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the christopher bass club

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by ao'connor17, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. So I just picked up the Christopher from Alex Friedman at the acoustic bass shop in South San Francisco today. He replaced the warped bridge with a very nice upgrade.

    He put Helicore strings on it and installed a realist pickup.

    She is still very smudgy, but I took these as soon as I got home. She has CRAZY flame on the back and sides, and a solid spruce top.


  2. playbass0410


    Feb 8, 2008
    DB201 + Thomastic Spiro lights := great Jazz pizz sound :)
    Got mine in March 2012 and I'm very happy.
  3. nilsrp


    Jul 5, 2012
    Adding my 304 Busetto.
    Bought her from Thomann in Germany April 27th 2012.
    Had to wait something like 10 days before she arrived.
    Label inside states 2011 as build year.
    The photo is lousy but is taken the evening this lady arrived at the house.
    Being an absolute amateur I admit to envying all your knowledge.
    I am proud that I managed to change to the above strings myself. I also fitted a David Gage "The Realist Wood".
    She is nicknamed "Signora Busetto". Member of a small local group where the women were very pleased with the added female to the band.
    Now if I only could figure out how to play this instrument.
    Recently a cloud arrived at the horizon. I have been very keen and caring, seeing that no harm should happen to this baby. But she has started to develop an extra sound. Can't pinpoint when but it is in the environment of the frequency of the D string. And yes, it is inside the instrument and the Realist is properly attached and the strings fastened.
    Anyhow, no good pictures but here is some humble action.
    Mind you, did not get any connection to the FOH sound since they were short on inputs on the mixer. Running DB through my Ashdown and 410 for the first time ever. Happen to be a novice on EB also.
    Cheers from nilsrp
    Addendum: One new picture. Thanks for input! Though the strange (rattling) sound seems like it is wood and glue related, unfortunately. Close to the wood block at the bottom.
    Here you will find the rest of the new pictures and a sound example. The latter really just reveals how sadly uneducated as a player I am. But with good earphones you will hear the rattle.
    A double bass is prone to heat! Might loose tuning faster than you would imagine.
    Appreciate the effort of Sara (the vocalist) to keep the song in tune!
    Thomann has responded as expected. Which means responsive. Either they will arrange for a pick-up of the bass or I'll contact a local luthier and get a quote for repairing Signora Busetto. I will consider going the 2000 km trip (incl. two ferrys) to give you all an insight wiew or go for the pick-up. Toying with the idea of buying a 404T (fully carved Busetto) as a "spare". Using that one at home and for important gigs like at the church.
    Adding the link below to say that there were moments. Before the heat caught me and Signora Busetto and maybe the amp?
    Beware of the 10 dB off-on switch in the beginning. King Louie may be where I have the sound I want. Just to admit that having fun is what it's about for us. Obviously the audience enjoyed singing along!
    Have fun!

    Attached Files:

  4. Jeffrey Wash

    Jeffrey Wash Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    Santa Cruz
    Ah, welcome to the wonderful world of Wolf Tones! It's a fairly common phenomenon. I have that same exact bass and had the same problem with the overly resonant D. After a bit of trial and error, I have been able to control it very effectively by partially blocking a portion of the f-hole on the G string side. I created a thin stopper, consisting of dense foam, with an extra wide outer lip (so it can't accidentally fall inside the bass). It's only a few inches long, only blocks a portion of the f-hole and I can slide it up and down if need be.

    I think that a good adjustment of the soundpost by a competent luthier might help, however in my case it didn't fix the problem. I suggest you do a search for Wolf Tones and find out how other bassists have dealt with them. Good luck and congratulations on your new bass!
  5. terryjj1

    terryjj1 Guest

    Jul 19, 2012
    My first DB..very very nice..had a couple of people check it out before I bought it..a luthier said it was comparable to a used $5000 bas he has for sale...has upgraded tuning wheels....my teacher also said it was very nice..only suggestion was to replace strings..I'm in the process of doing that ..thomastik Spriocore..medium gauge...we'll see what it sounds like soon enough....I stole this bass for what I paid for it.....;)
  6. jon3673

    jon3673 Supporting Member

    I probably have posted this before, but I obtained my first Christopher (7/8 DB 304 5 string) to use while my early 1940’s Juzek was down for repair. The Christopher was the only inexpensive bass I could find that no one would say any thing bad about. It has become my primary work bass and does a great job.

    To answer the concern of nilsrp above, I encountered a rattle in my 304 after a couple of years which turned out to be its carved top coming loose on the side near the bottom of my bass. I had that repaired and have experienced no other problems.

    I don’t know if it is a common problem with the Christopher, but I also encountered the same problem with my 7/8 DB 604 5 string that I had special built for me several years later. The same thing; it was about two years old and the top came loose near the bottom of the bass. Again, after a simple repair, I’ve experienced no other problems.

    As far as strings; I started out using Thmoastik Weich on both of these instruments because these strings gave me the best sound on my 4/4 size Juzek. However, as I could not get the lo B in Weich, I experimented with several other brands and settled on the Innovation Honey strings. I also found that I have a great sound using the D’Addario Orchestral strings (although I hated them on my Juzek).

    I guess one has to experiment in order to find the best string for your bass, because each bass responds differently.

    That’s what makes playing bass so much fun!
  7. rockelye

    rockelye Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2010
    Stavanger, Norway
    This is my first double bass, and it arrived today in good shape.
    I just had to make a "family portrait" with my Ampeg AEB-1 :)
    I ordered the bass, The Realist pickup and a Soundwear Performer gig bag from thomann.de.
    It arrived with the sound post in place, so all I had to do was to install the pickup, place the bridge and string up.
    I have very little experience with double basses, but I love the sound so far. I guess I'll have a pro to set it up properly soon.
    Does anybody know what kind of strings that are used these basses?

    Attached Files:

  8. jon3673

    jon3673 Supporting Member


    Welcome to the wonderful world of the Christopher bass!

    I think you will see in an earlier posting that I replaced my 4/4 size 5 string Juzek with a 7/8 Christopher DB304 (5 str e/w a lo B). This has been my working bass for many years now. And just to show you my age, when they were first introduced I fell in love with and purchased a fretless Ampeg AEB-1. I have modified it through the years (until I converted to the use of a 5 string electric), but dearly loved it! It was the closest I could get to the sound of an acoustic upright.

    Well, last evening I worked in a club that also had a different band working in another room. This band was using the only other bass player in town that owns a Christopher. His is a DB303T (exactly like yours).

    His bass is set up using the original strings, a Fishman pickup and he was a large room playing thru an Acoustic Image Corus. He loved his sound! He told me that the only better sound that he has achieved was to play his Christopher amplified by a Bose L1 system using a bass speaker.

    Well, he came into the room where I was working (a little larger, but acoustically about the same as the one in which he was working) and was almost overcome by the sound of my Christopher! He said that it was much better than his sound and was amazed at the difference!

    I have my Christopher set up using Innovation Honey strings, an Underwood pickup, and in that room was driving an old AI Contra (which was located behind me). The AI amp was also driving another down facing 10” (AI) speaker that I have mounted in a music stand. This was located in front of me.

    The only thing that I have found that sounds better is when I use my AI Ten2. I did try using the Bose L1, but had to use two bass speakers in order to get good response with my lo B. That’s too much equipment to move around, so I’m very happy with my AI Ten2.

    My local friend is going to try my Underwood and AI Ten2 combination, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Also, he may use either the Thomastik Weich strings (which is the best sound that I ever got, but they don’t make their lo B in Weich), or he may try the Innovation Honey strings. I’ll let you know how this works.

    Again, welcome to the wonderful world of Christopher bass!

    rockelye likes this.
  9. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy Supporting Member

    I have one now. I think it was built in 2007, and I know it is completely plywood. It has a Full Circle pickup on it. String experiments have included Obligados that were on it, weedwackers, and now Weich Evah Pirazzos. My spelling is lousy, as you can see. So there you have it. After decades of playing a plank, I now have a doghouse.
  10. John-P


    Aug 14, 2007
    San Mateo, CA
    I just learned about the Christopher Bass Club, although I've been active on TB for a while.

    I play a Christopher laminated 3/4 size, with a Gage Realist. Not a fancy bass, but is a workhorse for swing/standards/rockabilly gigs.
    Came from Alex Friedman's shop in SSF maybe 10 years ago.
  11. dmitchell


    Oct 25, 2004
    Bay Area, CA
    I bought mine from Alex some 7 years ago. Still going strong.
  12. I've been a satisfied Christopher bass owner for almost 15 years now. I've played just about everything on it; funk, classical, jazz, fusion, pop...it sounds great on stage and in the studio. If you have any questions about the instrument, the adjustments I made after I received the bass, my current setup, etc., please feel free to ask. You can view pics and hear audio/video at: adamcohenmusic.net

    Glad someone started this club!
  13. Graham Heaney

    Graham Heaney

    Sep 24, 2007
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Aguilar Endorsing Artist
    Got my first double bass, a Christopher 401 flatback four or so years now and I'm still a big fan of it!

    Here's a wee video of it if anyone wants to take a look, it's setup with Velvet Blues and a David Gage copper realist.

    Graham Heaney | Facebook

    There's one or two close calls tuning wise but sure these things happen!

  14. Devilscreek


    Aug 2, 2016
    IMG_0324.JPG Will post a better picture sooner or later. I have a 300 Hybrid I purchased new around 2002. I play mostly bluegrass somewhat locally. Currently set up with Innovation Super Silvers, adjustable bridge, K&K Bass Max pickup, through a K&K preamp to an ancient Peavey Combo 300. The bass has been really good, but required re-gluing the upper bout about 10 yrs. ago.

    Unfortunately an idiot carrying a bass guitar and amp, coming to a jam, not watching where he was going, fell on top of it 3 yrs ago, breaking the head in half, pulling the neck loose, and popping the front loose. He did refuse to help pay the $800 repair bill from a local master luthier. At least the repair has been stable, is virtually invisible except for a little bracing patch added inside the "E" string cutout, and she plays as good as she ever did.
  15. biddypatrick


    May 4, 2007
    Hi Everyone. I have a DB200 in a 1/2 size. For those who play a DB200, what pickup do you use? I've bought this as a second bass and currently have a full circle on it. I need to put this pickup on another bass so thought it might be time to try a new pickup. I use an AI head with a crazy8 speaker and thomastik lights.
  16. jon3673

    jon3673 Supporting Member

    I have two 7/8 size 5 string Christopher basses. One is a slightly modified DB304 and the other is a DB504 that I had Christopher customize special for me. I use an AI Ten2 amp.
    I have experimented with many, many pickups through the years on different basses of different sizes and the best pickup I ever found, before the advent of the Fishman Full Circle, was the Underwood. I don't think the Underwood is available anymore, but the Shadow SH-950 appears to be an exact duplicate, and is fairly inexpensive.
    I have also used the Fishman BP-100, and actually have a 4 string bass equipped that way, but it isn't the best (I just happen to have one in my drawer when I need a pickup for this ax).
    I do believe the best pickup which reproduces the most natural sound, is the Fishman Full Circle that you are using. With this pickup I have my AI amp on absolute flat response and it reproduces my lo B string with the same volume and response as the higher strings. I say this because the amplified sound of both of my Christopher's is about the same, however, the unamplified sound presents a world of difference! There's about $10k difference in the cost of these instruments and about that much difference in the unamplified acoustic sound! This DB504 can clearly be heard when I use it playing in a Reinhardt group of 5 or 6 acoustic guitars and 2 violins. Great fun!
    biddypatrick likes this.
  17. The Underwood is available. If anyone has trouble getting one let me know and I'll tug Belinda's coattail.
  18. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Jon 3673,

    Do you notice any major differences between the 306 and the 504 models??
  19. biddypatrick


    May 4, 2007
    Thanks so much for the response. I might get the faulty full circle repaired then. I used to have an underwood years ago but sold it with a bass. From what I'm reading around this forum it seems full circle and ply bass go together well. It might be a good idea to have an underwood on standby though since the little cable is so fragile. Mine has come loose at the adjuster. But I've had it for 9 years so I did well. lol.
  20. jon3673

    jon3673 Supporting Member

    Both of my basses are set up to feel identical. When amplified there very little difference in the sound between the 300 and 500 bass. Acoustically, there's night and day difference! The fully carved 500 series has a great sound!
    I started out playing upright bass with a pre WWII 4/4 size Juzek, because it was the greatest sounding ax I had ever heard. I wound up breaking the neck and had to take it up to Cincinnati to get it repaired. As it was going to be down for quite a while (and I was working quite a bit at that time), I decided to get a low cost sub for temporary use. The internet had just begun, so I questioned people all over the world to find a good sounding inexpensive sub. The best response I got was several recommendations for the 300 Christopher, plus it was available as a 5 string. So, I purchased it and was very pleased using it in an amplified situation.
    In fact, after my Juzek was repaired I never took it out on an amplified gig again! I mean, why take a $15k value bass out on a $50 gig?
    Anyway, years later I asked Christopher to build me a 504 with an overlapping fingerboard, because I like the spacing of the 4 string bass. In fact, I've also modified my 306 accordingly.
    Again, my main problem is that I use the 504 with an acoustic group and, as a result, get hooked on the sound. In fact, I'm taking it out on a big band gig tonight . . . . just to feed my habit! So, my $50 gig rational doesn't do much good.
    In fact, a few years back I had to make a choice of selling either my pre war Juzek or my 504 Christopher. I'm still playing the Christopher!