Boutique bass... money well spent?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by O_Doolez, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. So, I've been looking at a lot of insane Boutique custom basses. Do the Luthiers that build them offer any perks? Maybe once every 3 to 5 years check the ins and outs, make minor adjustments. I understand the quality of a lot of them is out of this world. Maybe there are secret societies.
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Of course there are secret societies. Luckily I've got a Modulus and it has stayed in tune for the last 4 years so I don't need any perks to get it retuned. Clearly you don't own any boutique basses yet, so I can't say anything more until you can give me the secret handshake.
    pappabass, crocau, Rayjay and 14 others like this.
  3. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    The main perk is having a bass that you feel is utterly right for you.
    My Zon is that bass for me. No other perks needed.
  4. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    The only real "perk" of buying a boutique bass is the smug feeling you get knowing you have an amazing, super high quality bass while all the other peasants shuffle into guitar center for the lowly mass produced, terrible quality Fenders and Ibanez.
  5. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    phil-Ruler of Heck.gif If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore. And, I'd get an angry visit from this guy - who'd probably make me play something cheap - like a Squier ( :eek::eek: )- for a couple of hours, as punishment...:whistle:
  6. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Yes, I had a bass built for me. It was worth it to me.
    allenhumble, Susqmike and ajkula66 like this.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I've bought a couple. They're excellent basses and play exceedingly well. But they mostly sit at home while I play my much cheaper basses, usually my Hammersmith PJ. I spent my formative years with a Precision as my only good bass (sometimes my only bass), and as much as I resented not having any money to get anything else at the time, it seems I actually prefer the Fender paradigm.
  8. My Skjold's are the best basses I've ever owned! Totally worth it!
    Here's a short clip of my fretless.
    Tom Baker, Lorenzo D., interp and 8 others like this.
  9. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    they are so secret:D.....

    no one ever talks about it!!
  10. Gluvhand

    Gluvhand Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2014
    Rockland County, NY
    Before this becomes what it always becomes does anybody have an answer to the actual question?
    Tbone76, eottjake, TL23NC and 9 others like this.
  11. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    the last two basses I bought,

    I would not call them "boutique", but they were made for me (custom)

    they look the way I wanted them to look and the sound is awesome

    I love them and this is no secret (the only secret: their price, they did not cost me an arm)

    may the bass be with you

    Hounddog409 likes this.
  12. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    I'm sure most builders, if they have the time, will take a look over a bass you had them build. For a fee, and you'll be on the hook for shipping at least one way.
    I don't see reason to really expect any kind of "special" treatment. Maybe if you order a few basses from the same builder.
    mindwell and O_Doolez like this.
  13. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Alembic Epic-1.JPG Well, I guess I do; but my answer is, it just depends. Some people think; yes, it's money very well spent. And some people think spending that much is just crazy; and a [insert budget bass here] is just as good. Near as I can tell, the people who buy them, seem very happy with them. So, if the thought of owning a boutique bass gives you a warm fuzzy, then go for it. You'll probably be happy with it. If not? Then save your money. Nobody's going to make you buy one... And, yes, I have one - sorta. It's this one; a basic, no-option '96 Alembic Epic. But, I guess it qualifies; a new one certainly does cost enough... Am I happy with it? Yes, I am - especially since I didn't buy it new...:rolleyes: Like all Alembics, it's extremely well made; plays beautifully; and sounds... well, like an Alembic. I actually find it hard to play it sometimes; I start looking closely at it, and get distracted by just how well it's made...So, yeah, I'd say it was money well spent - for me... For you? Only you can answer that...:thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
    HolmeBass likes this.
  14. nostatic


    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    You mean the perks part? Depends on the builder. I can say that I've had ridiculously good customer service from Fodera, Rob Allen, Skjold, Roscoe, and others. You can talk to the person who actually built your bass, and they will go the extra mile to make sure everything is sorted out. Sometimes beyond the call of duty. That
    is part of what you're paying for. Whether it is worth it is up to the individual to determine.
  15. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Here's my feeling on boutique basses: Spend your money any way you like. That being said, if I were to spend a large chunk of money on a bass, I really want it to be built to specs that suit me.

    I know there are plenty of players that pull any bass off the rack and just gel with it, but I'm not like that. The last thing I would want is to drop a ton of money and then not be thrilled with how it plays.
  16. I think if a person has a difficult time conceptualizing the benefits of having a handmade boutique instrument, then they definitely shouldn't be shopping for them, let alone owning one. Ignorance is bliss. :)
  17. willsellout

    willsellout I apologize in advance. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    I had a handmade instrument made to my specs on two occasions. Both were gone in a matter of months. Meanwhile my MIM Fender J has stuck with me for years. As far as perks. I doubt these builders would offer free services. Their time is money.

    Lucky for you, in most cases if you go boutique, they are generally incredibly well made. There's not a whole lot that goes wrong. But if your tastes change or you want something different, expect to pay good money to change or fix things.

    My personal opinion is that very few people need custom instruments. But it's your cashola. They are pretty awesome.
    Spidey2112 and el_Bajo_Verde like this.
  18. red_rhino

    red_rhino Artful Dodger Gold Supporting Member

    The first rule of Boutique Bass Club is "Don't Talk About Boutique Bass Club".
  19. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
  20. red_rhino

    red_rhino Artful Dodger Gold Supporting Member

    Every builder is different in the level of service they provide on the instruments they build, whether you buy it off the rack or have one custom built. None that I know of offer anything like a regular maintenance schedule, but most will fix problems or help you address issues even on instruments for which you are not the original owner. Roger Sadowsky and Mike Tobias are two very good examples of this. So is Alembic. So are many others; you need to research specific builders.

    However, for routine maintenance, setups, fret work etc, it's usually best to have someone local that you can trust with your baby. (Unless you happen to live within driving distance of the builder.) Others here will advise that you should learn how to do those things yourself, but for me, there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking it to someone who knows what they are doing and will do it right the first time.
    malthumb likes this.

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