Having bought played and sold many “boutique” basses over the years a realization struck me. In most cases you can easily buy any of the components off the shelf, that all the boutique builder names use. Also they often sub out much of the woodwork, so in essence become assemblers. Well I have a nice Fender American Deluxe Jazz. Nice quality, plays nice but the pups/preamp are lacking, So after researching the many boutique component options I decided to go with Fralin/Audere. So now I have a good quality bass the sounds and plays as good as any. Sure there are no swirls or stripes in the wood, or exclusive nameplate, but it does all I need and more, at a fraction of the cost with quality upgraded where its need. so why would I want to by something I can frame on the wall thats not going to be any improvement where it counts? Ultimately Ive learned that its methodical consistent practice and musical growth that wins above all else. All the rest (instrument, rig etc) are just tools to facilitate your musical expresion.