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Upton Bass is Da Bomb!

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Craig Garfinkel, Aug 9, 2005.


  1. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I just got back from beautiful Mystic, CT, where I picked up my Shen SB 80 from Upton Bass, where it received a full setup.

    Firstly, I cannot say enough about how I was treated; initially by Jack and Eric, and today when I finally got to meet Gary himself. What a great bunch of cats! They truly love what they do, and it shows. Although I'm a total noob to the DB they made me feel like I was Paul Warburton bringing in his Bohmann instead of the slab-smackin' DB wanna-be that I am draggin' in a fugly Shen. :D

    When I first brought them the bass, I had a budget and we settled on what could be done within what I was willing to spend. A few days later Gary called me and said he'd really like to do a bunch more stuff in order to make the bass sound as good as possible, and I said I'd be willing to go up to "x" amount. To make a long story short, they ended up doing the following: new bridge, installation of FC pickup, new sound post and fit, fingerboard plane and dress, new endpin install, rehang tailpiece, nut adjustment and a new set of Spirocores, all for hundreds of dollars less than I should have expected to pay! :hyper:

    And the quality of the work? Fantastic! Even in my newbie hands I was instantly struck by how much more playable the bass was. When I first purchased the bass I thought, well, this is going to be a struggle...but I'm just going to have to build up the hand strength and callouses necessary to wrestle this bad boy into submission. Now I feel like I'll actually be able to play this sucker one day...and maybe a bit sooner than I had imagined.

    Needless to say, Upton Bass has a very, very satisfied customer. :D

    Oh...and they even put my bass' setup pics up on stringrepair.com http://www.stringrepair.com/db9.html

    Many thanks to Gary, Jack, Eric and the gang...and thanks for the great hang!
     
  2. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    OMG Craig, I cringe to think that is was that bad...I'm sure it is much better now then when i got that funny smellin' thin in my garage ! Best of luck with it... I hope the smell goes away.
     
  3. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Dear god, man - what happened to that bass!?
     
  4. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    What Brent, that refin not quite up to your standards? :D

    DZ will have to fill us in on "what happened", if he knows. Let's just say he adjusted his selling price accordingly.

    Yeah, it's the ugliest bass ever...but she's mine and I love her! :oops:

    It's not quite as stinky as it was when I picked it up from you Don. :meh: :bag:

    Since the bass won't be leaving my house until I can actually play the darn thing, it's gonna stay fugly for the forseeable future. Like Gary said, "save the money for your next bass."

    Anyway, on the bright side the sound-to-ugliness ratio is off the scale now...thanks to UB. :D
     
  5. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    You missed the ASS'es On Fire thread, didn't you?
     
  6. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Yup...link please?

    And I just noticed...Fugly for the Forseeable Future...now I just gotta write the tune to go with that title! :cool:
     
  7. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I got that bass in a deal for another bass. The original owner was not happy with the shiny lacquer and decided to refinish it. Unfortunately he used a brush and a can of homer formsby or something similar...

    How does it sound Craig ?

    Edit: The scary part of the refin is not necessarily how ugly it is but that this cat got the refin advice from a violin shop in Philadelphia !
     
  8. philly

    philly

    Nov 20, 2004
    nyc
    I totally agree with the assesment of Upton. Good guys, very honest businessmen, excellent craftsmen, and they stand by there customers like no one I've ever dealt with before in any line of business. I've posted before about the upton laminate basses- I'll add that if your looking to buy a first bass you'd be insane to not at least give these guys a shot. The service I've received has made the bass go from being an excellent value for the money to an unsurpassable bargain. When I brought the bass in for a six month check up they went beyond any expectation in making sure I was happy with the instrument. Hey, they already had my money! Plus that
    %100 trade in? How can you beat that? They even offered me, since I had bought a bass from them, a $100 discount on a $250 dollar bow(which I have yet to take them up on but certainly will). Stop @#$% around and get to upton.
     
  9. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Yeah... but there's a big difference between advice and execution!
     
  10. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    :meh:

    I just got a notification that Sam Sherry posted here...and now I don't see it? Weird.

    Hey Sam...were your ears burnin' man? Gary and I were talkin' about you as I was laying my filthy, greasy hands all over that beautiful bass you've got in the shop. :D

    JUST KIDDING!!!! (about the greasy hands...not about the beauty of your bass!)
     
  11. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    In my hands it sounds pretty good...in Gary's hands it sounded great!
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    LOL, I got to see the paint brush Shen on Friday when I visited Upton. I'm glad to see that you weren't the culprit, DZ. Was that violin shop that recommended using a paint brush called Philly Violin and Fence? If it were my bass, I'd send it to Brent and let him max it out with a badass custom finish. Either that, or slap a bunch of pin-up silhouette stickers all over it. Or maybe I'd remove the old finish and get a paint sprayer and do it right.

    Eh, actually I'd probably just leave it and give people something to remember me by.
     
  13. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Naw, it was baloney so I nuked it (again).

    I'm a lucky guy, Craig. But I'd be luckier if I had both basses at home . . . not that it's Gary's fault.

    The joy you take in that sour-looking bass underscores the wisdom of the maxim, man. "Buy for sound." Labels are inaudible -- looks are temporary -- sound is everything.

    Have at it, man. I know you'll be out playing up a storm in no time.
     
  14. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Just couldn't let all this Upton praise go by without joining in. What everyone has said here goes double for me. I bought a hybrid from Gary and then traded up to one of his fully carved models. Just can't say enough about these guys. Their pride, honesty, skill, integrity, and loyalty make them a great find. Oh, and my bass! Pure love.

    Just a month or so ago I brought my bass in for new strings and a "check-up." They swarmed over it like bees making sure everything was "just so." Every seam, joint, adjustment, etc. Alas, Eric found that he just wasn't perfectly comfortable with one of the grooves on the nut. He filed an infinitesmally small amount from it and then was happy.

    Of course, I expected to pay to have the strings installed. I tried, but Gary said, "Hey, you did buy the bass from me..." That was that.
     
  15. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I checked out Brent's site with that very notion...but alas it seems he doesn't take in basses for just a refin. :crying: But Brent...wouldn't my bass just make the most awesome "before and after" shots? :D
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well since Brent's been selling off unfinished basses occasionally, he must really be slammed. Go to www.rockabillybass.com and ask around there. There are guys who do awesome refin work on there and maybe they can point you to someone who can do it for you, or at least give you pointers on how to do it yourself. Me, I bought an Upton and I'm totally happy with the finish so I don't know boo about it.
     
  17. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    It would make for GREAT before and after shots! :) Refins are not *totally* out of the question, but there are some considerations, including freight costs back and forth, and the labor cost of stripping and refinning. This can add up to half or more of what the player paid for the bass, particularly if it's a sub-$2K instrument. I've also had folks inquire about refins who own basses in serious need of repair, yet who aren't interested in having the repairs made (looking for more flash than function, I suppose)... Frankly, I don't need someone's beat-down '38 Kay coming apart on my watch, if ya dig.
     
  18. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I can dig it Brent! I wish you were within driving distance...you do such awesome work I'd seriously consider spending the money to have you do your magic even though the value of the bass doesn't "justify" the cost. Not that I've ever needed justification to spend money on basses and gear before...just ask my wife. :D

    Gary and I talked about a refin, and we both agreed that the money would be better saved for my next bass.

    Then again, if I start picking up nicknames like "Brushy" or "Stinky"... :ninja:
     
  19. Kevin Ray

    Kevin Ray Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    I'm very fortunate in that I have a wonderful bass. It's an old 7/8 with a big gorgeous tone that's very even in all registers. While I knew I needed a new bridge, I didn't think the sound or playability could improve all that much. I took my bass to Upton, and let them do what they though was best. They gave me a radically smaller bridge, and placed it very well. Now my bass still has the big sound, but it's much more focused, and even more colorful than it was. It projects very clearly. The interesting thing is that other shops had not even suggested changing the size or shape of the bridge.
    In addition, they spent hours on the thing! I also got a new tailpiece and cable. They really care for your instrument there. Thanks guys!
     
  20. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Careful: This is a family site. :eyebrow: