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Buy Vinatge or Custom Build?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mambo4, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    So my insurnce will reimburse me up to 2.5K USD for my stolen instrument (discussed in this thread)

    I am considering 2 options:

    NEW: custom built (probably a Lull)
    Pros: pratcically a dream bass, will play the sh*t out of it
    Cons: no long term appreciation, probably will never pay for itself

    VINTAGE: Find a similar vintage instrument
    Pros: will appreciate in value, wife supports the idea
    Cons: might or might not play it, will require some hunting, wont quite be as valuable as what was stolen

    I am leaning towards finding a vintage replacement, but I do lust after a Lull PT bass...

    What would you do?
  2. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    New custom, no question.

    You want an investment that will appreciate, talk to your accountant or your broker. Don't confuse an instrument for making music with a financial "instrument".
  3. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I'd go custom. No question at all. you're most likely to get much-better quality,more reliability that way.
    I also think that vintage stuff, if it is a bass does not appreciate all too much.
    If it's a69 sun burst les paul... now that would be a different matter.Basses not so much I recon. However, if it's a P and has 'funk' scratched in the neck pocked you might be on to a winer however.
    The plus there is that your wife approves.
  4. Funkfaker


    Jan 4, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: CallowHill Guitars; Aguilar Amplification; MonoCases
    Minus the stolen instrument, I went through this thought process three years ago. I went custom and never looked back.
  5. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I had the opportunity to try out a friend's '69 Jazz (which I had the "green light" to buy) on a gig. I was nervous the whole time as it attracted a ton of attention and everyone seemed to know it was worth a lot.

    I play a Sadowsky on most of my gigs and almost no one gives it a second look. Ultimately, it's just a tool and I liked the tone and feel of the Sadowsky a lot better anyway. The fact that few people outside of Talkbass have heard of Sadowsky is just a bonus in that I don't have to watch it as closely as I did that vintage Fender.

    It's wonderful if a bass increases in value, but rare is the instrument that appreciates as much as a solid financial investment. If long term finances are a concern, I'd buy a decent inexpensive bass and invest the rest. If you're going to spend it all on a bass, I'd get what you most like the sound and feel of, irrespective of future value.

    The wife factor is important though. While I had my wife's support in buying the 69 Jazz, I ultimately decided I didn't really need it and likely wouldn't play it out much.
  6. Kajel


    May 20, 2012
    The new Fender Select P Bass will only go up in value and it's so damn beautiful - almost plays by itself. Check it out.
  7. jwj1701


    Nov 17, 2011
    Lexington KY
    Saw a video from another thread last night and the fender rep verified the selects are a numbered run. So yes they probably will increase in value. Almost makes me want to buy one, seal it up and put it up for sale in 2022. If anyone wants to see that video I believe its the thread discussing the fender Antigua models.
  8. Kajel


    May 20, 2012
    Mine is #40
  9. jwj1701


    Nov 17, 2011
    Lexington KY
    Nice if your looking to flip it down road. Still nice if you just want to rock that thing. :)
  10. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    I'd say custom and suggest having some part of it that's really out there, like a crazy headstock or unusual inlay or something like that. It's a theft deterrent. Someone could steal a valuable Fender P and flip it without getting too much attention. However, a bass with inlays made of bullet casings and a headstock shaped like a moose is something you can point to anywhere and say "Yeah, that's my bass."
  11. kentiki


    May 14, 2008
    Vintage, since the tele wasn't your main player. That being said if you are looking for something to gig regularly than a custom is probably the way to go.

    If you decide to go vintage, just be careful. There are a lot of old pos basses out there.

    Good luck.
  12. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    I vote vintage. You can't predict what will gain value down the road, but you know vintage stuff has proven to be worth money over the years. For $2500, I'd get a nice early 70's P bass. Something like this

    or this

    I do recommend playing it first, though. There are some dogs out there, just like any bass.

    I have a 1962 P and a 1975 P. I don't gig my 62 if I don't have to, but it's awesome for studio use and rehearsing or whatever. I gig the HELL out of my 75. I sweat all over it, and take it everywhere with me.

    Get a refin if you wanna save some dough. My criteria for picking a good vintage player is: Original PU's, original neck, original body.
  13. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Buying vintage is rough. It's a buyers market, but there are so many fakes out there that I would be very very leery buying anything Fender that I didn't personally know the history. Less so other makes.

    You'll never recoup the price of a new Lull, but you'll be much happier playing it.
  14. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Vintage since you can hand pick one and take your time finding the one. Custom? Who knows if you will like it and the tone once it's done? Anyone can get a custom built but no everyone can own a great sounding and playing vintage bass...each is one of a kind with history behind them.
  15. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Well normally I like making my bass dollar stretch in every direction, but this is going to depend on how much money you really have to spend here. You said $2500 from insurance. Is that all you have to work with? Then I'd probably go the Lull route, because you have very limited collectible vintage choices in that range: we're talking late 70's Fender J, or a preEB StingRay (I'd heavily vote preEB btw :D).
    But if you got an extra 1-1.5k stashed for gear to put ontop of that 2500, then that opens up the world of bigger ticket collectibles, and I'd lean that direction.
  16. In that price bracket, I would not buy a vintage instrument to gig with, at least if the OP is thinking in terms of investment-grade stuff.

    - $2,500 isn't enough to get you into something so desirable that appreciation can be taken for granted.
    - Even if it was, there's no guarantee that a given vintage instrument will continue to appreciate in the long term.
    - If you gig it out, you risk destroying whatever collector value the vintage axe possesses (unless you're a major enough celebrity that your ownership will add to it's value).
    - as others have mentioned, vintage instruments are theft magnets.
  17. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Not really a risk with a Lull.:)
  18. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    This. If you're gigging for the rest of your life, you'll definitely make back 2.5k on a bass, so don't say the custom won't pay for itself (and it's not necessarily true that the vintage one will continue to appreciate).

    Further, if you buy a custom you get the instrument you want, down to the screws. If you buy a vintage, you're stuck with whatever they were producing then. I like to think that we've come a little way in terms of manufacturing since then.
  19. $2500?

    I'd look for a minty used Lull, maybe have some cash left over.

    Seattle would seem to be the right area to be looking, too.
  20. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    The insurance payout is such that I must purchase a replacement and send them the receipt.
    If I could take anywhere near the cash value, I'd be buying a rig instead.

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