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Custom Shop vs Luthier crafted...(the custom bass thread)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Selta, Jul 30, 2004.


  1. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Ok all, in 4 years (after college) I'm going to be getting a bass made. But I'm already starting to plan it right now, that way when I'm ready to order, I'm actually ready, and not questioning myself on alot of things. Well, I asked myself one question and I stumped myself on it. Which is the better route to take: having a company's custom shop make it (if I go this way, it'll be ESP), or have a luthier make it? In both cases it seems that you can pratically get the same options (ones I would want anyway, such as body wood, neck wood, fretboard, electronics, etc.) for basically the same price.
    I know that there are alot of choices when it comes to luthiers as well, and I know that there are alot on this forum, so if you guys can give me any input, that'd be greatly appreciated. I'm just mostly out to get the pros and cons of each option. Thanks guys,
    Ray
     
  2. Well, I would much rather go with an independent luthier. Being able to form a personal relationship and friendship with the guy that's making your instrument is a big deal to me. He can get to know the type of tone you're after, the things you like and dislike. All that factors into the end product. I don't think building a relationship to that level would be as easy with a large company that serves a much larger customer base everyday. They may have access to things that some luthiers don't, such as CNC machines and such. But even smaller luthiers have those. I would definitely recommend going with an independent luthier.
     
  3. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    That's a good point about the "friendship" and more personal quality that would go into the luthier. Never looked at it from that perspective really. But it's like I said, there's so many of them, how do I decide on which one to choose?
    Regards,
    Ray
     
  4. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    That is a good question. When I ordered my custom last Fall, I went with someone that I knew from online discussions that also had a good reputation. Not all luthiers participate in forums like this, but if you read through the various threads, you can find out which luthiers have the best reputations.

    When you are ready to order, start a dialog with the luthier that you think can do what you want. Tell them what you are hoping to get and what your likes and dislikes are. A good luthier can take what you say and help you select materials that will make you happy.

    Another thing, many luthiers have web sites. Look at their galleries and see what they specialize in. Many luthiers have a style that is their prefered style. It is best to select a luthier that already builds a style that you like.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Thanks Xyllion, every piece of input helps. This is going to sound dumb, and lazy...but does anyone have links to the "best" (simply out of a lack of a better word, mind you) luthiers? I tried doing a google...got about 50 million results...I'm not sorting through all of that...
    I would like to actually stick with ESP, cos the bass I have right now from them (American M-IV) is semi-close to what I want. But not quite, and what I want, I can't get from any manafacturer :-/.
    So, anymore input at all is nice. Links are awesome. Telling me how dumb it is to worry about it now is useless, cos I already know.
    Ray...
     
  6. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Yes, I'm a moron. I just realized there's a luthiers corner here on TB...I'm browsing now, but keep giving me ideas/input please..
     
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    This is just a partial list, but these are ones that I know to have a good reputation:

    Michael Dolan
    Jack Read
    David King
    Carey Nordstrand
    Chris Benavente

    There are many others and I have no doubt that other will chime in. Best of luck.
     
  8. rusty

    rusty

    Mar 29, 2004
    Singapore
    One quick way to narrow down the list is to have a budget. :D

    Another way to narrow the list down is to have a rough idea what YOU are looking for in a bass - i.e. what kinda tone, what kinda woods, how many strings, what kinda shape... Once you have that, you'll start to realise that different luthiers are exceptional at different kinds of basses. Things should move a lot faster after that :D

    IMHO, these guys are worth your time

    <a href="http://www.nordstrandguitars.com">Carey Nordstrand</a>
    <a href="http://www.valentibass.cjb.net">Nino Valenti</a>
    <a href="http://www.stambaughdesigns.com/home.html">Chris Stambaugh</a>
    <a href="http://eksl.cs.umass.edu/~schmill/fbb/pages">FBB Bass works</a>
    <a href="http://www.gwbasses.com/index.shtml">Grandon Westlund</a>

    And all of them post in this forum as well ;)
     
  9. quallabone

    quallabone

    Aug 2, 2003
    Carl Thompson
    Conklin
    JP Basses
    Sadowsky
    Ken Smith
    Fury
    Dingwall
    Benavente
    F Bass
    Alembic
    + many many more.
     
  10. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Out of all of those things mentioned, the only thing that is of concern to me much, is the overall sound and tone. If it sounds like I want it to, who cares what it looks like, and the cost wont matter, cos if I can't afford it, I'll find a way to ;).
    My sound/tone I want to be like a P-bass on steroids. Very much like G&Ls (though I played L-2000s and L-2500 and I couldn't get the sound I wanted with either of those). I don't really know how else to describe it, I'm not good at the whole sound/tone thing :-/.
    Ray
     
  11. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Well, actually, I think I like FBB's instruments. And they're cheaper than I thought they would be (the base price anyway). They say they do custom body shapes, so with all of that in mind, preliminarily I'm going to go down that avenue, and see what comes of it. I'm like I said, 4 years off from actually buying the bass, so is it to early to start contacting and questions and such with luthiers? I don't want to talk and talk and make them think that's all I'm doing. As soon as I find one that will do what I want, the ball will start rolling as soon as possible, though most likely in 4 years (due to college bills :-/). Should I wait until it's closer to time, or should I chat now, that way everything's set and I know what I want right away, etc. etc.? Ideas?
    Ray
     
  12. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I'll tell you this. If you start talking now, then you won't wait four years. Because once you start the ball rolling, it is really hard to stop and wait. If you really don't have the money, then don't start shopping now. That is the only way to keep yourself from spending the money.
     
  13. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Good idea. I just mostly want to start bouncing ideas around, getting ballpark figures on options and such. I don't even really want to get to specifics, cos then the ball will be rolling, I jsut want to know what I'm faced with, what my options are, and how much (about) in the end it'll be. But maybe I ought to wait...I dunno. :-/
    Ray
     
  14. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    The price lists on the web sites are definitely good for getting ball park figures, but also assume that you will want an upgrade or two before the bass is completed.
     
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Also assume that most of the luthiers you talk to now will be charging more in 4 years. As a luthiers work becomes known, and he/she makes their name, demand goes up.
     
  16. if you are looking for a "P bass on steroids" I think that you should check out Roscoe basses. that is a good description of how they sound.

    http://www.roscoeguitars.com/
     
  17. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Hey, thanks for all the input everybody!
    I kinda wish I had a Rosecoe dealer around here :(. The music store I have carries Peavey and Fender *rolls eyes* what a waste...They look really nice, string spacing is good too...and they have alot of options...so I'll definitely look into those as well....do you know which model is the "P bass on steroids" though? I wanna stick with 4 strings mind you too...
    While we're on the topic, I've been to a few sites and saw the descriptions of wood and tonal characteristics...but what ones should I look into? And also, do the tops (like quilted maple ones and such) change your sound at all?
    Thanks all!
    Ray
     
  18. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Also, what pickup and preamp solutions should I look into? Thanks...
    Ray
     
  19. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    OK, any Roscoe owners out there? Or, if you know any, could you direct them to me/this thread? They've really caught my eye now...
    Ray