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Your thoughts upon the Bob Gollier Bulgarian Bass!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by MGill, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. MGill


    Dec 31, 2005
    Well the title says it all.............., Has anyone played the bass? Would you recoment it? Just your thought realy, I would love to buy this bass if it turns out to be any good. I was all set to go and spend $6000 but if this one is a quality bass then i would love to spend the rest on a new Piano as im a composer. So the Bob Golliher Bulgarian Bass?
  2. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti

    Jun 7, 2005
    Do a search, I'm pretty sure this topic has been discussed before...As I remember they are pretty high quality.
  3. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I have no first-hand knowledge of this bass-- BUT, don't expect to get for the price of Bob's bass what you could get if you got the greatest bang for your $6000. Now, if you are looking to buy a piano AND a decent bass, that's another story altogether. Have you thought about any of the other fine, but modestly priced, instruments discussed here (e.g., Arnold's New Standards, the Uptons, etc.)?
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've heard people say they thought Bob's Bulgarian was a real bargain for the money. I've never played one, so I can't tell you my opinion of it. However, I can tell you that out of the carved basses in the $3000-4000 price range that I have played, I've been extremely disappointed and thought my Upton Hawkes plywood was much better. Now get into the $6000 range and the quality of carved greatly improves.

    But again, I want to say that I've never played Bob's bass, so I'm not trying to cast aspersions on the quality, and I have always found him to be a stand-up and helpful guy whose customers have nothing but good to say about him.
  5. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Do a search, there is a lot out there. IIRC, there are some complaints about the overstand & neck angle, but that may have been addressed.
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I believe these Basses have evolved somewhat from the feedback of the players that have played and purchased them. We had a discussion about these about a year ago and I believe Bob mentioned that the Neck Stand issue was resolved a long time ago as that was on earlier Basses from a few years ago. The one 5er I tried was very nice and might of had the Neck stand issue but it did not bother me as I am used to older Basses with all sorts of stands and angles along with high shoulders and long string lengths.

    Basses today in USA have become more standard with requirements. String lengths of 41"-42" inches with Bridge heights of 6-7" and Neck stands to able on to get over the shoulders. Some Basses have a high bridge and the neck stand low with a big angle of pitch from neck-body joint. This still makes it difficult to play.

    I have seen many Panormo copies in the last few years and wonder WHY in the world are they back to that. So many Basses have been cut so the shoulders are easy to get over and now they are repeating this problem over again. My Martini from 1919 was made with fairly broad but playable shoulders similar to many older italian Basses cut in the 19th century. Martini knew what shape the player needed and many new makers since and before did as well. Bobs Basses along with many other newer Basses are very good deals for the price. Adjustments can be fixed but shapes can't in thost price ranges. Don't worry so much about the little things. Focus on the big picture.
  7. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Ken, thanks for the good info. I remebered something about that no longer being an issue, but wasn't sure. :)
  8. dudleydrums


    Dec 19, 2007
    I have played on one of the Bulgarian 5-string basses for the last 2 years. I play in classical ensembles where the bass shines. It has a very dark, warm, and blending tone. I get lots of comments from other musicians on how well the bass complements the orchestra. It also works well with doubling the bass in a chorus.
    Some of my friends that are jazz musicians are intrigued by the bass, but they claim that it does not have the tone or growl that jazz requires. It is not the best solo or jazz bass, but it works wonderfully as a doubling instrument due to its tone.
    I would recomend the bass to musicians playing arco parts in an ensemble. However, the price is right for a solid wood bass for anyone with finacial constriants.
    I hope this helps.
  9. I have one of those and I really, really like it. It is now 2.5 yrs. old and has opened to have a huge sound in that time. The tone was really nice to start with, if a little on the tight side. I played the out-of-box-set-up for three months before making the tweaks I needed to play the bass arco. Mine was a challenge because it was the 4/4 5-string (which might be more 7/8's by the older standards;- it is roughly the size of the Christopher 7/8 basses). 5 strings are a pain to get just right for arco, but I came real close on the first go round. Here's a garden variety shot
    and a close-up of the finish with the spruce grain visible through the finish:

    A good bit closer in:

    And here's one of the button area purfling:

    I did see one of these before ordering mine. It was the 3/4 fiver and also a nice instrument that was pleasing it's owner. These instruments are carved very skillfully with a surprising attention to fit and finish inside and out. They are extremely durable (mine weighs 31.5 lbs.) and deliver a rich tonal quality that one expects from a carved bass. The maker of the Basses is Kremona-Bulgaria Ltd. or now Kremona, USA. This model, the Rubner can now be obtained with a spirit varnish as well as nitro cellulose, I believe. And they have introduced a new model as well, the Mayer, which is another gamba with a rather robust classic shape as well. Xavier Padilla is an endorsing bassist.

    Some other bassists at an open mic were guessing the price and they were starting at $7K and guessing upward. These guys had all seen a few DB's and most were players. In the carved category I have seen nothing that beats one of these in overall construction quality and sound at twice the price.

    Edit: I do think the bass has great growl, or at least mine does. The open mic organizer is primarily a jazz and rock bassist and not an arco player. He played my bass pizz with a full jazz ensemble for 45 minutes or more that night. In these situations the tone depends a good bit on how it is amped but that night it sounded amazingly clear out front. I have a sound file that is improvisational pizz that I might try to post if I can get it to a reasonable upload size. It was recorded with condensers. Libersolis had posted a little video that reproduced the sound of his pretty well for pizz. jazz. He did a bit of All Blues. The other players in the bands I use it in are all jazzers and they think it sounds really good. I do agree that it does seem to be built for the bow, though. It really has a sweet voice in that department and has me bowing the head of Footprints and throwing little arco solos in where ever I can.
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I've played one briefly. The one thing I remember was... HEAVY. But then I play a La Scala on a daily basis, so it may not seem that way to others.
  11. Mine weighs about a pound more than Paul Warburton's Bohmann 5-string, and that could easily be the quiver, which I didn't remove when I weighed it. It would be interesting to know what a 4-string 3/4 weighs. The 4/4 5-string has to be the heaviest possible model.

    The weight issue is a trade off between early responsiveness and durability, I think. These become more responsive with age and apparently that is pretty rapid in the first few years. It was a bit quiet for its' size for about 8 months and then I noticed I was covering up other acoustic instruments when I played in unplugged situations, and it is much louder across the room than when heard standing over it. So I can easily play along with a couple of dreadnoughts and mandolin, violns, etc. It can really fill up and support the bottom end even next to a 1905 Weber baby grand piano. I've also used it next to my brother's Steinway baby grand.

    In the 2.5 years I've had mine, I've put it through climatic hoops that should have cracked it, or at least popped a seam or something. The thicker wood seems to moderate rapid humidity and temp changes and the bass stays in proper adjustment without bridge adjusters. It also tends to stay in tune very well.
  12. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    They're not as heavy as they used to be, my hounding got them to slim 'em down a bit.
  13. I bought a West Coast String Instrument Company fully carved bass made in China for about $2700 but then it was set up and ready to go from a local Denver luthier. It weighs about 23 1/2 lbs. and it's a four string. So Bob's bass, once you spent $200-$300 getting it set up (assuming it needs it, would be in the same ball park.

    But my point really is that I like the idea of playing as many basses as I can before I buy that way I know what i'm getting as opposed to getting others opinions about how there bass sounds and in the end their tastes may not be yours. So you kinda of take your chances, unless you can find someone in your area where you can go play and listen to it first, or go to Bob's shop which would be even better and there are other basses in other shops for that price range that you could actually hear first.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
  14. Very good points.
  15. Over 30 pounds seems very heavy, makes it even harder to carry it to a gig. My 5-string comes in at 24 pounds (including bow quiver) and that is about as much as I want to carry. There is always a padded bag, bow, tuner and similar small accessory stuff and I'm up to 40 pounds.
  16. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker Supporting Member

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    All this talk about weight. Has anyone considered a wheel? Not to sound like a jerk, but if my baby comes in at fifty lbs. but has the sound I like...Besides, I'm sure (All Hail) Bob sells those too. I've been interested in trying one of Bob's Bulgarians for a while though. Looks like a lot of bang for the buck.
  17. well, it's pretty much physics: the lighter the instrument, the more free it is to vibrate, so light weight=bigger sound
  18. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Hmm... I'm not sure. I've played some hefty basses that were real cannons in the past.

    Anyway, the Bob bass I was pretty loud. Just heavy.
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I hope you really don't believe that. Some of the loudest, fullest, best sounding Basses I have ever owned and played had some good weight to them.

    My Prescott was about 30 lbs and shook floors. My Other loud Basses with big and heavy as well. To move some low end across a concert hall, it needs to be anchored down to project. Light Basses may sound loud in the closet but out in the open, it's the big heavy ones that knock the walls down.

    My Martini is a cannon at 25lbs, my Hart is 28lbs and has even more sound than the Martini and my Storioni at 26lbs is DEEP and mild sounding up close but at a distance will draw blood!

    Other lighter Basses I have had and tested just don't travel as far regardless of how loud they sound up close.
  20. The weight doesn't bother me because in most rehearsal situations I don't have to bring an amp. And I use this arrangement to roll it around at festivals: