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Looking for Opinions on the Calin Wulter Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Bin Son of Bin, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. I have been doing lots of research here on TB and online and am looking at getting a Shen 150 but the last time I was into my shop to see my Luthier he brought up the Calin Wulter Hybrid Bass as an option. I took a look at the companies' website and they do look wonderful with the larger upper bout. Very sexy.

    Now, are they as good as I've heard? and how might they compare to the Shen 150's? What is the sound like?

    Any happy or unhappy owners of Calin Wulters out there?

  2. I used to own a Shen 150 and recently played an early-2000s Wultur that was for sale locally. The Wultur was unlabeled, but the owner had documentation from J.R. Music, who own the Wultur workshop, that identified it. The Wultur was a flatback with violin corners and, I believe, was fully carved.

    Both were nice student-grade instruments, made with attention to detail from decent-looking but unspectacular wood. The Shen was better varnished than the Wultur, but the Shen varnish has an odd plasticky odor that never seemed to go away. The Wultur was also heavily braced, but it had better neck wood and MUCH better stock tuning machines.

    Not having played both side by side with the same strings, I'd give the Shen the edge for acoustic pizz tone. In the Wultur's defense, it was set up for legit with ancient D'Addario Helicores, which aren't my favorite string.

    The best way to answer your question is to go into a room with both instruments side by side, play them, and then hand each bass off to another bassist so you can hear how it sounds from the audience's perspective.
  3. I sure would love to have all these basses in front of me to hear someone play them and try them out but I live in Ottawa Ontario and there is a shocking lack of instruments to try out. I'm afraid that I am looking at buying my first Upright Sound Unheard.

    But I plan to put an add in Kijiji to see if anyone has either of these intruments and if I can go to their homes to try them out and/or listen to them to see if I like them.

  4. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China

    I paid 950 for mine here. Better than any Shen I've laid hands on. ANY. Best jazz pizz tone I've found, and I've had my share of nice basses. Mine's a hybrid, but a VERY well done one. You obviously have to pay shipping, but I'm going to the factory Saturday. I can pick out a good one for you, if you let me know right away. Mine's the Italian model, but the Busetto is fully carved. I'm a jazz rat, so I don't care if it's got a solid back or not. But, mine was completely set up for jazz. Perfect camber in the board for growl. I'm gonna replace the bridge when I get back to the states with an Aubert, prob the tuners, as well. They'll put on Helicore pizz or hybrids as standard strings.

    You could get it delivered in the states for probably 400 bucks. Plenty left over for a Bobelock, Full Circle, and uny upgrades you might want. Seriously, the basses are LEGIT. I had another guy buy one in the states, and he is VERY pleased. I'd hook you up, no charge on my end. You just pay them for the bass and shipping, and I'll find you a good one at the factory, if you want!
    PM me if you want me to find you one.
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    John Lilley has a carved one and loves it. I went with him to shop and it was clearly the standout both to play and listen to from the room. I've heard it on his gigs and played it a number of times. Good bass, kind of buxom, but there's nothing wrong with that if you're comfortable with it.

    I'll mention this thread to him and maybe he'll pop on, but he's going to tell you he's happy. I think he had it when his group recorded their CD if you want to check it out.
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I own a Wultur "Corsini" fully carved roundback bass that I bought new from the Double Bass Workshop in Madison, in 2010. I was, and remain, delighted with it. During the time that I've had it, it's remained absolutely stable. The bass, including all of the innards, look to be constructed with considerable attention to detail. I also know from talking to other bassists, that people have been happy with the Romanian instruments coming through Vince's shop.

    I play jazz on the bandstand, including a lot of arco soloing, and a mix of jazz and classical at home. I was looking for an instrument that I would enjoy playing, and that would serve as a platform for improving my abilities, in either realm. The Wultur can hang with a trio, un-amplified, though I still prefer to have a bit of help.

    En route to buying this bass, I tried other Wultur basses in Madison and Chicago, plus nearly the full range of Shen models. Beyond saying that they're all good instruments, I can't predict how your hands and ears will react to the particular basses that you try, so I hope you get a chance to play a whole bunch and take home the one you fall in love with.
  7. jlilley


    Aug 28, 2005
    Mill Creek, WA
    Mine is a '08 Carcassi flat back. Like Troy said it clearly stood out above everything else in my price range. I play mostly Latin Jazz with some straight ahead thrown in and like Francis I've found it loud enough for trio work in the right room. If you care to take a listen there are a few tracks from my group's CD posted todoesjazz dot com. I can't remember if I had Spiros or Jazzers on it at the time, but regardless it will give you a good idea of how it sounds through a good mic.
    I did play a Shen Willow while I was shopping, but it didn't really have to power or character of the Carcassi.

    Hope this helps...

  8. Thanks for all the input and advice. I'm going to go lilsten to the songs that you mentioned you had recorded using your Wulter. I'm looking forward to hearing it but sadly have to wait as I am at work. :spit: Darned work!

    As for helping me by picking up a bass for me that is a very nice offer but I want to get my Luthier to bring one in so I can hear it or find one in the city that I can listen to. But thank you very much none-the-less.
  9. mjt0229


    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I own a Panormo flatback. When I bought it, I compared it to Shens and Wilfers. I thought that the Wultur sounded better than the available Shens, but not as nice as the Wilfers. It was commensurate with the price - the Shens I looked at were less expensive, the Wilfers significantly more. If I'd known more about Shen then (compared to what I know now), I might have looked around for nicer Shen models to compare as well.

    Overall, my Wultur sounds pretty nice, although it's a little "new" sounding. A better set-up would probably help out a lot. The varnish scratches easily - that's about my only complaint.

    All that being said, I don't play the Wultur anymore - I replaced it with a much nicer bass, and the Wultur has been on consignment in a shop (on the opposite coast) for quite a while.
  10. So you are not as pleased as you could be? You mention looking at a more expensive Shen. Are you refering to the Willow and up? My budget is at most $3500.00 or so so I can't get the $12500.00 Shens out there.
  11. mjt0229


    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    It's probably going to be difficult to generalize too much from my situation. I bought the Wultur as I was starting to play after having taken two or three years off. The Wultur was within my budget and it served me very well for a few years as I got myself going again.

    I'm sure I could have kept it and continued to grow as a musician; in the end, I upgraded because the right bass crossed my path at a very good price.
  12. I bought KUNGfuSHERIFF's SB150 from him and brought it back to Ottawa. If you're interested in hearing it or checking it out, I play a regular jazz gig on Monday evenings (10:30pm - 1:30pm) at Le Petit Chicago in Hull. Stop by and say hi if you want to check it out!
  13. I will definately do that and would absolutely love to hear it. I'll ask the girlfriend if she'd like to go out this monday to hear some Jazz. :) If not this monday then soon.

    I'm assuming yer not in a mind to sell her at this point eh?

  14. I'm very happy with my 2009 Wulter Corsini round-back bass. It's fully carved. When I bought it, I played everything in the shop (Violins, Etc. Austin, TX). Other than an old full-sized bass that needed a lot of work and still was priced at $12K, the Wulter was by far, my favorite. There were more expensive basses in the shop, but this one felt and sounded just right. I love the way it sounds, feels, looks, etc. I know individual instruments, even from the same builder, will be different. I've played other Wulter basses that I didn't like as much as mine. I think I was fortunate to find such a good one, that I could afford.

    My point is, whatever bass you decide on; play it. Play as many basses as you can get your hands on. You too could be fortunate enough to find one that "speaks to you."

  15. Inichols - That's cool. Sadly, in Ottawa there's not a ton of shops that sell upright Basses. There's some violin shops and one I've found has a few basses upstairs, but not a great huge supply. :(

    I am, however, going to go see Stereo Joe (see above post) on monday at his gig to take a peak at his Shen 150.
  16. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    You only need one, though. So take your time and be ready to close the deal when the right one presents itself.
  17. I agree with Troy. You're only looking for one. Play as many basses as you are able. At as many places as you can find them. Then when you play "the one," you'll know it immediately. Be ready.

  18. Mr. Joe. :)

    My girlfriend and I will be coming out for a bit monday to see you and Mr. Shen 150. :) I'm not sure how long we'll be able to stay out but I'm looking forward to seeing you and the Shen play.

    Is there a cover charge?

  19. Like fdeck, I own a "Corsini" carved roundback. I've been playing it daily since about 2007 and it has really opened up nicely. I paid about 5 grand for it and I think I got a good bass for the money.
  20. Dudie


    Apr 26, 2004
    I own a Corsini rounback delux and been playing it semiprofessional for a couple of years. Its a nice and handy little bass that can produce a lot of sound for it size. My bass has a bit of a "boxy" dark sound with not so much sustain. It also a bit "stiff" to play. I now play gutstrings and its a great way to loose the bass up. From the players position it sounds a bit tiny and weak but out front it sounds realy great with a tight, dark gutsound.