What is the reputation?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Tronictq, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. Tronictq


    Jan 23, 2001
    Hello everyone.

    I am trying out a new bass for buying for a couple of weeks. It is a Samjin (ever heard of it? cause i haven't) fully carved bass. It is Korean to say the least. Now I have heard a lot of disreputable things about the Korean and Chinese made basses, but the last couple of years they have supposedly have been improving the quality of instruments. THe way the bass is now... I absolutlely love it. It has a great orchestral tone as well as jazz tone, but I'd had to invest a pile of money into something that has been so disreputable in the past. So basically my question is.... how are the Korean and Chinese made basses these days?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Shlomobaruch


    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    There are probably a lot more people with more authority on this than myself, but I will say that I've come across a few Chinese basses in the past few years and I would have recommended any of them to a student. Nothing spectacular by any means, but at least worth their value. I think they have figured out that they can't just throw together wood in the shape of a bass and sell it here - we aren't quite *that* dumb.

    Are you buying it from an individual or a shop? You might want to see if you can find anything on the reputation of either. Either way, you might want to have a luthier, or if you know someone who knows their instruments, examine it just to make sure it won't fall apart in a few years. Barring that, if you're getting a sound you like out of it, go for it.
  3. One of the school districts in my area purchased 12 Scherl & Roth Korean made doublebasses about 2 years ago. So far, I've had to do substantial work to 8 of them. So far, their track record doesn't look too good.
  4. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Like "Chinese bass", I suspect the term "Korean bass" covers a very wide range. Lemur sells a line of "Sunrise" basses from Korea and they generally don't sell junk.
  5. Up until Scherl & Roth started making thier instruments in Korea, their instruments were of very high quality. It's sad to see a grand old name like S&L being brought down to this level.
  6. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    it's tough to generalize about all basses made in any country, CHRONIC QTIP. just look at the 'asia vs. germany and the italians' (or thereabouts) thread of late.

    i have a sweet chinese bass. lots of other guys around here do too. there are chinese basses that are pieces of crap too. i'm sure there's quite a variety of workmanship coming out of korea these days as well. that doesn't mean that korea is making some of the best basses in the world, just that they're probably very different from manufacturer to manufacturer.

    it sounds like the scherl and roth basses aren't such a good bet, according to bob b. but that doesn't make it any easier to generalize about all the basses coming out of the country where they're made.

    i would think the best you can do is hope to connect (maybe here, or maybe through the shop selling the bass you're interested in) with a couple of people who already have basses by the same manufacturer and talk with them about their experiences.

    good luck!

    sean p
  7. It's not really a question of workmanship.
    The carving on all these factory basses is done with computer driven CNC machines, so "workmanship" become mainly a question of putting the parts together and spraying on the finish. The problems I've observed with Korean made Roth and Korean make Knilling (which look to be from the same factory) is the quality of the raw materials used in construction. One really bad area is the fingerboards. They claim the wood to be ebony, but it is very bad ebony if it is true ebony. Some of them have grain that is so wild that it is virtually impossible to do a properly dress the board. I had one that had to be redone twice because every time the weather would change, the wild grain would raise and and make "lumps" in the fingerboard. Setting up a low action would require a new fingerboard. Other wood parts exhibit problems normally attributed to using "green" wood.

    What makes the situation bad for the buyer is that these are the kind of problems that do not show up when the instruments are new. These school instruments did not exhibit the problems until 6 months or more after purchase. You can draw your own conclusions, but the school district that purchased the Scherl & Roth Korean made basses have said that they will no longer accept bids for basses or cellos made in Korea for S&R.
  8. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I've seen the same instruments from S&L. They might want to change the model name to BSO. bass-shaped-object. However, as I posted just a few minutes ago in another rant, lumping together Korean factories with Chinese factories is a bad idea. Most of them use CNC machines and crap fingerboards, but not all. Germany and Romania put out some nasty student basses as well. As far as the Samijn goes, I'd pass that up.
  9. I guess my next question would have to be - does anyone know for a fact that there is more than one factory in Korea putting out basses for the US market? I did an internet search and could only find one.
  10. Dig Wilbur Ware

    Dig Wilbur Ware

    Mar 7, 2003
    Has anybody bought one of the "Sunrise" basses from Lemur?
  11. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    two words: Sam Shen.