Re: Korean Basses

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Posted by Andy Seed on June 07, 2001 at 02:15:15:

In Reply to: Korean Basses posted by Jeremy Keown on June 06, 2001 at 23:42:13:

: I just purchased a carved Korean double bass over a Chinese hand carved bass because the sound quality was excellent in comparison. And it cost 1/3 as much. Any comments about Korean basses. It was made at the Universal Musical Instrument Company in Seoul, Korea. Thus far, I'm extremely pleased with my purchase. This weekend I went to a recital of Gary Karr's in San Antonio. His next to last performance before his retirement. He suggested Chinese/Asian carved basses to me when I asked his opinion of what type to buy. Any comments?

I haven't had a chance to try either the Korean or Chinese basses yet but I have heard a lot of good reports about them. I think a lot of bassists out there suffer from some kind of snobbery - If it wasn't made either by a luthier who's been dead for a couple of centuries ,one who has made basses for other well known bass players or it must be either German,Italian,French or (at a push) English - if it doesn't follow these criteria then it's no good ! This is obviously rubbish my method of judging a bass is if it sounds good,has reasonable build quality,plays well and looks like it's going to last then - no matter who made it , how ( i.e hand carved,factory carved or ply ) ,when or where - then I'd DEFINITELY give it a chance - if it sounds good it is good !
The only exception I have to this rule is the so-called carved basses which came out of Romania in the early '80's -- the ply basses that came from there at the same time were much better !
Both of my basses are German but that is pure coincidence the first bass I bought just because I wanted a bass ( I had never played one ! ) and I just struck lucky first time with an old ply bass that I still have (and use) from an unknown maker in Germany, when I got it it was VERY second-hand and had clearly been abused but it played really well. All I did to it was get a good ebony fingerboard put on and a decent set of strings. My second bass I got from Hamilton Casswell in Bristol (England) and it's a hand carved Michael Glas yet again German but as the arrangement at Casswells was you booked the bass trying out rooms for whatever period of time you wanted and they left you alone with over 50 basses - it just so happened that I prefered that one over the others - and there were basses running from an old Saxon bass at 800 to a five string orchestral master bass at 27,000
- mine cost about 5000.
I wish you all the best with your Korean bass and hope you enjoy many years playing it - if you decide to get another bass later on do what I did - don't sell the Korean you get more attached to a bass than you realise - it'd be like cutting off a part of you - and , as I said even though I've had my Glas for a few years now I still use my old ply bass - especially for recording where I prefer it's sound over the more refined tone of the Glas - it gives a really authentic early '50's Willie Dixon / Chicago blues thump to a C.D.
All the best ,

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