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Shen/Engelhardt Sonic Differences

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Matt R., Jan 19, 2012.


  1. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Searched, but didn't find a specific comparison. I am about to buy a lefty upright. Not sure yet if the Shen SB80 is available left handed, but it's either that or the Engel EM-1.

    I've heard that the Shen generally sounds better acoustically than the Engelhardt. If that's true, I will go with the Shen for that reason and I like the looks of the Shen better too.

    What are your impressions of how these two basses sound comparatively?

    And yes I know it's subjective, blah blah. I also will not be able to sample these basses. It's gonna be sight unseen unfortunately. Thanks!

    Matt:bassist:
     
  2. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I may ruffle some feathers, but so be it. This is my opinion. I'd take the Shen, hands down! The Engels are poorly-designed (low overstand, small fingerboard projection, flat neck-angle), poor-sounding basses with skinny necks that, for the majority of players, impede formation of the left-hand "claw" and lead to fatigue. Make sure you get a proper set-up. It matters from whom you buy.
     
  3. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Well, just talked to Upton. The Shen is not offered as a true lefty, so it turns out this is a moot thread (for me anyway). Gotta stick with the Engelhardt.
     
  4. Bijoux

    Bijoux

    Aug 13, 2001
    Denver-CO-USA
    I have played lots and lots of Shen. many of my students have Shen basses, and a lot of kids that come to school on what we call "Bass day" also have Shen basses.
    I am yet to play a bad one! They are very consistent.
    As far as englehearts, ...I think they are mostly hit or miss... mostly miss...
     
  5. Bijoux

    Bijoux

    Aug 13, 2001
    Denver-CO-USA
    do you have to get it from Upton?
     
  6. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    I don't have to I suppose. I was just checking on the availability of it in lefty. They suggested just doing a lefty conversion (flipping strings & nut but leaving the bar & post righty) but I'm very skeptical of that. First DB or not, I don't want to risk structural and tonal problems by doing this.
     
  7. Bijoux

    Bijoux

    Aug 13, 2001
    Denver-CO-USA
    Is there a way you can get a bass out on trial to see if that would work?
    I suppose the fingerboard and bridge shape could be a problem too...
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Every Shen I have ever played has played and sounded better than every Englehardt I've ever played. EEMMV.
     
  9. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    No, being lefty is really tough in the DB world, especially at my budget. And yeah the fingerboard and bridge are issues. Just looks like I'm only going to be able to swing the Engel. I just don't feel comfortable with a half-converted bass.
     
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Contact Shen's John Sprague here on the forum. He may be able to come up with a lefty for you. I think Gollihur sells lefty Romanian basses, too. If those don't work out, one of my students has a custom Englehardt that has a nice fat neck and good overstand and it sounds comparable to an SB80. Maybe you could special order one of these.
     
  11. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Thanks Eric, I'll holler at him.
     
  12. FWIW my German ply was set up like this and played by a jazz guy for decades without apparent issue. It is a tank, though, built heavier than the Engelhardts I've played. Can't tell you how it sounded, as I had it switched back to right-handed before I really began to learn how to play it.
     
  13. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Hm. Ok. I've heard so much negative stuff about doing that way.
     
  14. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Do a search for Arnold Schnitzer's posts. He commented on this a few months ago.
     
  15. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Will do, thanks.
     
  16. I owned an Englehardt for several years. I suppose I was fortunate in that it was a good sounding bass, especially when I replaced the tailpiece wire with a cable.

    That being said, I've also played at least a dozen if not 15 different Shens and the Shens sound better. In addition, the Shens were far more playable.

    You should check with Dustin Williams in Nashville. He's a 2-hour drive up I-65 and is a Shen dealer. You might be able to go up there and hear the two basses side by side. If Shen makes a left, Dustin can probably get it for you.
     
  17. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Thanks. I called Dustin. He said they can order an sb80 left handed. Will take a couple months. Very tempting.
     
  18. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    What drurb and Chris Fitzgerald said already. Dustin Williams' will offer superb setup and service. The special order Shen is definitely the way to go.
     
  19. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Do it. Close thread and don't look back.;)
     
  20. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Good news- I just placed my order. Bad news- 90-120 day turnaround. Sigh. I hope it's worth the wait.
     

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