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New plywood basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by fdeck, Jan 21, 2005.


  1. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I have a 1962 Kay M-1 that looks like a wreck but is at least playable and reliable. Here is my question: Are there new plywood basses that are noticeably superior to the M-1 in tone quality or any other factor? Or, is a carved bass the only step up?

    Almost all of my playing is jazz pizz, and I am always amplified. My reasons for considering another plywood bass are largely practical, but I don't want to buy a new bass that is no better than my Kay. Actually, this condition is decreed by my wife, who advised: "If you go out and spend thousands of dollars on a bass, and it doesn't sound better then your Kay, then have a nice life sleeping in the basement forever."
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Look to your left directly under the Pecanic ad - Either of those axes will eat any Kay I've ever seen for lunch and still have plenty of room for dessert. I promise you your wife will hear the difference. :)
     
  3. cabin dweller

    cabin dweller Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Ridgeland, WI
    If you Like the thin neck on your 62' kay, I would stick with engelhardt for a new ply gigin' bass. I just bought a EM-1, Its very playable for me, Its like over stirin' a old ford truck on a cliff hangin' road.(Ha!) But, I'm likin' it more & more, Plus I'm sure that its a tuff enuff bass for the extreme weather conditions that i'll be puttin' it threw. Just my thoughts.

    cabin dweller
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I know it seems counter intuitive, but a thicker neck is actually going to be better for your long term hand health than a thinner neck...

    An Englehardt or a Strunal etc. are going to be a lateral move at best. The New Standard is a wonderfully made instrument with a depth and character of sound that is definitely going to be immediately noticeable to anyone who hears it. Not to mention how eminently PLAYABLE they are. Great board, great tuners, great set up.

    Do a SEARCH here, there are any number of players who have discussed the bass at this site.
     
  5. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    what about a Strunal Hybrid. I own a 5/20. It sounds alot better than Englehardt, and you can get one new for around $1700. Now the NS basses are probably the best if not the best plywood,and hybrid basses being made today, but they cost over $3000, and $5000 for one :p
     
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Interesting. Would you mind elaborating? The Kay certainly has a skinny neck, but I don't think I am wedded to that particular feature. Hand health is definitely an issue for me.
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Thicker neck keeps your hand in a more open "C" shape, the width between your thumb and the rest of your fingers helps reinforce the work that you and your teacher are doing to relax your hand and arm, keep your wrist straight etc.

    Not that you can't play stupid on a thick neck, it just gives you a little more help than a skinny one.
     
  8. Just dont ask her over and over again day after day...week after week... :eyebrow: :eyebrow: :eyebrow:

    ...thats coming from experience. :D
     
  9. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Hi Fdeck,

    Being that you're at plywood now, I would think the best BIG steps forward without going carved would be a New Standard ply or hybrid, or any of the other reputable hybrids out there. The difference of a carved top should keep you out of the doghouse (no pun intended).

    Whatever you do, the first time you play a new bass in front of your wife I would recommend smiling alot, look amazed, and say things like "O my god!" and "holy crap!" several times. :)

    G/L!
    John
     
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    :D

    You are indeed a very wise man.
     
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Actually, what happened was that I went to try a carved bass, and on my way out the door my wife said: "Take your old one with you and compare them. No point in buying a new bass that doesn't sound better than the Kay." Indeed I am very glad she suggested this. She is not a musician, but a scientist, and a lot smarter than me.

    Are there any dealers of New Standard in the Midwest?
     
  12. Packinmn

    Packinmn

    Jun 21, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    It's a good question, but there is someone your locale (Madison, WI) that owns one. I've met this gentleman and he seems like a good guy. He even let me try out his NSB during a break at his gig one night - I am still green with envy.

    Perhaps he'll see this post and reply. If not, email me and I'll see if I can't get you guys hooked up...
     
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    You've got mail!
     
  14. Packinmn

    Packinmn

    Jun 21, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    I sent you a PM with some info on how you might get a hold of the guy. Good luck and let us know how your search goes.
     
  15. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    I moved from an American Standard because the neck was broken and I didn't want to keep pumping money into it. Big mistake and I wish I had it back. The neck was alot thicker than the englehardt that i now have. Took me forever to learn to play it - the skinny neck that is. My hand would cramp something terrible.

    I'm now saving up for a New American Standard. The prices just keep increasing. But, I'll have enough someday. :hyper:
     
  16. It is worth the wait. I too spent almost two years saving and took possession of my Cleveland this week. Everything you read about these basses is true.
     
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Hey, congrats! Welcome to the "guys who can't wait to get their hands on their bass every day" club. :)
     
  18. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
  19. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I just want to point out that when Wil DeSola and I started importing, completing and marketing the New Standard basses, the Euro was positioned at about $.85 US. Currently, it's around $1.35. The price increases are not a grab for more profit, but simply an attempt to keep up with currency fluctuations. The increases have not passed on the entire change in cost structure to the buyer; we have absorbed some of it in the hope that the Dollar vs. Euro relationship will begin to turn the other way.
     
  20. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Arnold's "right on the money," no pun intended.

    What you have seen re New Standard prices has happened to the same extent or greater with most other basses imported into the U.S., especially from the European countries.