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NBD: SKC Bogart Blackstone (with history) owners welcome!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by India_Sierra, Jul 4, 2018.


  1. Afternoon all,

    I took delivery yesterday of a wonderful SKC Bogart Blackstone bass. This is, I have discovered, a wonderful instrument with a rather interesting history.

    First of all, some background. SKC Bogart basses were/are made in Germany by Stefan Heß. Mr Heß has an extensive background in building carbon fibre parts for instruments. He was the carbon fibre man to go to in Germany. He even made carbon fibre necks for Schack and Clover basses, and the complete monocoque shell for Clover's 'SKC Slapper' model.

    The Bogart basses were Stefan's creation, renowned for being incredible instruments. They went out of production for a while but are now being made again, now with a full wooden construction.

    My Bogart Blackstone is, I have discovered, either 1994 or 1995 model. I'm not sure how it came to be in the UK because, so far as I can tell, there was never a UK distributor for these instruments. It was purchased by Stuart Clayton at the London Bass Guitar show in 2012 and he kept it for a few years, doing a really cool cover of Alain Caron's 'D-Code' on YouTube with it. Stuart had it refinished from it's original black and blue paint scheme to a very cool metallic blue colour. The paint on it at the moment is absolutely incredible - it has depth and shimmer, and is even to a tee. I think the original paint scheme would have been black with blue flecks of paint splatter, one of the abstract finishes Stefan was fond of (I love those).

    The bass itself is just delightful. Light and well balanced, it plays well when seated or standing. The neck is wide and flat, with no radius, and it's very thin, an advantage of it's carbon fibre construction. The headstock holds small screw-in string clamps, while the bridge holds the ball end of the string for tuning. The neck has a smooth satin finish, like a Zon, rather than the gloss gel coat Status use (I have owned both Zon and Status basses in the past). The body is 'Blackstone', a epoxy foam injected into a synthetic shell to give the consistency of alder. It's very light and resonant.

    The pickups are Bartolini, and the preamp is now a Noll. The bass originally came with a German preamp (the name was something like Karaundt, though it escapes me). This was the standard Bogart preamp at the time, but it was replaced with a Noll after it failed. The Noll was a good choice as it became the standard fit item for new Bogart basses some time after the turn of the millennium. Controls are standard three band with a push/pull for acting and passive switching. I missed this when I first bought the bass and it was only after reading about the Noll preamp online that I thought to try this out! The tone of the bass is thunderous. Very clean and hi-fi with that 'lossless' resonance of carbon graphite. The bridge pickup is very articulate, producing very distinct notes but without the harsh, treble hiss of string noise that some carbon fibre instruments make. With both pickups active, there is very little loss of tone through phasing. It sounds like a sledgehammer and it absolutely drives my Markbass CMD 151P Jeff Berlin signature combo. The sustain is incredible and the wide, flat neck makes for a very pleasant feel all over the neck. The slap and picked tones are equally exemplary, but I play fingerstyle with the bridge running solo 95% of the time, so I'm pleased to confirm the bass delivers in that respect.

    To have found this for sale at The Bass Gallery in London was a lucky strike as these basses are very few in number, particularly outside of Germany. Those that own them often have a couple in their collection. Are they a bit of an undiscovered secret? I think so. In doing my research on this bass, I discovered a lot of old 'for sale' threads on the internet where I had been posting trying to buy a Bogart, that obviously had never worked out. I'm glad to finally have added this bass to my collection and I would love to hear from other Bogart bass owners.

    Some pics and Stuart Clayton's video can be seen below.

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    HaphAsSard, bholder, G-Z and 5 others like this.
  2. Ophiothrix

    Ophiothrix

    Aug 4, 2016
    Glasgow
    Wow, that's an unusual one! Very cool though.

    I'm not totally certain how I feel about the 'vestigal' headstock on there as opposed to a true headless bass, but it's definitely a unique look.
     
  3. Regarding the headstock, I really like it. I love smart bits of design and I think this is one. Some players would like it because of the way it feels - it slopes gently backward at the end of the neck, putting a break angle on the strings so there is no need for a string tree. This makes it feel like a traditional headstock, which some guys prefer. I used to have a Status Series II and the first position there did feel a tad unusual, with the neck profile actually becoming quite dramatically square to give strength to the string header. Some players of headless basses say that first position feels a bit weird when your hand is almost off the neck. I never found it to be an issue.

    The benefits of the Bogart system for me are the superb balance offered and the fact it will allow me to string the bass as I please. Since I'm not restricted to double ball end strings, I can use my preferred strings, which are usually DR DDT's in .40.
     
  4. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Lurker Note ---

    Bogarts are the finest basses I've ever played. NOTE: the bridges are not standard...... the service is non-existent --- meaning don't buy a 'just needs bridge parts" (unless you're a machinist)
     
  5. hey, you actually have the bass that made me take the plunge to buy my own Bogart bass! Seen that video by Stuart and it really convinced me, really nice basses and yours looks great! I just posted an NBD thread on my Bogart, it has one of those abstract finishes you mentioned, if you‘re interested - it also contains a little story time on the Bogart company as I talked to Stefan about my bass: NBD: (accidentally) Birth Year Bogart
     
  6. Very cool bass and a great video and quite a lot to like there about both. Another innovative designer, builder I’ve never heard of.
     
  7. StayLow

    StayLow

    Mar 14, 2008
    Hardy Kurandt. He makes awesome stuff & his preamps are top-notch. Musician Sound Design
     

  8. Hello, thanks for getting in touch!

    It's super cool to hear about your bass. That really looks like an interesting one. There is a video on YouTube of a guy playing a 36" scale Bogart, it sounds absolutely immense. I will link it below.

    I have really been enjoying my past few months with the Bogart. I couldn't pick a favourite from my bass collection. I usually like passive basses with very thin necks (my other two fretted basses are a Cort Rithimic and a Peavey Palaedium - I am a massive Jeff Berlin fan). The Bogart is very different to this, with it's wide string spacing and flat board. That said, it really fits the hand well, it's great for slap and my preferred jazz fusion.




     
    ArthurNemko likes this.
  9. That‘s actually the bass I was referring to in my NBD thread about the plexiglass ramp! Seems to be one of the other 9 basses from 1993 according to the bridge design and scale length. I like the (even more) funky finish on that one.
     
    India_Sierra likes this.
  10. Yes, I was looking at buying one with a similar finish a few years ago. I believe that one was a 34" scale 4 string, with the same finish as the above bass. It was for sale on Basschat.co.uk but I didn't take it because there was some damage on the body.

    I love the blue finish on mine, although I don't usually like painted finishes. I wish I could find a photo of mine before it was refinished.
     

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