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Pic of new Jon Shuker 6-string ABG

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Richard Lindsey, Aug 29, 2002.

  1. Hi folks, thought some of you might like to see this:

    Just got this the other day and am still getting used to it. Particulars:

    Six strings, tuned B E A D G B
    Bearclaw spruce top (color variations intentional; I got to pick the exact piece of wood used)
    Padauk back and sides, w/ black binding
    7 piece laminated mahogany-wenge neck (I believe there's graphite reinforcement too)
    Phenolic fretless FB with lines, 2 full octaves
    18 mm string spacing at bridge
    Headway active bridge PU system
    Satin finish
    T-I Jazz Flats

    Kinda pretty, don't you think?

    Sorry, I just had to crow a little!
  2. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    VERY nice. I'm jealous. I've been thinking about a 6 string fretless ABG, myself. I'll definitely give them a call at some point to see how much they co$t.

    What made you choose the phenolic fingeboard, or was that the only option?
  3. Well, Jon recommended the phenolic--said it would give a nice definition to the tone while being almost impervious to wear. Also, it's inherently more stable than ebony. I think he tends to use it only with fretlesses.

    The price will vary with how fancy you get, and with the prevailing exchange rate (they're in England), but I think you'll find them surprisingly reasonable, at least in comparison to what the few other makers offering handmade ABGs seem to be asking. Mine is actually the "basic" model. You can get fancier with the woods, but for my own purposes I didn't see the point, since the added value seemed more cosmetic than tonal. Check them out at www.shukerguitars.co.uk

    If you ever do order, please mention my name--I might get a break on my next Shuker, ha ha!

    Oh, and if you're worried about ordering from Europe, Jon and his partner did an absolutely killer job of packing, and the bass got here without a scratch. The shipping wasn't cheap (DHL), but it was worth it, and not that much more than I would have had to pay in sales tax if I'd bought it from a store in NYC.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I can't even begin to imagine how great it must sound, Richard!

    I was corresponding with a guy who was having Shuker build his solid body. From that exchange, it was quickly apparent that Shuker goes to great lengths to use the best woods they can possibly find, regardless of specie, and tried very hard to loop the client in on the construction.

    That body shows a great deal of thought went into how the body resonates,

    "Crow" all you want - that is obviously something special!
  5. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Thanks...for giving me a seriously bad case of GAS...:mad: :D

    Yeah, I did the ol' Search Engine trick after I posted, and saw the prices at the website. I was surprised at how reasonable they are. And, if yours is the basic model, I'd be scared to see the more exotic ones.

    I've tried the phenolic fingerboards on a couple of lower end basses, and think they sound pretty good. I'm a big, big fan of rockwood/dymondwood/phenowood, so I'd probably see if I could get them to do something with that as a fretboard.

    This probably wouldn't happen until next year, but if I do contact them, I'll be sure to give your name. I know how the referral thing works with smaller luthiers--they usually remember the customers who help them sell more instruments.

    I'm in New York a couple of times a year, so don't be surprised if I send you a PM sometime in December. :D I've been GASing after a 6 string acoustic since I heard a cd of a Jazz cat named Roland Guerin (sp?) who plays upright, and 6 string ABG.
  6. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I was almost ready to order my Shuker a six-string J-bass, but then a lot of things got in the way. I really do want a sixstring with a real J-bass sound, so when i get rich in the new year, i'm going to start talking to him again!
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Excellent bass, Richard. Need more pics;)

    I've been getting excellent results with the phenolic board on my older Zon fretless 5. Nice choice for a fretboard IMO.
  8. Soon as I get a digicam! Since I lack a scanner, it's a bit of an involved process for me.

    I'll have to give the PU some more playing time; so far I've just been having fun playing the bass acoustically. I may try some other strings at some point, but right now the T-I Jazz Flats seem to be giving me the kind of feel and tone I was imagining in my head when I ordered the thing. The upper registers "speak" surprisingly nicely. (I say surprising only because I've never been a flatwound user on EB.)
  9. Dangit, that thing shure is purdy!

    TI do 6 string versions of the Acousticore nylon core roundwounds. SWEEEEET.:D

    I only know 'cause I've got my 5 string ABG rigged EADGC. Why BEADGB rather than the top C?

  10. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    That is an excellent looking bass.. I bet it sounds excellent as well.. Congrats... have fun with it :D
  11. I've seen the 6-string Acousticores, but I just have a feeling they may be too low-tension for me. You never know, though ....

    As for BEADGB, a couple of reasons:

    1. I can use some of my guitar knowledge (I'm a guitarist too). Generally, guitarists know B strings, we leave C strings to cellists! Tim Bogert does it this way, too. (He says, 50 million guitarists can't be wrong--but of course we all know that's not true.)

    2. Somehow it offends me to play a stringed instrument where the outermost strings are not consonant with each other. I don't know of a single other nonchromatically strung stringed instrument where that happens (though this may just be the limits of my own knowledge). You don't see it on guitars, lutes, mandolins, banjos, or any of the members of the violin family. This is obviously just personal taste.

    3. I can play a major triad in harmonics on the top 3 strings. Believe it or not, this is very occasionally useful.
  12. I'm sorry Richard but you've sparked off serious GAS for me. 'Scuse the smell... :)

    I currently play an Ovation 5 string, and I'd love to try a 6. I like playing jazzy chords on the top strings, while still having the bottom end when I need it. This would be right up my street. I had no idea anyone was making 6 string ABG's, never mind here in the UK!

    Please do tell us more, and post your opinions on how this baby compares to something like a Tacoma (which is rated highly for unplugged volume and tone) and/or Warwick Alien which it loosely resembles. The Shukers seem to have a big body. Is that an issue in terms of playing or finding suitable gig bags? It'll be nice to hear how you get on when it's plugged in. Any tendency to feedback? How well does the preamp work?

    What was the lead time for your instrument? How much did you get to specify up front in terms of fixtures and fittings?

    ??? Bah, loads of questions. Sorry to ramble on.
    Please keep us posted.
  13. Most players love to talk about their gear, especially if it's new, but maybe they restrain themselves to be polite. I just want to encourage you to talk--don't worry that no one wants to hear you go on and on about your new bass. Speaking for myself, I assure you that I DO want to hear it. All the details, from the tuners to the strap pegs.

    How comfortable is it to play? How about the neck, the action? Unplugged sound? Pickup sound? How does the wood smell? Really, there isn't much information here about this particular instrument, and it's one I've been very interested in. I'm living vicariously here--I'd like to hear anything you have to say about it.
  14. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Ditto. I'm getting my 6 string Curbow Petite back tomorrow with a new fretless neck, and I am more interested in hearing more about this ABG. Sad, huh? I'm sure the Curbow will satisfy my GAS until I can begin putting money away for a 6 string fretless ABG, but I have been GASing after one for so long. Plus, I thought it would be unobtainable with a price tag closer to $6000, so the Shuker looks like a special instrument.

    So. Get on with the details, Pal. We're waiting. :D
  15. OK, OK, so twist my arm, why dontcha?

    Since this is an acoustic instrument, newly made, I hesitate to come to any really final conclusions about tone until I've had it for awhile, since just about any acoustic instrument worth a dang will take some time to reach its peak. Still, since you asked, I can share a few things ....

    First, I think it would be fair to say that this is most correctly labeled as a Shuker-Lamaq bass. Jon's partner Marc is a classical luthier, and this ABG design was sparked by him AFAIK. My understanding is that Jon and Marc are restructuring things a bit and that this ABG design will bear the Antonio Lamaq label in future, with Jon focusing more on the solid-bodies. Check with www.shukerguitars.co.uk and www.lamaq.co.uk.

    Playability is superb--the nicest I've ever encountered on an ABG. I asked for a "flattish C" shape, and that's exactly what I got. One thing that struck me as unusual during the spec'ing phase was that the fingerboard radius would be something like 24" or 26". I'd never heard of a FB that flat on a bass, but in the event it worked out great. Maybe it's my classical guitar background, but it feels perfectly comfortable. There is a generous margin of fingerboard on either side of the outermost strings--maybe even a tad more than I need--but it doesn't get in the way of playing. My left hand felt at home on the bass as soon as I picked it up.

    I didn't have a ton of wood choices simply because I decided to restrict myself to the "basic" model. Jon did send over pics of several tops, and I was able to pick the exact one I wanted used. I also got to specify width at the nut, string spacing at the bridge, and neck profile. I got the choice of padauk or mahogany for the back and sides, and picked padauk.

    The preamp works fine so far. It's not extremely high output, but it sounds pretty natural. I'd never heard of Headway, but apparently they're well regarded in the UK. I won't know about feedback etc. until I use the bass on a relatively loud gig, which probably won't be for a while (just have some quiet duos coming up).

    Acoustic volume ... well, this seems to be the eternal question for ABGs. Whenever I see ABGs discussed, the question always arises--entirely legitimately--of whether it's loud enough unplugged to play with an acoustic ensemble. But you know, I've come to the conclusion that for me at least, that's kind of pointless to obsess over. From playing every ABG I could get my hands on, from Martin to Washburn to Epiphone to Taylor-Klein to Tacoma, I just feel that NONE of them will really cut through even a modest ensemble with great BASS presence. Not one. Maybe it's just the physics, I dunno.

    But then, having come to that conclusion, my next thought was: SO WHAT? So what if an ABG won't cut through seven acoustic guitars unplugged? Why should that be the tonal yardstick (speaking for myself only)? After all, even a great classical guitar can't truly compete with drums in terms of volume, or even with a strongly played piano, or--God forbid--Highland bagpipes. Does that make the classical guitar a bad instrument? No, it simply means that by its nature, it's not as loud as some other instruments. So what I resolved to do was to stop worrying about sheer volume and worry more about whether the ABG could give me a complex, satisfying, and appropriate QUALITY (as opposed to quantity) of sound. And this I think the Shuker-Lamaq does very well.

    The one thing about the unplugged response is that the low B string doesn't have quite the response that the rest of the bass does. This may have something to do with the strings, or it may shift some as the bass matures. (This is much less true when it's amplified.) In part, I think Marc wanted to ensure that the part of the bass where most of the playing (i.e., low E and up) would be done would speak well--which it does. It's funny--I hear different characters on this bass, but somehow it hangs together. The middle ranges can sound very upright-like, but the higher reaches speak with a definition somewhat resembling a good fretless EB. This thing can really sing when you play melodies on it.

    Other stuff: the bass comes with a custom-fitted gig bag, so that's not a problem. I dunno what kind the tuners are, but they seem fine. As far as comparisons go, I haven't done a head-to-head, but I do have some fairly strong recollections of the Tacoma and the Taylor. The Shuker-Lamaq plays much better than either of those IMO. The Tacoma was as loud or slightly louder, but I didn't care for the unplugged tone as much. Of course the strings weren't the same, which makes exact comparisons impossible. I remember disliking the plugged-in Tacoma tone, thinking it did an injustice to the unplugged tone. The Taylor felt awkward to me, and its tone was decent but didn't make me feel all that excited about playing. From what I remember about the Martin ABG, it just seemed like an average dreadnought on steroids to me. The Shuker-Lamaq feels like a bass to me, which is what I wanted.

    The wait after I ordered was, as is common with small builders, somewhat longer than was first projected. The first estimate I got was around 8 weeks; it ended up being more than twice that. Whcih is still not that unreasonable compared to the year or more many builders take. I kind of expected that going in, though, so I wasn't too thrown by it.

    Any more questions, feel free to ask. I highly recommend dealing with Jon and Marc, and I'm sure they'd be happy to answer queries as well.

    Jon at jon@shukerguitars.co.uk
    Marc at marc@antoniolamaq.com
  16. [​IMG]

    That is one fine looking instrument!

    - Dave
  17. Racsen


    Dec 6, 2003
    I cant see the pics :(
  18. bass_fish


    Oct 26, 2006
    the Netherlands
    maybe because it's around 6 years old?

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