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Johnk or Atkinson?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by petrus61, Jan 22, 2012.

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  1. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Both seem like great builders, both offer pretty much the same options with what seems to be the same hardware/body/neck sources...one has a better website than the other, one claims the dayjob offsets the high cost of custom, etc...

    Based upon the merits of each builders claims, which is the the most bang for the buck? Is there something John Kallas offers that Dan Atkinson does not? Or vice versa? I had budgeted for a new US STD Fender or AVRI Fender, but if there's a good enough argument aside from the usual fanboi praise to sway me to either, I'm all for it. Very interested in how price reflects work/parts when the two are contrasted. Thanks!
  2. I haven't owned or played either one, but:

    From what I have read here and on other sites, BOTH are great custom builders

    People rave about the quality from both of these guys, and both of the guys seem like straight up honest gentlemen with great ideas and good communication

    call them!
  3. I wont say anything bad about anyone; i will however say john 10k is one cat that knows his stuff, i wouldnt be afraid to let him work on my gear
  4. Spiritfield

    Spiritfield Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2004
    I'll confuse the issue and throw John Scott at Bluesman Vintage into the mix; he'd done a great custom J bass build for me, refinished and set up a 72 P bass to perfection, and he's tweaked my 66 P. www.bluesmanvintage.com. He has quite an underground following in Nashville amongst some big name players and Premiere Guitar Magazine has reviewed his work. Very affordable as well!
  5. Zoa


    Dec 28, 2009
    Heard nothing but good things about both.
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    One acronym...DIY.
  7. Really?

    I don't think that many of us are on the level with these guys to "DIY"

    They aren't just slapping together AllParts and standard hardware

    These builders have serious skills - they are professionals

    "Don't try this at home"
  8. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    John Kallas is a world class builder and I have picked his brain several times about my instrument. He knows his stuff. His instruments look amazing and I've never heard anyone complain about his work. He's a class act for sure.

  9. Personally I would go for a used AVRI. Nothing against either builder. The used AVRI is one of the best deals out there.
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    You will get a good bass either way.
  11. DTF


    Feb 14, 2010
    im sure both are great , ive spoken with john on the phone , he is a perfectionist , and is a true craftsman , and a very knowledgeable dude , I have never seen a bass he did that wasnt mind blowing not just good , look at the threads of the finished product ,check out their work see which you prefer.
  12. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Outsourcing wood, parts, electronics, and paint is not an uncommon practice.

    Nonsense...I do it all the time...here's one:

  13. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    Then what exactly is being "custom built"?
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    That's a very good question.
  15. your bass. Most manufacturers outsource a lot of hardware, I believe Sadowski being one of them, please correct me if I'm wrong. Just because some of the work is "outsourced" doesn't make it any less custom, it just helps to alleviate some of the cost and time factors - instead of one guy or a small group of guys using a limited shop space to manage production of all hardware, treatment of all wood, winding pickups, manufacturing electronics, and then finishing and setting up the whole thing on a custom basis, the work is split up between several different people/groups of people who take charge of various steps of the process, it helps to allow the process to go fast as well as being cheaper and easier to manage than doing everything in-house. Everything is still just as custom made as it can get, it's just made in more cost-effective manner. Consider it as more of division of labour to maximize efficiency without resorting to a complete assembly line of parts that are all mass produced.
  16. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Kansas City, MO
    If you know what you are doing then that's great. If the OP has no knowledge of bass building/setup then he is probably going to be disappointed in the outcome. Absolutely nothing wrong with going this route but I would not recommend it for your first bass if you are wanting something with the same quality as John or Dan provide. IMO the best way to get in to DIY projects is to start with a cheap already put together bass such as an SX. Disassemble it and get familiarize yourself with the parts then put it back together making any mods you want along the way. Do this a few times then move up from there.
    As for the OP's original question, have not personally dealt with either but have heard nothing but good things about both.
  17. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    I just don't know.......
    I wonder if my MIM Fender was "custom Built" by Maria Martinez?
    I guess that it could be since they cut their own bodies and build their own necks.

    I kind of equate it to motorcycles. If someone orders a frame, an engine,
    a seat and a gas tank from a catalog and then just assembles the parts in his garage,
    is it really a "custom" bike?
  18. wallydoesbass

    wallydoesbass Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2002
    Menlo Park, CA
    I can't comment on Atkinson, but I can give an enthusiastic thumbs up for John Kallas. He built a 66 Jazz for me a couple of years ago and it is phenomenal. I've owned many high end basses - e.g. Sadowsky, Citron - but the Kallas is my favorite bass ever. Really. Photo attached.

    Attached Files:

  19. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've seen both sides of that...I've seen first builds that were very good and others that that I had to do a some work to get up to snuff for their owner...mostly setup.

    To be brutally honest, if somebody can turn a screwdriver and solder it really isn't all that hard using prefinished aftermarket parts. IMO, in that case the real skill comes in finessing the setup.
  20. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    I agree.

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