Boutique Vibe On a Budget.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sourwookie, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. sourwookie


    Jul 31, 2013
    I did a search and didn't find what I was looking for. Please feel free to direct me to any threads (recent, as things do change) that have covered this already.

    Through a series of robberies over the years I have found myself losing a Ken Smith, a 1980 mahogany/ebony G&L L1000 (I cried for months), and a modified USA Jazz. Now I am currently without anything "pro" level (I gig for a sizable chunk of my income) and it's driving me insane.

    I picked up a Fender Vintage Modified Jazz (the humbucker model) and I added an 18v preamp to tie me over until I figure out my next move. But it's time to move on (I keep an ultra-low action and it only makes me aware of how "rubbery" the neck on this thing is).

    I am looking for a bass with a bit of a "boutique" look that can be had for under $1500. Oddly enough, I don't have real strong feelings concerning bolt-on vs neck-thru. I really prefer flatter FBs with larger radiuses. J-style spacing is a must. I think I'm ready to go back to a five (oh, how the pendulum swings. Farewell, alt country/garage rock era).

    As far as style goes, I confess I'm a little tired of Fender-Style basses and would like to go with something less traditional. I like woods more than paint, and am not a big fan of pickguards. I like little horns and symmetry in my double cuts--more so than the "pointy" horns I associate with the 80's and 90's*. My first bass as a teen was a Kramer 450B in natural (think SD Curlee) with a definite "Alembic" vibe--and I think it may have colored my tastes for life.

    I am familiar with Warwick and Carvin at that price point, but I feel as if I'm missing something, perhaps from smaller builders. Unless I miss my mark, my beloved Alembics and Foderas are right out. Any help? Thanks so much!

    *bonus points: I'm a sucker for single-cut bodies.
  2. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Until you said little horns you were talking Ibanez. They have boutique quality basses, a wide variety of sounds and neck styles to choose from, beautiful wood (not painted) finishes, and affordable prices. I don't know of any with small horns.

    Also you might look for S.D. Curlee. The company is defunct but they made small horned basses with natural finishes that looked Alembic-ish but were far cheaper. He produced enough of them that there are likely to some floating around - especially in the Chicago area where he had his business.
  3. sourwookie


    Jul 31, 2013
    Personal aesthetics aside, Ibanez is in The Short List. I work for a dealer so the pricing is a little sweeter too.

    Funny you should mention the SD Curlee, as my first bass was a Kramer 450B (aluminum neck, walnut body) that had an SD/Alembic vibe about it. God, I miss it.
  4. SD Curlee is up and running.

    They don't do five strings though and they're medium scale (in case you're a strict "it ain't a bass if it's less than 34"" guy).

    Carvin SB5000, possibly used. The cutaways aren't typical Fender fare and they are very niiiice.
  5. Peace Cee

    Peace Cee

    Feb 9, 2011
  6. Peace Cee

    Peace Cee

    Feb 9, 2011
    good luck
  7. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

  8. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Carvin, really.
    And do check out the Tom Clement basses... he's on these boards... very nice stuff!
  9. sourwookie


    Jul 31, 2013
  10. aidanPmC


    Jun 14, 2013
    Carvin + upgraded electronics = one killer bass!. :bassist:
  11. Systolic

    Systolic Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Warwick, Spector, Carvin, MTD, Lakland. Those'd be the first places I'd look for a reasonably priced and good sounding 5'er with a non heavily painted body as well as a non traditional (read Fender) look.
  12. sourwookie


    Jul 31, 2013
    "And do check out the Tom Clement basses... he's on these boards... very nice stuff!"

    D'oh! Jinx!
  13. plong123

    plong123 All Your Bass Are Belong To Us

    Nov 19, 2012
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    After rereading your requirements, I think you'll like Carvin's Brian Bromberg basses. They are super Jazz basses, but without the pickguard or traditional J look. Also, cool horns. If you get a chance to try one out, I highly recommend it.
  14. sourwookie


    Jul 31, 2013
    All that Carvin stuff looks tight. As does the Ibanez . I know I should be pragmatic and treat my bass choice as the tool it is but something in me is crying out for something off the beaten path--like my Ken Smith did so long ago thatIblewthatstudentloanmoneyonandnowi'mstillpayingforitohgodthatwassuchamistake. ;)
  15. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    For that much money? Sheesh! I'd probably just hit up Warmoth for the parts then drop in my electronics-of-choice to seal the deal. But to recommend that would be to assume they have the parts you particularly want.
  16. eulogy77


    May 14, 2008
    pedulla you can find them arround that price and maybe even cheaper, thats what i recomend, i was on the hunt myself and found what i was looking for ( not pedulla, but very nice basses),I hope it goes well with yours
  17. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    schecter? some of them are kind of "boutique-y", although most will say the biggest downfall of schecter is the electronics are pretty bland.
  18. sourwookie


    Jul 31, 2013
    You're not too far off the mark. I've priced up/planned some Warmoth builds and like what I came up with. They all involved ordering body blanks and blank paddle headstocks so I would have some work ahead of me involving perimeter cuts and shaping which I am not adverse to and even have experience with. Thank god they do P'UP and neck routing.
  19. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    See?! All my ideas are good ideas! :bag:

    Seriously though, if I could do that too, I would. (wood?:D) Then I would <snerk!> have something I could truly call "MINE", top to bottom. Instead, I have to build mine from pre-made parts, which is still as rewarding as it is fun.

    Happy Hunting!
  20. BassmanM


    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    Maybe too cheap for you, but definitely my recommendation: Cort Artisan series. Here's mine.