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Fat Dog/Subway Guitars?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Every1TookMyName, Nov 3, 2002.


  1. I just found the Subway Guitars website (www.fatdawg.com) yesterday, and I love the guitars they carry... I was thinking about getting a six string bass (not the contra bass kind) from there. Does anyone have any experience in dealing with these guys? How about their guitars?

    The whole place seems like it has a great vibe to it... if I were in California, I'd definitely like to visit the place.
     
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Don't send any money up front - Years ago, I sent them the spec's I wanted for a bass twice, ("this neck, this body, etc, etc). I told them to just tell me what they needed for a payment to get going.

    I never heard anything back from them. Perhaps, they're different now. But I get the impression they spend a lot of time stoned, or at least, they used to.
     
  3. Gibson EB6

    [​IMG]

    6 X elephant-ear machineheads + EB3/EB0 body= headstock crashing into the floor:eek:
     
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    FatDog is quite a character and visiting his Sanford & Son style shop is a lot of fun but the workmanship of the SubRay bass I owned for a week was worse than pitiful. He uses good enough parts (Fender neck, Warmoth body, Bartolini pickups/electronics) but the instruments are basically Frankensteins that are slapped together from whatever parts are handy.

    Now this gives his instruments a certain funky charm, but when I spend $600 on a bass, things like:

    --sizable neck-pocket gaps
    --mismatched hardware (chrome tuners, black bridge{very shoddily mounted})
    --rat's nest wiring that comes unsoldered the day I buy it

    are completely unacceptable. It had great tone with its MM/J setup and it was a lot of fun to play but I had zero confidence that I could trust it to perform reliably as my only bass.
     
  5. 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
    I don't know why, but I left that site feeling mildly nauseated.
     
  6. Starrchild

    Starrchild

    Nov 10, 2000
    The Bay.
    a good friend of mine's purchased a jazz bass
    from this guy,and it made me think memphis.:D
     
  7. David Watts

    David Watts

    Aug 12, 2002
    seattle
    I used to go to his shop when I was a student at Berkeley in the late 80s. I think he has moved since then, but the description of his shop as 'sanford and son' was definitely applicable to the old shop.

    He told me he wouldn't work on ovation guitars because Kaman Aerospace company(ovation parent company) produced an ultra light grenade which produced a deadly shrapnel made up of the same lyrachord material used for ovation guitar backs.

    Pretty weird, but you have to admire his principles. Oh yeah, I still have an old guitar chord from subway that says 'fight racism' on it.
     
  8. I went to Subway once maybe two years ago. I really don't go to Berkely much. Since then he has moved into a new shop and all.
    It's a fascinating shop. The guys there are all laid back ex-hippies/rock'n'rollers and what not.
    They have a lot of interesting vintage oddities and frankensteins. According to the guys there a VERY small percentage of Fatdawg's merchandise is displayed. He supposedly has a very large wharehouse with all sorts of part and instruments that were piled in there decades ago in no order and completely unlabeled, and hasn't seen the light of day since.
    I remember one story where he had some huge container of Danelectro (I think) parts, and he let some guy jump in and take whatever he could carry.
    I wouldn't be surprised if you could find something really great there for a good price, but you would have to go through a lot of junk first. I would adivise you NOT to buy from him without playing the instrument first, as I think a lot of the stuff is pretty junky.
    I'm a fan of cheap vintage quircky guitars, but not basses. I think the chances of finding a good surf guitar there or something is much better than finding a decent bass.
    However, going there was a blast. I'd like to go again sometime--check out the new place.
     
  9. superfreak

    superfreak Unregistered

    Aug 18, 2002
    Clarksville, TN
    First I would like to state that in my untrained eye, most of those basses looked real nice, and I have a few favs that I would like to get for a certain someone, and they are pretty cheap, IMO. Also, could someone explain a "warmouth" (sp?) body to me? Thank you.
     
  10. superfreak

    superfreak Unregistered

    Aug 18, 2002
    Clarksville, TN
    Thanks Turok, now my next question is...Is that a popular body style?
     
  11. They've admitted on the website that they're bad about answering e-mails... did you ever actually talk to them?
     
  12. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    They make several styles, with jazz bass being one of them, I think you will agree that is a pretty popular style. The parts that I have seen from Warmoth have been very good quality.
     
  13. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    It goes back some years before email, Every1. "Bass Player" did an article on them and I took it from there because I always wanted something made with an Eko violin body before Claypool ever showed up on the radar.

    I called long distance once and was told to send in my spec's a second time. Nothing happened and my wallet had a love affair with a Travis Bean in the meantime.