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STRUNAL 5/27

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by MIKMAN, May 13, 2010.


  1. MIKMAN

    MIKMAN

    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    Dear friends, as i told you in another thread, a friend of mine has bought a Strunal 5/27, one of the latest additions in the product line of the Czech company. He kindly asked me to lay hands on and i give you now my impressions.
    The bass came directly from the Luby factory. It is a hybrid Gamba bass, featuring a medium grain carved spruce top, beautifully arched. The ribs and the round back are made from Tineo laminate, which is more resonant, as Strunal claims. It is varnished with a polyurethane glossy varnish.
    I spent some hours with the nut, the bridge's height and some soundpost tweaking. As it is strung with Helicores Orchestra i kept a high arc in the bridge, in order to test its bowability.After all these tiresome hocus-pocus i gave it to my friend to test it in my office (official test place for every instrument i lay hand on!!!)
    Well, the bass delivered a very warm and loud arco sound, characterized by deep lows and clear highs. In thumb position it showed some decrease in volume, so i immediately changed the metal rod of the endpin with KC Strings' wooden-carbon fiber endpin. The volume increased instantly and the TP notes became better defined. I tried it with my (rather limited) bow chops and my friend seemed impressed from the tonal characteritics.
    Then it was time for my trial. I tossed my Spiros Weich with a Mittel E and the bass was transformed to a more than decent jazz bass. Although the strings' height was not the proper for smooth pizz playing i liked it a lot. The fingerboard's scoop is the proper one for easy playing, with no buzzings at all.
    Putting the mirror and the light inside i found a good, robust construction (a dense bass bar, no glue drips, no loose linings etc), which is a happy surprise for me, given my past experiences from other Central European basses.
    Knowing that no photos no bass, i'll send you tomorrow some photos. I think that Strunal, knowing the increasing competition worldwide, has improved dramatically the quality of the latest generation of double basses, in order to remain competitive in the global market.
    Finally, after all these "Alpha vs Beta" threads i'd like to say that IMHO this bass is not in the Champions' League of the Hybrid La Scala or the Upton Standard Hybrid. I played with both of them and i know that they are superior instruments (in varnishing, playability and general construction). Adding Eric's or Arnold's magnificent set up the difference becomes even greater. From the other hand this bass retails for $2200 in Greece, which is a very attractive price for a serious student or as a back up bass for a professional who has some outdoors gigs during the Greek summer. It represents a honest offer in the double bass world , nothing more, nothing less.
    Thanks for your patience
    Mike
     
  2. Nice intro review Mike.
    I'd like to see the pics.

    Is the bass bar thicker than in the 50/4 models you've previously seen?

    It's good to read that makers are adapting and making better instruments to remain competitive. Buyers, now and in the future will benefit.
     
  3. MIKMAN

    MIKMAN

    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    Some photos of the Strunal 5/27, as promised.
    What i liked: Warm tone, deep lows, clear highs. Definitely a loud
    bass either under the bow or in pizzicatto.
    Robust construction, beautiful staining.
    Very competitive price.
    What i didn't like:The polyurethane varnish. An oil varnishing could
    improve things considerably.
    The cheap endpin.
    The lack of a decent set up.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. MIKMAN

    MIKMAN

    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    As for the bass bar it has the same dimensions as in the 50/4 laminate, but it is characterized by a denser grain.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Not my cuppa tea in the looks department, but it certainly is nice to read a good, sensible review by a knowledgeable individual with no special interests involved.
    Refreshing, that. Thanks, MIKMAN.
     
  6. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    That is an interesting looking bass. I have generally liked the Strunals I have come across. Well made instruments.
     
  7. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Mike,

    Thanks for this thoughtful, detailed, objective review. It was a pleasure to read.
     
  8. MIKMAN

    MIKMAN

    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    Thank you all my friends for your kind words.
    I owe a lot to the TBDB community, since for many years it has been my sole information source and reference point.
    I wish i could have access to the vast American market, in order to try as many basses as i could and enrich my personal knowledge.
    Unfortunately the shipping costs make the American basses rather expencive for us Europeans.The upper etchelon of the European double bass players is served by some European distinguised luthiers but the majority looks towards the Central European factories. These factories, with their advadages and their drawbacks, serve thousands of bass players and deserve their reviews.
    Mike
     
  9. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Hey Mike, very nice report on the new Strunal attitude and its result. :)

    The store I work in has imported a lot of Strunals over the years and I've really noticed an improvement in the sound over the last year. I still don't care for the shiny armor plating and I'm not big on the white glue but the sound and volume have improved as you noted.

    I like the look of the back and sides you've pictured, but then I'm partial to Brazilian Rosewood! :D
     
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    White glue?
     

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