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Is a kit bass a 'custom build' ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Godfather, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Godfather


    Feb 4, 2001
    I have seen what are essentially basses built from kits advertised as a 'custom build '.....
    certainly this an inquiry in semantics, but I am wondering what people think about this sort of representation....
  2. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I vote no...
  3. Steveaux

    Steveaux Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    The Wilds of NW Pa.
    I think it's a matter of context.

    If you're describing your kit-bass to someone in casual conversation and refer to it as your "Custom Build", sure. Why not?

    However, if you're representing the bass for sale or trade, you'd damned straight better inform your counterpart that it is a Kit-Bass.
  4. I built one from GFS - well, not the 'KIT' really but a cherry picked list of parts for my first homebuilt bass.

    It was interesting, and if one can allow that the 'KIT" really wasn't so much as a Tab A goes into Slot B-type of experience and allowed for some serious thinking to get it to work, then YES - it was a custom.

    There were lots of places where things just didn't fit or things were too large to work over holes that were too small to cover with the first part.

    Let's not got into Psych 1A for this: a custom is prolly anything that is modified or built to general plans (there weren't any) and crafted with parts that needed a lot of adjustments to get them to work.

    Perhaps::: CUSTOMIZED or INDIVIDUALLY ASSEMBLED is better in some situations.
  5. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    Sure, why not.
    There are a few guys out there that just buy parts from some vendor like US Custom Guitars or Warmoth, assemble the bass, put their own sticker on it and call it a Custom Bass.
    If they can do it, you can too.
  6. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Built from scratch = custom
    Pre-built and modified = modded/modified
    Built from a kit = assembled

    That's just me, anyway
  7. Lee H

    Lee H

    Nov 30, 2011
    Redding CA
    this is a question I have wondered about myself... I have two basses that are swap meet fender jazz bodies, warmoth necks, and mismatched components. I did not really make anything, although bodies and headstocks were sanded, contoured, and lightened as much as possible...

    I just call them my "beater basses" although neither has a single dent or ding
  8. Flyingfrets


    Dec 25, 2011
    Kit cars are often referred to as "Custom Built."

    If you do a custom finish, upgrade the electronics, etc, like the kit car builders do, sure, why not?

    If you slap it together "as is" out of the box, then no.
  9. Sifl


    May 14, 2008
    Seattle, WA

    I'd like to add: Built from a kit/parts = assembled
  10. searchfunction

    searchfunction Guest

    Nov 26, 2010
    My Saga "custom" and my Nada custom.

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  11. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    An assembled bass with all the specs that you'd want (or parts from different places, from the same place or "leftovers") = "Customized" (AKA "Frankenstein")

    Building completely from scratch = "Custom"

    Building from a pre-picked set of hardware, body and neck = "Kit/assembled"
  12. Godfather


    Feb 4, 2001
    Good responses....

    I am of the FunkMetalBass/Sifl camp........
  13. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    If you make your own body and neck its custom (save for instance maybe a graphite neck, musicman outsourced its graphite necks on the cutlass models I believe). Even mass produced instruments outsource their hardware and pickups. (Fender uses leoquann bridges in some basses, and lots of high end basses come with hipshot hardware and bartolini electronics). A warmoth or mighty mite parts build is assembled in my opinion.
  14. I would think "custom" would be to your specs. To me from scratch would be "handmade".
  15. I will say that if you have to cut wood on your kit, that that makes it custom. But, you should still advertise it as a parts bass or a kit bass with custom work.
  16. bassplayer347

    bassplayer347 Guest

    Dec 24, 2003
  17. gitlvr


    Nov 13, 2009
    No. Va., USA
    Custom means it has parts or specs a single individual chose and requested. Built exactly the way the customer desired. A one-off.
    If you build the body and neck, then it is "hand made", not custom.
    As to the difference between build from scratch or built from parts, the only thing I'd say is that if the parts are chosen because of their quality or desirability (not a kit), then you definitely could call it a custom.
    However, just because an instrument has the word "Custom" attached to it doesn't make it any better quality than any other out there. In the final analysis, the skill of the builder/assembler is going to have the final say on the quality. You can choose your own parts, spare no expense, and suck at putting all of it together. Doesn't make the "custom" worth a whole lot, regardless.
    If I were buying an instrument, I'd rather buy from a person who builds from pre-made parts, but knows exactly what he's doing as opposed to a hand builder that doesn't.
    It's all semantics, anyway. MNSHO.
  18. I'm in the middle, but leaning towards no. If you just build it and paint it, it's a kit bass. If you only ordered a kit body/neck, bought all the parts separately, and did a bunch of work to it, it's a kit bass you customized.

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