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custom bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by davepack, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    alright...here's the deal:
    In about 2 months, I'll have enough $$$ to purchase basically any bass I like.
    I'm looking for a 6 string that has an EXTREMELY versatile sound. Everything from rock to metal to jazz to fusion.
    Honestly, price is no object, so can anyone recommend any custom luthiers I should check out??
    Thanks in advance,

    Oh yeah, it has to look pretty too ;)
  2. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    There's 10+ resident builders that post here and there on this site you could start with just by looking around the forum... but the real reason for this post is the give a thumbs up to another Apostrophe fan. One of my favorite albums ever.
  3. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    Roscoeguitars.com, end of story.
  4. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Take your cash and buy a few high-end basses USED that you're curious about, then when you're familiar with the differences between luthiers and have a solid idea of exactly what you want... THEN plunk the money down for the motherload.

    Otherwise, you're flying blind.
  5. Wow, if money is no object there are a huge amount of luthiers. It all depends on what you like in a bass and what you want. Give us those details and we'll try to help you out. But we need a description because there are way too many luthiers and options to list.
  6. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Well, I'm really looking for an extremely versatile sounding bass. I play/gig/record everything, from rock to metal to jazz to fusion. I want a 6 string that will fit that bill. I don't care that much what it looks like (as long as it looks nice...haha), but I need a little room between the fretboard and pickup to fit my fingers when slapping/popping, it has to have a nice tapping tone, and obviously a big, fat, growly finger-style tone. Versatility is key here...I basically want to dial-in any sound I need. I like a thinner neck profile, with average string spacing.

    Also, if anyone has any recommendations for specs...ie, what pickups, woods, string spacing, preamps, I should look at that would be great to.
  7. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Sounds like you dont really know what you want apart from "it does it all". There are probably tens if not hundreds of basses that would fit your bill, the problem is you really havent given us anything to narrow it down with. Its kinda like saying "I want a car that drives well, goes fast and looks good - which one should I get?"

    A 4 string jazz bass has been used for everything that you are looking for. Why not look at a 6 string jazz bass copy? Otherwise there is a tb'er with a FBass BNF6 with both Fbass and Alembic electronics, I can't think of anything more versitile than that! :D
  8. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    If money is no object.....why not buy a bass that's great for rock/metal, AND a bass that's great for jazz/fusion? You could probably find 2 used basses that would fit the bill quite well. And again, once you REALLY know what you want, maybe you can figure out how to commission a "mega bass" that will satisfy all your needs and clean the carpets too.
  9. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Well, if someone wanted a car that drives well, goes fast and looks good, I'd recommend a Mercedes, a BMW, or a Corvette. If $$ was no object, I'd recomment a Maclaren F series, so I guess I'm looking for the equivalent of a Maclaren in a bass!
  10. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Listen, I KNOW this is a very open and subjective question to answer...I'm just trying to get a feel for the best luthiers out there...so please let me know who's basses you guys have had the best experiences with.
  11. Stinkoman20xx


    Oct 19, 2003
    Greg Curbow can do it all. Plus their so fun to play. To bad I dont have the cash. But since cash is no object then I guess to most fodera is the way to go. alot will say carl thompson but I never played them and dont care for the tones I heard recorded. Wals can be really great for metal.Some find them to midrangey for slap but I still dig them.
  12. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    I said I wanted a car that looks good and you recommended a corvette! Are you blind?

    Besides, you havent told me what model I should get and what options, and colour...do I want woodgrain interior or carbon fibre? Do I want 4 cup holders or five? Manual gearbox or auto?

    (See how hard it is? It aint any easier with basses either). ;)

    Try the following luthiers:

    Ken Smith

    They are generally considered to be the "Maclaren's" of the bass world.
  13. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Right...but I told you what I need out of a bass...
    Versatile sound and playability (ie, low action, enough room to slap/pop, low enough action to tap, and a good finger-style feel). Thin neck profile with standard spacing (like a Pedulla). 6 Strings.
    I'm just trying to get feedback here...personal experience...what has worked for YOU guys....ie, if you're a fusion player, what's your setup, if you play rock, what kind of bass, if you've bought a custom bass before, who'd you buy it from and what did you think of the luthier....etc, etc, etc...
  14. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    If money was no object and I wanted the best of the best custom for myself I would contact Harry Fleishman. At this stage I would actually just build it myself, but otherwise it would be Harry for an electric or Steve Klein for an acoustic. Both of thier prices realistically start at about $10k (from what I hear).


    Maybe a custom F-Bass. Those seem pretty popular as well.
  15. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    haha...If I KNEW all the details, I wouldn't be on here asking for advice. I know the sound and feel I'm looking for, and described them the best I can.
    Do I want 4 or 5 cupholders?? Well, I'm equating cupholders to strings, so I want 6.
    Woodgrain or carbon fiber? Don't care...as long as it sounds/plays the way I want.
    Manual or Auto?? I equate that to fretless or fretted. The answer is fretted.
    Seriously, I think I'm being specific enough with what I'm looking for. I think Warwick's Corvette Jazzman 5 is the closest to what I'm looking for (from what I've played...) as far as sound goes, bit the neck is too fat. plus I'm looking for a 6er
  16. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Problem is there arnt too many lutheirs who describe their basses as "unversitile and unplayable" ;) Funny thing is i've never seen anyone ask for a bass that isnt playable or versitile....

    You are best off talking to lutheirs who specialise in fully custom designs (ie not MTD / K Smtih / Alembic and Fodera) as many dont seem to do MM/J pickup configs or fully custom builds.

    In terms of feel, how do you know whether wood (maple / wenge / laminate) necks sound good and play the way you want vs composite necks if you havent played them? We can't answer these questions for you. Same with neck through vs bolt on construction or set neck.

    It would certainly help if you gave us some infor about the kind of looks you like, sounds you have in mind, construction you like etc. Pretty much any luthier can make a six string fretless with 19mm spacing with a thin neck.

    Try PM'n Tb's Brian Barret or JPJ or Adrian Garcia to discuss custom basses - they are dealers for a number of custom lutheirs. Or have a look at the Luthiers Access Group.
  17. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    I'd drop a vote for Nordstrand or Fbass.

    If you're willing to settle for less strings, I'd vote a Sadowsky :)
  18. brandinstroy

    brandinstroy Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2001
    Houston, TX
    I Support the following: Fodera, Noble Amps, JHAudio, Trickfish Amplification
    I also suggest you take a look around TB and read a lot of the reviews of basses played
    by other players. Those in this forum play different styles and have different sounds.
    Read up on their reviews and it will help you narrow down what you are looking for.

    Many of the builders who post here can build what you ask for.
  19. Jeff Rader

    Jeff Rader Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I have found that usually the basses that claim to be the jack of all trades are usually the masters of none. IME, different music types often require different setups, pickup placements and strings - not just knobs and switches. I would much rather own 2 basses that are great at what they do than one that is a series of compromises.

  20. No offense meant, but I gotta pile on here: your question is just too general.

    1. There is no standard for versatile.
    2. IMO, any really good custom maker can make a bass that somebody will consider "versatile."
    3. Comparison are odious in this regard IMO. The whole point of a custom maker is that not all of the basses are alike. Thus, it's meaningless to claim that, say, Foderas are versatile but MTDs are not. *Which* Fodera? *Which* MTD? They're not all the same, and that's the point.
    4. There's no magic formula of wood, hardware, or electronics that automatically confers versatility.
    5. I just don't believe you can compare makers in any sensible way with respect to versatility. (See 2 above.) IMO, the most sensible approach is simply to try to find out which makers people have enjoyed working with most, which ones have seemed most responsive to clients' needs, which ones have exhibited the best workmanship, which ones have a sense of visual style that appeals to you, which ones are openminded as opposed to "my way or the highway," and so forth. IME, establishing a relationship with a specific luthier is more likely to get you what you want than getting hung up in supposed general differences between custom basses. IOW, rather than focus on trying to find the right custom bass, try to to find the right custom bass MAKER, then work with that maker to ge the tone, look, and features you want. Again, any of dozens of makers can probably make you an equally versatile bass. The issue is more finding the right person for you to work with. A better process is likely to give you a better result.

    Just my $0.02.