Attn: High End Owners.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Woodchuck, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    In the last few months, we've witnessed high end builders coming out with econo lines, and to a degree, pissing off the owners of their "real" basses. Everyone seems to take it in stride, until their favorite builder does it. In the end, as someone so elegantly put it, is DOESN'T have anything to do with your current ax. Think about it: Warwick got 100's of emails asking about making an affordable bass, yes, mostly from "Crap Metal" fans, but still, 100's of emails just the same. I'm sure Dan Lakin got a lot of emails from Papa Roach fans who couldn't afford a "real" Lakland. Being that this IS a business, they would have to be STUPID if they didn't act on it, especially while the iron's hot. Dan just happens to offer a VERY GOOD affordable bass, so it would behoove Warwick to do the same. Well Sadowsky, Fodera, etc. owners, how will you respond if/when they go the econo route? Bill Conklin caught hell when he did it, but think about this: his Cort deal is paying more of his bills that his handful of boutique owners. With the exception of JT maybe!:D Ask yourself: when you finally got your dream Lakland, you realized that it was "The One". Now that we have the Skyline series, is it no longer "The One"? When Dan announced the arrival of the Skylines, did your B string all of a sudden get floppy? :p We have to be real with ourselves, this is a business, and these guys have to eat, too.
  2. Even though I'm not a high-end owner (my Carvin isn't even a "high-end! LOL), I must say it doesn't upset me when their more affordable models are worth a crap (or at least worth what you're paying). Sometimes it also gets confusing as to what you're looking at (especially on eBay), so you really have to know some info about the basses so you don't get ripped off. Too many people get ripped off because they don't really know what they're getting.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i never heard that bill caught any hell. he did it correctly - the cort conklins are worth every cent, and every review they've received that i've seen or heard has been glowing.

    also, bill doesn't make money based on every gt that is sold. the way he described it to me, he became a part owner in cort (probably a very small part, but still). he had to ride them HARD to get those basses the way he wanted them, and i think that's why the groove tools basses are so popular and as respected as they are.
  4. I had the Skyline 55-01 for a few days, and was really impressed that the bass's designers seemed to cut costs in all the right places. What they ended up with was a well-designed, very functional bass that also looked pretty darned good. I don't have a problem with it--I bought my 535 after the Kingston and Beast had already been out for awhile. To me, it's a testament to the fact that these guys don't need expensive woods and high end hardware (or to even touch the bass) to put out an instrument that actually works.
  5. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    i was a little concerned when the Skylines came out- i just sold my lakland 55-94, not because i didnt like it- because my 635 will be requiring my financial attention- and what i regret is not being able to make a side- by side comparison of the Skyline 02 and the 55-94- the Skyline 02 is still in transit and the 55-94 is gone. I couldnt get what i got for my old 55-94 a few years ago- im sure the Skyline had to do with that to some extent- but i seriously doubt that the Skyline will be EQUAL to the 55-94- so i think there is an area for hi-enders-
    Dan Lakin- Bill Conklin- Mike Tobias, etc.. they have to eat too- i still have a 635 on the way, not a Kingston- also a Fodera Monarch 5- i would die if i saw a Korean Fodera, but hey, like Woodchuck said- its a business- and the Kingstons, Groove Tools and Skylines ive tried kick butt!! so i think thats great for the younger players and people on a budget ( as i SHOULD be) - heck- im in the bass business now partly because i need to set up my post gigging future, but greatly because if i sell enough Kingstons and Skylines- i can keep my horrible habit fed, and my GAS under control!!! besides i love ANYTHING having to do with bass-
  6. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Aria, Ibanez, Memphis, Univox, etc made lots of money making copies of other manufacturer's instruments. The "other manufacturers" are now tapping into that market. I think most people would rather have a $300 instrument with "Fender" on the headstock rather than "Memphis". Why shouldn't someone like Bill Conklin make that money off of his own design instead of some imitator, because if he doesn't put it out there, someone else will (also these builders still have input on the final product).
  7. You hit the nail on the head, the bottom line is that as long as they keep they're high-end stuff up to snuff, who cares if they make a cheaper bass. A bass is only a status symbol when you rock the place with it.
  8. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    just posted something just like this in the other thread before i read yours.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    So... what's the point?


    Imagine, Chevrolet makes a new Corvette model. Looks identical to the other Corvettes, just has different wheels. Inside, the seats are different, different carpet, everything else interior-wise is the same. Under the hood is a different engine, a smaller V-8 that has respectable but not "Corvette-like" performance.

    and it sells for $19999.

    How would you like to be one of the people who just bought the other Corvette?

    Again, I'm not against anyone making money. Again, my preference would be the MTD model where only someone without a clue would confuse a Grendel with a 535.

    Make sense?:D
  10. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Brad, back in our cage- your wrecking all the threads!! LOL!! - did you get a lump of coal for Xmas?? if so.. how many strings did it have??- you know im kidding- i enjoy your commentary ;)
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I know, Adrian... it's a stinky job... and I'm tired of doing it, so I think I'll take the Hetfield approach

    Korea GOOD!!
    China BAD!!
  12. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    yeah - just cos there are going to be MIC warwicks doesn't make my MIG SSII play any different or sound different (and anyways, if i want to be a snob, i can always point to the wenge in my neck and stick out my tongue :p )

    i think all the real serious bassists will still rock serious basses, but if an abundance of cheap, good basses makes for more people wanting to play bass, and therefore, more serious bassists, won't that increase the production of serious basses too?

  13. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    As for the Conklin comment, I didn't mean that the GT's were not quality basses, although the 4 strings were pieces of sh*t, until they reworked them. What I was referring to, is the point that Brad made in his reply. You have some guy that paid 3 - 4k for hs 7 string, and about a month later he sees a 7 string GT with Barts and quilting for $1000. That's gotta make ya' mad.
  14. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Brad, your Chevy 'vette post (that's Corvette not Chevette) reminded me that Ford brought out the Mustang and you could have 4 varieties of V8 engine and a 4 speed.....or you could buy a 6cyl automatic. Yeah, they looked the same, but everybody knew what was the real deal and what was the cheaper wannabe. I really don't care what the bass makers decide regarding a cheaper line, I care about the bass that I want. It's certainly not boutique but I love my Fender MIA P bass. I could have bought an MIM, or a Squier but I didn't WANT one.

    Past performance is no guarantee of future results, your mileage may vary, see dealer for details.

  15. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Until it affects the quality of the custom product, why should anyone worry?

    To some extent, it's a very good thing for the boutique shoppers, because you know that they aren't going to be forced to crank the basses out at hyper speed just to pay the bills. They'll be able to take their time and make sure each one is 100% perfect. Not to mention, it keep them from being forced to drive their prices up, too.

    It's a good thing. (Thanks Martha)
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I doubt it.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I could get with your Mustang analogy if the 6cyl model was less than 1/3 the price of the V8 and came after the fact;)

    Anyway (again) there are people who care about resale the value and the depreciation of things they buy. There are others that look at these things as sideband noise and just the cost of doing business. Not me. I don't want to buy a $2K bass knowing that the money I invested* is up in smoke if I need to move it. That's just me, it's the way I buy a lot of things and it also helps me to be able to get more for my money than most people.

    BTW I'm not mad... it's just my point of view.

    * I look at my instrument purchases as investments, as bad as that may sound, among other things.
  18. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    The difference between Brad's Corvette analogy and MJB's Mustang analogy is that the Corvette (substitute Fodera, Zon, Alembic, Hanewinckel, etc) is supposed to be and look exclusive. The plant that makes Corvettes could make 2 or 3 times as many and lower the price. That would erode the exclusivity of the product. The Mustang (substitute Fender) is supposed to be a mass produced product that performs to the expectations of the buyer. By making the same model with different engines (pickups) and wheels (active or passive electronics) you can lower your overall cost and give the customer bang for the buck.

    The way you make a cheaper Corvette is take a Camaro and stick a Corvette engine in it. The way you make a cheaper Mustang is you take a Mustang and take some of the content out of it.

    I would expect that the higher end bass manufacturers would recognise that for the most part, they are dealing with "Corvette" owners who would rather not see the same product every time they turn a corner. If they want to make a high quality, lower cost product, more power to 'em. But it would work out better if they were able to differentiate the top end product from the lower cost product. No one will ever mistake my Series I basses for an Epic.


  19. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I agree with most people's opinions on this issue. I like the automobile analogies. Just to take it a step further...

    It is my opinion that the cheaper Laklands put downward pressure on the sales prices of the high end 55-94 Deluxes. I ended up selling my 55-94 Deluxe for $1,600 recently. I'm glad it has a happy home today. However, I would have gotten close to $2,000 more than 1 year ago.

    In contrast and IMHO, the price for a used MTD 535 appears to be unaffected by the entry of the Grendel, Beast, and Kingston. The high end MTD seems to be in a separate market from the cheaper MTDs.

    I'm thinking that my MTD 535 is maybe a Porsche 911.
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I think you're right, G.

    I would have used a dog analogy but most people wouldn't know a Blue Tick from the average crotch- sniffer