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More i read the more i am confused!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by fuzzy beard, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. I am looking to get a upright. I breifly had used Framus but thats another story. So i learned with my experince with the framus the value of buying a good instrument with a good setup. But were this all gets screwed up is wich one?

    I am looking for a simple ply bass to play country, folk, roots type music with. On a looks stand point i prefer Gamba corners. Since i have seen several violin corners busted. I also love a blonde or honey colored bass.

    I have read about the Shen basses and understand why so many like them! But i have to say it kills me to see the Engilheardt basses made in the U.S.A and for the same money or less and choose something else.

    I will be buying late this spring and i am trying to make a more educated purchase than i did last time. I will have a sub 2,000 dollar budget. I have read about Shen, Engilheardt, Thomas, Christopher, Estle lois, Podova, and so on. All seem to meet the specs recommended on this board.

    Another thing i have noticed is the vast differinces in the same models in price and materials depending on who you purchase from!

    All of this just makes things hard. I feel i know less about what i want/need now than when i started researching!

    Help!! ;)

    KUNGfuSHERIFF Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    Upstate NY
    My advice is to play every bass you can find and keep your powder dry. When you find The One, you'll know. The only question will be how to pay for it.
  3. I certainly understand your confusion!

    I spent the last ten months searching. Looked at a number of basses listed in a number of sources. My only caveat would be: "Are CCBs (ie Palatinos & Cremonas) really THAT bad?" Sadly the answer is -Yes.

    After my efforts I was able to snag a Strunal 5/35 hybrid (with a rosewood bow, bag and stand) for $775 on my local CL.

    There are deals out there - your patience will be rewarded...

    Good luck!
  4. And to add to the confusion is every old man at a jam i have ever seen playing half falling apart bass. Kind of goes agaist every thing you read LOL.
  5. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    If you haven't read it already (though from your post it seems like you might have) read the beginner's guide to buying a double bass.

    Aside from that, play a lot of different basses, and then buy the one you liked the most. Don't buy one like it, don't order one from the factory like it, buy THAT one. If there aren't a lot of basses accessible in your area for sale, see if any local players will let you have a go on theirs with them in the room (buy them a beer and talk bass!), or travel around. There's nothing worse than being penny wise (or time wise) and pound foolish, and this is a place where it can happen.

    good luck!!

  6. Thanks! I live about 30 minutes outside Cincinnati. I am planning on some trips to the Bass celler and Nick Lyods. And if anyone in the area has a ply they think i should try let me know! I am really digging the Shen sb90 right now but would love to see a Engilheardt swingmaster also.

    Also what is every ones opions on boxwood tail piece. Thats what Nick installs on shens when he sets them up. And that seems to be the only difference between Nick and Upton. Still have to call Bass celler to see what they do when they do a set up.
  7. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I wish you well in your search and you've gotten some fine advice here. IMO, the Engelhardts don't meet the specs. IMO, they are anemic sounding, poorly-designed instruments from the skinny neck profile to the fingerboard overstand and projection. You can read more about that in the threads here. Some think the particularly unrefined sound of the Engels is right on target for certain genres. I think a better bass can be set up to be optimized for such genres and can do an even better job. To each his own.
  8. Are they not the same as the old Kays so many go nuts for? Made in the same place with same tools and specs?
  9. bassfran

    bassfran Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Ha! That's because they leave the nice bass at home. A lot of folks bring their backup out to the jam.

    If you're ever up this way there's a couple great shops in town. And you can take my old ply K. Meyer for a spin for comparison.
  10. Were is up this way?
  11. bassfran

    bassfran Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
  12. No. There's a huge variation among Kays themselves. My current Kay, a 1930s model is very different from the 1940s that I used to own. My '30s Kay has a dark, booming sound that is exceptionally easy to record. Not so on my '40s Kay.

    I don't have any personal experience with Engles, but they have a reputation for being inferior to Kays.

    The neck profile/projection problem can be minimized or eliminated with the addition of a fat ebony fingerboard and/or shim (actually, the projection problem is often complicated by a sinking top, which is another issue), but these are expensive upgrades, and if you're looking to get as much "bang for the buck," you'll probably want to look elsewhere--unless you're sure you want the "Kay sound."
  13. I forgot to say: Tools and specs might be the same, but the materials are vastly different.
  14. Never been to Chicago! Always wanted to visit there though.
  15. bolophonic

    bolophonic SUSPENDED

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Great town! Everyone should visit once!
  16. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    They share many of the same design shortcomings but I've never heard an Engel that was quite the match for some of the best Kay exemplars. Yes, some go nuts for old Kays but for a variety of reasons that often include their collectibility and status as no-longer-produced bits of Americana.
  17. Hoping to get ahold of Nick and go see the SB90 he has. Anyone with any comments on the SB90? Seems to be the same as the SB80 but with different tuners and finsh.

    Also anyone have any photos of Sb90? From what i have seen some have very plain grain and some are rather amazing looking!
  18. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    The SB 90 has a spruce outer ply on the top, where the SB 80 has a maple ply. I don't think that it makes a difference tonally, but it does look a little more like a conventional spruce top bass this way.
  19. Have you noticed a wide range on grain patterns?
  20. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    Hey Fuzzy,

    I was in the same place you were several months ago. I had been looking for a DB for a while and really wanted to buy American. I have pretty strong feelings about not buying anything made in China if there is an option. With a budget under $2000 I found my options limited. At first I looked at Englehardts and also searched for the elusive "lucky find" deal on on old Kay, King, Am Standard, etc.

    While looking for a bass I read everything I could and found a pretty solid consensus here that the Shens are superior to the Englehardts in general for tone and construction and many don't like the thinner necks on the Englehardts. This baffled me at first. Why wouldn't a thinner neck be an advantage on such a large instrument? After playing a bunch of basses though I agree.

    My search ended when I found a Shen SB180 for a great price here in the classifieds. I didn't think I needed a hybrid since I play mostly Rockabilly, Bluegrass, Country, Blues, etc. and play about 50/50 slap/pizz and initially was looking for full ply like you but the price was right and the bass played and sounded great and the construction is obviously top notch. After putting new Silverslaps and a pickup on it it still didn't cost me any more than a new SB80.

    What's the point of my ramble? Keep looking and your bass will find you eventually. Don't buy prematurely but keep looking hard so you can bring one home soon. The sooner you do, the sooner you are playing. You're welcome to try mine anytime if you get down to Louisville.