Custom build anticipation
How do you guys deal with the anticipation of starting a custom build? I recently decided that I'm going to get a custom fretless, but I'm going to have to wait a while to get the money for it. In the meantime, I've been thinking about what I want it to be like, and I run into issues where it's really something that gets hashed out between the Luthier and I once the ball is actually rolling. What woods ate available, opinions on pickups and wood choices, etc.
How do you guys deal with always thinking about this? Those things you just need to talk to the builder about, but there's no point in doing so until you're actually building the instrument? I just can't help deliberating over these questions and options that I can't conclude for myself without a level of testing that's out if my capabilities right now. I know it's pointless and I may as well just wait until we're actually building it, but it's just so hard to stop fantasizing about.
You know how it is.
Just know that whatever idea(s) you come up with, you'll change your mind about some of those ideas during the next exercise. In the end your final budget will help you get to a final config :-). For my custom build I easily thought of 5-7 different versions of my bass. In the end I decided what was most important, build quailty, pickups, preamp, scale length, HW and wood selection. I opted for substance over form. Less fancy but tonewoods and construction that will guarantee the sound I want. The process took me two years :-)
Within 2013, it is my #1 goal to place an F Bass order for a BN6, with a trans blue NPF finish. I'm excited...
...But I don't know how to inform (i.e. ask permission from) my wife. For TB'ers who are both married and have made large purchases... (for me $3K+ is a lot of money). Have you addressed your purchases with your spouse and how do you bring them up?
I will also mention that my situation is most likely different than most TB'ers, wherein many of you have bass gigs or groups to practice with. At the moment, I'm not playing with anyone so I've been simply playing my instruments in my home, for my own enjoyment. I've tried meeting local musicians through CL, but nothing really clicked at that time. I'll try again later & see what happens.
Well, I'm planning on its being a Clement, so it's not as huge and terrible an investment as some of the higher priced custom builders. Don't know if I'll give in and start this year, once I have the money from summer work (Student, and yes, I know it may not be the wisest expenditure), or to wait until after school in the next couple of years.
The main part of it is that I haven't really had any basses other than J basses. I like the way they sound and play, but I can't really offer comparisons to other pickup types/configs. On the one hand, I like the J sound, but on the other, there are some things that could be a little different. I'm not nearly informed enough to understand the differences in pickup types and placement to know what sort of sound I'd be getting.
In terms of woods, I don't completely buy into the idea that, for instance, having a mahogany body over a maple body will TREMENDOUSLY darken the tone, but I also feel that it would be foolish to totally disregard that wood's effect on the instrument's sound. And it's so hard to find reliable information, as opinions differ wildly, and it's almost impossible to get a real sense of how much it matters.
And the main thing is, all of these are things that would be best to figure out when we're finalizing the build, as any good luthier is going to be able to answer these questions, and know how to make an instrument that sounds the way I want it to, if I'm able to explain what I want that to be. That doesn't change the fact that I can't help thinking about all of this stuff now, and I really don't have any clue what all of these different options would result in. Mostly I'm just saying all this here to release it, since it's been on my mind almost constantly since I decided that one way or another, I was going to have a fretless made. Probably won't help any, but it's nice to hear others' experiences with designing a custom instrument without really having any knowledge of what they're even thinking about.
tom he is a stand up guy and simply a joy to work with. if it helps any i have worked with tom lots over the past few years. i've worked with him on 4 different builds and if times were not tough i would still have em all.
not to kick up a duststorm on tb but i agree with you on the wood. there are far too many variables to say that a wood that in theory should be darker will actually play out that way. weight, feel and aesthetics are the best way to go when it comes to wood imo. even then there are other considerations that will have an affect...
all together strings, fingers, pups, build quality, and build design will have a greater impact on sound imho.
again not to stir anything up i would also say that a good luthier once again in theory can build a great instrument for you but i would caution the part about it sounding the way you want it to. you are the only one that knows that and even then those variables mentioned above will have a huge impact.
i suggest striking up a conversation with tom and diving into his gallery to see what you like regarding options and style.
if it helps i would start by asking you these questions...
singlecut or double? (jazz is typically double)
# of strings?
1 pup, 2 pups, piezo or combo? (jazz-double single coil?)
fretted or fretless? (you said fretless)
passive or active?
then choose your wood and board!
also, perhaps the biggest advice i can give is to work with a someone that is patient to your newbie questions. once again i mean no disresepct as i was the ULTIMATE newbie with my first (second, third and fourth) build. i'm just saying you want to put your money, faith and future instument in the loving care of someone that treats you with respect. give tom a call :cool:
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