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Upton's Euro Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by GutOil, Jun 6, 2005.


  1. GutOil

    GutOil

    Jun 3, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    I asked Upton Bass if they would sell a EngelHardt ES1 with their setup and they would be happy to do so for about $1800. However, they also suggested their UB Laminated "Medio Fino" Model for $1500(http://uptonbass.com/catalog/produc...d/279?osCsid=8b11366cfbcca7d5f244d625547b918d). I asked the country of origin and Upton's reply was that it is a trade secret but that it is European. Does this sound fishy to anyone? Does anyone have any experience with this bass or know its true origin?

    Thanks.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Not with that one, but I have their Jazz/Bluegrass "Hawkes" model, and it's terrific. Don't know where it came from but I don't really care either.
     
  3. philly

    philly

    Nov 20, 2004
    nyc
    i have one of these basses. I like it very much especially for the money. It has many good qualities...sounds good, nice ebony fingerboard great set up, exceedingly playable, all ebony fittings and it looks and plays way better than the englehardt. My only regret is that I didnt buy the hybrid model for 1000 more. By the way mine was made in poland, which they told me in the shop(maybe in a moment of weakness). I would also be willing to vouch for them not being fishy...they seem like decent guys doing honest business. Im not sure why theyre reluctant to divulge the origin of these basses but they really are way above average for the money.
     
  4. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I have played the Upton laminates on several occasions. I find them to be head and shoulders above the Engelhardts and, for that matter, far better than most laminates I have played. They are an excellent value; the workmanship is quite good. In addition, the set-up work they do at Upton bass is superb. In my experience, I have found that you can trust Gary Upton implicitly!
     
  5. philly

    philly

    Nov 20, 2004
    nyc
    drurb-

    I noticed in your profile that you own the hybrid model then presumably traded up to a fully carved. Do you think the hybrid is worth a trade up for me or do you think it would be just another transition to a fully carved instrument? Just your opinion.
     
  6. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004

    Hi Philly--

    I absolutely adored that Upton hybrid. To my ears, there was and is a substantial difference between the Upton hybrid and the Upton laminate. Good as the laminate is, the hybrid provides a more "refined," complex, and sweet tone. That's not unexpected.

    The Upton fully-carved is another animal entirely. It really is a beautiful looking and sounding instrument. It is the kind of bass I've wanted for 35 years! The issue, of course, is $$$. Roughly, I figure it would run you another $5-7k to end up with the Upton fully-carved (assuming Gary gives you a nice allowance on the trade-in).

    I'm guessing the Hybrid will probably run you another $1-2k. In my opinion it IS worth going to the hybrid. I'd take that hybrid over "cheapie" fully-carved models any day. By the way, I made the trek to Upton Bass just last Saturday for a check-up and a new set of Obligatos. The hybrids Gary is selling now seem to be markedly improved over the model that I had. They have a new darker finish, higher quality endpins, and the tailpieces are hung with Upton's tail-gut.

    Bottom line: If you're not in for the hefty expense of the fully-carved, I'd definitely go for that hybrid.

    Les
     
  7. philly

    philly

    Nov 20, 2004
    nyc
    thanks for the thoughtful reply, les. I'm sure that carved bass is very nice..although neither I or my wife are ready for that expense(her less than me). That hybrid really sounds like it might be the way to go for me. I really love the playability of the laminate, and I'm getting better and better sound from it, but can't help thinking I'm missing something...an old story I guess. Do you think all these basses (lam, hybrid, carved) are made in the same shop?

    phil
     
  8. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004

    Well, I thought the hybrid and carved were made in the same shop but I don't really know for sure. I was never really too concerned about the shop in Europe from which each might come. I just know that they are good basses and very good values for the money. Talk to Gary long enough and, as you might already know, he just won't sell marginal products. I always found him to have pride in what he sells whether it's a bass or a bottle of polish.

    Les
     
  9. GutOil

    GutOil

    Jun 3, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks to everyone for their posts. This has been very helpful.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, Gary rules! He goes out of his way for his customers and did me a big solid a couple weeks ago. When I called them to see about getting more endpin tips because mine was getting worn out from concrete stages, he just sent me this big heavy duty endpin tip that looked like the tip on a crutch! Class act, Upton is.
     
  11. I have a carved Upton bass that is wonderful. Mine was made in Poland and I got a good deal on it because it had some minor cosmetic issues. Gary is a class act!!
     
  12. mpoppitt

    mpoppitt

    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
  13. What a pleasure to see some laminated basses with some quality! After so many years of dealing with basses with pop-off scroll volutes and painted or decaled purfling, end-pins and machines that rattle and vibrate and just don't work, not to mention that same boring pattern, we finally have some quality.
    You mention Poland, and i've seen the same good stuff coming out of Bulgaria and Romania.......things are lookin' up for newbies and people that can't afford a Gasparo.
     
  14. GutOil

    GutOil

    Jun 3, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    Yeah, its beautiful. Check out the purfling around the f-holes. Jack (at Upton Bass) was selling me yesterday about it as a finish option on the "hawkes" model. I considered purchasing it but it would have have put me over on my budget. The blonde finish is an extra $350.

    I ordered the UB Laminated "Medio Fino" Model w/bridge adjusters, revolution pick up. I think I will be pleasantly suprises in about 3 weeks. :cool:
     
  15. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I'm betting you'll be extremely pleased!
     
  16. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I had a chance to see and play a new Upton Hawkes model laminated bass this evening. I was very impressed to say the least. To me, it was at least as nice as Shen SB100's that I have played, however I preferred the larger body of the Upton, which is really more like a 7/8 size bass. The Upton had a nice big sound and was very even. I was also impressed by the setup, which was very well done indeed. The Upton Hawkes model reminded me of some of the better Czech plywood basses that I have played over the years. Personally I don't think it makes any real difference about the bass's exact country of origin, although the Upton Hawkes definitely has a distinctly Euro flavor IMO. I also felt like this was a bass I could play on many gigs and be very satisfied. For $1500 this has to be one of the best deals going right now.

    -bob
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, the $1500 price tag with their setup was a definite selling point for me. And when I play basses with smaller upper bouts, they just don't seem to have the low end kick that mine does. I'm still pretty lame in thumb position, but reaching up there on the bigger bout doesn't seem any less bothersome on a bass with a smaller bout, so I'm glad I got it. I've played 5 or 6 other basses since I got it (including a 1928 Kay and a Thoma carved), and the Upton sounded better than all of them.
     
  18. I'm interested in the "Hawkes" model, but I'm nervous about shipping, etc. How do they ship, and tell what to expect...
    Thanks..

    bluegrassboy
     
  19. My Upton bass was shipped by Yellow and was handled very professionally and came without a stratch. I played it today for a rehearsal for an upcoming folk festival and it has opened up so beautifully after a year of hard playing. I love it and have not had GAS for a new bass since getting it a year ago. I know of someone here on the board that had a damaged bass during transit, but I think Gary took care of it. I have had nothing but positive experiences with Gary at Upton Bass. I have purchased also purchased an amp and strings from him.
     
  20. Well, that is great!!!