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New Bass at last....

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by wdnewman, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. wdnewman


    Apr 13, 2009
    Well after one year of daily reading and shopping non-stop, I have made my decision and concluded my shopping. I now have a new, professionally set up Shen SB200 3/4 Willow. Evah Pirazza Weich strings. R. Geipel French bow. It was a close call between the SB190 and the SB200, but the fully carved bass won out in the end. Also, I wanted the gamba over the violin corners, so that was a factor. Every Shen I tried was a joy to play, especially when set up correctly and compared to the CCB I have been wrestling with for the last year. My son asked me to explain the difference, and the best comparison I could come up with was the difference in taking a long road trip on a riding lawn mower or taking a long road trip in a Lexus.
    It is really, really such a difference that it verges on being...well...eerie.
    I have a long, long way to go to catch up with the capability of this bass.
    The dealer was great. If anybody wants a recommendation for a great dealer/luthier when buying a bass, PM me. Don't want to get the shill arguments going again. I will say this: I drove over 1,200 miles round trip to get this bass. It was worth it.
    I attach a couple of pictures.

    Attached Files:

  2. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    I don't own a carved bass. But, if I were in the market for one, I've played enough of these to say that it would be my preferential choice or at least my starting point.

    I hope you won't become so infatuated that you forget to cut your grass this summer.....:smug:

  3. wdnewman


    Apr 13, 2009
    Grass? What grass??
    Let me ask my wife.
    Oh, THAT grass.
  4. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Congrats! Looks beautiful! Enjoy.
  5. CellarDweller

    CellarDweller Supporting Member

    May 24, 2008
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Great looking instrument.
  6. Great choice! You're going to really enjoy that bass.
  7. +1 on your good fortune
    gamba no less..
    you lucky dog...;)
  8. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Did you by chance get this one at Dustin Williams' shop in Nashville? I've heard that his setups are superb and that he's a great guy to boot.
  9. wdnewman


    Apr 13, 2009
    No, I didn't get this one from Dustin, but I did stop by his shop for a look around. He has some great stuff there, doesn't he! Good staff, too, and Dustin seems like a fine guy in spite of being a bass player.
    I did get to play a SB190 that he set up, and indeed, it was very tempting. However I had my mind set on a fully carved gamba, and he didn't have a Shen there like that in my price range. Several good American Standards, and even an aluminum that would have been a great conversation piece in my music room, if I were a rich man and had a music room.
  10. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    ...for one congratulations on acquiring a new instrument. It does look beautiful.

    My question is: This is brand new?

    The reason I ask, is that so many DB's I read about seem to be older instruments with a history. I imagine there are 'new' ones available that folks buy, probably just haven't read enough on this side of the forum.
  11. wdnewman


    Apr 13, 2009
    Yep, brand new. Well, a manufactor date of June 2009, went to the Shen warehouse in N.Y. state, shipped out to the distributor/luthier who set it up and put it in his rack where it sat until I showed up.
    There are many, many new upright basses sold today. The older basses are very desirable for several reasons. Nostalga, history, sound and build quality among them. Like fine violins, a well constructed bass gets better with playing.
    Now comes the slippery slope.
    You gotta know your stuff if you want to buy an old upright. Not just kinda know it, REALLY know it. Older basses, like people, can have issues. There can be hundreds of things that need tweaking or repair. Expensive things. So just buying an "old" bass is a kind of crap shoot. This is why I, and many others choose to buy a new, upper quality instrument that comes with everything tweaked (set up) just so, new strings and a warranty.
  12. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Again, a beautiful bass. I'm requesting that you tell us where you got it. It would be a sad state of affairs around here if members such as yourself became gun-shy about posting positive reviews. That would mean the bad guys won. We all benefit from sincere accounts of experiences, whether positive or negative. Such honest appraisals help all of us and that's so much of what I enjoy about TB. So, please, give us the full story as you experienced it. :)
  13. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    wd is right on target. If you read through the threads here, you'll see that there are certainly differences of opinion about whether and how much instruments improve with age over decades. One thing does seem to have universal agreement and that's if you start with a mediocre bass, it will not become a great bass in time. There are new basses available that sound wonderful. If they improve markedly over time, all the better. As wd points out, what they do offer is a certain freedom from having to deal with expensive repairs, at least for a while. With new basses as with old, you gotta shop wisely. :)
  14. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Thanks for the input. I am a workin' rock player but...graying up top. So I got a bass teacher to really learn music and he has informed me he may have a real bass available for me...it just needs about $1000.00 of repairs. Having not yet seen it, I was already looking at DB's because I know zip about them. After reading a few threads on this side of TB, I realize I have stumbled into the Hubble Telescope's Deep Field shot of what bass playing is all about. Man, it's a big [DEL]world[/DEL] universe out there!

  15. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Check out the newbie links. There's a wealth of info there about buying a bass. C'mon back with questions. We're here to help. :)
  16. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    And then you take it home, the humidity drops rapidly, a crack develops and you're dealing with issues common to basses new and old. :crying:

    In any case, congrats on your new bass! :)
  17. wdnewman


    Apr 13, 2009
    I had been shopping for a year for a replacement for my CCB that I had fashioned into a semi-playable unit. I started looking on the newbie links on this site. I read everything I could about uprights, especially any post about buying new uprights. I started listing what I wanted. 3/4 size. Fully carved if possible, hybrid if necessary. Gamba style. Ebony everything. Within my budget limit of 4 grand and driving range of 1200 miles certain names started popping up over and over. Thompson. Cleveland. And Shen. Repeatedly; Shen. The two biggest Shen dealers closest to me was Williams Violins in Nashville and Nick Lloyd in Cincinnati. There were other dealers, but Mr. Williams and Mr. Lloyd were noted, again over and over, as well respected luthiers who did superb set ups. This was also very important.
    At Williams Violin, the SB190 (hybrid) blew me away. Nothing else in the price range even came close. It would have been all over at that point, except I had read, and agreed with, that as many basses as possible should be played prior to making a decision. I went to Nick Lloyd. He had a perfectly set up SB200, AND a SB190, so that I could try them side by side. He had a bow that was fantastic. I decided to go with the SB200, then he then did what could be called a "second set up" which took care of any little quirks he found that I might not like.
    He even baby sat my dog while my wife and I went to eat.
    People don't buy from stores. People buy from people.
    Why did I pick Shen over Thompson? Brand recognition. Musicians know Shen, but not Thompson so much. One day my heirs may want to re-sell.
    Would I recommend Nick Lloyd?
    You bet.
    Would I recommend Shen?
    Ask me in a couple of years.
  18. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Thanks! Another fine Nick Lloyd story! No surprise. Again, thanks for sharing. :)
  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Whoops, late to the party... Congratulations! It looks gorgeous.
  20. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Congratulations! Nicely shopped and considered. Well done...now enjoy!

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