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Guitar or Bass Luthier???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kyttkat, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. Right, I've just about sorted the spec for a custom 5-string :D . Now, who to build it :( ? I've spoken to a well respected local (10 min drive) guitar luthier and also to a top flight bass luthier (1.5 hour train ride), again incredilbly well respected.

    The rub is this; the guitar guy is willing to put together pretty much exactly what I want, in exactly the way I want it for $3,600 :p - the bass guys want to restrict my options (slightly) and charge me $5,000 :scowl: . I can afford both, although the $1,400 cuts into my amp budget :bawl: .

    Both luthiers are proabably equally respected in their own fields therefore $1,400 buys me a recognised brand name, experience with bass building and less risk but costs me some control over the body and head shape. I just can't figure out which way to go :confused: .

    What would YOU do?
  2. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    That's some large cash!!I wouldn't worry about travel time or distance for that kind of money..I would keep looking, you should be at a 100% confort level with your luthier, from materials to technique, apearance, sound and feel...If you feel you have to tell 'em how to do it, it's probably the wrong luthier for you. Perhaps if you tell what type of bass "style" you are seeking you may get some names and feedback, even pics of some likely suspects for you..for that price range you may even consider ordering from the states or asia...
    good luck!
  3. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    I would get the Sei. (right?)
  4. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Like lowphat said, when you are dropping that much money on a bass, you ought to be completely comfortable with everything about that luthier. You can afford to be a bit picky here, so use that to your advantage.
  5. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Definately weigh your options first- is a long distance luthier out of the question? There are tons of great custom builders out there. I got my fretless dream bass built by Tim Barber and was really happy. Nordstrand, JP, Marchelewski, and others are all very well priced builders as well. Are you trying ot get a custom body design as well?
  6. Smart-alec... ;)
  7. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    If one of the guys has the last name of "Manson", then that's your guy. :smug:

    Seriously, there are a lot of options to consider. It might be easier to give advice if we knew what you're looking to do and what it is about your specs that the bass guy isn't down with. Cosmetic issues are one thing, but "we" (the TB collective) have seen countless examples of where the luthiers builds "exactly" what the customer wants and the results are horrible. :eek:
  8. i don't see what the difference is, making a guitar or bass takes the same skill. there is absolutly NO difference. u goto a factory, they use the same machinery for both. i'd go for the closer guy because if he is highly-skilled. there should be no reason he cant make this bass just as well as the bass luthier. the only bad things ive come to see from guitar companies moving into the bass industry is there ugly body designs. quality, playability, etc, etc. there is absolutly no difference.
  9. Nothing against the guys you talked to, but why not shop around a little more? Since you're in the UK, you might talk to Jon Shuker in Sheffield.


    Great work at more reasonable prices. I have a couple of his basses.
  10. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Agree with the other posters that
    - you should be 100% happy with the luthier and confident that they will successfully deliver what you want
    - you should shop around more. You don't need to be physically close to get what you want, providing you can work closely with the luthier on the phone/email. Lots of people here have done it successfully, even having instruments built internationally.
    - someone who builds acoustic guitars should have no difficulty in making a solidbody bass, technically, but may not have the experience of making great sounding basses and bringing the whole product together
    - someone known for guitars, but not basses may be able to build you a superb instrument but the resale on it may be lower because of the 'name' not being known in the field of basses
    - draw up a very detailed spec and send it off to some luthiers and see what they're response is to your proposal, pricing, suggested changes (+reasons why) etc. Even $100 worth of phone calls is money well spent if you end up with what you want and are happy with the instrument
    - $5k is a lot of coin for a bass. You have every right to expect an excellent result

    Another suggestion apart from Sei and Shuker is Status, if you're not averse to some carbon. Are there other luthiers within the EU that you like?
  11. Thanks for all your input, you guys are great. This bass is the latest in a series of custom "products" and I've sort of got a way of working that suits me and gets the results I want. However, it means being able to work closely with the builder and being able to meet face to face pretty frequently to deliver a "Joint Vision", not just my expectations. Long distance delivery isn't an option I'm willing to go for.

    The discussion here has been really good and I think its helped me to realise that I've only got one shot at this and that the limitations on the bass luthier's side are, in reality, trivial. I can always save up for a bigger and better amp later, after all.

    :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: BASS LUTHIER WINS!!! :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:

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