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If you had $1700 for a custom bass...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MX5J6, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    What would you have done? First off, I hope this is the right place for this. Second, I don't know how decent a budget of $1700 is for a custom bass but that will be my budget when I have a bass built so I figured I'd see what others might want or have gotten for around this price range.

    Who did you get it done by, what would make it different, if anything, from what is out there now?

    What are the general specs, scale, fretted/fretless (lined or plain board), basic body/headstock style/shape, woods/materials used, etc...
  2. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    1700 is on the lower end for a custom, but if you choose your parts and woods wisely you may get a nice player. Just to specify though, since people sometimes throw the word "build" around but mean different things, are you wanting a custom construction, or just a custom assembled bass? Custom construction is everything from scratch, whereas custom assembled is made from off the shelf parts with a few special things and a customer specific finish. You'll get quite a bit for your 1700 if you want a custom assembled bass, but you'll be on the low end for a custom construction...
  3. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    Well let's see, it will probably be construction because I was really looking for a possibly headless bass but something different from a Steinberger. I was looking for something with a sort of Fernandes Tremor shape, 5-string, headless, thinking about fretless maybe, not too sire on that yet. Do you think that'd be over $1700? Should I save up some more?
  4. I used to be on an " I need a custom bass" kick... I got over it though. There so many great playing and sounding factory basses that unless there's absolutely nothing out there that fits there's no reason to go custom. I also think you'll be sorely disappointed with a $1700 custom bass. On the other hand $1700 can buy a great bass from a great maker that will still fit you well.
  5. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    What would you suggest I look at in that range? I hear about a lot of really nice basses on here but they all seem to cost like $3000+. O.O I don't have that kind of money, I probably will but I'm not sure I want to spend that much on a bass right now. Maybe eventually if I save up again but for now I want something decent for what I will have to work with. The only thing is I really have been on headless lately. Or a bass with a 2/3 headstock. Either black or natural color. Nothing fancy. Preferably black hardware. None of these are real deal breakers but things I'd really love to have in a bass. I could probably save up to $2000 but that will take an extra month probably.
  6. Blue


    Jun 19, 2004
    Central NC
    I heard of a Bass Shop in California that offers the following service:

    You sit blindfolded, they set a ready to play bass in your lap. You play a bit - they remove that one and place another in your lap. It goes on as you hone, "Let me try Basses Number 3 and 6 again" (for example).

    I think that is How To Do It. Only when you narrow to the ones that work for you should you get into details like color or even headless-type.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If I had $1700 for a custom bass I would buy a nice used bass for about $500 and take my kids to Disney World for the weekend.

    I am NOT knocking the incredible work that you guys do! I salivate over just the pics of what you are able to do with wood. Just throwing my 2 cents in.
  8. MX5J6


    Oct 31, 2012
    That's really interesting. Do you know what its called or where its located?

    I'm not gonna lie. There is one bass I kind of have my eye on, Fernandes Tremor 5 Deluxe. I just got on this custom kick and never really looked at it again, though it does make my fingers tingle when I see it. Lol
  9. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    deviated prevert

    I, also, am curious about this shop.

  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    If you had $1700 for a custom bass...


    I would build several of my own frankenstein parts basses.

    I want to build a couple of 5 string RickenFakers, another Fenderbird, a couple more 5 string SG basses ... etc ...
  11. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Well with what you're looking for I don't see it happening for $1700, you could always e-mail Chris Stambaugh and see if he will do it and at what cost, he gets pretty good reviews and is very fair on price, I have played a couple of his basses and they were quite nice. They both cost more than you are looking to spend though, by a large margin.

    Another word of advice, be 100% certain of all specs you want because if you sell a custom bass be prepared to lose your head, especially on a 5 string headless (maybe fretless) bass. Custom basses are for those that know exactly what they want and cannot find it elsewhere, if you stick to stock stuff your dollar goes a lot further and your return will usually be better.
  12. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    $1700 does not seem like a lot of money for a custom bass. And when I say custom, I mean built from scratch with all specifically chosen wood and electronics.

    There are a lot of options, both new and used, of "regular" basses in that price range. The only reason I can see for going custom is to get a very specific sound, look and/or feel that you cannot get in any other instrument or you just have a lot of money and can afford it.

    I too, would suggest checking out production basses and to try out a bunch of stuff. What kind of music are you playing? What music do you like? Who are your favourite bassists/bands and what kind of equipment are they using?

    You should try the Fenrnadez Tremor Deluxe if that's what you have your mind on. If you like it, you'd save some money too.
    Ed Friedland's Tremor 4 Deluxe Review
  13. superblues

    superblues Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    If I had $1700 to spend on a custom bass, I would patiently shop the used market or keep saving my money.
  14. rockscott


    Aug 28, 2010
    Birdsong, no doubt about it!
  15. hgiles


    Nov 8, 2012
    Someone's got a nice TRB-6PII for sale in the marketplace that I'd be after if that were my budget.
  16. Considering that the bridge and tuners for a headless bass can cost $500.00 that doesn't leave a lot of room for a builder to make a profit.

    You could buy a bass from Carvin and select most options that you like for less than $1,700. They don't make headless basses though.

    Rick B.
  17. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    You'll need to add a minimum of $500 to that $1700 if you want even a P ot J style "custom" bass these days.

    For me, it would be something with a vintage fb radius and custom electronics, as that type of combination is almost non-existant. Which I guess is the whole point of having a bass custom-built.
  18. There is a budget builder of bolt-ons who builds the Tommy bass, reach him through the Swami at thebasspalace.com plus there is a guy on here, I forget his name, who works over the dirt cheap SX bass to an amazing degree of finicky perfection and even explores some unorthodox, trick stuff in those basses.

    I would vastly prefer either of these biulders to those budget custom builders who produce neck-throughs that look like they were roughed out with a chain saw.

    But I think the best of all is to lay for great production pieces or used customs. There are so many bassists in the world that someone is bound to have conceived of a "perfect bass" that is not so different from your concept.
  19. Easy. I would order a Carvin. Either an SB4000 or an Icon. I just went through the specs on ordering an Icon with a claro walnut top, mahogany body, 5 piece mahogany/maple neck, radiused pickups, stainless steel frets, etc. and the total came to $1563 with a hard case! Hard to beat that!
  20. skidrawk


    Jan 21, 2007
    Space City, TX
    I would buy a cheap bass and do the upgrades myself and buy a nice combo. I'm a classic stingray guy so I would engineer a bass in that direction. maple fretboard. some bite. clean and easy active controls. 6 strings.