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Klier Basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by vanderbrook, Dec 11, 2001.


  1. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Delurking time. First, let me say this forum has been a terrific resource for me over the past few months. I hope one day to be able to contribute and help others as I have been helped. :)

    As readers of my profile will note, I'm currently playing an Azola EUB I bought in August. It was an inexpensive (and given the car I own) practical way to get back into music after an eight-year hiatus. (Before I sold it in 1993, I played occasional gigs on [pause; deep breath] a low-end Engelhardt I bought new along about 1979.)

    Yes, I've now decided to get a *real* bass (though I don't regret the Azola one bit) and after the holidays are past, a teacher. (I'm a self-taught jazz player; I was able to pick up a modicum of theory from my piano-playing father.) I'm ready to learn arco and see how many of the bad habits I've developed I can break. :D

    To get to the topic, I'm considering trips to look at a couple of basses, and one of them is a Klier at Hammond-Ashley. (For a city of its size, it's surprising that Denver has no bass shops; the nearest shop of any size is probably Robertson's in Albuquerque.) At $6490, it's at the tippy-top of my price range. I'd also look at the Wilfer at H-A ($5990) and the top-of-the-line Liandro DiVacenza bass at Kolstein's, and many of the 100 year old German flatbacks that seem to be everywhere are in my price range. Is anyone familiar with the Klier basses? Basically, I can afford to visit either H-A or Kolstein, and I'm trying to decide which has the largest number of possibilities in my price range. I also plan to visit Kansas City Strings, and look at one of their shop-finished basses.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
     
  2. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Contact Bob Monroney; he is a luthier in your area. He may have a lead on some stuff locally, and is a really good guy. His phone # is 303-422-0496 or e-mail him at bobnlala@home.com. If I remember right he had a really nice old German bass that he restored from an antiques shop in Taos, owned by a guy in Houston who just passed away, and Bob was selling it for his estate.

    Monte
     
  3. Both shops have websites, but they're almost never up-to-date. The best thing you can do is call and ask. Let them know you're coming from a distance and before you go to either let them know you're coming. You'll get more attention if they kow you'll be in. When you call Kolstein's ask to speak with Barrie. I've done business with Barrie and can't recommend him highly enough. Ask him about the DiVacenza basses. Barrie's great and will be happy to answer all of your questions.

    If you come to New York you'd also be able to check out Dave Gage in Manhatten among others. You could spend almost a whole week hitting shops within a few hours drive of NYC.

    At Hammond-Ashley, ask for Bryce. I haven't done business with them, bought they also have a great reputation. Bryce is a great cat and also a knowledgeable bassist, I met him last summer at the ISB convention.
     
  4. Contact me before you come to KC. I will give you a list of other shops and individuals.
    I have also been toying with the idea of selling my Juzek to get a hand made KC strings bass.
     
  5. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Looks like I'll probably be visiting Kansas City this weekend. FarmerDude, I'll contact you via e-mail. Maybe I should take a look at your Juzek.

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I've spoken with Barrie and Bob Monroney in the recent past, and exchanged some e-mail with Bryce.

    Still nobody willing to admit any familiarity with the Wilhelm Klier basses, huh?
     
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Regarding the Wilhelm Klier at Hammond Ashley, I have not seen or played that bass nor heard of that luthier but I know one guy who did visit the shop and played the Klier and said it was probably the best bass in the shop, especially for the money. I am in Ottawa, Canada. Unfortunately travelling to Seattle is a pain but I was very interested in that Klier myself. I ended up buying an old German bass locally for a little less than the price of the Klier.

    I have exchanged mail with Bryce a few times and he seems like a very nice and helpful guy. Everybody speaks highly of him.

    Adrian
     
  7. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Thanks, Adrian, for the info. I hope to make the trek to Seattle next week, and may well bring the Klier home. Of course, all my preconceptions may be turned on their heads when I get there and start playing basses. Should be fun!
     
  8. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Well I will be very interested to hear what you think about it regardless of whether you buy it or not. If you do buy it I know the guy I exchanged mail with will be sad to see it go. He would probably have bought it if he had the dough.

    It sure looks like a nice instrument that's for sure.

    Report back after your trip!

    Adrian
     
  9. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    No, this has nothing to do with underwear.

    I'm back home, having driven nearly 4000 miles in the past week. I visited Kansas City last weekend (where I had the pleasure of meeting farmerdude and visiting K.C. Strings) and I arrived home from Seattle (and Hammond-Ashley) this very afternoon. And the winner is... (insert drum roll .wav file here) ...wait for it ...the tension mounts... :)eek: deafening cymbal crash :eek: ) the violin-cornered roundback by Wilhelm Klier.

    I played a number of basses at H-A and pretty quickly narrowed it down to the Wilfer and the Klier. Both had their merits. I liked the sound of the Wilfer (wearing Helicore hybrids) a little better than the Klier, whose Spirocores sounded pretty lifeless. (The Klier on their website -- the one I bought -- isn't brand-spanking new, BTW. A Seattle bassist had been using it professionally for about a year, and had traded it in on another instrument.) Both basses had a nice "focused" quality I've never found in the hybrids I've played (although I haven't played that many). But there was something instantly "right" about the Klier when I was playing it. Couldn't really put my finger on it... both instruments were properly set-up, of course, and had comparable action. The Klier somehow just "fit" me. I began to wonder if a new set of strings wouldn't bring its sound around.

    The Wilfer had a "hold through the end of the day" tag on it, and when Bryce called the fellow, he confirmed that he wanted it. So my choice, which was really already made, was seconded. I debated whether to ask for a set of Spirocores or a set of Helicores for the Klier; Bryce suggested the Helicores, since I liked them on the Wilfer. I think it sounds great with them. (Might sound even better with new Spirocores!)

    I should say that Kansas City Strings offers some nice basses in the same ($6500) price range. I had promised myself that I wouldn't buy a bass until I'd been to either H-A or Kolstein's, however. And while it may have been a function of strings or soundpost position, the K.C. Strings "shop finished" basses I played seemed a little softspoken on the low end. Otherwise, quite nice in all regards.

    Got the case... got a blue corduroy bib... got the funky DampIts... lessee... now I gotta get in touch with (All Hail!) Bob G. for a pickup!

    If I can provide any additional information from my bass shopping excursions that anyone might find useful, I'd be happy to.
     
  10. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Well congratulations! I would have liked to have seen that bass. I can imagine it is not unlike the German bass I ended up buying (http://www.diadic.com/Adrian/Bass.html). Spirocores were on my bass when I bought. They are way too bright for it and I've been using Flexocors but just put on some Innovation 140Hs tonight.

    Adrian
     
  11. SAV

    SAV

    Jul 13, 2015
    none
    I believe that the Klier "brand" is one of the higher end lines from Eastman Strings. My daughter has a Wm. Klier cello - it is a very nice instrument in my opinion - it listed for about $5500.
     
  12. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    "Wilhelm Klier" has in the past been the brand name for violin corner Basses distributed by Eastman. The gamba shaped basses were named "Rudoulph Doetsch". In the past, these basses were purchased from small bass making shops in Germany and then finished in the old Maryland facility. I believe that the basses are now sent over to China for the finish work. I saw a few at the January NAMM show and was impressed with the quality of finish work that was vein done. The 3/4 size basses tend to be on the smaller side with shorter string lengths, often $40 1/2" to 41". I used to special order 7/8 size basses from them that came in a range of string lengths and body dimensions. It was like the box of chocolates from "Forrest Gump", I never quite knew what I was going to get. They usually did have a very strong voice and good tone for a fairly inexpensive German made instrument.