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Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! (What would you do?)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Basschair, Apr 6, 2005.


  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I'm dying here...not literally, no.

    Here's the deal: I've been thinking about trying my hand at building a few basses for myself. I keep thinking that it would be a great learning experience, as well as extremely satisfying in the end. I'm in the process of selling off a bunch of miscellaneous equipment that others will find more useful than I, cleaning out the studio, and building up some cash in the bank, prepping to buy some tools, parts, wood, etc.

    Then I see the latest work results from a few of the professional luthier/members here...no, I'm not discouraged, I'm stoked :hyper: ...but it makes me want to just order a bass from them instead of making one...and there's one maker in particular that's just doing the stuff that's really good.

    So, what would you do? Would you be patient and pay your dues buy learning the craft, or would you say "to H-E-!-! with it" and place an order? Or, perhaps I should ask you what you've already done in the past? I'm a teacher professionally, so it's not like I'm making money hand over fist (or however that saying goes)... :(

    By the way, a sincere thank you for your help...I'm making some light of an otherwise serious situation.
     
  2. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Bassists for 50 years have bought what suits them. Very few bassists actually build their own. I think buying one would be a much more secure, safer bet.
     
  3. Cerb

    Cerb

    Sep 27, 2004
    Indiana
    Build 'em yourself. I'm in the process of building my first and I've already gained tons of knowledge from it. Trust me, you'll feel better that you did in the long run.
     
  4. purfektstranger

    purfektstranger

    Apr 10, 2003
    Canada
    I think there are enough skilled builders on TB who would be more than happy to share their wisdom. There is a big difference between wanting to own a custom bass and wanting to build one. I would seek advice from builders in order to help you better decide whether or not to go through with it. Regarding tools, you might be able to reduce some of your costs by borrowing or renting as opposed to buying.
     
  5. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    If your actual goal is to get a good working bass, you're probably better off having one built by any of the excellent people here on TB. But if you want to build one for your own knowledge and fun, then go for it .... you're right, you learn a lot about the instruments when you put one together yourself :)
     
  6. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder: Wing Bass
    I guess you would have to gauge your actual interest in building overall. On a scale of 1-5, where 1 = "Just Curious", and 5 = "I want to make a living at it". I would say anything below a 4 wouldn't be worth the tools, materials, and time investment. As you stated, there are many fine luthiers who could probably work with you and get exactly what you want in a bass, but if you are serious about building and would probably build some to resell, then maybe take a look at doing it yourself. Just my .02 of course. Good luck.

    I might add that I've been there (sort of). I was just curious about building and chose to try to assemble a couple of instruments using Warmoth parts. They came out 'pretty good', but I found out that even assembling a bass or guitar takes precision and patience (nevermind the finishing aspect). I see guys like Nino Valenti out there and it became a no-brainer to me to let them do the work. I can just sit back and enjoy the end-product. I got EXACTLY what I wanted, and didn't blurt one four-letter expletive during the process.
     
  7. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    You're right on about the tools. I actually live in a pretty big city, and close to bigger ones, so used tools are always popping up. Aside from a good router and block planer (and maybe a dust collector) I'm pretty good on tools...I do some wood turning as a hobby. And the thing is, I'm more into a few nice pieces of wood and some simple, elegant shapes rather than trying to tackle something crazy. I'm going to be a realist about this.



    That's exactly what I mean. There's no question that I'd get a stinkin' great bass from one of these fine folks, one that I'd keep for life. I'm just wondering if this is one of those points in life where, if I don't do it now, I may never get off my butt and do it. There's part of me that's drawing the "adopt a baby versus making your own" analogy...weird :eyebrow:

     
  8. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    Are you looking for a Luthier or a Builder?
     
  9. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Well, I may be using "luthier" incorrectly...

    What I mean to say is that I'm torn between trying my hand at it and having one of the bassmakers around here create one for me. I guess a builder usually has the luthier skills, but a luthier doesn't necessarily have the building skills?
     
  10. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder: Wing Bass

    I guess I went through the same thing. Then I asked myself... "Do I want personal satisfaction plus a good bass to my specs, or do I want a kick-ass bass to my specs that I know will be set up right, wired to perfection, and 'tight' as a [insert your own tight analogy here]?"

    This is why I have a Valenti.
     
  11. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    :eek: :D

    Yup, that's why I keep going back and forth.
     
  12. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    Well, I don't know the exact definition of luthier, but I would describe it as someone who builds the body and neck by hand instead of building the bass from pre-manufactured body and neck. I think that a bass made by a luthier will usually result in a neck thru bass. after that it's all about equal.
     
  13. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Sounds good to me :)