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Boutique V. Production

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gt96g, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. gt96g

    gt96g Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Philly Area
    I know this subject probably comes up quite a bit but I was wondering what the general feeling was here. I have owned many basses, too many in fact, and I have owned a few boutique pieces but, I always find myself gravitating back toward my musicman basses. I was just wondering how others feel, Boutique enthusiests, people who enjoy production model basses, and people that like both, and why, likes dislikes, advantages and disadvantages of both.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I don't mean to pee in the lemonade, but it's such a broad subject that the range of opinions is literally the entire possible range a human can imagine, and nearly all of TB's 100,000 or so members have an opinion on it, covering the gamut.
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    What I like in a bass, for my main player, does not really exist in an off the shelf bass. I prefer the blend of vintage and modern tones that my Nordstrand offers, and the amazingly comfortable neck that it has, coupled with the singlecut design.

    For fretless, only one fretless have ever come close to satisfying my ear as well as my Zon, and that was a Custom Shop relic'd Jaco signature model. Almost as expensive as my Zon, and alas, no B string. No other fretless has spoken to me that way. Roscoes and F basses have come close.
  4. lordcorn


    May 12, 2008
    personally, fender does it all for me perfectly
    but its all a matter of personal preferance
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    It's all about floating your boat. I, too, have tried a lot of gear made from a lot of companies out of lots of materials. And the bass I've had the longest? A Fender. Granted, it's actually made from 2 different Fenders and has an upgraded boutique preamp, but still... best bass I ever had.

    If you end up boiling it down enough, everything goes back to some sort of design that is now common and "production." Like when Fender basses came out, they were kind of specialty and boutique. Now, you can easily find a Korean knockoff for $100... or you can pay some people thousands of dollars, wait 3 years and have them hand-build you a knockoff. Whatever floats your boat.
  6. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I don't think it's about "production" vs. "boutique". In my experience, it's about what makes you smile. I too have gone thru many basses and have had the opportunity thru business travel to try just about everything that even remotely interested me. Thru all the trial (and much error) I am satisfied with where I am today. These basses just make me happy.

    For fretted work I can choose between Ken Lawrence, Sadowsky and Nordstrand. Three different sounds that always sound great in the mix. For fretless, my choices are Ken Lawrence, Sadowsky and my Fender CS Jaco Relic. Again, all different and all magical.

    I've learned to play what makes me happy. I practice more that way! :)
  7. René_Julien


    Jun 26, 2008
    :) Well put.

    I've learned to think that way too.
    I'm playing for almost 10 years, I've never thought in my early years that I would end up with the choice of main bass today.

    Turns out I am most happy with an off-the-shelf traditional Fender.
    Well, not just any Fender, a Tony Franklin fretless precision. That bass suits me perfectly, it just happens to be also a signature model from one of the greatest bassists.

    But others might dislike my bass and will be more happy with a boutique fretless. Whatever makes you feel comfortable.

    Playing my Tony Franklin is like a steaming bowl of soup after a long walk in the rain. :D

    I found my perfect bass, I hope everyone finds their perfect match.
  8. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    I think boutique basses are nice pieces of work with a lot time put into making the bass and some are works of art, Time-fancy wood-state of the art electronis all equal money.
    You dont work for free so why should the crafters.
    Having said that, sometimes it not about tone it 's about who's wallet is bigger,but welcome to the real world,if you have that extra money more power to you but buying that boutique bass is not going to make you a better player because it is in your hands and soul...
    I have been around a long time and seen alot of players of all sorts over the years, it's an instrument and it only put out what you put into it,it does not play it's self.
    You can give guys like wooton,bailey,gettys,jaco's of the world a plywood bass and they still would sound like them,now they may not like playing the plywood bass but they could make it work. I have seen old blues players in the south at blues clubs with pawnshop specials,pickups duct taped,headstocks taped up and neck bow you would'nt believe ,one inch action at the nut and they play the crap out of them and sound good doing so.
    What i'am trying to say is people including myself spend so much time and money to buy tone when all you have to do is focus on playing you bass
    I'am not dogging Boutique basses at all ,I see some fine work out there and there are many I would like to play and own and it hard to tame the fever or GAS you get when you see a nice one. so many good basses out there nowdays you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for... UNLESS YOU WANT TO....A MATTER OF CHOICE.....
  9. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I also don't think it's really relevant, ultimately. A good bass has to fit the player (i.e. neck width, string spacing, weight, balance) and make audibly distinct notes (and if fretted, has to play in tune). It also has to be made well enough to be setup to the players tastes.

    That's really it. Everything else is pretty much gravy.

    The popularity of the Fender and Leo Fender's other designs like the music man and G&L is because it's basically the correct match for general human anatomy. It's the right size, length and positioned correctly for most human beings to play it comfortably.

    Most other basses are some variation on the LF design, but they all can't stray too far from the basic configuration and still be comfortable to play.

    I'm a G&L player because it has the basic Fender design and therefore fits me, but also has a bunch of fixes over the original Fender that Leo Fender himself invented. Very few other basses, boutiques included, have that particular combo. Some of the copies are pretty nice tho like the Lakland and so on.

    But the music man and G&L basses just nail the whole Fender thing and include LF's own enhancements to it.

    If there was a boutique, neck-thru exotic wood, Bartolini equipped G&L, it would also fit and be a boutique too.

    but to me the basic fit and sound is way more important than other aspects of the design, so I go for the one that is the best fit boutique or not.

  10. You go with production basses when boutiques don't fit your needs. :D

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