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NBD, 3/4 Romanian Hora hybrid bass (Thomann 22)

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Nohrellas, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    It finally arrived, carved top and laminated sides and back. Excuse all the packaging material in the background but, well, an upright bass was just delivered :laugh:

    First impression (as a complete novice): the nut seems to be adjusted properly, maybe the nut slots could be a tiny bit deeper but I'll leave it right now (folded piece of normaler printer paper gets slightly stuck between the string and the fingerboard when sliding it up the nut). The action is actually at a playable level, 8mm - 10mm from G to E at the end of the fingerboard. And I just love the way it looks. Sound, well my technique is poor which is why I'll get lessons ASAP, but it's nice and loud and sounds full pizzicato, haven't bothered with arco yet because I'm even worse at that.
    Not sure what kind of detail shots are usually done on an upright, but I'll take some more pictures soon.

  2. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    Here is how the bridge sits at the moment, I had to push it backwards a tiny bit several times when I was tuning the strings up to pitch. Right now all of it has proper contact with the body (can't slip a piece of paper under the bridge feet) except for these 2 small spots. I'm not sure if the bridge just isn't adjusted as perfectly or if it needs a tiny nudge backwards.
    IMG_20181121_121818. IMG_20181121_121834.
    Here are some shots of the carved top, the grain isn't as tight as I've seen on other basses but this is a budget bass after all (1100€ including shipping). Also I've read that Hora does thicker tops than many other makers, not sure if that can be seen from my pictures. The soundpost also survived the shipping still standing, which surprised me but it's nice since I won't need to take a trip to the luthier for now.
    IMG_20181121_121900. IMG_20181121_121915. IMG_20181121_121929. IMG_20181121_121949. IMG_20181121_122008. IMG_20181121_122453.

    And lastly the pegbox, fairly neat, I think one string is crossing the windings, but I hope it'll be fine and won't need adjusting.
    s0707 likes this.
  3. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Congrats on the new bass!

    IME bridges tend to lean forwards (when they do lean) so it looks like the feet could be adjusted better to have a closer fit to the top. Play it for a couple of weeks and then have a luthier make any set up adjustments you need.
    RSBBass likes this.
  4. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    Both of those pictures were shot from the endpin end of the bass, so the bridge is leaning very slightly forward (towards the fingerboard) right now. I guess I'll give it a tiny nudge and see if it gets any better.
    edit: okay I gave it the tiniest nudge and the gap got smaller (measured with the paper) and no gap on the other side appeared. Looks like they do fit the feet properly.

    The new issue is that I think the endpin is slightly too short for me. It would actually work fully extended but there is no notch in that position. I'll probably switch to a larger endpin cap rubber thingy (wolf super endpin) which will hopefully help with that. It's really just a tiny bit too short.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    Congratulations for your new bass and enjoy it. Some tips for it would be useful. Please take a pencil and lubricate with it the slots on the bridge in order to avoid slipping during the tuning. Buy a carbon fiber endpin, which will enhance the bowing sound of the bass. If you like jazz work the default strings for this bass are the Spirocore mittel, but if you like also arco work then take the Evah Pirazzi Weich which seem to be the best hybrid strings for your instrument. A luthier can perform a thorough set up which will enhance the instrument's potential and can turn it to a work horse. The medium grained spruce top is responsible for this warm and cellolike arco sound, albeit it is abit thicker than needed. You have a bass that will serve you very well in your starting period and after developing your chops and upgrading to a fully carved one it will be your backup bass for any gig.
    Max George and longfinger like this.
  6. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    Thank you very much for the tips, I already lubricated the slots in the bridge and the nut with graphite from a pencil when I put the strings on. As for the endpin, it seems sturdy enough for now and the overall sound of the instrument isn't a massive factor right now since I'm just practicing at home. The same goes for the strings, my teacher advised me to just leave the stock strings on for a few months and then upgrade to a decent set. He personally uses pirastro flat chrome strings on his hybrid bass but I'm afraid they'd be too dark on my instrument for jazz, I'll probably get Thomastik spirocore weich 3/4 strings, which are somewhere inbetween weich and mittel in terms of tension for their very common 4/4 strings. The small amount of arco playing I'll be doing should be fine on them as well from what I read.
    The setup also seems fine, overall the string height off the end of the fingerboard is <11mm for the E and <9mm for the G and the string height at the nut is low enough that a business card gets stuck between the fingerboard and the strings when sliding it up to the nut. I know it's not perfect but it's far from unplayable. Maybe I'll have a setup with a lower action and a new endpin done (and maybe some fine tuning of the soundpost if necessary) in the future, but for now I'm very happy with the instrument. I'll maybe post a few small sound samples here with the stock strings if people are interested, it might help someone who is interested in these cheaper basses.
  7. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    Congratulations on the new bass. You may be able to file a notch in the end pin so you can set the height where you want it.
    Nohrellas likes this.
  8. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    You're right, shouldn't be too hard. That said with the wolf super endpin rubber cap the bass now sits at a very comfortable height for me (nut on eyebrow level in playing position).

    And if anyone is interested I recorded some short sound samples, bad intonation and scratchy arco playing is of course courtesy of me and not the bass:
    Share, Embed & Upload Audio with Clyp
    I just picked it up with a room microphone on a table in front of the bass since I don't know how to properly record an upright bass, but from what I can hear it should give a fairly decent representation of what it sounds like.
    As I mentioned it comes with "artino" strings which people in reviews have described as cheapo spirocores. So I'll probably swap a set of spirocore weich on my bass in a few months, I don't think darker sounding strings would fit it well.

    Attached Files:

    wjl and s0707 like this.
  9. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    In case someone is still watching the thread and could advise me, is it normal that the bass under string tension may need to settle a bit? As in, after 1-2 months now the string height at the end of the fingerboard seems to have been raised a bit by maybe 1-2mm. I assume this would be because the neck is slowly bowing forward a bit under the string tension. Obviously I hope this isn't a trend and more just the bass settling in to a stable state, I'm just wondering if that is normal for new production instruments.
  10. I'm not a luthier, but here's what I think... It could just be caused by a change in humidity, although maybe that's not as likely a culprit with a hybrid instrument. And in winter, the string heights usually get a little lower - not higher. If you put a long straightedge along the glue joint between the fingerboard and neck, you should be able to tell if the neck is bowing. If it's the neck, you have a problem that should hopefully be covered by the warranty. If there are no other obvious signs of problems then maybe the bass is just getting used to being under string tension and it's new environment. 1-2mm doesn't sound like a big issue...
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  11. Trimmo91


    Apr 29, 2015
    Could we get an update on this beautiful bass?
    I am eyeing up the laminate version of this bass. That's the 11as. I would go for the hybrid but I will be playing amplified all the time and in various venues where it's likely to get dinked.

    For work I would be playing rockabilly/ swing with a realist and gut a like swing masters. For my own enjoyment I play jazz and arco at home.

    Just want to get your thoughts on how this bass is doing now after you've had a few months for everything to settle and get used to it more.

    Thanks in advance
  12. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    I can probably give you a more professional opinion on the bass on monday when I'll finally haul it over to my bass teacher who'll take a look at it (he's also very curious about these basses since they're quite cheap, I'm the first student he has who actually bought one "blind" from Thomann). I'll update this post or just quote you again after that if you're interested.

    As for my opinion right now, I'm still very happy with it. Any kind of shifting that may have occured in the wood has completely settled down and it's as stable as a rock now. Every day I just pick it up, play it for a few minutes and then check the tuning, tune up every string by a few cents and that's it. Talking about the strings, the stock strings are okay but I swapped to a set of spirocore weich and they just sound better in every regard. Probably not an issue for you since you're swapping out the strings for gut-a-likes anyway. If you buy the strings with the same order you can probably have them put the strings on your bass and file the nut slots for the thicker strings as well. The setup in general was okay, not amazing but definitely playable. I requested a low jazz action and while the nut was cut very well needing no adjustment whatsoever, I did have to work on the bridge to get a nice low action (it came at 12mm on the E to 8mm on the G at the end of the fingerboard). I actually made a thread about that as well: adjusting string height at home
    In general I'd ask the string section at Thomann what exactly you get when you specify a jazz setup or a rockabilly setup, etc. Ask for exact measurements or specify your own (I told them no more than a business card thickness between the strings and the fingerboard at the nut and I agreed to their "low jazz action") and be prepared to go to a luthier once or do some minor work yourself on the bass to get the most out of it. It'll definitely arrive playable from my experience but not with an amazing, perfect setup.
    The enpin is totally servicable, the rubber stopper at the end is trash though. And one curiosity of the enpin: The actual pin has grooves filed into it as if a set screw is meant to hold it in place, but the ebony part with the screw actually just clamps down a sleeve around the endpin, so the grooves don't do anything. All the "hardware" and the fingerboard are actual ebony from what I can tell, tuning machines don't feel amazingly smooth but they work fine, etc. You can definitely nitpick it for small blotches of varnish in certain spots, or the fact that the fingerboard came with kind of "sharp" edges that hurt my thumb at first (literally 2 minutes with some sandpaper to round it over, no big deal), basically if you look at it closely you'll see where they didn't pay attention to the small details, but that's it.

    Again, those are all of my impressions as someone who is still very new to the instrument, I can give you the opinion of a seasoned player on monday.
    s0707 and wjl like this.
  13. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    My bass teacher pretty much agrees, it's a fine instrument and should sound even better over the years. Compared to his hybrid bass mine is just as loud but doesn't sound quite as full, but we use very different strings (I use spirocore weich and he uses pirastro flat chrome which are big old orchestral steel strings) and his bass also has a 110cm scale length so there's more tension on the strings and of course his is an old, well played-in instrument. The only possible issue is the sound post which is definitely too long, otherwise it wouldn't survive shipping without tension while still standing. That could potentially warp the top over the next few years but it's a fairly simple job for a luthier. Also the neck on my bass is significantly fatter than the one on his. Not an issue, just a matter of preference he says.

    So all in all, with one trip to the luthier these basses should be very good and even if you don't invest into said trip you still get a playable instrument, just not quite adjusted perfectly. Assuming the quality is consistent of course, I can only speak from my tiny sample size of one bass.
    wjl likes this.
  14. Trimmo91


    Apr 29, 2015
    Awesome thanks for the update. Strongly considering the 11as or save myself a little bit of the money and get the 11 with the orange finish. You've helped me a great deal and I really appreciate it!

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