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Exotic Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RAM, May 7, 2001.

  1. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Okay, so maybe I'm not working as hard today as I should be (as an accountant), but I sure am working hard today in finding basses on the internet that look cool and are made by luthiers I've never heard of before!:D

    So, this brought me to my question of the day: Which exotics have you played? Please don't include brands that you can find several of at any given Sam Ash, Guitar Center, Mars, etc.

    What were your thoughts regarding these basses?

    Can the high prices normally attributed to such basses (though there are exceptions) be justified in your mind, or are they only marginally better than more common brands?
  2. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    I played an F Bass at Bass Northwest one time. It was killer but I don't have three grand to spend on a bass.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    About the nicest high-ender I've had the pleasure to play was an R Bass made by a luthier named Ray Rogers, who used to make basses for Carl Thompson. It was, bar none, one of the nicest playing, finest sounding basses I've ever tried, (getting subjective here). Why don't I own it then? It belonged to the bassist for a friend's band in LA and he wouldn't part with it. Price-wise, I don't think it was too much damage either. Something right around $3k for it. Still, he didn't take it to gigs where it would be handled by hired help.

    You could tell by looking at it that the woods used were VERY carefully selected for the unusual figuring and how the grain made it the piece of visual art it was. Wood pickup covers, too, like F's, (wouldn't you think you'd at least get some high-falutin' name to go with these basses, instead of a single letter of the alphabet?)

    Compared to the R, other basses I've seen in stores looked like they probably come in cellophane wrappers and didn't have the full spectrum of tonal attributes that it had. They were often one-trick ponies.
  4. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I was handed a Gorny bass one night and asked to play it for the night to see if I liked it. Bob Gorny then said it could be mine if I had the money. I didn't.... :(
  5. ...well, seein' as my part-time day gig is sellin' 'em at Bass Central..... ;)

    I've played quite a few interesting ones. USA Spectors,REAL (i.e. non-Gibson crap) Tobias, MTD, Fodera, F-Bass, Bogart (got one), NS Design (got one of those too :D), Zon, Alembic, Modulus, Lakland, Roscoe (incredible stuff), Pedulla, Warwick.....each has it's charms, and faults, and each will make some player a very happy person while just not being right for the next.

    As for value, it depends on the player and the bass, if it's THE bass for you, is there really a price that's too high? Remember some upright bassists spend more for a good upright that most people would for a house, so temper your opinions of the prices of these custom handmade instruments accordingly.
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I've not played much in the way of exotics (unless you wanna count a Kawai, which are kinda rare)...But I think that if a person wants to dole out 3k for his bass, then that's his deal. If another person only wants to give up 700, then more power to him. I think that if I found something super amazing, I MIGHT pay 3k, if some extra's were thrown in...
  7. jbass27


    May 4, 2001
    St. Louis, MO
    As far as exotic basses go, I am not even that sure what would be considered exotic, since even 10 years ago the average player would have a choice of Fender, Ibanez, Yamaha, maybe Pedulla. Now you can just about play anything. Modulus, Pedulla, Smith, Zon, Fodera, etc are not that uncommon, and can be found and played fairly easily. All of them are great, but are they exotic? Sometimes the more interesting stuff is less than those. Check out http://www.stambaughdesigns.com he makes some pretty cool looking stuff. I've never played it, but if he makes a bass play as good as it looks, or as nice as his inlay work, it should be incredible. Hanewinkle basses are another great deal from what I saw on their site.
    Some of the stuff I thought would be great was simply ok, not to knock Sadowsky, it was a nice bass, played great sounded great felt great, but I can get a jazz bass for a lot less, and then tweak the electronics myself.
    I didn't like Spectors at all, the necks were like baseball bats.
    F Basses were very cool.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Take Gard's list and add Brubaker, Linc Luthier, Clover,Tech Basslines, Moon, Atelier Z, Celinder, Sukop, Surine, Ambush, Hanewinckel, Elrick, Fleishman, ...

    I feel like Bubba naming shrimp dishes. I've left out some, I've been lucky enough to have played the majority of what's out here (in the U.S.).

    Worth it? Sure ...could be:D
  9. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I don't think most of the prices I've seen are justified by the quality. In a lot of cases, you're paying for the visual appeal. However, it is possible to get a unique sound from unique materials, components, and set up.
  10. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    My take is that it depends on what type music you play and how versatile you need to be. My Pedulla Rapture 5 is fairly versatile and truthfully probably all I need. As a back-up I could get by with my Steinberger Spirit 5 or even my '66 Jazz.

    My band plays covers, from Hollies to Creed. Almost nobody but me cares if the bass doesn't sound like the record. When was the last time somebody came up to you and said "your bass sounded too round on that Cream song, shouldn't it have had an overdriven sound?" Or "Nice Jazz vibe, but shouldn't Breakdown have more of a Pbass sound?" Hasn't happened to me.

    But I care how close it sounds, and play better when it's in the tonal neighborhood. This is where my exotics come in. My Roscoe LG-3005 with 18v. can get EVERY tone I need. It is the ultimate in versatility. From Jazz bass to Pbass to Musicman it's there. The $1,680 I have invested in it (won an obscure auction) is worth it for the versatility. The beauty of the woods is just a bonus. My Lakland dlx 55 is a little less flexible, but is a featherweight, so that comes in handy during the 4th set. Still, the Rapture is all I probably really need.....
  11. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I've played Sukop, Linc Luthier, Pre Gibson Spector (Sold it...DAMN IT), USA Conklins (I'll give you one guess where...), Tobias, Elrick, Fender Custom Shop and, of course, a bunch of USA Curbows. Probably forgot a couple, too.

    I can say that MOST of them were worth the extra bank. I've still never played a bass that felt as nice as some of the Curbows I've played.

    But, I have found some cheaper basses (my MIA Fender Jazz 75 reissue, fer instance) that played as nicely after a few modifications.
  12. Well.. let's see. I own a 1977 Carl Thompson. I've played bassmonkeee's Curbows and JT's Conklins, and those are just excellent basses, all of them. Other than that, every really nice high-end bass I've played has been at a Guitar Center-type store. Those include Fodera, Roscoe, Ken Smith, Lakland, USA Spector, and Zon.
    I've got a couple trips planned for this summer though, where I plan to lay my hands on some really fine instruments. First, I'm gonna drop in on Gard at Bass Central, and then I've got a wedding to attend in NYC, where I'm gonna hit the NY Guitar and Bass Boutique.
    EDIT: I just realized I didn't answer RAM's question. While all those basses I played were really nice works of art, I wouldn't have paid for them. The playability of my $650 Reverend Rumblefish equals any bass I've played at any price, and surpasses most of them. So at that point, it's kinda hard to see spending $2000 or $3000 on something else.
  13. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    This was one of the basses I "discovered" yesterday:D Very impressive lookin'!
  14. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Sorry, but this is too much fun for me:D I love talking about the boutique stuff;)

    Anyway, of all the high-enders you've played, all the boutique and exotics you've ever laid your sloppy paws on, which is your favorite? Which do you think is easiest to justify its high price?

    (I know this is all relative, so it's really up to you to define what I mean by some of these questions. It'll keep it more interesting to put your own spin on this, anyway;))
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    For me this would be "Would I have paid more for the basses I have?":D

    After owning my Zon Legacy Standard fretless 5 for a few years now, I would definitely pay more for it than I did ($1500 new:eek:). Heck, I like it so much I'd probably pay it now:D

    The same goes for both of my Tobiases.
    I probably wouldn't pay retail on my Surine because, even though it's the nicest playing 7 I've come across, I don't really "need" a 7.

    Full price for my Lakland...maybe.

    Clover Bass Tard 5? Oh yeah!

    The hardest decision "not" to buy a bass was a Madagascar Ebony Linc Luthier 4. That thing played like butter and sounded like there was a studio inside of it. I could live with it only being a 4...I just couldn't get my arms around the look. Excellent, second to none woodworking. "Extreme" looks. Damn.

    Played a new Fodera Matt Garrison a couple of weeks ago...$7500 firm.

  16. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Brad, after all the discussions we've had in this and the somewhat related thread, all I can say is "You make me laugh":D:D:D

    Thanks for your response!;)
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    You know my beef? You pretty much pay 3000 for a neck. Really. The electronics and set up, not to mention body, can be duplicated. The only things that are truely unique are necks...so why pay 3000 for a neck? Oh well...not my money.
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    That was the idea:D
  19. I'd have to say it was a Lakland Deluxe 4-94. You know how people say, "I could play stuff on this bass that I couldn't play on other basses"? Well, in this case, it was true. The bass played so smoothly and sounded incredible. I know Lakland may not qualify as a "boutique" or "exotic", since they're not really rare and you can find them at GC, but that was the one. Of course, it was "only" $2200. There are many, many high-enders I haven't played yet.
  20. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000


    frudua.it frudua.com


    manne.it manne.com


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