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Steinberger Vs. Kubiki

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by air_leech, Nov 7, 2000.


  1. air_leech

    air_leech

    Sep 1, 2000
    Israel

    Which of the two is better for that 80's pop compressed bass sounds?

    what about the necks? both have quite irregular designs (the 34 piece laminate and the graphite), how do they feel compared to other basses?

    tonal variety. what kinds of music would they fit into?

    why you don't see these around anymore? I tought they were supposed to be a leap in bass evolution, or was it a matter of fashion?

    and finally, how much used ones run for nowdays?
     
  2. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I remember when I first started playing, the Steinberger was just coming into vogue. I saw one at a store the other day on sale (used) for about $800 or $900. It's NOT a graphite bass. It's composite (more or less plastic). Durable, sure. Compressed? Yup! Sounds good? Well, there's a reason you rarely see them around any more. EMG basically came to be partially because of Steinberger. Steinberger needed a pickup that would fatten up the sound of this bass and give it a little life. In my opinion, this bass sounds even worse than the Modulus. I know that this will probably start a flame war, but I'm not a fan of synthetic materials, except perhaps, as stabilizers in the neck.

    On the other hand, you've got the Kubicki ex-Factor. They can be found periodically. The 34 piece laminated neck was touted to be extremely strong. I've not heard anything regarding neck stability, be it good or bad. The last time I picked one up, it sounded very dull and lifeless. The previous time I picked one up, it sounded very vibrant. I kind of wanted that one, too. Just wasn't in the market for it at that time.

    But, if you're trying to duplicate the 80's sound, you should have fairly good luck with either.
     
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Hey Leech.

    I'd say the Steinberger woud be the bass to get (between the two you mentioned) for the '80s basically because that was the heyday of the instrument. All sorts of players, from Rush to Talking Heads were using Steinbergers. Kubickis never achieved the same popularity.

    The Steinberger has a neck which is based on a Jazz bass neck (so are the cntrols, for that matter) but a little beefier. Can't say much about the Kibicki, except that I think it had a 32" scale.

    I already mentioned two groups that used Steinberger. The genres it will fit into are limitless, I believe, as it's been played also by Jamaladeen Tacuma, Andy West (who brought the Steinberger to the fore in the late 70s) and I (couldn't think of anyone using it in a Jazz setting, sorry):D.

    The Kubicki has had a few well known players too. Stu Hamm is the most well known, and the bass player with Kenny G plays one too (hey, don't knock the music, musicians need work, it's all that matters).

    The reason you don't see them anymore is because Gibson bought out Steinberger and basically shut it down.:mad: To be fair, the original Steinberger shape was never a favorite of bassists and the prices were very high. The last new L-2 I saw was white and had a $3000 price tag.:eek:

    Kubicki was owned by Fender for a while, and a few Kubicki inspired features migrated to some Fender models in the 80s. The Fender Jazz Bass Plus featured similar electronics. Too bad it sounded less than great. In a BP article about the "new" Fenders (now the American series) The bigwigs at Fender admitted they "missed the mark" when they designed the Jazz Bass plus. I wonder if they people who bought their products got a refund?

    Anyway, The Stu Hamm model is the closest thing to a Kubicki with the Fender name on it. Ownership of the Kunicki operation has been returned to Kubicki and he's back in business on his own

    I was very lucky to find a used unlined fretless white Steinberger. The reason I make the distinction is that Steinberger basses are usually black. White ones go for about 25% more, as they are lower in production numbers. There are used ones floating about for $1000, give or take a few hundred quid. They're getting harder to find because production has ceased. The Steinberger spirits are a poor substitute for the real thing but they're decent and playable.

    I've seen used Kubicki Factors going from $999 at Guitar center to $1500 at a pawnshop in my towm. I might try to talk them down to a more reasonable price eventually. That thing's been there a year...


    Will C.:cool:
     
  4. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I just thought of two more bassists who used the Steinberger...John Entwistle played one instead of his Alembic when he came through Chicago on the "It's Hard" tour. Ross Valory (of Journey fame) played one in 1983 on the "Frontiers" tour.
     
  5. mark

    mark

    Apr 7, 2000
    Canada
    Listen to this guy..."sounds even worse than a modulus" give me a break.
     
  6. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    First of all, I said that it was MY OPINION!

    Second, it IS my opinion!

    Why do you take issue with my opinion?
     
  7. air_leech

    air_leech

    Sep 1, 2000
    Israel

    yeah, thats why I'll never get a Fender (aside for some other reasons which I won't reveal here in order to avoid being shot at).
    anyway, I seen a Fender period Kubicki Ex-Factor for sale on Chrisguitars.com for 800-900 dollars but it's a Fender model. are these up to the Philip Kubicki standard or kind of Squire version of the Ex-Factor basses?

    is there any other way to get that sound? EMGs maybe?
     
  8. mark

    mark

    Apr 7, 2000
    Canada
    I "have to take issue with" your opinion because I don't understand how you could form one of such disgust for Modulus. I could see how someone could say that they like a p-bass more than a j-bass or if you perfer, as you probably do, a Spector NS to a Warwick Streamer. These two senarios involve basses of the same calibre, but to say the old Ned Steinberger, "bust a move" basses sound even worse than a Modulus seems a bit strange to me. It's like saying "that 80's Chevette is even worse than a Mercedes". Something there just doesn't add up. How would you react it I said to you "this Ibanez sounds even worse than a Spector NS-4". Would you be able to totally ignore my statement and leave it at that?
     
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Jerome Harris played a Steinberger while he was with Sonny Rollins. He's the only "straight ahead" jazz player I can think of who used one.

    Actually prices were reasonable until Gibson took over and iimediately jacked up the prices. Street price in 1982 when they first came out was only about $1000 when new P-basses were selling for $600.

    Used Steinberger prices are highly variable, depending on the model and condition. They seem to be rising today but for years they were a incredible bargain. I bought two L2 basses used for $550 and $700 back in the early 90s. This was when Gibson was charging $2500 list for new ones. A friend recently bought a Q4 (wood body, graphite neck) with the optional D tuner bridge for a mere $399, which seems awfully cheap for what was a $1500 instrument when new!

    I really like mine, I don't find them at all sterile as many people claim. The balance is superb due to the unique strap hanging system (only on the L and XL basses, though) the consistency of tone across the neck is unreal and the tuning accuracy and stability beat ANY wooden bass I've ever seen. If I had to dump all my basses except one it would be a real tough choice between my Steinberger or my P-bass as the one to keep.

    MusicYo who currently sell the imported Spirit models have been talking about making graphite models again but if so they will likely be quite different than the originals.
     
  10. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Look, Mark, I understand that you take issue with my statement. But, you have to understand something here...that is, it is my opinion! If you took the opinion that "Ibanez sounds even worse than a Spector NS-4", then I'd have no choice but to accept it as your opinion.

    In my opinion, however, both of these basses sounded very synthetic and thin. I don't like the harmonic overtones that you tend to get from a Modulus, and I don't think it's a very natural sounding bass. I don't like the sound out of the models I've heard between these two brands, and, I've heard almost all of the Modulus line. I owned one for 2 years and am well versed in what Modulus is.

    Are you telling me that my opinion is invalid? See, I think this is YOUR issue, not mine.
     
  11. mark

    mark

    Apr 7, 2000
    Canada
    Well before you told me that I would have to say yes, your opinion is invalid but you have more experience with Moduli than I do and I therefore I cannot dismiss your opinion as ignorance. I wasn't trying to belittle your opinion before it just seem rather strange to me for you to state it in the way you did. Possibly the reason why I haven't noticed the problems that plagued your bass is that I have a Flea that I use as nothing other than a slap machine. I leave the finger work to the Warwick and Zon......I'm going to start a thread in "off topic" for you to reply to this so we don't interfere anymore with this thread. I'll call it RAM and Mark.
     
  12. mark

    mark

    Apr 7, 2000
    Canada
    I'm and idiot....i put the thread in the double-bass off topic.
     
  13. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Iowa
    I like the Steinberger Spirits. I think that the wood gives them some real warmth.
    Of course...thats just "my opinion".....:)
     
  14. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    As I stated earlier, I used to own a Spirit 5-string. I thought it was very playable and had a decent sound, but it was no match for the real thing. It's a nice travel bass, though, or a good instrument to take to an open jam, where you might not want some drunken slob to play your main baby.

    Will C.:cool:
     
  15. maxoges

    maxoges

    Aug 23, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I used to own a kubicki xfactor. It was the best sounding bass i had ever heard for during the time i had it. It was beutiful too... white body with black hardware and fretboard. I sold it because I couldn't play it well sitting down since the bridge was in too far into the body.
    My fingers always ended up close to the bridge. It played nice and looked nice but i couldn't afford a expensive bass I couldn't play, so it had to go :(
     
  16. You have to watch the saddles in a Steinberger, they wear out badly and can be hard to get replacements for.
     
  17. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    I like my Spirit better than the one "real" Steinberger I played. It is warmer and not as thin sounding. It is not one of the Music.Yo Spirits, I bought it used 3 years ago. It is a keeper!
     
  18. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    I'd have to say that a Kubicki ex-factor is the most playable instrument I have ever played. I played a few in music stores and the neck was incredibly fast. They sounded good too.

    Right now I have a prototype of an import version of the ex-factor that Phil Kubicki was planning to export to Japan. (Did that make sense?) it did take a little bit of playing it to get used to it when sitting down, as the neck actually tends to pull up a little. But when playing with a strap while sitting down or playing standing up this bass is incredibly balanced. No neck dive whatsoever.

    If you were to get an ex-factor I'd try to get one made by Kubicki himself. I have played one made by Fender, and while it was still a very good instrument, I think the Kubicki made ones are better.