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On the Road: Hybrid vs. Plywood

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by TVDave, Jan 30, 2006.


  1. TVDave

    TVDave

    Sep 14, 2005
    I'm looking to replace my Cremona before it caves in (the bass bar is going...) I'm new to upright (4 years) and I've been reading this forum trying to learn as much as possible before my next bass purchase, and have tried a number of basses over the past couple months. I mostly play pizz, but want to learn to do more Arco. (and don't worry, I have a couple teachers lined up to help.)

    I really like the sound and look of the hybrid Shen SB180, but keep feeling like a plywood (Eastman, Christopher, or even a Shen SB80) would be more durable for hauling to shows.

    I have a few gigs a month at clubs, and then a week or two on the road each year. Bass gets piled into a van, stuff gets stacked and pushed. I'm in Minnesota so Bass gets cold, bass gets warm....I try to take care, but a little wear and tear seems unavoidable.

    I'm mostly worried about cracks. Will the hybrid be durable enough for touring, or should I stick with the ply and save the cash? Or should I just go all out and get a nice ply like the New Standard Cleveland, and make that my bass for life?

    I'm hoping to make up my mind soon. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Just make sure that the bass is on to of the pile :) Other than that, I think you should be just fine with a real piece of wood.
     
  3. MarkRubin

    MarkRubin F L T

    Mar 14, 2005
    Austin TX
    PM, sir.
     
  4. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004

    Two? Just two? Hey Ken...
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Why am I getting dragged into this? One Bass would be fine if it was the best in the world and did everything.. Maybe..:help:
     
  6. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Hmm-- not quite convincing.:)
     
  7. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    I'll throw an opinion out here, and I am making an effort not to sound like I'm selling.

    What we've experienced is that the tops of hybrids rarely crack, on any good hybrids. What that has us believing is that the cause of many top cracks is that it gets pulled apart by the back. The carved maple is stronger than the spruce, so when it gets moving the spruce top has to go along or pop something. Plywood back & ribs on a hybrid won't move far at all, so the spruce top has it easy.

    So it is this reporter's opinion that you can have the ease of mind of doing club gigs with little worry, and still get the better tone of a hybrid vs ply. With all that said, I still see carved basses in clubs all the time, so with proper care you can go carved & have the best tone.
     
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I've drug my 180 around quite a bit. It has taken it's share of lumps and it's none the worse for the wear. I had one little wrinkle, and that was fixed easily enough.

    I like my Shen. She's like my wife, nice looking and tough to boot.

    Just get the best bag you can afford and as Mr. Parker suggested, try to stay at the top of the heap.
     
  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Plus, you'll never find a ply with a top that looks like this!!
     

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  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Interesting - I've wondered about this issue for awhile now. It's a bit off the original subject, but I was wondering how the NS hybrids fit into this theory, since the sides aren't laminated, but the back is. Does the same principle still apply? It doesn't really matter since I love my hybrid girl to death, but I couldn't help wondering why anyone would make a bass where the only laminated part of it was the back....your post makes the concept make a lot more sense.
     
  11. TVDave

    TVDave

    Sep 14, 2005
    So far, the consensus seems to be that hybrids can be durable enough. That's good, because most gigs there's no green-room, and if you're lucky there's only a corner to put your bass in...then some nights the room gets packed, there's dancing and the gear starts getting kicked. Any time I think about a nice instrument, I see mental pictures of basses getting shoved, dropped, and gear getting crunched into that van...and it spooks me.

    For this reason, I really wanted to like the all-plywood basses. But something about the hybrids just make me want to keep playing. And I don't want to give that up.

    Another thing I'm thinking of doing is building a bass out of a washtub just for touring. The band has an old fashioned sound, and if I could get something like that to work, people would probably love it...even if it didn't sound as nice as a spruce top.