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Thin bodied basses and me.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Joe Nerve, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'm about 24 hours away from ordering a Silver Creek or Josef Lazar thinbody upright, and would like some other thoughts and opinions. Here's my quick story first:

    I have a really great opportunity to do a lot of touring if I can simply transer about 2 dozen songs I'm currently playing on an acoustic bass guitar to a double bass. I borrowed a DB a while back, but i've come to the conclusion that it needs a lot of work, strings, a microphone, case... basically it's going to take a substantial investment on my part, and the guy who lent it to me may call any day and ask for it back. Anyhow, aside from the above, the action is nasty on the bass i have here, and i'm totally unmotivated because i have less than zero desire to start carrying this thing (the DB) around with me to gigs. The woman I'm playing with is leaning heavily on me to do so however, and i'm getting the feeling if I dont' cave in soon - someone else may be jumping in on a great opportunity.

    Today I page through my MF catalogue and see the very affordable Silver Creek. I do a search and learn about the identical yet cheaper J Lazar. I'm obsessed, ready to make an impulsive purchase that's going to knock the Bongo bass I've been saving for out of my reality....

    I heard they don't sound that great - but all I really have to compare it to is an electric bass. I'm not going to be all that picky about whther or not they sound like a $7,000 upright. I'll also only be using it amped. Will it be a lot easier to transport? Are they worth the money? Are they well built? Do they make cases for these things? I haven't found one yet in a search. Blah, blah, blah....

    Please give me any and all input ya can. Thanks.
  2. I gave that bass a lot of thought a couple months ago, but the consensus on this forum changed my mind, so I bought a used BSX EUB for a little less money. The Silver Creek and the Lazar are actually the same bass, but the Lazar is $300 cheaper ! But if you notice the Lazar never seems to be in stock !
    Maybe that's by design, I don't know . .

    If you do buy from MF, they give you 45 days to return it if it's no good. They're good about taking returns, it would cost you the shipping charges though.

    You might want to consider a good EUB instead.
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    If you're going to be amplifying it anyway, and your bandleader lady is just as happy, I'd go with an EUB. Those Ergo thingys seem to be in the same price range and a couple of other doublers here seem to be pretty happy with theirs. It'll be a LOT more durable and a LOT more portable.

    My Azola is saving my life right now, while my New Standard is being repaired. I have concluded that there will now be some gigs that the nice URB just won't go to.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    A thin body DB isn't really going to be any more portable than a more common variety one. The only size difference is that the thin ones are about 3-4 inches thinner. Other than that, they pretty much displace the same amount of our atmosphere.

    As for durability, perhaps it might be a little tougher, but in reality, most all tragedies associated with a db involve the neck. Unless the bass is designed significantly differently that it's thicker big brother, I fail to see how the neck would be any less vulnerable.

    Some guy brought one (don't know the make) to a community center gathering not too long ago, it did look pretty nice. It played OK, but sounded like poo.

    He was carrying his in a regular bass bag. It worked fine even if a little loose. There are lots of guys out there that make custom bags, although one would probably cost you more than the bass. If you bought a common variety bass bag, even a cheapo, you'd have plenty of room to add another layer of padding.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I thought this was quite amusing from a certain "perspective"...:)

    So, effectively, you are asking a group of people who have taken the time and effort to play DB, to help you (who hasn't) to help you get a series of gigs, that they might consider is their due, for having put in that time and effort...? :meh:


    [just to make it clear I don't consider myself part of that group either!]
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    aaah... but you have no idea what i've already put into this gig. been doing it for a year now and she still likes me :) . with her being a somewhat tempermental female boss, that counts for more than i'd say 10 yrs DB experience.

    i'm new to the DB scene so i don't know what an EUB is. i'm guessing it means electric upright? if yer talking about one of the sticklike things, she wants the vibe of a DB. she's perfectly happy with the sound of my electric bass guitars, but wants the class that a DB adds to her performance.

    i gotta be honest here. well, first - i'm not getting the responses i hoped for, but i'm glad that you're all being honest and not attempting to please me. second - i'm obsessed, if not for the size of the thing, for the fact that it's the most affordable DB i've seen without having to resort to Carlo Robellis. I'm incredibly close to placing the order regardless of what i'm reading here. i'm like that :) . i'm sure lots of you are like that too. :)

    an attempt raise my spirits just a bit... when you guys say they sound like crap, is that in comparison to the really expensive DBs you've grown accustomed to over the years? would it be possible to be more specific? like do they respond and play well? do they have have sustain? if really tweaked with an outboard EQ wouldn't i be able to get at least a better sound than i presently am out of my michael kelly or carlo robelli acoustic?

    lastly... are they really never available at MF, or are they just presently not available. it says they'll be getting them the 29th. has that been something that keeps changing? or has the 29th been a consistent date of arrival.

    i know i'm askin a lot here. you're time is appreciated. and i mean no disrespect if i buy it in lieu of what you take your time to tell me. i'm considering all that's being said... just may need to go my own thick headed way.
  7. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    I started on bass guitar, then owned many EUB's before going over to DB's. Steve Azola's EUB's are worth the extra $, not only for the quality of the instrument, but the incredible support they give you. I certainly needed and used all the info they provided. Contact Steve directly...and discuss it; he'll give you the inside scoop on the whole world EUB's like no one else can. Contact info - www.azola.com. The best store I've found for EUB's at sale prices is www.basscentral.com. If you call, Gard can be very helpful. You may not be that far off in price after all from getting an Azola.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    OK - from being around here, I might suggest your problem is that you're talking to people for whom, appearance is nothing and "that sound" is everything!

    So - the only reason to play such an awkward and difficult instrument is to get "that sound"!!

    Also - I don't see what advantange you think you are actualy getting from a thin-bodied bass?

    It's not going to be any easier to play - you still have the issue of amplifying successfully (feedback, boomy sound etc.)and EUBs are better at this.

    You still have virtually the same physical difficulty - in terms of playing the thing and manoueuvering it. If your DB action is too high - then why not get a luthier to make it lower - sounds like a better option?

    So it's slightly smaller back to front - so what?

    I don't understand the appeal....:confused:
  9. I plunked one in a store- didn't like it. Felt big & awkward, sounded thin & scratchy. I'm sure a better doubler could make it sound better, & feel is subjective, but to me anything (your ABG's, for sure) would have nicer a tone & my 3/4 URB feels much more playable.
  10. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Joe, just to emphasize what Chasarms said...the thin body isn't going to give you anything in terms of portability and they don't sound good. And no, that's not judged from the perspective of owning a very expensive upright. Both Charles and myself own hybrid or laminated basses that are considered to be budget-priced (as far as DB's go...).

    A used or new Englehardt is going to give you 1) more of the "vibe" you want 2) much better tone 3) much better resale value if you decide it's not what you wanna do.

    You lose nothing in return except a few more bucks, which may very well determine whether or not you continue with DB or give up in frustration because you didn't have good tools to work with.
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    OK. You've all got me slightly reconsidering now. Here's a couple of other things though...

    I'm not taking the bass I presently have for a setup because it's not mine, and I don't know how long I'm going to be able to hold on to it. I'm also reluctant to invest in a case and mic for it becasue of the same reasons.

    Money is a HUGE issue for me and I can't go over $1,200. I also don't like buying used, especially when I haven't a clue what i'm doing.

    The size thing I believe will be significant with one of these because I own a honda civic, and when I stuck the DB I have now in it I had to toy with it for a while before getting it to fit, and it left no room for anything else including another passenger. the thickness of the body WAS an issue.

    My thinking is that I'll sacrifice sound, BUT, I'll be gaining manouverability, won't have to invest in a mic, I'll have the option to return, it also fit better in my apartment - and once again... the price! $1000!!! Can I do better with a new DB????? Give me links please! You've almost convinced me dammit!!!! Still got a ways to go.

    On a more personal note: I've realized that I have this fear of pissing you DB guys off by being thick headed. Not sure where that's coming come from just wanted to express it in hopes of being rid of it. I feel the need to talk this bass purchase through and it may take a while. If I buy a DB it it's going to be in place of a Bongo and most people on the other side of the talkbass fence know what that means to me. 2 years worth of GAS.
  12. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I know you're up against the clock here, but you can find decent used basses for a reasonable price. Here on Maui, a tiny little rock, I bought a very nice, clean Epiphone ply for $600. I've since sold it, wish I hadn't! I also bought an almost cherry condition blonde Englehardt for $400 from a guy on Molokai (an even tinier rock). Either one of those would be an ideal road bass. I know these may be flukes, but it shows that there are some deals out there if you keep your eyes peeled. Maybe you could use the collective peeled eyes :meh: of the TBDB community to help you find a deal near you. Lotsa TBers in NYC.

    I've seen and played the pancake bass, can't remember which brand (Knilling maybe?), some guy in Japan had one. I didn't care for it, really thin sounding and felt like a dead thing in my hands compared to my travel bass (Azola Bug). It had no portability advantage over a double bass, as the profile is the same.

    I transported my bass, amp, and all the mess of cables and stands and crap in a '93 Civic for years, all at about 35 MPG. It can be done.

    Regarding mics; well, a lot of us use them, but a decent pickup and preamp is probably better for road work anyway. I've tried a lot of them, but the K&K stuff is really affordable and reliable.

    Good luck, Joe.

    P.S. "Used" is not a dirty word in DB land!

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Agreed. You don't gain anything when buying a thin body DB. The sound isn't as good, and it isn't any easier to play. Also, it is frequently better to buy a used DB. You can tell if it is in good shape. Basses sound better as they are played more. They open up in sound.
  14. Da Noive:

    Forget the pissonaplate bass.

    Contact Bob Gollihur, he can fix you up with an Englehardt, K&K BassMax and a good bag for not much over your $1000 budget. Check out www.gollihur.com

    Reasonable sounding, roadworthy, decent resale, can be done quickly. IMO, probably your best deal. And you won't find a better guy to deal with than Bob.

    Edit: From Bob's website:
    Englehardt EC-1- $919
    K&K Bass Max- 87
    Padded bag- 129
    Total $1135

    I think you'd shop a long time to do better than that.
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I'm with Eric, if you're looking for a new bass. I've bashed on a lot of Engelhardts, they're hard to beat in the trenches for the $$$. They amplify great. They're pretty bulletproof. They look nice (shiny, though) so your diva-in-residence will love you.

    Plus, you can deal with Bob, which is one of the real advantages here.
  16. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    hmmm... what's the difference between the EC and the EM. yooz guys are getting real close to convincing me. not sure why the thin one's got me all excited though and the fat one feels like buying socks. i wish i could go mess around somewhere with both and see what feels best. if I buy a big bass I fear it's gonna just sit in my room like the one i got now, while i'm finding it difficult to believe (from pictures at least) that there wouldn't be a big difference with the thinner one. maybe my first transporting experience only sucked so much becasue i didn't have a case and I was concerned about breaking the already half broken bass. i don't think i mentioned that the body on the bass i have now is all cracked.

    i'm gonna go eat some tofu turkey. see yas later. happy thanksgiving y'all. :)
  17. Amen. A real stand-up guy...
  18. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    No wonder you're skeptical, if you tried transporting a DB without a bag. That's like wrestling with your Grandma. Naked.

    Bob describes the differences between the models on the Engelhardt page. Better woods, basically.
  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    didn't leave yet. i'm in obsessed mode. what's the deal with 1/2 size basses??? would that solve my portablility gripes??? are 1/2 size basses looked down and frowned upon and will my boss tell me "no go" or would she not even notice? i noticed some good prices also on josef lazar basses - like $$899 with a case! :eek: now that gets my blood pumping and sounds more like socks that at least won't break my bank.
  20. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I've found that to actually be lots of fun. Thought I was the only one who tried it.