
    glad you're turning to the dark side
  3. mpoppitt


    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
    The Kings are overbuilt to withstand the rigors of psychobilly touring at the expense of pure acoustic tone, imho.
  4. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    +1 on Kevin's answer. Here is the link to the recent Professor posting. If you can't go the extra $1000, the Upton hybrid represents enormous bang for the buck. In that case, you'd have $$$ to spare.
  5. robboy


    Jul 13, 2006
    Boca raton Florida
    One of my students had a King and while it was painted a lovely shade of metallic tangerine and had a nice KK pickup system on it, it's sound was dull and unfocused. I think you can do much better for 4 grand.
  6. Any idea what kind of sound you're after?
    What players do you like?
    You've been told about the great offerings out there, but what few people consider when making these recommendations is what type of sound you're after. Don't take for granted that there are thousands of older basses out there well within your range. There are also a dozen or so new models available that haven't been mentioned in this thread. By your description the suggestion made so far are a good match but most importantly get yourself around to the shops and try to play everything you can. Bring a bass player friend to play while you listen. Check different recordiings of DB players, determine which ones appeal to you, and focus in on basses with that sound. Obviously you can achieve different results on the same bass with different strings, etc, but when it comes down to it it's all about the bass.

    The Upton, based on the one I played, will give you more of a modern, bright sound with lots of sustain, good if you plan on doing lots of flashy thumb position playing and/or bowing (and they are definitely a good value). If you're more into a classic puffy sound with lots of BOOM, go for a New Standard (Cleveland ply is at the high end of your range), or an old American Standard, Kay or Epiphone. Then there are the other new factory basses: the Wan Bernadel, the Christophers, the Shens, etc. Plenty of info on this board so have fun poring over the threads!
  7. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    When evaluating the second of your statements above, it is wise to consider the first one. I wonder which Upton you played and how it was set up. I certainly wouldn't characterize their newest design as lacking "BOOM." I played the Professor recently with a set of Olivs and then immediately after with a set of Spiros. Not surprisingly, there was a huge difference. In neither case would I characterize the sound as "bright" and lacking any of the low end guts. In fact the thing was like a cannon!
  8. Truer words were never spoken.

    I think you and I chatted about that. I tried a hybrid Hawkes. Couldn't tell you what strings were on it but they were steel of a light to medium gauge. Probably either spiros or helos. I still plan on going back eventually and will try to get them to set it up for maximum boom. But it's a very different monster than the NS Cleveland, IMO. I have also always preferred the sound of a gamba to violin corners. Luthiers and scientists may say there is no basis to that but that's been my experience. Anyway, I'm not trying to push one product over another in this thread (there are more than enough of those). Just sharing my impressions of different types of sounds. Responsiveness and playability are other subjects that should be considered too.
  9. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Thanks for the follow-up, Ming. Ah yes, we did talk about that and I should have recalled. I would be interested to hear your impressions of the hybrid after another visit when you could have it set up more to your liking. I hope you get a chance to play a Professor as well. You're one of the few players I know who has played both the NS Cleveland and the Uptons so it would be especially interesting to hear your take on things after you get another chance to play the Uptons.

    I also got to thinking that we may be interpreting "BOOM" differently. Plys, as you know, tend to have that front-end "thump" that many players value for certain types of playing/styles/music. For me, that's not the kind of boom I value. Rather, it's the gutsy, deep, dark sustained low-end of a good carved top that I like.
  10. It probably is a matter of interpretation. I like a big, FAT, round sound. I am guessing maybe it's what Arnold calls "puff" or "a deep punchy tone". Again, the Upton made a beautiful noise when I dragged a bow across the strings, and it responded so quickly I had a moment of epiphany where I thought, "so THIS is what bowing is supposed to feel like..." I'd only ever really played plywood instruments before that, for any length of time, in all my 15+ years of playing. But when it came to the pizz, while the sound was still pretty, it seemed to me that I would have a hard time being heard in a big room or especially outdoors. I don't like to use an amp unless it's absolutely necessary. So. I tried the Cleve, and while it didn't give me quite the same joy with the bow, it did have everything I thought the Upton lacked in the pizz dept.

    I will probably never have a concrete conception of what people mean when describing sound, but suffice it to say that of course an instrument is a personal thing. It isn't just the sound, but all the intangibles summed up together. Some people like Hummers. I'd rather drive a Honda.

    ... or to quote Dave Chapelle, "some people like their cucumbers pickled..."
  11. bassplayer57


    Aug 15, 2006
    Toledo, Ohio
    There are also the Wan-Bernardels that are 1000 dollars more.

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