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handmade acoustic basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HeathW, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Ok just looking to float this idea realy,
    I done a few search's for acoustic basses on the net and come up with very little, and even less on handmade made acoustic basses.
    I make electric basses and my friend makes acoustic guitars, we were thinking of joining forces to made some top notch custom made acoustic basses (semi), finest timbers, I mean some top notch tonewood, piezo pickups, 3 band preamps, I always seen some of the stunning acoustic guitars out there and thought why do we, as basses have to put up with ply wood, or a solid top at best.
    Is there a market for this or we happy to stick to what we have because we don't play acoustic's that much?
    Thank you for any input! :cool:
  2. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    It's a rather empty market right now as far as I know. You can get cheap crappy ones, or you can get Tacoma's or Martins, or a few other brands. There's a few custom jobs out there, but they're rare.

    I think that if you could get the word out, it's quite possible that there'd be a market there for a well made custom ABG.
  3. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    There are a few decent ones out there that are production models, in the under 2k category. Beyond that there are some really nice ones, like Ribbeckes halfling, or JT Hargreaves custom basses, or Dave Maize, and probably more than a few others I can't seem to think of.

    If you could make one that looked great, was versatile, reliable, sounded great unplugged, sounded even better plugged in, and was very feedback resistant, all for under 2500k (base price) I think they'd sell well.

    That being said, the market is relatively small. But if you could make a great ABG, you would open up the market to people who have never found one they really liked (which I think is alot of people). ABG's by nature have limitations, they're not going to sound as big as an upright, but I'm convinced they will continue to evolve towards a better sounding less acoustic guitar like kind of thing.

    Here is a pic of one that I had custom made for me. It has a one piece cedar body, mahogany neck, and ebony fingerboard. I really like the sound of it unplugged, kind of like bright sounding cello. I can't use it that much live because it needs better electronics, howls like crazy at moderate amp volume, and has no trussord for seasonal neck adjustments. If I stuff a full size bath towel inside it, I can sort of mitigate the feedback, but I'm looking into ways to make it more of a workhorse.

    good luck!! DSCF2803.
  4. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    1piece body?
    how the heck...
  5. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I think your biggest foe is the pricepoint of the Tacoma Thunderchief. If you can make a hands down better bass than that, then you could be onto something. But, I would think that is no easy feat.
  6. Jonesy4fnk

    Jonesy4fnk Supporting Member

  7. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Shuker and Crafter both make ABG's... also Athlete.
  8. the_home

    the_home Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    And the 'cheap' ones aren't all crap, either. Michael Kelly makes his top model with solid spruce top and solid rosewood back (laminated rosewood sides). I am to have one delivered this week, and I'm expecting a resonable tone (at least that's what the seller said).

    Might not be Martin or Taylor (or Tacoma, for that matter), but should be all I'll need - very slim niche for the ABG considering I have slab electric, semi-hollow electric and upright also in the arsenal.
  9. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    I've heard horror stories about MK's quality control. Fretboards with glue all over them... non-flush joints...
    The good ones are supposed to be pretty nice, but I wouldn't buy one unseen.
  10. the_home

    the_home Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    Well, I'm getting one from a fellow TBer who vouches for quality and playability. If ya can't trust a TBer....

    everyone will know about it!
  11. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Mike Doolin makes some gorgeous acoustic guitars and he also does acoustic basses. Here's one, I would get it with the full headstock though.


    I imagine that they are a few dollars.
  12. Thanks for the input everbody,
    OK I had a look around and the prices kinda vary
    jt hargreaves 7000 - 7500
    ribbeckes 10000
    dave maize 3600 - 3900 + options
    wechter 3300-3800 + options
    mike doolin ? custom so more than his standard price which is 5000
    we was thinking of putting out somting like the ribbeckes, hargreaves and doolin kinda quailty but more like the maize, welcher prices, custom made to order with full wood choice's.
    I know the martin, tacoma would be gettin most of the sales but I wasn't looking to compete in that market, was looking to put out something more than a mahogany spruce plain jane(no offence, nice as they may sound)
    wasn't going to try and make it big in acoustics but just wanted to see if there was any kinda market for ABG's.
    I think I'll make a five string latter this year and put it on the web site and see what happens.
    thanks again!
  13. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I'd be interested in an acoustic 6 string.
  14. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    check out Larivee as well. Not sure if they still make basses, but might be a good comparison for quality vs price.
  15. larrivee does some nice stuff, no basses but good to see for products and prices, thanks.
    Hello Geoff, what kinda wood you looking for and I'll get a price to gether, we can talk about shapes and style after if you did want to go for one.
  16. This guy is a local luthier here in my town. He makes some wicked awsome guitars and does basses from time to time. Great work, but a great price as well. I played a couple in his store in the past, I haven't played one as good since.

  17. This is my Shuker-Lamaq. AFAIK, the guys don't make this one any more.


    Harvey Leach also makes ABGs. The flattop starts at $5300 and the archtop at $10000.

  18. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

  19. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Want something that will most likely sell pretty well? Remake the Ernie Ball Earthwood. Hard to find and lots of people curious about them.