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Brubaker or Stambaugh???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jaco Taco, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Brubaker

    11 vote(s)
  2. Stambaugh

    13 vote(s)
  1. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    So, for those who have played Brubakers and/or Stambaughs:

    I'm thinking of getting a custom 6-string bass from one of these companies. It will be:
    1. Passive
    2. Under $5,000
    3. String spacing of 14mm at bridge

    Would you recommend either over the other? I've got a feeling a Stambaugh is going to be more affordable.

  2. Either would be fantastic but I love Brubakers through and through. I do think the Stambuagh would be more affordable so I guess it depends on what more you want out of the bass.
  3. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    I own a Stambaugh, very happy with it.
    Also very reasonable price for A CUSTOM BUILD.
    Not familiar with Brubaker.
  4. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Wow, neck and neck with 7 votes each so far. I'm not looking for dirt, but does anyone have anything bad or cautionary to say about these two builders?
  5. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Both are great builders no doubt. Although I've only ever owned a Stambaugh but, based on the Brubaker rep, you can't go wrong with either of them.
  6. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Yes, the Stambaugh will be more affordable. Depending on options you're likely looking at less than $3,000 for a very high quality, custom bass.

    That said, Brubakers are incredible basses. I've been wanting to try one for quite a while and finally got the chance a couple months ago and was not disappointed. The one I tried had a relatively (by Brubaker standards) simple finish but it played and sounded fantastic. On that same visit I played a lot of nice basses (MTD, FBass, Sadowsky, Roscoe, Zon, Lull etc) and it more than held it's own, being one of my favorites that I tried.

    And in my opinion Kevin Brubaker does the most amazing finish work in the business. I'd love to have one of his basses. For that matter my dream bass is probably a Stambaugh with a Brubaker finish.

    I don't think you can go wrong either way. Stambaugh is a more truly custom shop where you can define pretty much any and all of the specs which is a positive for someone who knows exactly what they want but could be a negative for someone throwing together ideas and ending up with a mish mash. Brubakers have a more defined identity in some ways while still allowing lots of customization.

    So if you dig the awesome aesthetics and design/playability of a Brubaker and have the cash then go for it.

    Or if you have some very specific or different ideas and want somebody to execute those (or just don't have the budget for a Brubaker) then give Chris Stambaugh a call.

    I've never talked to Kevin Brubaker but he seems like a great guy and Chris definitely is.

    Good luck.
  7. Kmrumedy


    May 12, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    There is a really nice Brubaker in classifieds today.

  8. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Thanks for your input! Yeah, this is one of my thoughts as well. I love the Brubaker thing where they finish the fretboard with the same color(s) as the body, I think that looks amazing. But Stambaugh could probably do that too.

    Does anyone know a ballpark figure for what a custom Brubaker 6-string would probably cost? If I get it through a Brubaker dealer would it be less?
  9. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Just as a note, Chris doesn't do any spray finishes in house. He'll do tung oil, rubbed on lacquer and dyes with rubbed lacquer. Everything else he outsources.
  10. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Well, I will say that I'm very impressed with some of the inlays that Stambaugh does on his basses.
  11. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Anybody here buy a custom 6-string from Brubaker? What did it cost you?
  12. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Bumped for more voting and more comments! :D
  13. I have played both, though never owned a Brubaker. You can't go wrong with either.
    I have 2 stambaugh basses, and I am very happy with both. Both makers will give you the bass you ask for, so, as with all custom instruments, you should do your due diligence and decide what you want before you order.
    The Stambaugh bass will be more affordable. I have never paid Chris Stambaugh more than $2500 for a spectacular bass. I own a 6 fretted and a 5 fretless he made for me.
    One thing I would mention is that upon receiving the Stambaugh basses, I have had to do some of my own work in the electronics dept. to get them quiet. He is a master with the wood and the specs of playing basses, but you may need to do some shielding work on your own to get the bass quiet electronically.
    Additionally, no matter what they tell you, be prepared for the wait to be longer than a builder quotes you. That way you can avoid the emotional drama if there is a delay of any kind.
    It looks to me like a Brubaker bass will cost you twice as much as a Stambaugh. Also, if you look around, you may find some Brubakers and Stambaughs on the rack at bass shops. You can play each and see what their differences are.
    Jaco Taco likes this.
  14. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Thanks for the comments!
  15. mark roberts

    mark roberts Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Chiming in here. I cast my vote for Chris Stambaugh. Chris crafted a 7-string, two 8-strings, a 9-string and a 10-string for me over the years. All single-course extended-range basses. In many cases, my choices pushed Chris into new territory of building. I still have the most recent 8 and 10-string. The others went to new homes resulting in very happy players. And they are still with these proud owners. One of which had Chris craft him another using that design as the starting point. Jared has already given you some great reasons to have Chris build your bass. Here is an important one from me...Chris builds great necks. Stable, comfortable. As Jared points out, with Chris you can go complete custom...everything. Good luck!
    Jaco Taco likes this.
  16. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Thanks. Yeah, between the two I think I would go with the Stambaugh for sure. He's more affordable than Brubaker and it seems there's nothing too weird or outlandish for him to build which I dig since I have some pretty outlandish wants.