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Shen SB-80 or Medio Fino from Upton ?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bassgruvn, Apr 12, 2006.


  1. Hello all
    Well I have been sitting on the fence for to long now and I cant ignore the free shipping from Upton so I am going to take the plunge.
    The two models I feel would fit me well and the Shen SB-80 and the Upton Modio Fino, any input on these basses would be greatly helpfull.

    Oh I play Electric bass and gig every week. I play a Azola EUB a few times a month, mostly jazz and worship music. Some pizz some arco.

    Thank you
     
  2. mpoppitt

    mpoppitt

    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
    I have a Shen SB100, and don't think you could go wrong with any Shen.

    I've never heard a Medio, and with all the rave reviews Upton gets, I bet that would be a solid choice as well.

    Tough descision, I think I would go Medio Fino, just to be a bit different.
     
  3. Dad Bass

    Dad Bass

    Jun 22, 2005
    New Jersey, USA
    Youre not apples to apples price wise. The Media Fino is more expensive right? And if youre not going to quibble about a couple of 100 ....speaking of 100, go for the Shen 100.

    Another option is the Shen 90, if you can deal with blondes.

    Happy Easter

    Dad Bass
     
  4. Yes the Fino is $250.00 more. I guess I was looking at bottom line prices for the brand as the Upton basses start at $1700.00.

    Have a great Easter :hyper:
     
  5. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Plain and simple: Take the Medio Fino.
     
  6. LowEndGal

    LowEndGal

    May 11, 2005
    Albany NY
    I was just out in Los Angeles and made the rounds - LA Bassworks and Lemur. Lisa has a number of interesting basses and of course so does Lemur and since you're right in the neighborhood in Simi Valley, it sure seems that it might make sense before you take the plunge to go and check out what both shops have. I also saw World of Strings but could never get there when they were open. I was told they have lots of interesting instruments. And anyway, if you buy out in LA, you'll beat the shipping and the risk of shipping which always makes me think twice. Just a thought.
     
  7. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004

    Not bad advice but just a note. Upton is offering free shipping (so that's beat already) and they always take responsibility for delivering an undamaged instrument.
     
  8. I would agree but the tax rate here is 8.25% on sales and Upton has free shipping right now. That is a hard act to follow.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've played both a Shen SB80 and the Media Fino, and I greatly favored the Media Fino. I bought a Hawkes, but the Media Fino is terrific. The Shen was good too, but I thought the MF had a deeper tone.
     
  10. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    i would go with upton because it will be setup superb.....that is unless you're buying the shen bass from someone like nick lloyd, upton, or arnold schnitzer.
    if you're looking locally at the shen the setup might not be quite as good.
     
  11. +1 on that...the attention to detail is great. I would expect that kind of work on a $17K bass, not a $1700! I've only had mine for 6 mos...and still going steady...:)

    gomez
     
  12. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    I was just at Upton this past week and checked out a plywood and hybrid Medio Fino.

    Both of them completely blew me away. The sound, the ease of playability, fit and finish.

    I wish I had made the visit to Upton last year this time. I would definately be playing a Medio Fino instead of the Strunal I ended buying.
     
  13. kipmartin

    kipmartin

    Aug 22, 2004
    nashville, TN
    endorsing artist: intellitouch tuners, sansamp, uptonbass
    although shen's are considered a good inexpensive bass, i dont think theres a question, is there? the MFs are made in Europe with European wood. the Shens are Chinese--they may be among the best Chinese basses, but the medio finos are in a different league, IMHO.

    but if you want more info, call jack at gary's shop--hes one of the finest upright bassists in the land (im not exagerating!) , and as a meticulous luthier he can give you expert advice on which bass is constructed better and what the tonal characteristics are of both basses. he'd likely be able to suggest strings, too.

    jack wont steer you towards a bass that they might have a better margin on--upton survives on return customers and its in his best interest to sell you something that will bring you back for accessories, upgrades, and service.

    i trust them 100%.

    kip
     
  14. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    is the medio fino a hybrid bass?
    in a laminated bass i doubt it would matter much if the wood is "european" or "chinese".

    i'm sure the shen or medio fino will both be nice basses if the setup work is excellent.
    if the medio fino is hybrid then i would for sure choose that over anything laminated except maybe one of arnolds basses.
     
  15. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    I believe you can get the medio fino model in either fully laminated or as a hybrid.
     
  16. kipmartin

    kipmartin

    Aug 22, 2004
    nashville, TN
    endorsing artist: intellitouch tuners, sansamp, uptonbass
    jmpiwonka said:

    >in a laminated bass i doubt it would matter much if
    >the wood is "european" or "chinese".

    you apparently dont have much experience with laminated basses! i do, as a player, a collector, and as a luthier. chinese wood often delaminates (pulls apart) because the chinese typically use greener wood. European basses are better constructed as a rule. shens are good, but not great. they still have some green wood. and if you look inside the $500 basses on ebay (chinese), the wood is just a mess. typical splintered, twisted, knotty, and rougher wood with tons of glue. theres a huge difference between laminate basses in tone as well.

    and just because something is carved doesnt make it more suited for the job. MOST great bluegrass players prefer ply basses for the distinctive tone. barry bales with alison krauss has record the bulk of his work with ply basses. he has grammys and platinum CDs. in a world where the average professional banjo costs between $12k and 100k, and many folks play mandolins worth over $150k, bassists still prefer the less expensive ply basses. theres nothing that sounds as percussive and round as an american standard and you can still find them for less than a $2500. sure, there are a couple exceptions, but really tone-concious bluegrass, rockabilly, and traditional country players prefer plywood.

    ive seen the laminate medio fino and its a great bass. better than some of those roumanian carved basses ive seen from the 90s.

    kip
     
  17. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    the general opinion is that shen uses nice wood. what is the difference in chinese and european wood given both are well seasoned?
    you should not group all chinese woods in the same category just because they are chinese. i don't judge all european basses the same since i've played some romanian basses that i wasn't really impressed with.

    if anyone is curious, a simple search of the bass section of the double bass forum will show that shen basses are quite respected basses.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i would never lump Shen in with the "Chinese" basses. Shen makes a very good product. If they didn't, the best shops in the country wouldn't carry them. I think the MF is better, but I would never turn down a Shen.
     
  19. :eyebrow: Those prices for bluegrass instruments...banjo and mandolin are waaaaaay out of whack. Sorry but I don't know where you got your info. A vintage acoustic instrument, guitar, mando, etc. even the very best pre-war (WWII) can be had at the outside for $20-30K. Old Martin guitars usually bringing the highest dollar. The VERY best of the new models can be had for less than $10K. My .02

    gomez
     
  20. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music
    Here's my 2 cents and its not about the educated consumer, player etc. because in that case they know better but from my own perspective any instrument made in China, Shen or otherwise gets the same bad rap. There are many who would never buy a Chinese made bass and many of those in that category are Asians. I have a Chinese luthier ex symphonic player and he turns his nose up on all of them. Yes, I agree its irrational and unfair but there it is. People will hear its made in China and things often end right there. I'm quite sure it will all change slowly but surely however for now, many people immediately turn off upon hearing the country of origin is China and one really should consider that when looking for an instrument to buy since at some point they may be facing that sentiment when they decide to trade up or just sell their instrument.
     

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