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Shen Willow or New Standard?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by DrBassie, May 12, 2006.

  1. DrBassie


    Apr 24, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    Hi guys,

    I'm looking into buying a new bass. I've been playing my Engelhardt that I got for HS graduation for a long time (12 years!). I've been using it for jazz gigs about 10-20 times a year and it fit the bill nicely. I'm currently using Velvet Garbos, which help create the old-time Quintette du Hot Club de France sound, so I want to build on that 1930's thump bass sound.

    Recently, I joined a gypsy jazz trio that plays regularly (at least once a week)and figure it's time to do a little upgrade. The group plays mostly indoors, but does play outside occasionally. We also have a weekly gig that plays in one of those open-air cafe restaurants. I'm looking to spend under $5k.
    From my internet research, I've come across two basses that seem to fit the bill: The Cleveland New Standard, and the Shen Willow 7/8 (or possibly 3/4). Both, from reputation on the board, have the low bass response that I think I'm looking for. Cosmetically, I like the dark brown varnish that I've seen on both of these.

    Any opinions on what I should go with? Or maybe other options? I'm the rare non-amateur player that knows nothing about gear, so I'd appreciate the help!

    Also, I don't play much arco (as you might have gathered, since I use Garbos!) so, while I'd like to have a versatile instrument, I'm more focused on the pizz sound.

    Thanks everybody,

  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    You might PM Paul New, here on TB. He owns a Shen Willow and he's spent some time with my New Standard Cleveland. He might be able to provide some direct comparison insight.
  3. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    if you are looking at the shen i would take the 7/8 over the 3/4.
    i think the varnish on arnolds basses looks better, either will be a nice bass though. (i have a shen 3/4 willow and it is a nice bass)
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    New Standard basses are a partnership between myself and Wil deSola. And Wil does the varnishing.
  5. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    okey dokey, :smug: ...i think the varnish on the new standards looks better. (i was trying to type less and ended up having to type more....)
  6. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    I like the rich, deep tone of the willow versions of the Shens. I'm also partial to larger sizes, so both the 7/8 flatback and the carved back Rogeri model really float my boat in that price range.

    Steve Swan
  7. D McCartney

    D McCartney crosswind downwind bass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Tacoma WA
    And does a beautiful job on it.
  8. Wil de Sola

    Wil de Sola

    Feb 22, 2006
    Wilton, CT
    New Standard Instrument Co
    Dear TB friends and supporters,

    Many thanks for your kind words on the varnishing work.

    It feels very satisfying to turn out something that's appreciated. And.....it's also fun to do.

    Kind regards,

  9. Wil, did you say it was FUN to varnish? How 'bout my studio floor? :D

  10. Wil de Sola

    Wil de Sola

    Feb 22, 2006
    Wilton, CT
    New Standard Instrument Co
    Oops. Fun to varnish our basses. My kitchen floor is waiting, too. Sorry to have to pass up entertainment at your place for now.
  11. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    I suspect it has something to do with the fumes. :D
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I've never played the Shen. However, i own a NS Cleveland. Right now it's strung w/Spirocore Weichs.

    If you're looking for thump-it can do. For awhile, i had my action cranked pretty high [for me], the whole body vibrated quite a bit and it had a very percussive thumpy bottomy goodness tone going. At my teacher's recomendation-i lowered it a bit to make it a bit more playable, but the jury is still out.

    I really dug the tone of it when it was a bit higher despite how it was a bit more work for my left hand.

    I've had a pretty hip Chicagoland player give me compliments on my bass [Rob Amster if anyone is familiar]. At my jury [i go to CCPA where he teaches], he said "Ya know what, i love the sound of your bass, and have liked it every time that i've heard it" So i let him try it out, and his response was "That's a niiiiice bass". So i smiled and said "Thanks-it's even a ply" His reaction was something i will remember for awhile. It was a mix of surprise and i'm guessing a mental check of the finances for a possible road bass/another bass. Granted-the sides are carved, but yeah. I vote Cleveland.

    The finish? Well, i dig it.
  13. Darn, those Clevelands are nice. After being on this forum for awhile, I get the feeling almost every doubler's got one except me. :meh:

    I've seen Rob several times...since he plays with Kurt Elling who is definitely one of my fave vocalists. Good luck at CCPA

  14. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000

    Thanks man. I wouldn't say that every doubler on here owns one, but the basses are very popular on this board. People on this board are a large part of why i ended up with one-the reviews, recomendations and learning about Wil and Arnold were major benefits to the bass for me [as a first time bass buyer]. It came down to a bass that has been praised by guys i respect [Chris, etc] and guys that stand behind their work/are helpful. Made the purchase very easy.

    As far as Rob goes-i didn't study with him this semester as i felt it was best for me to focus more heavily on technique [so i took both of my lessons w/Scott Mason-another great Chicago teacher]. Rob is a killer player-his playing first caught my attention on Kurt's "Man in the Air"-the track "Time to Say Goodbye"-my piano teacher in high school knew that i was a weather report freak and he said to me "dig this" and man-that blew me away, then learning that Rob teaches at CCPA was a nice addition.

    If you're game-i'm back in Chicago late August/September-if you'd like to check out my Cleveland send me a PM on here and we can work something out. I live downtown when i'm in Chicago.

    take it easy.
  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i really like the Shen unless it has a run-in with a piano...

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