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My new Shen

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Bassroy, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. Bassroy


    Jan 2, 2004
    Round Rock, TX
    Talkbass members, welcome your newest DB owner! After 5 years of playing jazz with EBG, I've now got a real bass for the gig. Now I just have to learn how to play it.

    I received my Shen DB from Norton Customs earlier this week. She and I are getting acquainted. So far, so good.

    I must tell you about my experience in selecting this bass...

    I researched all flavors of DBs, mostly with the help of the Newbie links and posts of all you wonderful people here. While searching one day, I came across a classified ad for a bass in the sub-$2K range. I pulled up the photo and it was beautiful! It had a georgous finish with a cream outline. I went to the website for the seller--Norton Customs http://www.nortoncustoms.com/home.htm (I'm not an employee, just an extremely satisfied customer).

    After reviewing the website, I decided to call the number listed. Mr. Norton answered (Brent). He and I spoke for about 25 minutes. He was very patient and helpful, answering all of my questions with what I felt were insightful responses. After the call, I emailed more questions. And more questions. And more questions...With each email, Brent was very thorough in his responses. This is the kind of service and attention that is hard to find today.

    Anyway, after all of the emails, I decided to order a Shen (the one in the ad was already sold). Based on the emails, Brent suggested Obligato strings. I asked for a Pecanic tailpiece, low-medium action, an adjustable bridge, a gig bag and Bass Max pickup. Brent gave me a sweet price for all of this and I sent my payment.

    Within a few days, Brent had the bass, tailpiece, etc. and begin putting it together. He sent me some interim pictures and kept me updated the entire time.

    Brent uses EGL Logistics for shipping, and they did a fine job. The bass arrived a day ahead of schedule in perfect condition. The packaging that was used was quite impressive. The driver waited patiently while I carefully and thoroughly examined my new baby.

    Using the instructions that Brent sent, I removed the cardboard "shipping bridge" that he used and set the actual bridge in place. I tightened the strings and begin to lightly pluck. Ummm...real DB tone! Sweet!!!

    The finish on the bass and the tailpiece wood are more beautiful than I had seen in the pictures that Brent sent. I am very pleased.

    Before sitting down to type this, I was watching the Rufus Reid DVD that references his "Evolving Bassist" book. You can get it at Amazon if interested. For a newbie like me, it is fantastic.

    I will he taking my first lesson next week. I have researched teachers in Austin, TX and have found a few that have been recommended. I look forward to my first gig with my new bass, but I think it will be a while before I do.

    If you looking for a new bass, please consider Norton Customs. Brent is a fantastic person and deserves our support.

    Attached Files:

  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Wow, nice looking Shen. I like the Violin outline. What model is that? I didn't notice the model in your post. I own two Shen Basses. My younger son is playing the 3/4 gamba model S1000(only 2 made) and I had been using a 7/8 gamba model S800 on in the local Symphony. My older son may get the 7/8ths when he gets in college soon as I now have a very old English Bass and an old Italian Bass on the way over from Italy.

    Shen makes a great Bass for the Money. I have met Sam Shen many times and he's such a nice person. His team here in the States Paul, Jessee and John are the best people I have ever had the pleasure in dealing with.

    Good luck with your new Bass. I know it will make you a better player as I love the tone and feel of the two that I have.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I am guessing that's it's a SB100. IIRC, he was looking for a hybrid to play a while back, but looking at the closeup of the tailpiece, I can't really see any grain in the top and it is usually pretty apparent. But it could easily be a 150 or a 180. They all look really good.

    I love my Shen and I am sure you will as well. Congrats and enjoy.
  4. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Thanks very much for the kind words, Roy! I'm very glad you're enjoying your new Shen. I think that Claro Walnut TP from Dr. Pecanic you chose really makes for a nice look.

    The bass is an SB100 laminated 3/4. Shen uses beautiful spruce veneers, with very attractive, even grain. As much as I believe Shen offers some of the nicest-looking finishes on the market, it's almost a shame that the deep red-brown lacquer on their entry-level instruments obscures that beautiful grain somewhat.

    Just to echo Ken's words (sorry to hijack your thread, Roy :oops: ), I can't say enough about CSC Products (Shen's US distributer). I have spoken with John Sprague at great length many times about all things basses, philosophies and business, and he always gives his honest opinion and undivided attention. Great folks, and outstanding products. Same for Mike Pecanic. Excellent wares, and he's a very helpful (and funny!) person.

    Roy, welcome to the Dark Side; best of luck to you as you begin lessons and your journey with your new DB! :)
  5. Brent - can you tell me what you think the Pecanic tailpeice adds to the bass and wheather you reccomend it for all your sales. I was thinking of asking my brother who is in Ca to bring one over for me. I was especially intrigued as this very nice bass is not top of the range but you still obviously thought it very worthwhile.

    Many thanks and nice bass Bassroy - enjoy!
  6. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Hey thanks for your kind words you guys, both product-wise and company-wise, and back atcha! :)

    Bassroy, congrats! If there is anything we can do for you from the manufacturer's end of things, let me know. The bass crowd is more inquisitive than the chin-instrument crowd in general I think, so feel free to call, write, or PM if you want any arcane info about how she came into being.

  7. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Mike, the request to add the Pecanic tailpiece came from the client. It was an interesting coincidence, however, since I'd been talking to Dr. P. earlier the same day about getting a tailpiece made from some of Arnold's Atomic-Mega-Quilt (TM) maple.

    Unfortunately, I cannot speak to any tonal differences the compensated TP might have made on this particular instrument, since it went on the bass directly and I did not A/B it with a straight piece. I also thought it unfair (or unscientific, if you prefer) to compare the sound to my trusty orange Shen (the one Chasarms took a shine to months back ;) ), which sports a straight TP but is obviously much more played-in and wears different strings to boot. And, because as we all know - every bass is different - even two of the same model. Regardless, there have been a number of folks here on the board who have reported very positive results, even on entry-level laminated instruments, so it seemed a worthwhile upgrade. When work starts on the next one to use a compensated, I'll set aside time for a little "controlled" experimentation, and report the results.
  8. Thanks a lot Brent! :hyper: