Custom Bass Questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassGrowl, Jul 30, 2001.

  1. BassGrowl

    BassGrowl Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    i have a few questions about custom basses that ive always wondered:

    1) how much do they usually cost (i know it depends but just wondering)
    2) where can i find someone who custom creates these works of art
    3) so your saying i could put together the sleekness of an Ibanez Ergodyne with the sound of a Ernie Bass Stingray?
    4) are they worth it?
    5) can i create practically any design i want?
    6) can i put a whammy bar on it?
  2. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I am no expert on em, but here goes:

    1. That really does depend on way to many things. You will have to check out a few web sites.
    2. is where I am getting mine from. Sadowsky, Matt Pulcinella (sp?), Conklin, Carl Thompson, are a few others that come to mind. There are tons of custom bass builders out there. Use your search engines and find em.
    3. It all depends. Some guys have a "if you can dream it, I will build it" attitude (as long as it is NOT a direct copy of another bass!!), while others make you stick to their basic design and give you options as to woods, electronics, pups, etc.
    4. Again, it all depends on you. How much time are you willing to spend researching and figuring out what exactly it is you want and need out of YOUR bass?? Believe me, there are a lot of details to think of. If you don't spend the time doing your homework, you might get the bass and soon be thinking "if I would have done it this way or that way, it would have been better."
    5. See answer number 3.
    6. I am sure some builders will do that. Just email them and ask them.

  3. Wouldn't you need a locking tremelo too:D
  4. Theoretically, you can get whatever you want, including custom made pickups. The thing is to find someone who will execute whatever you want.

    As Ryan noted, getting a knockoff of an existing design made famous by another make/luthier leaves your luthier open to lawsuits.

    I'm doubtful about putting together the sleekness of an Ergodyne together with the sound of an "Ernie Bass" (sic) Stingray. Every luthier I know of uses wood and the Ergo is made of luthite or melted Tupperware, isn't it? That body calls for some kind of injection molding/molding and a luthier isn't going take on the cost of tooling up with a mold process for one bass, (unless you're Bill Gates-rich, and even then......?).

    To get started, I suggest using the "Search" function at the top of any Talkbass page using the word "custom" and limit the forum you search to "Basses." From there, you can get an idea of what kind of homework you're going to have to do to be able to present your spec's to a luthier.
    The more precise info you can give the better off both you and the luthier will be. The closer your spec's are to a simple, "I want it to look like (blank) and sound like (blank)" the less chance you are going to get what you want, (and that's not what a good luthier wants to happen either).

    Once you have your spec's together, here's a couple of good ways to go, IME;

    -> As Ryan mentioned, use a search engine for the terms, "luthier" "custom" and "bass." This will give you contacts you can approach with your spec's and give you a chance to see some of their work at their websites.

    -> Go to . You can email them your spec's and they will pass them on to luthiers interested in building a bass for you. Not much later, you will receive an email with bids from several luthiers to build your instrument. I started out with this approach to see what kind of money I was looking at from several different sources and I got 6 bids.

    BTW, once you start your research, get several pens and a lot of paper. :D
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Custom jobs usually run between $1500-???? Examples. Lower end: Pulcinella, Pedulla, Lakland, Bone. Middle range: Sadowsky, Roscoe, F-Bass, MTD, Elrick. High end: Fodera, Fleischman, Ken Lawrence, Bebensee, Carl Thompson.

    Generally, design weirdness increases with $$$, though there are lesser-known luthiers that will build crazy stuff for a reasonable price, eg. Pushic,
    David King. If all you want is a whammy, I think most buildes could swing it.
  6. lo-end

    lo-end Guest

    Jun 15, 2001
    how much is the Fender custom shop if you get a "normal" bass - that is with nothing out of the ordinary that would rack up the price - a platinum pickguard?
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Do it yourself!
    Will cost just as much and will take a lot longer. You will make a bunch of mistakes. You will end up with exactly the bass you designed.
    And you will probably, in the long run, own a wide spread of different basses :)

    "Bassbuilding is addictive" Martin Koch, I believe.