Boutique Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rstellar13, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. rstellar13

    rstellar13 Sarcastic Panda

    Sep 2, 2012
    Allentown, PA
    Hi TB, I think its time for me to enter the world of high end basses, i would love the peoples opinion on what i should look for, how much i should start to pay to know im getting good quality, and the best brands, i know everyone is different and even the ones you suggest to me might not be for me but i want to get a good look at this world, please give me all the info you got, thanks!
  2. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

    My best recommendation is for you to start reading the Club threads; like Roscoe, Clement, Sadowsky, Sandberg, etc, etc. These guys talk about their basses and would answer any questions you might have. Look under "Forums" / "Bass Guitar Forums" / "Basses" and club threads should be obvious.
  3. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Some more information on you would help others provide advice.

    Rough Budget?
    Do you like Fender style instruments, unique designs?
    Four string? Seven?
    Exotic woods or simpler looking?
    What kind of music do you play...or what kind of sound do you want?
    Thoughts about pickup configuration?
    Weight requirements or other playability concerns? etc...
  4. :D

    Well, there are literally hundreds of small luthiers making high quality instruments, and they are mostly quite different.

    You need to do a bit of homework. Start by making sure you can answer these questions:

    1) What kind of music do you play and listen to. Which bassists have a tone that you really like (i.e., are you a Geddy grind guy, a Marcus slap and sizzle guy, a Bob Glaub 'clean P' guy, etc., etc.)?

    2) What basic 'look' of a bass do you dig... more traditional like a J and P, or more modern and new?

    3) Do you prefer active of passive instruments (i.e., is a preamp key for your tonal goals)?

    4) Do you prefer a 4 string, 5 string or more?

    5) Do you prefer 34" or 35" scale (or something else)?

    6) What neck profile are you looking for... modern (i.e., compound radius/flat board or more 'round/traditional', very thin flat neck profile or more round traditional profile, etc.)?

    7) What is your budget? These types of basses range from around $2,000 through $10,000+

  5. :D We were typing the same thing at the same time!
  6. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Also consider how much resale value matters to you. Some makes retain value significantly better than others simply due to market forces (rather than quality).
  7. rstellar13

    rstellar13 Sarcastic Panda

    Sep 2, 2012
    Allentown, PA
    Hi guys!
    I am not really fan of fender style instruments at least on the high end side of the spectrum, i am looking for a 5 string but with high C not low B, for the top i do like exotic but also simple so the woods dont really bother me that much, the music i play in a lot of jazz and contemporary with the rare rock or punk gig, I like most pickups, but i want to eventually put a ramp on it so soap bars or buckers preferred, i would like the weight to be on the lower side because in school i have it on for hours at a time each day, then i like a 12-10 in radius
  8. Cool. Lots of options. For the e to c thing, modern look, fancy top, possibly shorter scale, and a traditional magnetic pickup solid body, I would look at Stambaugh. Chris has done many of those e-c ramp style basses, and it won't break the bank. He can install a Pope Pre and various dual coil soap models. Great luthier for what you are going for.

    If you are made of money, Fodera had a lot of experience with that build, and their Standard Garrison model might totally fit the bill for you... deep cutaway, shorter scale (designed for E-C), amazing quality.

    My guess is, $3,000 (or less) for the Stambaugh, $9,000 for that particular Fodera (roughly)
  9. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    When you narrow it down further you might want to compare build times too. Some builders might have to schedule you a year or more out.
  10. Thanks for narrowing down options. I'm wondering about your planned budget. Obviously, we can recommend multi-thousand dollar instruments from Ritter, Fodera, etc, so it will help a lot if you have a ballpark amount in mind.
  11. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    Awesome response. :)
  12. rstellar13

    rstellar13 Sarcastic Panda

    Sep 2, 2012
    Allentown, PA
    As i am still in high school, but go to a performing arts school where half my day is studying the bass i cant really spend to much, i was thinking around 1700-2300, i cant break my bank, but i dont want like a special bass that was made in a factory i would really like something special.
  13. It feels funny to even recommend a $9,000 bass:eek: to anyone, but that Garrison is literally 'his spec'. Chris Stambaugh does a GREAT job also, and would be my first choice for that sort of build on a more 'not crazy' budget.
  14. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Your post was better written though. :cool:
  15. Just a suggestion, but there are a lot of very cool boutique-style basses here in the TB Classifieds.

    Also, since you're a Supporting Member, you could put a post in the Wanted Bass Guitars secion. List the details you prefer, indicate your price range and see if anyone responds.
  16. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
  17. rstellar13

    rstellar13 Sarcastic Panda

    Sep 2, 2012
    Allentown, PA
    I would kill for a Garrison ever since i saw and felt one i feel in love, was my desktop background at one point but just cant afford it:(
  18. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

    Birdsong HY5 (see link) at $2500.00 / 31.5" scale like you have described (that's my new fretless walnut featured on the web-site home page):
  19. rstellar13

    rstellar13 Sarcastic Panda

    Sep 2, 2012
    Allentown, PA
    Oh i didn't mean i wanted a shorter scale would prefer 33-34
  20. Ok, skip the Fodera:D. Worth a call to Chris Stambaugh. If you stick to a more standard preamp (like a Bartonlini or Aguilar), and don't go crazy with a AAAA top, etc., my guess is, he could hit the top of your price range with a very nice instrument. At least worth a look and a call.

    You might also want to give Dan Lenard at Luthier's Access Group (he is in Chicago). GREAT guy, and he is basically a distributor of 'new and/or small and/or unknown luthiers. Check out his site. He might have a recommendation for a great luthier who can do what you want within your price-range.
  21. 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.

    Aug 5, 2021

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