Custom bass prices?!?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RS, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I'm seriously considering getting a custom, high end jazz style bass. My two preferred builders, Elrick and Sadowsky quoted me over $3000 for each. That is a little more than I expected. Are these basses really worth this much? For the Sadowsky I am interested in the ultra jazz model. No fancy woods or electonics. For the Elrick, I wanted a 4 string NJS with passive pups and a spalted maple top, and bolt on neck. Bass NW said it would be 3K, but I've seen for sale used from $1000-1800.
    Could this be right?
    I think it would be just better to wait for a good used on to come down the pipe, no?
  2. XxBassmanxX


    Nov 21, 2001
    Rosman NC
    check out dpcustom basses. DO NOT be fooled by the price these things are great. You can get any pickups and preamp and even get him to make you a custom body shape. Also it would be a true custom in that there is no other like it.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You still get what you pay for...

    Why not a used Sadowsky?

    Buying 2nd hand is cool... :D
  4. Whether they're "worth this much" is really a subjective judgement. If $3k is chicken feed to you or if you simply can't go on without that sound/playability/prestige/quality they may be worth that much. If you don't see/hear anything that elevates them above other basses, I guess they wouldn't be perceived as "worth it."

    The resale of custom basses, IME, is not all that good. There may be a market for a luthier's work, but there may not be much of a demand for a particular bass because custom instruments are unique by design. Whereas mass production instruments are designed to have mass appeal, a custom only has to appeal to the person who spec'd it.

    If a used one came down the pipe with the components you want, I guess it's worth it. The issue is - what are the odds your taste/needs will be matched by a used custom? Most, if not all, have very good components, so, for me, finding one I like isn't tough. Matt Schmill makes some very nice basses that weren't commissioned by clients and sells them at reasonable prices, IMO. Definitely worth checking out.
  5. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I second the Schmill motion;
    I've got one of his 'stock' FBB customs- it's really nice.
    Good quality, great guy. You ought to check with him. He's quite knowledgeable on all the subjects that matter...
    He even contributes on the newsgroups ocassionally.
    Give him a call, see what he can do
  6. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    I've just put a deposit down with one of the manufacturers you mentioned. I was like you, in that I thought if I showed some patience, then the right used bass would come along. What I found, after 4 months procrastination, is that when you want an instrument of this calibre, it's probably better to spend the extra dollars to get EXACTLY the instrument you want. Every used bass I looked at had some sort of compromise attached. Finally I realised that I'd hate to finally own the bass of my dreams, only to look at it and think "yeah, it's nearly right, if only it had .... ".

    Hey, if you're lucky enough to find exactly the right instrument used, then go for it. But my advice is not to compromise your requirements just to save dollars, as I don't think you'll be as happy with the instrument as you should be.
  7. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    For the sort of instrument you're talking about (ultra Jazz), I'd certainly consider Matt Pulcinella ( as well, though he really sepcializes in 5's. Mike Lull ( also builds some really nice Jazz-style basses.

  8. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    If your looking for a custom bass, then perhaps you may want to check in with Gard, he works for bass central in Orlando Florida, and he's forever telling me about custom basses that they have, and the prices on them are unblievable. Theres also a luthier in Orlando he told me about that makes custom basses. He can clue you in on all this better than I can.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Used basses show up more often than people think. To get exactly what you want, you can either order it or be very patient and wait. I usually do the latter.

    I just went through some drama with a used NJS 5, for $1250. Yesterday Bunnybass had an F bass, a BN-5 for $1450, which can give you a killer Jazz sound... I missed that one, too. Elricks, Lulls, Sadowskys, they all turn up. Now is possibly the best "buyer's market" I can recall, especially for used high end. There was a used Fodera 4 string right here on TB for $1700.

    Of course if you need to be the original owner or have very specific needs, order new. I OTOH have all the time in the world, figuratively speaking.