Shen or Christopher hybrids?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Lia_G, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Hi, everyone,
    This is my first post in the Basses forum here, although I've posted in the EUB section, and over in the slab side of things.

    I've been primarily a fretless slab player for years, and just recently began playing upright again (used to play in jazz and bluegrass groups back in college). Ever since I started up again, I'm getting more calls for upright than slab. I'm currently playing a Christopher 100-series plywood bass rented from Hammond Ashley, but am thinking about buying an instrument. I searched, but didn't find any direct comparisons between the Shen and Christopher hybrids on the board (if I missed them, I apologize ... I did try!). I'm just curious if people have input on comparing these two basses, their similarities and differences, etc. I did get to play a Shen hybrid when I went in to pick up the rental, and liked it quite a bit. Models I'm considering are the Shen SB150 / SB180, and the Christopher 300 series.

    I mostly play alt-country, borrowing from bluegrass and country, with some jazz, blues and rockabilly mixed in here and there. I play a little slap, a lot of pizz, and am learning arco (I'd someday love to jump into the section in small community orchestras, etc., but the country/alt-country will likely always be my mainstay).

    I have also thought about the Shen SB200 Willow, but hesitate to spend the extra money on a carved bass that needs to perform well at outdoor festivals in varying climates.

    Thanks for any input any of you have, and thanks for all the great info I've found lurking and searching here!

    Best Regards,
  2. :D Yeah, me too ! I think the big fiddle is making a comeback with the country and folk crowd !
    A good quality plywood like you have is fine, I think it's about how it feels, looks and sounds to you thats important. A good set-up is critical as well.
    I was thinking about a hybrid also, but the laminates are more durable for lugging around, and if you amplify the beast they sound alike anyway. ;)
  3. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Hi, Frank,

    Good points. I already have an old plywood bass back home in Kentucky, so I'm thinking that buying another bass, I should maybe get something a bit better. The one back home is going to get fixed up and stay there for when I'm home and in Nashville, although eventually me and all basses I own will reside in the same state ... ;)

    I also thought the hybrid might sound better fo unamplified gigs and if I do end up dabbling with a community orchestra someday ...

    I'll keep thinking, and thanks again for your reply!

    Best Regards,
  4. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Tigard, OR
    +1 on the quality of Shens.

    I've never played a Chrisie by my luthier says that Shens are the best built Chinese basses out there. I would also think a plywood would be "fine" for the stuff you're playing but I know the Shen hybrid really sounds wonderful.

    I would also agree with you're assesment that a ply would stand up to more abuse with regard to outdoors, etc. But that's just bassed on my own inclination.

  5. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    How about a Strunal 5/20 hybrid?
  6. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I have never played a Shen, but I can tell you that my hybrid Christopher has been flawless for two years that I have had it.

    Another 2 cents to add to your collection. Good Luck . . . :)
  7. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Thanks for all the input everyone!

    I've also talked to the folks at Hammond Ashley. They prefer the Shen and Strunal hybrids, and really like the Shen Willow as one step up from that. I don't know that I *need* a step up from a hybrid, though; nor, as Fish Slapper mentioned, do I really even need a hybrid for what I usually play ...

    We'll see what happens!

    Thanks again!