Choosing a Custom Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by keyofnight, Dec 13, 2015.


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  1. keyofnight

    keyofnight

    Jun 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Hey folks! Here's another question about bass ownership. :hyper:

    To those of you who have custom basses, what is your advice to everyone who is thinking about getting a custom bass? What kinds of things should a person keep in mind when they're shopping around for a custom builder? What kinds of things could (or should) a person look for in their custom bass? When should a person look for a custom bass in the first place?

    Give us the details… curious minds want to know! :roflmao:

    (12/2, 1:06pm— Edited to add detail.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  2. Alban

    Alban

    Apr 8, 2004
    The Netherlands
    People tend to think that a custom bass is somehow automatically better than a regular production bass. That's of course not true.

    You should get a custom bass if other basses aren't offering the features that you are looking for. And yes, in that case it will probably be worth the money. I love my custom P ;-)
     
  3. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    This ^^
     
  4. tzohn

    tzohn

    Apr 26, 2015
    How can you know that the custom bass you have ordered will sound the way you'd like.
    I mean normally you test several basses to find out what's the best for you even if they
    are identical i.e same brand, same model etc. With custom, you can only be sure
    about the looks, but regarding the expected tone isn't that a risk?
     
  5. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I had to reread the original post. From reading the responses I though this was "please whine about custom basses." :D

    To actually answer the question - in some circumstances it is worth the time, effort and money to get a custom bass. My 2 cents is that you need to know what exactly what you want. I've had three basses built for me, but I knew exactly what I was looking for and I spent a lot of time researching builders. All three basses exceeded my expectations.

    I think one of the reasons that some people say custom basses aren't worth the money is because they've never had one made for them. My bass is exactly what I'm looking for in a bass. You could play it and just say, "meh" because it is probably not your dream bass.

    There is a well respected make of high end basses that I just don't like. It doesn't mean that they aren't great basses, or aren't worth the money; it just means that they aren't for me. It doesn't make people that like them wrong, they just aren't my cup of tea.

    FWIW I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one if the opportunity and need arises and I can't find what I need off the shelf.
     
    keyofnight and pacojas like this.
  6. Tommy33

    Tommy33

    Dec 11, 2015
    I had carvin make me a custom bass the bass was super well made with no issues but my lakland skyline pj is still my number 1 player . so better no but cool to make one for sure .
     
  7. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    I've had a bunch of custom basses built over the years by different luthiers. I still have some but most of them have been sold off and I lost money with each one. Lots of good comments above, I would just add that you'll never know if you'll like a particular luthier's work until you try it out. I own a bunch of Mike Lull basses because I love how he builds stuff - it just feels right to me. Other brands I've tried have just felt wrong even though the specs on paper looked right. After years of chasing multiple customs I've arrived at a point that I'll look for a long time for the right used bass to pop up before I'll order a custom, unless I know exactly what I want and who can build it that way.
     
  8. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    MEXICANADAMERICA
    and so do i!!! ;)
     
  9. keyofnight

    keyofnight

    Jun 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    This is mostly my fault. ;) I changed the OP to better solicit the right kinds of responses.

    Right now, I'm in a similar spot. I have a bass, and I've grown close it over the years. I have very simple tastes, but I can't seem to find all the things I want in one bass. I like a single humbucking pickup in a treble position. I don't like active electronics, and I love simple controls. I like a flat radius and somewhat narrow string spacing. I like maple necks and fretboards. I could find all of these things in a 4-string bass, but it's hard to find them in a 5. So, I figure… why not just go custom?
     
  10. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    No reason not to. Just find a builder that does this, research to heck out of them and place your order. Just my 2 cents, but I've had excellent luck with Ben Lindsey.
     
    keyofnight likes this.
  11. keyofnight

    keyofnight

    Jun 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    My god. He does build great Fender-style guitars, huh?

    CustomHotRod.jpg
     
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    He's good. I've had a Bluesman, Nash, Lindsey and vintage Fender and I actually liked the Lindsey best, although the others are very nice.
     
  13. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    My experience is I can mod basses (and God only knows how I modded electric guitars) but only at times I reach the one point there in my head. I experienced that I went much nearer moddin' existin' models to my specs than havin' custom detailed basses made just for me. It happened twice: first time a famous local luthier released a 5 string bass for me (here n'there maybe recallin' a Michael Tobias, so that you get where I was at) while second time it was Fender parts Precision bass assembled and hand painted to reproduce West Ham utd Steve Harris Precision, years before Fender released present production model (I now own)
    You see: completely different bass and specs, still, in both cases, I just didn't "clicked" with them:bored:

    Now I'd imagine a quite different custom bass, if I only had cash, but you know what? I just don't have the need and feel, maybe momentarily, maybe definitely, apparently GAS free.

    My advice is: supply is so wide to be almost impossible not to find sumthin' fittin' you

    Cheers,
    Wallace
     
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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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