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Need advice on a Wulter Bass vs. Upton

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bherman, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Hi all - this is my first post on the DB side (spend most of my time on the EB side, but some time lurking over here!).

    Here is my situation, then a question. I am beginning to look for a DB; played years ago then sold my bass when I stopped playing (about 20 yrs ago). In the past year I have started up again, initially on electric but now looking to get back to DB.

    My initial thought was to spend some time at Upton; I'm going to be in Boston at the beginning of April for 3-4 days, and from what I've read here their basses are high quality, good value, from a great company.

    But the plot thickens; my local Craigslist has a listing for a Wulter hybrid curved back bass (don't have the model yet) for about $2K, which seems to be a good deal from what I can find about Wulter basses. I haven't gone to try it yet but will do so in the next day or 2.

    Here's my question: which do you think would be the better choice? If I were to go Upton, I'd probably lean towards the hybrid, so they are likely to be similar in that regard. I imagine that I'd need to put some money into setup and strings (the bass is owned by a college-level player who switched from bass, so it is likely set up for orchestra (my interests are jazz and r&b).

    I expect that many of you will say "it depends on the bass", but I could use some informed feedback from this group. I have been away from DB for a long time and do not know a player to bring with me to evaluate the instrument, but I am a woodworker so know what to look for in general for condition.

    Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Is it a Rumanian build Wulter Calin? Can you get us more info?

    Certainly spending time at Upton is a good idea.

    As for which one is better, probably won't be able to tell exactly from here, but post whatever you can about the local bass. I just shopped with a friend and after playing a few dozen basses, he brought a Wulter Calin home that really stood out. But, I don't want to get ahead of myself.
  3. If you do decide to one-up your Upton at a later-date, they give you full trade-in value... - j
  4. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    From what I read on this forum, I am totally impressed with Upton, but I live in Colorado so would not be able to have them do the maintenance. Just wondering if the local deal is worth pursuing.
  5. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Okay, so to slightly reframe the question: should you spend time engaging with the impressive range of offerings (and expertise) of one of the nation's top bass emporiums, or should you jump on the lastest Craiglist special?

    i don't know about you, but for me the question sort of answers itself.

    Wulters can be good basses, and while that's a good price it's not a drop-dead steal. Not knowing so many parameters of your search (price range, sound you're looking for, etc), it's impossible to single out an (equally unknown) instrument as right for you. It really is a quest, not an impulse purchase.

    Good luck, though!
  6. punkozuna


    Mar 19, 2011
    Irrigon, Oregon
    I'd find it hard to pass up a chance to actually meet and talk to the people who would be building my bass. That and having some choices about how it ends up - color, strings and setup would be great. Unless the Wulter just blew me away when I heard it, I'd go with Upton.
  7. Rocky

    Rocky Banned

    Jul 21, 2000
    Los Angeles
    I have had my Upton Standard for six months now, and I love it more and more.
  8. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful replies, kind of confirmed what I was thinking. I will go look at the Wulter to get a perspective, but will likely wait and spend time with the folks at Upton. One positive factor for the Wulter is that it was purchased from and set up by Bob Ross, a well-regarded luthier from the Denver area. I plan on calling and talking to him before I go.

    Thanks again for the feedback and advice.
  9. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I went and looked at the Wulter on Friday; a nice bass but nothing special, had a pretty small voice on the lower end and didn't speak to me at all so I passed. Your advice about this being a "quest" really resonated with me so I am on to Upton in a few weeks; will spend a few hours there learning about and absorbing the differences between various basses.

    Thank you all again for your comments.
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Paul Warburton and Bob Ross are in Denver, both experts, and can help you with a bass.
  11. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    What was the size and string length on this one? It's been my experience that the larger patterns with the 42" string length have a large voice when played with some energy. The Corsini model size has a string length of only 40 1/2" or so and really doesn't move the top much with pizz play.
  12. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Don't know for sure - my sense is that it was on the smaller size; I used to play an old 3/4 Juzek bass and this one felt a bit smaller to me. Arco was a bit better than pizz sound.
  13. vejesse


    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    The string length on Calin Wultur basses vary. I've had 5 or 6 Roundback Corsini models come through my shop in the last three years and none of them had a string length of less than 41", and I've seen it as long as 41 3/4. The string length of the Carcassi and Panormo models seems to range anywhere from 41 1/4" through 42 1/8" with the middle of the bridge right at the notch.