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Hand made - non CNC basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by WarwickFan, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. WarwickFan


    Feb 7, 2005
    I have no problem with CNC however are there any production basses still hand made? I know even G&L has gone to CNC too. Hand made, non CNC basses you don't have to morgage the house for?
  2. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
  3. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    G&L just uses CNC for rough shaping of the bodies, and cutting pickup routes, control cavities, etc. The final shaping of the bodies, and all shaping of the necks, is still done by hand.
  4. LeTrull


    Jun 10, 2005
    Isn't TBC all handmade?
  5. mbulmer


    Nov 25, 2002
    Feeding Hills, MA
    Didn't see any CNC machines at Mike Pedulla's shop the last time I was there.
  6. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    We (Roscoe) own a CNC machine, but to date, it has not cut one item that has left the shop.

    However, one day it will be rough cutting the bodies, doing some of the more repetetive and tedious routing work on both the bodies (neck pockets, pickup routs, control cavity routs) and necks (truss rod channels, routs for graphite reinforcement rods). I can't see where this has any negative effect on the instrument being made, and I can see where it will actually have some very POSTITIVE effects (more accurate fits, etc) in the long run.

    Of course, all final shaping & sanding will still be by hand, for both necks and bodies (we'd need a pretty sophisticated machine to do the carved tops!!! :eek: ), no matter what.
  7. What he said.
  8. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I don't see why people are so against CNC made instruments. More accurate than handmade, and as long as necks are fitted by hand and final assembly and shaping is done, there's no problem by me.
  9. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    The most important thing is wood selection,construction, then pickups. If the wood is good, then it doesn't matter who or what cuts the body blank.

    I just started my new career a few weeks ago...I'm a CNC operator in a mold and pattern shop. CNC machines are capable of amazingly intricate cutting operations on all three axes. You would be amazed at what good code can accomplish on these machines. They are not much faster than doing it any other way, but they are accurate to .0001 inches.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't see what the anti-CNC fuss is all about, frankly. I don't care if my bass is made using CNC, hand-carved, or by witchcraft. All I care about is the end result.

    I think people that despise CNC only despise it because they hate their music. Which I can understand. Not only was "Everybody Dance Now" a lame piece of crap, but they used some hot chick to lip-synch Martha Wash's part in the video and in concert, and Martha Wash was the only good thing about it. Right, like that voice could come out of some skinny 20-year-old.
  11. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Yes, no doubt that with a cnc machine quality is generally higher and more consistent.

    For myself, if a bass was made using the cnc machine I feel that the price ought to reflect the time saved on the production of said instrument.

    Even though cnc machines can be quite expensive it is totally unreasonable to try and recoup the cost of the machine in the first month of production! (Yes, that was an exaggeration, I hope.) 3 years is standard and with the sheer quantity of instruments that can be put out in significantly less time, I feel the savings in production costs should be passed on.

    I am willing to pay big bucks for something hand made but if some machine made it (effortless on it's part) I should pay alot less, regardless of the name on the headstock.


  12. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    I would hazard a guess and say that CNCs are used on the most basic and mundane chore in guitar-making, which is cutting out the body blank, routing cavities, and drilling for hardware and electronics.
    There is no craftsmanship in any of these operations All that comes with the hand sanding and finishing work. That's where the craftamanship comes into play.
  13. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    While I am of the opinion that there IS craftsmanship involved in the more mundane aspect of guitar-making, time saved in production means lower production costs.

    Pass it on.


  14. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    To say that there is no craftsmanship involved in doing these "mundane" chores is simply wrong. These parts of the guitar are extremely important. I do all the wood working of the instruments I build by hand and it is extremely tideous. Routing any cavity is hard work because all measurements have to be checked numerous times in order to make sure that when you put the completed instrument together all the strings line up over the pole pieces and that the center of the neck is set in relation to the center of the body. If all of these things didn't require any craftsmanship a custom made basses would not have such a high price tag.
  15. mbulmer


    Nov 25, 2002
    Feeding Hills, MA
    I don't see what the problem is with the poster's question. He asked if there were any non-CNC production basses still being made. The thread was not titled "Why I hate CNC basses."
  16. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    I'm not sure what is meant by production bass but...

    Bud LeCompte will give you a great bass at a reasonable price. I think his pricing starts at $1300.

    Here's a link.

    He's a great guy and goes the extra mile to get you what you want.

    There, happy now???


    (Sheesh, i forgot there was even a question!)


  17. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    ahh..just for the record...on the whole CNC thing...I don't really give a ****.
  18. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Well this argument would result no matter how you phrase the question.

    I for one am a fan of completely handmade basses. I have made a bass completely by hand myself so I have a real appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into even the most mundane chores. I also have owned a bass that was completely hand crafted, and I learned to really appreciate the slight imperfections. Sure CNC machines are accurate and can do amazing things, drum machines are pretty accurate too, but how many of you have fired your drummers since a drum machine can do a better job? I can even appreciate the the guys that keep the power tools to minimun, chisels instead of routers, and sanding by hand. I guess I'm just old fashioned.
  19. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I'm not sure this is a valid analogy.

    The inconsistencies/irregularities coming from a human drummer are part of what gives a band "soul." See, for example, anything by The Meters -- if the drummer played like a metronome, it wouldn't be funky.

    Building a bass, on the other hand, requires incredible precision and accuracy. Irregularities in production more often result in something like a Wishbass than something with soul. The bass player should be funky, not the craftsmanship of the bass.

    Of course, there are people who can hand-craft a bass to exacting specifications, but I think a CNC machine makes this a heck of a lot easier, at very little cost in mojo.

    Just my $.02
  20. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Depends on how you define "production bass". Mike Kinal is still doing some fine handcrafting up there in Vancouver for a quite reasonable fee.