1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

brubaker bass... what do YOU think

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by darthspada, Jan 30, 2001.

  1. darthspada


    Jan 20, 2001
    Lancaster, PA
    So I was checking out the new location of a local guitar shop, and they had a beautiful looking Brubaker 4 string bass on the wall, P and J pickups with an active/inactive switch. The sales clerk told me that they rank up there with Warwick basses. Not having actually played a Warwick or a Brubaker before, I decided to give it a try. Am I nuts, or was my disappointment justified? It was pretty nice to play, but lacked the tone that I assumed would come with such a high priced instrument (I forget the exact list, but it was over $3K). I payed $200 for a used bass that kicks the Brubaker's butt. I was testing it through a Peavy 100 watt amp, a smaller version of the amp used by the bass player in a former band... so I know that the amp was descent. I also tested it through the Danelectro Nifty Seventy, which I happen to own, so that I could get a correct tone comparison with my own instrument. Again, the Brubaker fell far short in tone compared to my Electra. So, what do you think? Is this instrument worth such a high price? If so, why?
  2. Probably because they're limited-production type instruments...maybe it's custom or hand-built, that usually jacks up the price a whole lot.
  3. OK, so I'm six or seven years late on this one, but I picked up a fretless NBS1 at Elderly Instruments for $1,650 last year and it is a dream to play. Tons of tone at either end, great action. Think you must have been in a bad mood! Go try another one!
  4. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I've played two, I was underwhelmed. They just didn't feel or sound right to me.

    That said, feel varies from person to person, and tone does too. In addition, there are all sorts of different models, different options and such that will make then vary wildly in terms of tone and comfort. Yes, weight can be a comfort issue, and the ones I played were heavy. But as some have said, the ones that aren't heavy are.......not heavy.

    One plus is I love the looks of them, some of the most eye catching instruments out there. Just not my cup of tea. But neither are Smiths, and plenty of peeps are all about them, so that goes back to the main point. Different basses for different folks.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    A 4 string PJ back in 2001 was probably an older model. I can't remember the last PJ I've seen.

    It's all about what you like. The ones I've ordered were built to my specs and each one exceeded my expectations. I've also picked up used ones, tweaked them to how I wanted them and have been extremely pleased with them.

    I doubt the Warwick comparison would hold up today;)

  6. 55-02


    Dec 18, 2006
    Washington D.C.
    Brad's Brubakers SLAUGHTER WARWICKS!!!!!!!!!

    But then again.....................anything slaughters a Warwick.
  7. Hey Brad, just curious as to what that ramp is finished with? I'm trying to achieve the same look.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I thought I knew but I checked: Kevin tops off a black base coat with a matte clear. He uses automotive paint. He matched up the texture of the Bartolinis very well... most people think it's a third pickup.

    I would bet Krylon or Rustoleum Barbecue black would work well.
  9. I played 2 at my local guitar shop a few weeks ago and although they were breathtakingly beautiful they left alot to be desired at that price range. Now the overall setup on the 2basses wasn't exactly the best, so I guess that could have contributed to their lack of performance, but other than the action being too high the sound of the bass and feel of the neck just wasn't there in what you would expect for a 3000+ instrument. The woods were beautiful and this bass was a little on the heavy side, but there were def. other basses there at a much lower pricepoint that sounded as good, if not, better :bag:
  10. Rickenbrad


    Aug 13, 2007
    I'm saving up for one right now, best basses i've ever played. beautiful, beautiful basses

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Overall Kevin's basses are extremely consistent in quality and craftsmanship and I have yet to play a bad quality or sounding Brubaker bass yet.
  12. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Funny when you see these very old threads revived :D

    The quality of certain custom made basses is rarely questioned, and this might be the first time I've ever seen Brubaker mentioned in this type of thread. Certainly, my limited experiences with Brubaker have all been overwhelmingly positive and if not for the dedication I have to another luthier (;)) a Brubaker would most likely be my choice for a custom build ..... assuming I could get another string or two ... :)

    I love this look .....


    Hey, everyone has differing tastes, so it's possible that some players might not be thrilled with a specific bass .... that's what makes it great to have so many choices :cool:
  13. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    TBH my Warwick's really nice, and - even better - it doesn't look like a lottery winner's dining table.
  14. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    That is actually some of the appeal, though it might not suit you.

    Brubakers can be classy, very artisictly done with great hardwoods, and also compeltely extreme in finishes, which is something I dig as well. Few people offer the kind of finishes that they do, Tobias and Roscoe are two that I think of , and benavente, when you think about who offers the complete visual package.

    I could have been playing older ones? Sure wasn't something like Brads! But I bet there is a big difference on the option sheet from his and the ones most people spot around.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I can't really say, I don't know what basses others are seeing. I still have and gig with my first one, an NBS1 made of all Maple... a pretty basic bass. It still kills.

    On that six, if you take away the chambers and the finish, you still have a basic Brubaker bass. The finish doesn't make it sound or play the way it does.

    I'm all about punch, articulation, cutting through in the mix and ease of play. All of my basses have very low action... they're usually considered too easy to play. I pretty much keep my necks straight.
    Thumpy Fenda 5 likes this.
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings

    Good for you. Warwicks are a good fit for many bassists. And it's great that they don't look like a lottery winner's dining table.

    Other than a couple of Bart-equipped Thumbs, I've never really warmed up to them. It's just an approach that doesn't work for me.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I sometimes wonder if people even realise the drastic effect the action can have on the impression you get from an instrument. The action on my Fodera Anthony Jackson Contrabass was high when I got it and I really didn't like the feel at all. Fast forward to me dropping it to where I preferred and the bass was smoking. Throw a new set of strings on with the low action, adjust the pickup height and it was off the charts.

    If you go back to that store, ask them to adjust the action. It's probably higher than what it was at Kevin's shop before it left and it's a very simple thing to do. Any Brubaker, because of the dual action trussrod, can go lower than you could actually play:D

    I've lost track of how many of the basses I owned were sold becuase the previous owner didn't like the way they played or sounded, then I got them and did the usual: adjust pickups, preamp output, trussrod, intonation and saddle height to my liking, and then let them play the bass they sold me. It's almost mean to do that and I might feel guilty if I didn't spend as much time as I do recommending people do that rather than dismiss an instrument and sell it. But if they're still bent on giving it away... :cool:

    That's how I got my Ambush, Marleaux Jazz 5, Elricks, Laklands, Roscoes, MTD, Fenders, etc. And about three of my Brubakers:hyper:
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Thanks, Ed.

    That's Drue Williams' bass. The funny thing is that he asked for a plain bass and this is how it turned out. The figure in that "plain" piece of Maple really jumped out when it was finished.

    BTW Kevin is currently building a 10 string. He hadn't built more than a six string up to this point because... no one asked.

  19. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I had the pleasure to meet Kevin and play some of his instruments at Winter NAMM, and I must say, I was highly impressed with both the basses and the man. :cool:

  20. Old school

    Old school

    Oct 30, 2004
    A number of years ago my daughter purchased a cello. She is a very competent cello player. At the same time, another student was also was auditioning cellos for a purchase. The other student was very gifted with highly developed musical skills. Three cellos were presented for the audition with no indication of price. My daughter played all three. Each had an individual charactor or tone and she sounded equally good on all three. The second student played all three. Under his fingers, the first cello sounded good, the second cello excellent and the third cello sounded unbelievable. My daughter bought the first cello for $3,500.00. The other student bought the third cello for $12,000.00. I learned that ability and talent goes a long way towards making excellent instruments soar.

Share This Page