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Samuel Shen 7/8 Maple Flatback?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Charles Shores, Dec 4, 2005.


  1. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Owner: Guitar Barre
    Hi!

    I'm in the market for a new bass, and I went and played a few today. Among the ones I tried out (at Bob Beerman's shop in Greensboro, NC) was this Shen.

    He's put a new tailpiece and endpin (goetz), obligatos, a nice fine bridge (aubert), beautiful tuners (sloane) and he has yet to put on a new fingerboard (first quality goetz for only $500.) oh, and a bobelock cover.

    So, this whole package, (with a setup), is going to me (if i decide to take it) for 6500 + tax. How does this sound?

    I absolutely loved this bass when I played it. I've never played anything like it. I've played my friends basses, 15 or so school basses, but nothing has _ever_ come close to the presence and power that this bass had when I played it. I remember earlier today, I had just played the Shen when I picked up an eastmanm which was 3/4. I played the eastman and immediately thought "what's missing? this doesnt even sound like a bass to me anymore" So, as you can see, ive fallen in love with this bass's great full sound and power. I tried lots of different stuff on the bass, staccatto, spiccatto, legato bowing, pizz, scales, arpeggios, a solo or two, walking bass, etc...not one thing i played even approached a bad sound. i got bob to play it and was blown away by the difference again as i could fully immerse myself in the real sound! (they even let me tune it down a step or so, just to imagine an extension lol) I could bow really slow and close to the bridge for a great, LOUD sound... I can only imagine what this bass will be in 10 years, with the metal endpin in a stage :)

    The final ok is coming from my teacher (Lynn Peters) but I have a little while, while they are working on the bridge re fit and new FB they havent gotten yet. i absolutely love it, bob liked the bass a lot, a guy came in shopping and commented on the tone, i've had good experiences with shen before, i dont really see any bad in this situation!

    I'd like any comments or suggestions, cautions even, i just need some advice on what to do. Of course before I buy it again I'll play it for as long as I can in the store to see for sure. Anyway, any tips?

    Thanks!
    Chad
     
  2. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    Sounds like you have already made up your mind to me.

    :)
     
  3. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Well you can check out the prices of new Shens here:

    http://www.samuelshen.com/

    Why does this bass need so much work? Some are upgrades but a new FB?
     
  4. It sounds like you found a good one. I favored the 7/8 size basses I played right away also, and even though mine's not a Shen, it has a distinctly lower voiced tonality compared to most 3/4 instruments I've played and that was also true of a 7/8 Chritopher hybrid that I once tried out a few years ago. Mine & the Chris were 5-string with solid BB and EE strings.

    The nice 7/8 size basses don't come along near as often as the 3/4 ones, so if you like it as much as your love affair suggests, make the committment. Also search the posts for Shen and read what others have reported on performance. It seems like Beerman's has upgraded the hardware a bit (someone reported endpin issues with original Shen endpins) and that saves you potential headaches. That is a kind of serious commitment price, but also a level that is a solid investment.
     
  5. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Owner: Guitar Barre
    i dont think the bass needed a lot of work, the endpin, tailpiece, bridge, and tuners were all upgrades he decided to put on... the fingerboard was a little thin for his taste but even he admitted to not having so much of a problem with the thing.

    He had just ordered some top top top quality ebony FBs from goetz, so i guess he might have been excited and wanted to put one on the shen? Anyway I get the $800 job for 500.

    I've been thinking about this bass all day...lol

    Chad
     
  6. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Yup, you're in love. You won't be able to sleep until you get her.

    Don't wait too long to make your decision or someone else will ask her to dance. :)
     
  7. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    I'm hooked up with the object of your desire's little sister, a 3/4 Willow.
    She can really move a lot of air, so I know that the 7/8 will be all the better in that regard. But I'd think twice before getting a new fingerboard. My bass's board recently got a little bit of re-shaping work done by Lisa Gass here in LA. It was plenty thick enough to have a bit of it original scoop reduced and it's radius flattend out a little. She had plenty of fingerboard to work with. Even after this process there is still sufficent mass to it, no sort of springboard effect at it's end. Durring some recent time spent in China I had the opportunity to see and played a bunch of the Shens at the factory and at Sam Shen's new showroom in Shanghai, including the 7/8 basses. None of these seemed to have fingerboards that were thin, at least in my opinion.
     
  8. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I have a shen 7/8 willow flatback, and it's a pretty remarkable bass. For the most part I love it--it just sings, it's so easy to make sound with it. The middle register is exceptionally sweet; it's even across all positions. I have three mild criticisms

    1. the endpin sometimes slips a bit--it sometimes wants to drop down like 1/4 inch. For the dough, it should have a better endpin--but yours already does

    2. it sometimes seems a little too bright to me--which might be the spirocores. for the size (see below) it's not all that deep a sound. But I've only ever tried it with spirocores, which are bright and thin-ish

    3. It's big--I miss the more convenient 3/4 size. It's hard to maneuver in small clubs, hard to keep safe between sets: I get more nervous because it's more expensive and because it's so honkin' big.

    Beyond those things, i just love it. it's a joy to play
     
  9. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    I also have a 3/4 shen willow. It's a nice bass.
    Yes mine is bright too, i had a new bridge cut, the fingerboard reshaped some with a little scoop added...and it was plenty thick, the luthier that did the work even commented on how thick the FB was (as well as the quality of the instrument).
    i have no problems with my endpin, but i make sure i find the groove in the pin everytime.
    My bass is real fat in the midrange and and upper register too.
     
  10. I too have the Shen 7/8, in maple. It's a nice bass, sounds good and is indestructible. The only downsides I can see to these are a: they weigh a lot and can be a pain to haul around, and b: as far as I can tell there is a whole array of bits and peices that these basses can come with, and some are better than others. For example, mine came with all very nice hardware, but the machines are pretty junk and the fingerboard is not a good piece of wood; it's had to be re-worked several times because of warpage/twisting and it's still not very good. I'd say if you find one that's well outfitted at a good price, buy it, because it's a great all around instrument that will last forever and won't give you any headaches.
     
  11. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Owner: Guitar Barre
    just an update: I'm taking the bass on approval starting this saturday! i'm really excited, i'll let you guys know the gritty details. maybe I can even get some pictures!

    Chad

    PS: I wanted to ask you guys that have had a shen for a while, how do they open up and age? it is a warmer/brighter tone? Thanks
     
  12. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I've only had mine for about 4 months, hard to say
     
  13. Where is Shen located? I really want to be able to test these basses out and hear how they sound...
     
  14. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Shen basses like the Willow and Maple 7/8's and Willow 3/4's are finely crafted in China. Their U.S. rep is John Spruage, who can be found right here on Talkbass.com. He could surely tell you where a Shen could be found to check out in your area.
    My Shen is also quite new, just a few months old. I've been told that the best way to break-in a young bass is just to simply play it a lot and to spend lots of time playing it arco. I can't honestly say if in the half year or so that I've owned it that it's sound has changed much but it does seem to be a bit, "warmer" that it was when I first got it. It's my understanding that good carved basses often take years to realize their potenial sound-wise. This is gives me much to look forward to, as I allready like my bass's sound very much. I can certainly say that my Shen bass is a "keeper" and is going to sound better and better in it's own time.
     
  15. There is a recent thread on the Set-up and Repair forum about one "opening up" perhaps prematurely.
     
  16. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Owner: Guitar Barre
    Update!

    I really love this bass! I got to try it out in a christmas cantata this past week. Big thumbs up from the director, and my family said, without me asking them if they had, that they could really hear the bass! I'm not really a fan of playing too loud, but that they could hear it is great!

    This bass has a huge pizz sound...I can only imagine how great it would be for jazz, maybe i'll have to start a combo :)

    I love the tuners. this bass stayed perfectly in tune for 3 hours and 3 small performances. I dont mean I had to fine tune it every performance...i checked it with a digital tuner and it was dead on every time. very nice!

    The bass has great arco tone too, i was playing a quiet string passage in the cantata and the tuba player turned around a little bit to catch my eye and just nodded (he was in front of me.) he looked like a seasoned player and that made my night!

    if you are thinking about trying one out, go do it! with the right setup i bet most people would love this bass.

    things i will change: i made a bib, i dont want this thing to get all beat up. (i made a super dorky/fashionable purple argyle bib)

    it has a bit of a wolf tone on the low G on the D string. i might use my modifier, might not.

    lower action...

    as you can see my only problem with the bass is the G wolf tone . and seeing as i've never played a bass without at least a hint of one, i don't consider that a flaw in the manufacturing.

    good job Shen!

    If anyone has questions about this bass, I'll be glad to answer!

    Chad
     
  17. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    get us some pics mister :p
     
  18. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Owner: Guitar Barre
    I know, i know... you all want pics!

    Me too...lol I wanna show this bass off!

    Chad
     
  19. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    good job Shen!

    If anyone has questions about this bass, I'll be glad to answer!

    Chad[/QUOTE]

    Chad/Charles,

    I think you described earlier that this is a 7/8 bass. What is the string length or scale of the bass?

    Thanks,
     
  20. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Owner: Guitar Barre
    I don't know how it rates among others, but it seems easy enough to play. I emailed bob and he said 42.5", and i measured it myself today and its a tiny bit under that, maybe 42 and a 3rd".

    I had to test it out first to see if it would be too hard on my hands and it turns out its fine!

    Chad