A Hybrid bass is something that customers have been asking about for a while. If you don't know, a hybrid commonly combines the durability of a laminated (plywood) back and sides with the more resonant solid top of a carved bass. So you get a lot of the upgraded tonal benefits of the carved top, but the rest of the bass is a bit less prone to damage, or concerns about humidity and temperature causing issues. It's a nice compromise.
So why did it take me so long to add an Estle Louis Hybrid option? That's a good question. Essentially, the other big reason folks choose a hybrid bass is cost - you'd expect a hybrid bass to be roughly in-between the price of a similar quality carved bass and laminate bass. But in my vetting of instruments, that wasn't generally the case. Most of the hybrid basses (that are worth having) were only maybe $150-200 less than our Estle Louis Carved Double Bass. Now, that might partly be because our carved bass is such a great deal, but honestly that made the hybrid a lot less enticing, when you could save up for an extra month or two and just get a carved bass.
As you can see, though, now I have a hybrid option. And that's because I have found a wonderful-sounding, well-appointed hybrid bass that I can put the family name on with pride - and the price is really appealing.
The Gollihur Music Estle Louis (pronounced ESS-tull LEW-iss) hybrid basses are available with Gamba style corners (inward curves; see explanation below) in ¾ size. The price includes the professional set-up, which includes a custom cut adjustable bridge and good quality strings. Your brand-new bass is strung up and READY TO PLAY right out of the box... no luthier trip or extra costs are needed!
Our luthier partners carefully examine each instrument, and do all the setup work, so we can be certain that everyone gets the high-quality bass they expect and deserve. This setup service includes:
- Planing the fingerboard (carving the appropriate "relief" into the board) for low action
- Fitting a quality maple adjustable bridge
- Shaping the nut for left-hand ease of play
- Ensuring optimum soundpost placement
- Playing each instrument to ensure maximum playability and sound
These basses can be used for any style of music.
While you might occasionally see a bass with features that are tailored for a particular style (like a black one with stripes, for instance), basses are rarely made for a specific style of music. The Estle Louis Gollihur Music basses will do well for most any style; check out the sound in the video below for confirmation. It's the choice of strings and set-up that usually sends a bass in one direction or the other. The precise set-up performed on each Estle Louis bass, along with the adjustable bridge, will allow a nice range of action.
For example, if country/bluegrass is on the agenda, your preference might be for fairly high action, because you want to be able to hit that string hard (hey, we're the percussion section, too) and not have it hit the fingerboard... or if you're slapping, maybe you do, and then a little lower can be better. Or maybe you play with an acoustic style blues guitarist, so you might set the strings a little lower, to get some fingerboard interaction for a more "raw" sound. For more modern and sometimes jazz sounds we like to get some fingerboard growl (mwah, whine, whatever you want to call it), so lower action and a slightly lighter left hand touch can be the way to go.
We can have any string we carry installed on your bass during its setup, if you like.
Do you have a favorite string already? No problem. We can install those on the bass when you order; you just pay for the cost of the strings, no additional install fee. That said, you may wish to start with the stock string and replace them later. The stock strings are actually a very nice "middle of the road" selection that sounds and feels great, not cheesy at all; that's those being played on the recording, below - sound pretty good, eh? If you do not have a special favorite in mind, I suggest you start with them. We often recommend players start their play using the stock strings on an instrument that is new to them, to get to know the bass before investing in a new set. When the time comes, we'll be happy to help you choose your next string, or pass on some suggestions for your consideration if you have a particular style in mind.
We can also have most pickups installed before your bass is shipped.
Since the combinations of strings and pickups would probably be ten pages long, if you're looking to customize, we suggest you place the order for the bass on-line or on the phone, and we can add options before finalizing the order.
What makes these basses an even better value:
- Your bass arrives FULLY SET UP by a luthier - no additional costs are required to optimize the playability or tone. Your new bass can essentially be played right out of the box!
- Your bass includes a quality maple adjustable bridge (an expensive upgrade at bass shops) already installed and properly fitted to the bass!
- Your bass contains quality components (tuning machines, endpin) so there are no parts you'll need to upgrade.
- Real Ebony fingerboard and tailpiece - not "ebonized" (painted or stained) hardwoods.
Yes! Through special arrangement with my instrument maker, we're now (finally) able to get a limited number of left-handed basses in a few models, and the hybrid is one of them! I can only import a couple of them each time a shipment comes in, so I will do my best to anticipate demand and keep a couple in stock, but left-handed basses may sometimes be subject to a delay if I've sold out of the lefties that I have on hand here in the USA.
Because of the special nature of getting these special instruments, there is a slight upcharge over the price of the right-handed basses. I apologize - they cost me more - and I'm sure that you southpaws are used to it by now. ;-)
That said, the left-handed basses are TRUE lefties, built from the ground up as a mirror-image of the right-handed models. They are NOT basses that have been "converted" from right-handed models (which is always a bad idea, IMHO.)
What are "Violin Corners" and "Gamba Corners?"
The corners are the edges of the "C-Bout" - the cutout in the middle of the body to allow for a bow to be used without hitting the body. "Violin" corners are more ornate, traditional looking edges which come to a point, "Gamba" corners are simpler, cleaner corners. They are purely aesthetic and do not affect tone or playability. The photos of the 3/4 sized bass (above) are of the "Gamba" style, which is all we currently have available.
What is a "Set Up?"
Many basses bought elsewhere come with a "factory set up", which simply means that the strings and bridge have been installed, but those basses have not been optimized for the player. Bridge and nut heights are high, and those components, and the fingerboard, may require some work to make the bass truly playable for that particular bassist. Our Estle Louis bass, as detailed above, comes fully optimized with comfortable action - ready to play as soon as it arrives!
What strings come installed on the bass? And can I upgrade to something else?
The bass comes with inexpensive, no-name hybrid strings installed. If you are an experienced player and have a favorite string, during its setup we can install, at no cost, any strings that we carry (you just pay for the strings). However, if you're a new bassist, I'd advise you to try the "stock" strings first -- and here's why: since you are new to the instrument, you don't really KNOW what sound you're going to prefer, so you (and we) would be "guessing" at what strings you might like to "upgrade" to. Since talking about tone, and string feel, is a bit like "dancing about architecture," there's a good chance that we may not get it right the first time, and at $120-$250 a set, on average, that's an expensive gamble. We are quite familiar with how the stock strings play and sound, though. So we suggest that you spend a little time with them, since they're included in the price of the bass; you can then come back to me in a couple months, and tell me, "I like how they feel, but I wish they were brighter/darker/more sustain-y/thumpier/etc." Or, "I like the tone, but they're a little too heavy/light/thick/thin/stiff/etc." With the common ground of a string we're both familiar with, we can then move forward and make a more informed decision together about what string you might like better.
Where are they manufactured?
Our basses are made in a true musical instrument manufacturing facility in China. I emphasize the type of facility for a reason, because there are scores of "you spec it, we make it" factories in Asia (and that's where those $400 eBay basses come from). The basses are fully inspected and set up in the USA.
There is an understandable hesitation from some people to buy a bass made in China, but I just ask you to consider this: some people can be amazing craftsmen, and some people can make junk - but the soil they happen to be standing on as they do it doesn't necessarily have to be a contributing factor. The important thing to be aware of with foreign factories in any country is to ensure that you're dealing with a company with a reputation for excellent, consistent quality. The Estle Louis basses are truly wonderful basses, even before you factor in the great price. As you might expect from us (if you've shopped with us before), these basses are made by a reputable maker with very high quality control. If they weren't we would not put our name on them OR offer a 10 day trial period.
Why aren't they full size?
You'll find 3/4 to be the normal bass size; 4/4 is pretty unusual! See my FAQ on Bass Sizes, along with all the other Upright Bass FAQs we offer, under RESOURCES in the menu at left.
Special Return Policy
To exhibit our confidence in these basses we will allow a ten day trial period (from receipt of bass) during which you may return the bass no questions asked. Contact us first; buyer is responsible for shipping both ways, and the bass must be in like new condition.
Basses are too large for regular UPS and FedEx delivery services, so they are shipped by freight truck. Sorry, I cannot ship these basses outside of the US and Canada at this time. Costs for shipping a bass in the continental USA usually range between $250-350, depending on location.
However, we SHIP THESE BASSES for FREE in the continental USA (aka lower 48). So you don't have to worry about it!
Basses are almost always IN STOCK and normally are shipped within 3-10 business days of order processing.