1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Custom vs Quality and Reputation?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MX5J6, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    I am in the market for a new bass and heavily considering having one custom built because i am so difficult to please. I have a hard time finding basses I actually like.

    I have, however, found a few basses that I am actually pretty interested in. Those basses are, Music Man Stingray 5, Ibanez SR4005E, Lakland Skyline 55-02, G&L Tribute M2500 and for some reason I like the look of the MTD ZX 5-String Fretless. We won't really worry about the Fretless right now though.

    All of these seem like good, quality basses with some good reputation around them. I have around $2600 to spend on a 5-string bass which is why I considered custom in the first place.

    My custom idea is floating around here somewhere, and is basically a Kraken/Shipwreck idea. I won't post a picture unless someone asks to see it if they really can't find my other thread.

    So which of these would you prefer? A nice custom built bass that is all your own or another, mid-high end bass with good quality and a solid reputation? To some it seems like a no brainer but i really want to spend my money on the right piece of equipment, after all this is a big purchase and my first major purchase.

    So suggestions and opinions? My builder can really build anything I want, but why get a copy of something when I can have the real thing UNLESS it is to have something totally unique. At that point is when things be come difficult. So if you have other suggestions under $2600 feel free to let me know.

    I play metal, mostly the heavier stuff if that helps.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    When you say "my builder can build anything I want", that tells me he's probably more of a big talker than a professional luthier. And probably a young guy with not so much experience.

    If that snap judgment is close to right, then you will not be getting a good value for your $2600. His good intentions and eagerness will not be equal in value to the reliability of a well-tested and reviewed product.

    If my snap judgment was wrong, then you can probably find his name in a search here on TB, and can consider his product and reputation from the discussion in those threads.
  3. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    That's some good advice. Though I do trust him I shouldn't be premature and I will do a search before I do anything. I still have a few months before anything is set in stone anyway. So back to the question. With a good machinist and decent work done which would you prefer?

    Actually I should just mention its Rob of Arizona Bass Company. I've ween his work, not in person but in some of his finished products and his work seems amazing. I also haven't seen any complaints yet, personally.
  4. i would prefer a custom version - I have a custom bass myself, although it is basicly a "copy" of a p bass.
    The quality i have seen in basses that come from luthiers is far beyond that of fender/musicman although they have a few very nice basses around.

    I would go for a humbucker design in the MM sweet spot with the look of the MTD a 35" scale and possible a few other cool features - if i were you!

    Anyway just my 2 cents
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I have a couple customs, one I built out of parts, and several production models. I like them all so for me it's all good.
  6. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    Interesting idea, I will keep that in mind. Its looking more and more like the custom will be built. I've been getting more positive feedback than I really expected.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Did someone mention Ween?
  8. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    I mean't seen but that made my day. =]
  9. Best way to handle this is to come up with a list of MUST HAVE spec for this bass. If no production basses match up with those specs then it's time to go custom.

    ...Or you could just be like me and go custom for the hell of it even when there are production basses out there that'd work for you ;).
  10. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    Let's see, list of must have's. I can do that, let me know if there are better options than my choices with the budget I have.

    List would probably look something like

    2/3 headstock
    Ebony fingerboard
    All black hardware
    Won't even go into inlay because I have yet to really see a stock inlay I like so that night just be blank or custom, not sure on that.
    I have a thing for sound adjustment on a bass so I like knobs and switches and such. ha
    Umm, EMG, Bart or (possibly) SGD pickups
    Color would have to be either a nice natural but not too light wood finish or just black. i don't care for fancy colors and such.
    Also needs to have some nice growl to it and would have to be able to take some pretty thick strings but not too thick. I'm no good at explaining things tonight. haha

    That's basically it. Somewhere in there is a list of what I want...

    It started out decent enough then i just lost it.


    I can have the Kraken idea come to life.
  11. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    Ok add another bass to the list of possibilities. the Steinberger Synapse XS-15FPA. Oh mah gawd. That this is pretty amazing. o.o
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    2+3, huh? Hmmmmmm ... No sir, I don't like it.

  13. chef wong

    chef wong Banned

    Sep 15, 2012
    One thing I've learned about bass guitars...the boutique ones are better.
  14. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    If your luthier is a good one (track record, instruments to prove quality etc) I don't see why you might not go custom.
    For my second ever bass I too was unable to find anything that really suited me (pickup wired directly to the socket with no onboard electronics whatsoever).
    I went custom and have never regretted it and had the same luthier make 4 more instruments for me since.
    I doubt that I'd have a copy built of something already out there and only order a custom instrument once I have decided quite exactly , what it is I am after( features, neck dimensions, number of strings what exact parts to use etc.etc.etc).:)
  15. lbbc

    lbbc Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Seaford , DE
    I've been playing bass for 37 years and it seems like I have played every "respected" bass on the market. My favorite is my 32" scale Alembic Persuader (current gigging bass). But I am also in the market for another and after looking at new basses, and speaking to several luthiers, I decided to go with a custom built bass.

    I haven't received it yet, but the ability to choose the body wood, top and neck woods, fretboard, lams, electronics, scale, inlays etc. has been an exciting journey...and it's not a copy of anything else I've ever seen but exactly what I'd like to have in a bass. I'd say go custom.