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Tell me everything you know about the Shen Willow 7/8

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Mr.Phil, Jul 18, 2007.


  1. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Hello all,

    I'm seriously considering purchasing one of these, and am currently on the fence. I won't have the opportunity to try one before purchasing, so I'm wondering what you can tell me about them (anything at all). I am especially interested in comments from those who own or have played this model. I play jazz and classical so if you comment on the Shen's sound for both it would be appreciated. Thanks!

    -Phil
     
  2. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    It is best to first play any bass you might buy. With all of the fine shops within striking distance of where you are, why would you buy a bass sight unseen and sound unheard?
     
  3. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    There should be at least a few good Shen dealers within driving distance of you. They could even possibly hand select one of the 7/8 Willow basses out of the available stock at the warehouse.

    I've been impressed with the 3 examples of 7/8 Willow SB 200 that I've had out here on the wrong coast. They have a nice big sound for jazz with Spirocore weich and a huge presence with flexocores for orchestral work. The last batch of Shen willow basses that I received had slightly slimmer, more comfortable necks.

    I'd be very surprised if you didn't have a couple of examples in stores somewhat nearby. Let us know how it turns out!
     
  4. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Well, these are good questions... The closest shop that carries Shens (from what I can tell) is more than an hour away and even then, they only carried the 3/4 when I called. However, I suppose you are all correct and I should just suck it up and do some traveling.
     
  5. of course I think folks are making assumptions... Upstate NY could be just about anywhere! But I think 2 or 3 hours of driving is nothing to some folks when it comes to shopping for basses. Especially considering 10 or 20 years ago there were almost no dealers anywhere, except for the famous few.
     
  6. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    i'm pretty happy with my 3/4 willow. it's a dark sounding bass and i think it could sound a little better with a better setup.

    search shen willow.
    look for a thread by Adrian Cho was it???
    he got a 7/8 willow and he did a real good thread about it.
     
  7. rdwhit

    rdwhit

    Mar 18, 2006
    Louisville ky
    I have to drive about 1 hour for bass shopping and repairs. People often drive 2 or 3 hours to get to these shops, maybe more. That may sound extreem, but it really isn't. You get use to it . Make the trips, don't feel pressured to buy on the 1st trip. The road trips can become fun.

    The 3/4 & 7/8 wills I tried out were 2 different animals. I found the 3/4 to be a nice "affordable" fully solid new bass. Nice, but needing to open up with a little age as usual. Still a nice bass. The 7/8 I played had more sound than I expected, much louder and rich and complex even as a new bass. The 7/8 will is simply too large for me to play. That was obvious the second I picked it up. What a shame!. I'd make sure I had a 7/8 in my hands for a trial run . They are BIG!!
     
  8. Before you buy anything spend a day or two around the NYC area checking out the shops there.
     
  9. mxr255

    mxr255

    Jul 21, 2003
    Williamsport, PA
    Hey guys. I was in JR Judd Violins in Williamsport, PA and he has some great instruments in stock. He has a Shen Willow 7/8 and it is pretty sweet. I don't know where you are but Williamsport is 2 hours from Ithaca.

    Just thought I would let you know.

    www.jrjuddviolins.com

    570-321-8070

    Take Care,
    Matt
     
  10. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have a Shen 7/8 Willow and I love it. I bought it from Arnold Schnitzer who did a great setup and also put an extension on it for me. I've owned the bass for perhaps 9 months now and in that time the bottom end has opened up even more. I sold a much more expensive bass to buy this one and I'm very happy with it. It's a great jazz bass and has a lot of sound. I don't do a lot of arco playing but it sounds great under the bow too. I'm a little guy (5'6 with hands that can only just stretch an octave on the piano) and have no problems carrying or playing on this bass. It is big but it's very manageable. The low shoulders and high overstand help a lot with getting around the instrument in the higher register. The craftsmanship and finish on the bass are remarkable for the price.

    If you're in upstate NY, take a drive to Faiport and visit CSC (Shen importers). That's what I did and I live in Ottawa, Canada. I drove there and tried out a bass that they had done a quick setup on for me and then I just drove it to Arnold's and left it with him for about a week. I did try one of the Shen Rogeri models when I was at CSC and was quite disappointed - very wimpy compared to the 7/8 Willow. I also tried a 3/4 Willow and was also quite disappointed. I found the 7/8 Willow to be in a completely different class.
     
  11. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    I went to Rochester Monday and tried it out. I was blown away by the 7/8 and I think I am sold on it now. It was so much richer than my KAY. I suppose its just a question of who I buy it from and for how much. Thanks again for the help guys!
     
  12. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Let me strongly recommend Arnold Schnitzer and I bet he would probably be the closest to you anyway.
     
  13. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I had always wanted a flatback for a while but could never find one that I was happy with and/or could afford. One of the great things about the Shen 7/8 is the design of the flatback with the X brace and the slight arch. Mine has been very stable and I live in Ottawa where we have a range of variation across the seasons. I've also played a good share of outdoor gigs with it including some in cold weather (5 degrees C one evening during what was supposed to be summer - just last month) and some in absurdly hot weather (like just this week when it was close to 30 C on one evening I had an outdoor duo gig). The only concern I had before I got it was whether the low end would be strong enough. Initially it was still a bit of concern during my early times with the bass but it sounds great now.
     
  14. Adrian, or anyone who has a 7/8 willow, could you get a total length measurement for me?
     
  15. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I was intrigued by this. What is it about flatbacks in general that led to that preference? Just to be clear, this is a sincere question and not in any way a challenge. I'm especially interested because within the next month or so I should have a flatback. There have been several threads regarding the relative merits of various bass designs and I'd like to know your thoughts.
     
  16. raebasso

    raebasso

    Jul 26, 2007
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Check out Arnold's website at www.aesbass.com
    He carries the Shen basses and is a master at setup - He's in Brewster, NY.
     
  17. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    i think it has something to do with the fact that with an X brace the grain of the braces is closer to running parallel with the grain of the back. where as with your standard cross braces the grain is pretty much perfectly perpendicular which is pretty constricting when the back wants to expand and contract small amounts due to weather changes...but i'm just a guy who reads alot...i don't have much actual experience with it...except that my X braced shen has been stable.

    that said, the setup work should not be overlooked. i just had my bass setup adjusted. a new bridge cut and the soundpost worked on because it was a little tight. it made a very noticeable difference in tone and volume. now i'm curious to hear what is sounds like with all the strings i had on previously...lol.
     
  18. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I think drurb was asking about flatbacks in general. Now I know there has been a lot of discussion about this and you will find good and bad, loud and not so loud, etc. basses in both round and flatbacks. But in my experience flatbacks have a more direct sound that is better for pizz and works especially well with guts. I honest don't know what really goes on inside the body there but in my mind, the sound is less diffused than it is with a roundback. It's more focused especially for pizz. There's no doubt that my previous roundback was a better arco beast than my flatback but the flatback is definitely more of a pizz cannon. I find especially with gut that some roundbacks can sound tubby whereas the guts sound great on my flatback.
     
  19. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    My bass is 76" long with the extension. It's at least 75" without the extension. Somewhere between 75" and 75 1/2". I had originally planned to get one another Bobelock bag when I got mine but the standard bags are too short to fit a bass that long.
     

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