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Questions on a plethora of Chinese-made Carved Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by calypsocoral302, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. So, I'm currently just taking a look, putting a "feeler" to see what's out there in entry-level carved basses, in 3/4 or 7/8 size (gravitating toward 3/4, given the size of my car).

    I'm taking a good, long look at the following models:

    *String Emporium's "G. B. Rogeri"

    *Christopher "Amati"

    *Christopher "Gofriller"

    *Jay Haide "Quenoil"

    Questions, for those who have experience with these models:

    1) Are any of these basses available with an Eb neck?

    2) Is the Jay Haide a roundback, or a flatback?

    3) From the photos on Christopher's website, I can tell the "Gofriller" is a roundback, but I cannot tell if the same is true of the "Amati."

    4) How does String Emporium's bass compare to the Shen model of nearly-identical shape?

    If you guys have any first-hand experience with any of these instruments, I'd like to hear about it! :bassist:
  2. Where in PA are you? I think you should make a visit to J.R. Judd Violins in Williamsport. Nice folks with a good selection of entry- to mid-level Shens and other basses.
  3. I've never been to PA for a Bass (being Canadian and all) but I'll +1 for the Shen's. I have the SB150 Shen Hybrid and I love it. Plays like a dream with a wonderful creamy sound (at least I think of cream when I play it :).

    If you are looking at Fully Carved then the Shen Willow would be also a good choice. I tried one of those out as well and it was lovely.

    I had tried out a Hybrid Christopher and found it ok but the person who ended up buying it found it quite nice.

  4. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    I had inflammation of the plethora one time. It took many painful applications of ointment with a Q-tip to get rid of it.


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    Dear friend Shens and Christophers are excellent basses and their fully carved models probably offer best value for money instruments.
    The AMATI model by Christopher is a flatback with an excellent arco response and with a floor shaking pizzicatto sound. I played one of them in Frankfurt, set up by Jonas, the local dealer, which impressed me. Probably it is one of the best factory basses i laid hands on!
    All basses made by Samuel Shen are decent instruments and they are very well constructed. Given that you have a good luthier in your proximity for the necessary set up, they can be real canons. Hundreds of friends use them with impeccable results.
    For the String Emporium basses we hear good reviews in this forum. Steve, the owner, is a man to do business with.
    If i were in your shoes i'd try each one of them and i'd choose the particular one which spoke to my soul. IMHO this quest for the right instrument is a worthy ritual!
  6. I am very, very familiar with Jeffrey Judd-- he was once a string teacher for elementary and middle school students. He taught me how to play in the first place! Back then, teaching was his primary gig, with a luthier business on the side. He has since retired from teaching and went full-time luthier. I'm glad to see his business is doing well.

    The Jay Haide website links to J.R. Judd violins, so I'm guessing they occasionally carry them, but I don't see any listed at the moment. I'll keep an eye on it, though.

    Anyway, the reason I didn't ask about the Shens is that there are plenty of threads on them-- I had already "gotten the scoop" on them, as it were. These Christophers, the String Emporium, and especially the Haide, don't have quite so much information out there.

    The Shens I'm considering are the Gemunder Willow, and the 300 Rogeri, hence why I asked about the String Emporium model, which sells for about $1000 less. As for the Gemunder, I absolutely love flat-back Gambas, but I can't help but notice that the new Upton Bohemian (fully-carved) starts at only $600 more...

    Interesting to hear about the Amati, as it looks like a smaller-bodied instrument, but maybe the shape is deceptive? I looked into the Christophers because Mike Shank, my current luthier in Elizabethtown, PA, recommended them to me when I mentioned the possibility of upgrading to a fully-carved instrument. It's interesting that the Amati is a flat-back, since all their other basses are round-backs.

    As for String Emporium, I have been wanting to take a trip out west for some time now, and this might be a good excuse to do so. I have found plenty of information about their Wan-Bernadel basses, but not so much on the Rogeri model, hence why I asked.

    So, 3 out of 4 questions remain:

    *Eb necks? Anyone?

    *Anybody have any experience with the Jay Haide Quenoil? It's one of those body shapes I have always liked.

    *Anybody with first-hand experience with the String Emporium Rogeri?

    I'd appreciate your input, so long as the responses aren't "try them out yourself" (I find this a cheap, smug response, and I already plan to do so, I'm simply trying to narrow down what I want to try out beforehand), or anything to do with Shens-- there is already a ton of info on TB about them.
  7. I was just at Mike's picking up one of my basses today. When was the last time you were there? Have you played some of his inventory? He's got a crap ton of basses downstairs.
  8. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    My carved Christopher is a flatback (401T) -- I love it, but confess I have few comparitors, as there's really only one double bass dealer in NZ. It was certainly considerably cheaper than the prices I see the Amati model going for in Australia, at least.
  9. Haven't been in for a few months, when I last got my bow re-haired. Should probably stop in and ask to take a look at the showroom next time I go over (I live 20 minutes away). Come to think of it, I could use a cake of Carlsson's to use during this cold weather... :ninja:
  10. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I understand what you want. As long as you're trying them out for yourself, you'd like to hear about the experience of others. Given that you plan to try them yourself, there's little point in directing you to do that. All well and good.

    I'd like to point out though, that the "try them out yourself" response that you often get here is neither cheap nor smug. In fact, it's some of the best advice that can be given. Once you get into carved basses, individual preferences become a huge factor.

    FWIW, I was once quite impressed by a carved Christopher, considering its price. I'd weigh very heavily what MIKMAN says. He has a vast amount of knowledge and experience.
  11. Wow. You live that close?!?! I wish I did. Every trip for me a 1 1/2 hours. He must have at least 40-50 basses there and I have plucked every one of them! I just picked up one from him a month or so ago, my prize and joy and got a beater locally which sounds pretty good too.

    When I went out to look at his inventory, I had no idea he had so many. I called ahead of time and talked to him and Linda about what I was looking for. He was working on a bass, yelling across to the phone Linda was holding in the air for me to hear. Told him what I was looking for and when I arrived a day or 2 later, there were 4 or 5 basses laying out for me to play based on what we talked about. Linda took pictures too and emailed them to me in the meantime between our conversation and my arrival.

    What I liked the most about the deal was he gave me a full year setup/seam gluing included in the price as well as 100% trade in allowance toward something else in the future should I entertain something else and a 1 week trial with 100% refund if I didn't like the bass after I got it home and didn't find anything else in his inventory as a substitute. All on paper too. After a week, i found my hand cramping a bit due to the thick neck on bass I brought and he shaved and shaped the back of neck for me free of charge. During the initial purchase we even went through different strings till I got the exact tone I was looking for from every separate string up the neck which wound up being a custom string lineup of 2 different manufacturers and different gauges.

    I know I may sound like I am gushing a little, well, I am. The piece of mind and having him stand so strong behind the instrument as well as being local, and selling an instrument for what it is and not what it isn't... brutal honesty I don't find that often in sales. It was the best experience and feeling I have had spending thousands of dollars. My girlfriend commented on my demeanor after the whole experience too.

    Anyway, I won't gush here anymore about Shank's shop. There are a lot of bass shops around that may provide the same type of thing. I only found 2 in the area though with this approach. Shank's and Ken Smith's with Shank's having a huge inventory. It's up to you to decide on your path to your next instrument. I wish you the best of luck finding that one that you connect with that will bring you excitement and joy till kingdom come.

  12. Yeah, I just found that tiny little blurb on their website:

    I'm not surprised your DB401 was cheaper than the Amati-- the Christopher "replica" series (comprised of the Amati and the Gofriller) appear to be their "top of the line" offerings.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience. It's certainly appreciated.
  13. Yeah, sorry about being a little terse in that previous post-- I've kind of noticed a pattern amongst many TB'ers when a relative newbie like myself (been playing on-and-off for 20 years, only got serious about it very recently) like myself asks about a particular model, the "go try them yourself" responses have a tendency to pile up, and can seem pretty dismissive, as if the question the OP asks is somehow pointless. Granted, the question had probably been asked before, and I know what it's like to see a thread topic that seems to have been beaten to death ("best bass for metal" comes to mind) resurrect itself like Jason Vorhees, but over the years, I find that it still means something to the OP to have their questions patiently answered.

    With more affordable (especially when adjusted for inflation), new (including warranty), fully-carved instruments out there than ever before, I kind of found myself "stuck in neutral" regarding which direction to go, hence my solicitation for the experiences of others. I think I'm pretty close to a starting point now.

    As much as I love my 1949 Kay, I'm finding that I've gone about as far as I can go with it. Great bass, but its specific set of limitations (especially the thin, fatigue-inducing neck profile) are getting a little harder to live with, considering the more challenging music my orchestra has been performing lately (Scheherezade, Hebridean Overture, and Eroica come to mind).

    And thanks for your input on the Christopher. It sounds like they have a solid, genuine product.
  14. Yep, that sounds like Mike! My section principal bought a bass a few years ago from another shop. Being a new instrument, the wood took a while to "settle", so he took it in to Mike numerous times for sound post adjustments. And Mike didn't even charge him for it!

    I didn't know his inventory was that big (there are 20 or so listed on the website)-- I'm definitely going to have to take a look!
  15. homersbassfarm

    homersbassfarm Banned

    Feb 4, 2013
    western TN
    drurb sums it up well- i would add that you find the nearest bass shop to where you live and try them first to see what they have or can order for you-it is good to have a doctor for follow-up when you have a case of plethora. It is good to have a bass luthier for follow up - general maintenance,etc. Good luck!

    Steve-did yours itch a lot?