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Philippine Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Pete G, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Has anyone on this board played or tried out one of the "higher-end" basses made in the Philippines, such as those by Gabute or Urbano? Any/all comments, opinions welcome.
  2. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    I've known a couple of people that owned Philippine basses and have heard them. Overall, they looked decent but did not use conventional woods and did not sound very good. I recall that there wasn't much presence or depth to the sound. In simpler terms, they weren't very loud. I have not heard any in the last few years so it's possible that these makers have improved the instruments in some way. If you're looking at one, how much are they asking? Chances are, you can find a better sounding instrument for a similar expense. Just my 2 cents but maybe Ken has some more recent exposure to them. I'm sure he'll be around soon to comment.
  3. Are you guys considering www.cremonasia.com as part of the Phillipine bass producing communities that you're asking about?
    Jacques Gagnon's basses look pretty damn good, but I haven't a clue how they sound. Anybody?
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I know Barrie has dealt with some of these Basses. Why not call over to Kolsteins and just ask him?
  5. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    I believe it was a Gagnon that I heard back in the day. Looked sophisticated but didn't have the sound to back it up.
  6. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Volker Nahrmann has some of his basses in stock.
  7. I think Barrie sells alot of Jacques' products.... the end-pins (nice...I have one on the Bohmann) several style machines, and I bought one of his flight cases many years ago from Barrie.
  8. JC Mags

    JC Mags

    Jan 2, 2002

    my name's JC Magsalin. I'm a bass player here in the Philippines. I've been to Gagnon's shop and played his basses. As far as my experience with basses goes, his is the best in the country. (but the thing is, i've only played ONE imported bass so my opinion can still be contested. haha...) :)

    I own one of his basses which i had him custom made. all the wood he used was all local subsitutes. it sounds really good for a newly made bass (although i'm still experimenting with different strings, any recommendations for a more massive sounding set of strings?). the sound is very round and loud enough (for me).

    I've attached some pictures of my bass.

    Thanks for recognizing the philippine made basses. :)


    Attached Files:

    ColdEye likes this.
  9. JC Mags

    JC Mags

    Jan 2, 2002
    i know the guy who makes those endpins and tuning machines and all those accessories here in the Philippines for Kolstein. I bought my endpin and tuning machines from him. very innovative dude. :)

  10. Who is he? Doesn't he work for Jacques?
    Dave Young told me some very funny things about Jacques. He seems to be quite a guy!
  11. Jim Creegan of Barenaked Ladies plays on a Gagnon - as far as I know its been his main bass on most of their albums from the beginning. He's used it live for ages, so it's been all over the world with him.

    I'm trying to remember when he got it...I helped him pick it out...

    it must have been '89 or '90 I figure.

    I recall the varnish 'chipping' quite easily, but it always sounded pretty good (for the money) and Jim has proven its durability through his massive touring with it.
  12. I have a 1986 Gabute, I'm told from the Philippines. It's a 7/8, all carved Maggini copy. Overall, I've been pretty happy with it. You can hear it on the Sampler at Damon's site under Tom Baldwin. One thing I was told is that a bass coming from the Philippines (very humid) will have to endure a period of adjustment when it's moved to a drier climate.
    ColdEye likes this.
  13. I see talk of "substitute" woods. AFAIK mine is Spruce and Maple. Do these woods not exist in the Philippines?
  14. The Philippines are tropical islands and have only a few high altitude areas. Maples and the Spruces usually associated with "tonewood" grow in colder climates at higher altitudes. There may be some native species of these plants there because both the maple and spruce families are large, and they are generally widespread, but considering the warm climate, it would be unusual, IMO, that a spruce grown in a tropical area could produce the high annual rings per inch count associated with good tonewood.

    On the other hand, they probably have some very nice Mahogany and tropical pine species and it is likely that one of those makes a good tonewood.
    ColdEye likes this.
  15. So I guess the woods for my bass could have been imported, if in fact it was made there?
  16. I have read of German makers importing American and Canadian spruce. China has a great deal of spruce as well and may export it.

    In the case of the Philippine basses, it is hard to say where the wood comes from if it is spruce, but it is easy to guess that it is imported. I would be guessing China because of proximity.

    If it sounds good and is sturdily built that is the most important thing, I would think. Still, it is interesting to know where things originate.
  17. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    If you check out Kolstein's site (and I'm sure you all have), you'll see that he has a Gagnon/Urbano that is apparently made of calantas. It is "a medium to large hardwood attaining 40 m in height, with grey to grey-brown bark, which is shed in thin patches. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea." I found some info at this site if you're interested: http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/hardwoodsqld/13219.html . Basically everything you wanted to know about this wood. Kinda interesting.
  18. JC Mags

    JC Mags

    Jan 2, 2002
    he used to work for Jacques before as his main accessories dude. eventually, he started his own shop.

    i've met Jacques. he looks like Santa Clause (he really does... white beard, jiggly belly.. hehe... hohoho... )

  19. JC Mags

    JC Mags

    Jan 2, 2002

    hmmm... the top of my bass was New Zealand Pine and the neck is Chinese Maple... the rest of it is local wood. ALMASIGA for the back, and sides, Kamagong (local Ebony) for the finger board...

    yeah, i've heard of the problem of humidity when importing basses from the Philippines to the U.S. The wood here in the Philippines is pretty much used to high humidity. needs alot of time to adjust to the weather in the U.S.

  20. As much as basses cost and as little as humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and hygrometers cost, you think they would ship them with the necessary accessories ....

    Humidity differences are a problem even when basses are shipped from humid zones to dryer zones of the USA. I think a Philippine bass probably isn't a problem if you live in the Gulf coastal area or one of the wetter mountain regions, such as the Smokies or the Pacific Northwest. Interesting about the New Zealand Pine (where is Marty?). Most spruces and firs are actually members of the pine (pinaceae) family. I wonder how spruce-like the tree is?
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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