Alternative component suppliers

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Barticus, Jul 13, 2022.

  1. Barticus

    Barticus Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2017
    I’m looking for alternatives to Best Bass Gear since they’ve been non-responsive… are there other good suppliers that are good at answering questions?

    I’m a bit tired of waiting on email responses for days on end to simple questions about stock, delivery times, order times, compatibility… and it’s impossible to get anyone on the phone, the immediate message received when calling their number is ‘please leave a message’ then they drop you to a queue as if a human may actually answer with hold music… and FINALLY there is a message asking to leave a message.

    Since I’m not buying in bulk, other than All Parts and Stewmac, what are some alternative suppliers for electronics and bass components, pots, caps, pre amps, pickups, etc. ?

    Is going direct to the Mfg the best approach?

    EDIT: not retail resellers, rather luthier suppliers and component dealers that discount for builders.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2022
  2. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    I get pots, jacks, caps, etc. from Tube Depot, plus they have the coolest valve tee shirts! :)
    REV, ColdEye, chinjazz and 2 others like this.
  3. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I buy most of my electronics and hardware on Reverb. You can read reviews of sellers, and I've found every shop and most independent sellers to be really responsive to messages. Everything you see listed is actually available unless it's marked as a preorder.

    Fretnation is also a fantastic shop. Jason is very responsive and can definitely help you out with stuff like pickups and preamps (strings are his bread-and-butter), and probably hardware, too.
  4. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Ive bought a few things from Amplified Parts, got some oddball stuff that I havent seen elsewhere.

    Amplified Parts
  5. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Reverb or eBay for bass-specific hardware. Most of the major vendors are selling on one or both, so you don't need to keep track of half a dozen different vendors, you can just get them all on the same platform. Besides having good selection, these platforms incent sellers to treat customers well, sometimes very heavily. Send a seller a message on Reverb and I guarantee you'll have a better chance of getting a good fast response than if you send them an email.

    Electronics suppliers for pots, caps, jacks, etc. Really, if you're buying commodity electronics from a guitar parts supplier, you're paying a markup you don't need to pay.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  6. @Barticus - Thanks for creating this thread!
    Barticus likes this.
  7. I hadn't heard of this place but it looks promising!
    Barticus likes this.

  8. One thing that sometimes works on Reverb if you don’t need the part immediately is to put it on your watch list. I’ve done that and many times gotten an email a day or two later that the item is magically discounted. YMMV obviously.
    spatters and dwizum like this.
  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I buy most of my electronics parts (pots, jacks, caps, etc.) right from DigiKey. They are a huge electronics supplier; the Amazon of electronics parts. They stock millions and millions of parts. All top grade and mid grade components; no cheap junk. An enormous web catalog with search filters, technical drawings, specs, pictures, and live numbers of quantity in stock, cost in various quantities, shipping time, etc. There's no need to talk to anybody, because all the info you'd ever need is right there. But they have people on 24 hr chat.

    It's very easy for little guys like us to take our time on their site, digging around looking for what we want. Place a small order in the middle of the night, and it's in my hands a few days later. Every time, they are completely reliable.

    Screws I usually buy right from McMaster-Carr, in boxes of 100 for a few dollars. I don't mess around with guitar parts suppliers.

    I don't often buy standard bridges and pickups (because I make my own), but when I do, I decide what brand and model I want, then look on Amazon. There's usually a music store selling one online at a reasonable price. Fast delivery, no additional shipping cost (since I have Amazon Prime). If there aren't any available on Amazon, I'll order directly from the manufacturer.
    Cave Puppy, MVE, Barticus and 5 others like this.
  10. J Wilson

    J Wilson

    Apr 22, 2022
    An Undisclosed Location
    For parts (particularly Fender and Squier OEM, or aftermarket substitutes), I have had terrific luck with Bass Parts Resource in Ohio. Reasonably priced. They often have Fender parts you can't get from Fender !

    Guitar Parts Factory - Bass Parts (

    They have a Guitar side of the house, and a Bass side.
    Barticus, Aqualung60 and spatters like this.
  11. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    For electronics components, Digikey and Mouser.

    For tooling, jiggery and general overspending of money on bits and bobs: McMaster-Carr. :)

    For hardware:
    WD Music Products, Inc. WD Music is good in my last experience. For us up north in Canada though, they aren't really an option. They have an exclusive distribution deal with Long & McQuade, but L&M don't stock their entire catalog. I've tried to order bulk direct from them, but they direct me back to L&M. Bummer cuz they have lots of stuff I'd like but basically can't get here.

    Guitar Parts Factory Guitar Parts Factory - Guitar Parts

    Guitar Fetish in a pinch for some hardware. They make a lot of money off shipping methinks. :D

    Partsland WSC Partsland - These guys are not catered to the end user or small purchases, but they are one of the big guys. If you go to put something in your cart, it will automatically populate with the minimum order required for purchase. It's usually around $1000 USD per item, so it only makes sense if you are buying bulk. If you are planning to build a batch and want to purchase hardware, these guys are great.

    I don't have a great supplier for pickups or preamps, but I have ordered direct from EMG and from their Amazon store before.
    Passinwind, Barticus and spatters like this.
  12. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Since they haven't been mentioned yet, I buy a ton of hardware and pickup parts from Philadelphia Luthier Supply:

    Fairly good selection (as long as you like Gotoh hardware at least), decent prices, and really good support.
  13. Aqualung60


    Jun 19, 2013
    New Jersey
    Same here, I've been using them for some time now and have nothing but good to say about them.
  14. ardgedee


    May 13, 2018
    For electronic components I've had good success with Arrow. They're a little more user-friendly to the home hobbyist than Mouser and DigiKey (particularly in terms of site UI and order volumes), shipping to North America is reasonable even though they're based in Europe, and occasionally you can find something at a pretty ridiculous price or get emailed a nice discount coupon. I haven't recently compared their prices to the usual standbys in the US so I don't know how much of a cost advantage they offer, if any; it will probably depend on what particular things you're ordering.
    Barticus likes this.
  15. Barticus

    Barticus Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2017
    Wow, thank you all this is awesome… great replies, keep ‘em coming!

    @Bruce Johnson and @Beej thanks for the Digikey suggestion, my son is an Electrical Engineer and that’s the first thing he said to me, was why I’m not buying from them. :)

    Thanks again to everyone that has replied this far, great list.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2022
    Beej likes this.
  16. REV

    REV Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2006
  17. They also happen to co-own an Indycar race team with McLaren.
  18. BassFalcon

    BassFalcon Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2020
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  19. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    If you're going to look at digikey, might as well check mouser and arrow as well. Depending on the specific parts you're after and how many you want to buy, you might get better availability and pricing at any of the three.
    Beej, Passinwind and Barticus like this.
  20. Cave Puppy

    Cave Puppy "Humph Bo, he's wond!" - John Lennon

    Jan 13, 2015
    Bookmarking this thread!