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Upton vs. New Standard

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by funkythumb, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Hey all,
    So I'm mostly an electric guy who's been doubling for years. I have an ok Wilfer and am researching to find a good sounding yet inexpensive DB for the road.
    Upton basses seems to make a really nice laminate $1,800. I was curious as to how it sounds in comparison to the Cleveland, New Standard bass. The Upton is more in my price range but I was interested to get opinions on tone.
    I'm going to try some local stuff around $1,500 and depending on sound might get an Upton.
    Any input?
  2. MollyKay


    Sep 10, 2006
    Southern PA
    Bass Hobby'ist
  3. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Gird my loins!!! That's why I'm here asking.
  4. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Well, some of you have been kind enough to write privately to me professing your strong opinions on both brands and saying that you'd be afraid to post your opinions publicly. I, of course, respect your decision and ask you to continue to write.
    The opinions have been interesting and not what I expected.
    thanks all
  5. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Cleveland is my backup bass. It's the one I go to when standing the line of fire. It will take a bullet, my 150 year old Alsatian Queen will not.

    I've played a bunch of basses, ply, solid, hybrid etc. Bang for the buck I couldn't be happier.

    Never played an Upton so I can't compare.

    Fwiw, I never seen any complaints about the Cleveland beyond "it's a plywood."

    If you can afford and use a carved bass I'd do it but if you need something that works, sounds great and is durable...Cleveland.
  6. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Thanks Phil, always appreciate your opinion.
  7. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA

    ...except for the 150 year old fine European bass part! ;)

  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The New Standard laminates I've played (I own a LaScala laminate and have played several Clevelands) are the best ply basses I've ever seen, and definitely the loudest. John Goldsby recorded the "Live at the Nachbar" CD (soundclips at the link) on my LaScala, and sounded great. I've got another recording or two of that bass in a longer setting up here somewhere as well.

    I've not spent any real quality time with an Upton, so I can't comment there. If anybody has any Upton soundclips, please feel free to post them here by way of comparison.

    This issue has tended to be somewhat polarizing, but it needn't be. The best advice possible is to try to get your hands on one or more of each and let your hands and ears decide.
  9. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Just keep in mind that you could buy two Upton Standards, for less than the price of one New Standard Cleveland.

    I'm sure they are both great basses.
  10. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    Yeah, but you just have the Upton Standard (or 2 of them) and not the New Standard. I don't own either, but I have played and been impressed by the New Standard Cleveland. Two times.

    Again I don't own either. I own 2 American Standards. The standard of Standards, if you will.

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. ;) <---Errrrrbody see dis?
  11. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    I've heard some sound clips of the New Standards and am amazed at their sound. I have no doubt whatsoever about their quality and tone. I am, however, less familiar with the Upton, having only heard a few sound clips. I've found someone in my city who owns a Cleveland and plan on going for a visit. Any Upton laminate owners in Atlanta?
    If I were to rephrase my question, I'd have to ask "is paying twice the money worth it when comparing the tone of each instrument?"
  12. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Twice the price? My current bass cost me three times what the Upton cost. How can I measure value?
    1) Sound volume? Big winner. Cannon.
    2) Ease of play? 43" 7/8ths vs 41.5 ?? Loss.
    3) Weight or portability? The new one is bigger and heavier, so that's a loss.
    4) Complexity of tone? Big winner there.
    5) Enjoyment in the experience of playing. Big winner.:D

    Although my CPA might argue my sense of value, the additional expense is more than worth it to me.

    Sure I could have just bought two more Uptons. What's the point in having three basses I wouldn't enjoy playing? ;););)< See that? Chill.:D

    Toad's new Queen was what, 4X the price of the Cleveland? When you really love something it doesn't really matter much what it costs, does it?
  13. I don't have experience with the Upton... I can only say that the Cleveland hybrid I've owned for 3 years gets better and better.

    Best bass I've owned for the $$.... not to mention Arnold's such a nice luthier... he has a way of getting the most of the woods he crafts and he listens to what you want from your bass, string combinations, etc...

    Try it - you won't go back...
  14. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    You're absolutely right. Each person must decide for him/herself what is the value of the enjoyment received. It's very personal. The question being asked here seems to be whether the New Standard offers enough perceived advantage to justify the substantially greater price. Of course, one would probably not buy two Uptons instead of one Cleveland. The question really is whether anything at all is missed by buying one Upton vs. one New Standard. I have not played a New Standard next to a current USA-made Upton lami. What we have here is folks who have experience with the New Standards and little or none with the Upton lami. It's clear that New Standard owners love their basses-- and they should! None, so far, has been able to offer a straightforward comparison. I cannot either because I have spent a fair amount of time with the new Upton lami but not the New Standard. Several weeks ago, I played and heard three Upton lamis, one strung with Spiros, one with Helicores, and one with Evahs. My impression was that they sounded and played better than a lami has a right to. The finish work was beautiful too. What would really be nice is if someone could compare these basses side-by-side. I can't and, so far, neither can anyone else who has offered their insight. There is a link to a sound/video clip of the Upton lami on their site.
  15. arseniotall


    Dec 24, 2005
    ive played both and based on your situation I'd get the upton.
  16. Aresnio,

    I'd love to hear more, since you've played 'em both. Thanks.
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I hope to be able to do this in the not-too distant future, with sound clips if possible. In the meantime, if anybody with an Upton of any kind happens to attend the Aebersold camps, please look me up and let's do a hang!

    I'm probably a dummy, but can you send me link? I couldn't find it.
  18. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    What a shame!

    I own a 2006 Upton Laminate (not one of the new USA Uptons) and couldn't be happier.

    "Good sounding yet inexpensive" - that sounds like Upton to me.
  19. Andrew Grandahl

    Andrew Grandahl

    Sep 11, 2007
    I had a rehearsal last night for a cello concerto in which I was the only bassist. I wanted to use my friend's Cleveland because she has an extension. Hers is a few years old, strung with Helicores. I played through the piece with my bow, then took the music to my practice room and tried it with my 2006 Upton hybrid, strung with Evahs and with hundreds and hundreds of hours of playing time put into it. It cost me $2600. It's sound was deeper and even louder. I took the Upton to the rehearsal. I've played the revised, American made Uptons and they're even more impressive. I can't say enough for the kind of bang for your buck you get from them. That said, the Cleveland is definitely easier to play, and I've never heard it with Evahs, superior strings to Helicores in my opinion.

    This is your first double bass, and you want something for the road... get the Upton.
  20. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Finally an objective comparison.

    Thanks for posting that.

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