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Shen SB100 or SB150?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by hunta, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. hunta


    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    Is it worth the extra ~$300 for the 150 to get a hybrid? I had been planning to go with the SB100 (i'm so on a budget), but when I mentioned this to my friend who's a bass major at school here he said I should definitely go with the hybrid model. So I'm leaning towards the SB150 now, just wondering what you guys think :)

    I've only been playing double bass for 1 semester (just passed my audition today hurray!), but I'm probably going to end up being a performance major so I need something that will last me throughout the next 2 years at least. This will be for jazz and orchestral playing (primarily jazz for myself, primarily classical for school).

    Thanks guys
  2. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I have a Strunal 5/20 Hybrid, and have played full plywood basses aswell, and I say go for the the hybrid. In a year or two it will sound ten times better than a plywood bass will. :D
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I didn't move from a lam. Shen to my hybrid Shen, but I IME, the tonal improvement between my lam. ES9 and the my SB180 is significant.
  4. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Play both, bring someone with, have them listen. Then let them play while you listen.

    Which sounds like the sound you want?

    Which one feels right?

    Good luck
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    One major factor in your decision should be the type of care and use the bass will recieve. Carved tops are more flexible, fragile, and prone to cracking if not well-cared-for. Their tone is more complex, and bowing tends to be more rewarding. But are you ready to monitor/control humidity, and transport the instrument carefully? Can you afford the possible crack repairs?
  6. I have both the SB100 laminated (my daughters) and the SB180 hybrid (identical with the SB150 except for the flamed neck and outer laminate plys).

    It is definately worth the money for the hybrid, especially if you are playing orchestral music or spending time bowing.

    My hybrid travels with me twice each week summer and winter.
    I take it in a thick padded nylon bag, and don't leave it in the car, summer or winter. At home I have a large console humidifier that keeps our humidity above 40% throughout the winter.
  7. I spent an hour and a half today playing a laminated and hybrid at Dustin William's shop in Nashville. Both of them were well setup and played like butter.

    I found the laminated to be a darker more thumpy tone. It was also very loud. It struck me as particularily well suited to bluegrass when the percussion is almost as important as the sound.

    The hybrid definitely has a more textured tone--especially with a bow. In fact, it sounded as good as the Wilfer on the rack next to it. I expect the Wilfer would probably outperform the Shen over time but right now, the Shen more than holds its own.

    I also played an old carved German that was supposedly used by one of Duke Ellington's bassists (I have no idea who). It sounded slightly better than the Shen but has serious structural issues. I believe could easily be up for several thousand dollars worth of work in the very near future.

    I plan on upgrading basses sometime within the next couple of months and of the Shens, the hybrid outshines the laminated. However, I will be checking out one of Arnold's laminated New Standards next week. That could certainly complicate my decision.
  8. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    steve let us know what you think of the New Standard basses:D
  9. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Hunta- If you can afford the extra $300, buy the hybrid. Bow work will be more rewarding for you on a hybrid, as opposed to a plywood.

    Regarding carved top basses, I tell my customers this "Treat your bass like a person. Would you leave someone in a car, garage, or direct sunlight for three hours?"