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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hibike, Jan 23, 2022.


  1. Hibike

    Hibike

    Jan 23, 2022
    Hi folks - I’m new here :)

    I played many years ago back in high school, college, and for years after in our jazz band and a small combo band our friends put together. I was never great, but it was fun and I loved making music. Life happened, and I sold my instruments to buy a house and haven’t played bass for more than 20 years.

    I started visiting local music stores and found that my hands have become so weak and that the bass now felt foreign in my hands. I’ll basically be starting from square one. I questioned if I should just buy a cheap ax just to startup again. I felt pretty defeated.

    I’ve missed playing and told my wife about it. And For her 10th anniversary gift to me, she wants to get a nice bass for me. I selected a nice custom builder, and they will start to put something together for me.

    I feel like I’m extremely lucky to have my first ever custom bass - but I doubt I could ever do it justice. I just can’t imagine what it might take to become proficient, let alone play as cool as all the YouTube videos I have been binge watching.

    Anyway since I don’t know too much about it, the only things I’ve decided on with the bass is to have a 5 string, single cut, and have it be slightly multiscale (34”-35”). My luthier is asking me if I’d like to choose the woods. It’s a neck through maple neck with wenge or Purple Heart laminate. He’s got choices of alder, ash (European or swamp) for wings. Fingerboard can be ebony or birds eye maple. Currently available tops are sapelle mahogany, flamed maple, poplar burl, or exotic ebony.

    I am a bit overwhelmed - and have now made the mistake of looking on the internet for information, because now I’m frozen - paralysis by analysis.

    I don’t suppose any of you friendly and knowledgeable folks have any advice to give me in choosing what to build my bass from? Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    For top woods, I would want to see the specific pieces of wood. The fretboard choice would be dependent upon the top. For the wings, I'd probably look to the lightest piece - since you said it is a singlecut, it is likely to be heavy and might benefit from chambering.

    Lastly, if I hadn't played in 20 years, I wouldn't jump straight to a custom build, regardless of whether or not it was easily affordable. I'd probably want to go through a few production models so I could figure out what neck profile, scale length, string spacing, pickup configurations, etc., that I prefer.
     
  3. Hibike

    Hibike

    Jan 23, 2022
    Thanks. I wanted to get an off the shelf bass at first also, but my wife was like, “let’s just get a custom one already”. I’m not gonna argue a nice gift away.

    as for top woods - are you saying the looks are more important because the top layer won’t change much acoustically? The luthier sent me some images of the available tops already - which is what I listed above. They’re all pretty beautiful pieces, so I was hoping that a specific type of wood would sound a certain way, so I could make my choice easier.
     
  4. Hibike

    Hibike

    Jan 23, 2022
  5. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    YMMV, but that's what I'm saying.

    Not my bass, but based on those pics, it would be an easy choice for me.
    2123a4f4-7bbf-44f3-8c0d-0b4ec471f68a-jpeg.jpg
     
  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Haven't played in 20 years and jumping into a custom build? Anything in the classifieds that catches your eye in terms of features and / or aesthetics?

    Riis
     
    Grizelda100, gg22, mb94952 and 3 others like this.
  7. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive Suspended

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Who is the builder? Make sure you do your homework because there are a lot of unhappy customers out there that didn’t.
     
    REV, ruju, Basically Bob and 4 others like this.
  8. So lucky. I have advice but you're gonna get so much here I don't want to be part of the bombardment. Good luck !
     
  9. Great advice.
     
    Rip Van Dan, Bigleben, P73 and 2 others like this.
  10. Hibike

    Hibike

    Jan 23, 2022
    Ales Vychodil
     
  11. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    I have been playing over 20 years and several years ago I screwed up a custom build. I did not understand enough about what makes a bass comfortable to me and I ended up selling it for half of what I bought it for. I highly suggest you jump ship and buy something used. You will feel like utter garbage when that custom build gets done and you hate it. Especially when you associate the bass with you wife's generous action. With ANY custom build, you should feel 100% good with all details prior to building. Otherwise, you need to do more research. The research you need now is to PLAY.
     
    five7, oldandbold, REV and 11 others like this.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive Suspended

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I’m sure some knowledgeable people will chime in.
     
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Is that what you had in mind?
    avs5-spalted-maple-min.png
     
    NKBassman likes this.
  14. Hibike

    Hibike

    Jan 23, 2022
    I’m committed to buying from AV already. I’m not really looking at used or off the shelf any more. but I do understand why that’s good advice. However, I’ve already bought into the custom route.

    I just need some helping looking at woods now. Maybe electronics, but right now I need to make the woods decision.
     
    31HZ likes this.
  15. Hibike

    Hibike

    Jan 23, 2022
  16. Hibike

    Hibike

    Jan 23, 2022
    Looks like it has a cheetah in the middle doesn’t it?
     
    Christophe C and wvbass like this.
  17. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    If I can't convince you otherwise, so be it. For wood choices, ask your builder. There are so MANY choices and OPINIONS out there. You will lose your mind! Your builder's opinion is the one that truly matters since he can likely achieve what he is talking about.

    Relatable quote: "Cart before the horse".
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2022
    Grizelda100 and gg22 like this.
  18. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    That's a single-cut from his website...minus the desired embellishments!

    Riis
     
  19. One thing for sure, your decision not to buy the cheapest bass around was sound. As for the current state of your hands, that can in most cases resolves with dedicated consistent time in the saddle building them up. Picking it up once a week for 10 minutes until your hands start to hurt doesn’t work and will just make you frustrated.

    As was posted earlier, I would recommend you first go out to some guitars stores and try as many basses as you can get your hands on. Taking your time, like taking multiple trips will pay dividends later on.

    What to look for? how how does it fit your body? Note the weight, the reach, and balance. Does it feel comfortable in your hands. Make sure you take notes. This is like shopping for a car, and odds are when you get to bass number 4, your not going to remember much about bass number one. Once you get your data collected and sorted, then take that to your luthier and have a discussion on your findings.

    As for woods pick up configurations, onboard preamp, I’m sure you will get better advice from others on this board. Best wishes. Welcome back to the fold.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2022
    DrThumpenstein and Gearhead17 like this.
  20. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    20 years without playing and you go straight to custom? That's very risky.


    I think you should first settle on what kind of sound you want. What kind of music you wanna play. What's your plan? What do you want to play? What players seem to have the tone you want?
     
  21. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    While your wife made a wonderful offer, I think you would be MUCH better served getting an off the shelf instrument (consider the classified here, where there are some great options). Then, when you have a better idea of exactly what you want, and know more about the custom builder, you can make a smarter decision (ask the builder to hold onto your deposit for now).

    As you your question, there is debate as to whether a top body wood has any impact on tone (not nearly as much as the pickup). Pick the piece that will make you smile and want to pick it up more often.
     
  22. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 21, 2022

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