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Shen SB150 vs 180

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by driedleaves, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. driedleaves

    driedleaves Guest

    Dec 26, 2003
    Howdy folks,

    I'm new here and I'm trying to get as much info as I can about double basses. I'm a guitarist and I've studied music and guitar for many years, but now I'm in love with the sound of the bass and I want to buy my first instrument to start learning.
    I'd be playing mostly jazz and I was thinking about a hybryd Shen, to get a better sound if I decide to experiment with the bow later.

    So, has anyone here compared the two hybrids they offer, 150 and 180? I only care about the sound, and if the difference was mainly cosmetical I'd go with the cheaper one.
    What do you think?

    Any help will be really appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Here is a recent thread showing the 180 that I just bought. The URL includes a review in progress:


    Nick Lloyd assured me that the only difference between the 150 and the 180 is cosmetic and that they were alike tonally. He did say, however, that he found the differences in look to be significant. Even if I shouldn't say, the 180 is a very nice looking bass.

    They didn't say specifically, but I got the impression that not only do they use the European figured laminates on the 180, but they also use the nicer carved tops. The grain on mine is very even and fairly tight.

    It was certainly worth the $500 to me, but I can also understand the argument for getting the less expensive one. I am certain you'll be happy with either.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Oh, and forgive my rudeness. I am delighted to say "welcome to talkbass."

  4. driedleaves

    driedleaves Guest

    Dec 26, 2003
    Thanks a lot!

    That's exactly what I was hoping to hear. I really can't wait to get a double bass and start practicing, so you can understand that now the look of the instrument doesnt really matter for me.

    That said, your 180 is incredibly beautiful! I'm sure you can't keep your hands away from it.
  5. HI all,
    I just played a Shen Hybrid 180 in Chicago and I must say this bass really does look nice. I was quite impressed with the sound and playability as well. However, I wasn't able to get that much pizzicato sustain especially in the upper register. It seemed that the bass was a little tight in the upper range on both the G and D strings. Does anyone have any thoughts about this?

    I am trying to find a good plywood to take on the road everywhere I go and I'm wondering if I can get the sustain I'm looking for. I haven't tried a shen plywood yet but I would really like to.

    I must say for the price, playability, sound, and craftsmanship the Shen 180 was very impressive.

    Please reply,
    Vince J.
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I think much of the sustain issue could be addressed with string selection and set up.

    My bass is brand new, so it is a little tight as well. I'm confident that it will open up as it is played.

  7. I thought the same thing when I played. The strings were brand new helicore pizzicato. The action was fairly low. I thought maybe sound post adjustment could help. But i'm not sure.

    I would probably set up (no room for arco in our show) with thomastik spirocore weichs and lower the action a bit. Any more suggestions on how to get sustain in the upper register (on the g string from e below middle c to the end of the finger board)?
    Vince J.
  8. Vince,

    I have owned a Shen 180 since June of '03. I don't play much pizz, but mine was tight when brand new also. I think most carved tops will be, but the more I play it the more it opens up. The bass sounds considerable better now than when I bought it, and it was really nice then.

    I also played the Shen plywood, when I was shopping for this one, and I was impressed by the power of the sound - you might find that more suitable for your needs.
  9. charlemagne

    charlemagne Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2003
    VJ...the Spirocore Weichs really do make a big difference in sustain on my Shen 180. I'm a pizz-only player...wouldn't use them to bow.

    Driedleaves...cosmetics count!! It's fun playing an instrument you consider beautiful. Just my .02
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Also, I did have a few good conversations about Shens and the set up of my bass with Nick. He did tell me that most of the board dressing work he did on my bass was to accomodate the higher positions and suggested it was fairly common for Shens to get this kind of treatment when he set them up.

    If the bass you played hadn't received the same kind of attention, it would certainly explain the lack of sustain up there.
  11. CBellafiore


    Feb 15, 2010
    Hi, Im very new Talkbass as well, and I have a feeling this thread is far from active, but on the off chance,
    I just ordered an SB 150 and I was inclined to replace the standard aluminum bridge adjusters with ebony adjusters. However I am hesitant to do this because I use a realist Underwood pick up. The Luthier who is performing the set up on my bass, Mark Carlsen (the Set Up Shop) testified that the ebony adjusters would definitely inhance the basses sound acoustically as well as asthetically, but he was worried that the wider bore of the holes cut in the bridge feet, required to accommodate the ebony adjusters would affect the tone of the pick up.

    Any thoughts/advice?

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Go to Jeff Bollbach's website and look under luthier rant for "bridges" before you spend money on bridge adjuster upgrades. I think you will find it to be an unnecessary purchase.
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Just my view that the money might be better spent going through string hell, pickup hell, bow hell, or rosin hell. :D

    What I mean is, at the very least, a change of strings stands a very good chance of changing your tone, whereas if adjusters make a difference, it's likely to be more subtle. The other thing is to simply hold onto the money until if and when you decide that you want to change the tone in some specific way.

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