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Luthier's "advice" on basses...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sijjvra, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Sijjvra


    Mar 31, 2009
    So yesterday my husband and I drove to a small guitar shop some hour or so away from our house, just because band practice was canceled and we had nothing else we really had to get done. He said he had seen a Jackson guitar in this shop some months ago and wanted to find out if they were a verified Jackson dealer (he's a gui****, and loves his Jacksons).

    We get there...no Jacksons. Lots of Washburns though, but neither of us are especially interested in Washburns.

    The last Washburn I had was...less than satisfactory. It had major major fretboard problems and the worst fretjob I've ever seen. So when the owner/Luthier enthusiastically tried to get me to buy a BB15 5-string... which he claimed was an 800 dollar bass and he would part with it for 580.00 (they go online for 549.00 and are just your average entry level basswood body active 5 string) I was a bit "meh" about the whole place.

    The real kicker came when he said he could do a professional set up on my Fender P-bass for 175.00.


    I can have that done closer to where I live for almost 100 bucks less...fret level and intonation and everything. He then started to sorta diss the guy I normally take my stuff to as "simply a repair man and not a real luthier".

    Then he started to go on about how all Squier basses were absolute junk....and he's in there selling entry level Washburns :|

    Why do people try to talk to you like you're an idiot and think they want to hear you diss other luthiers and overcharge for not-so-great basses and services?

    Anyway. Just sort of a "cool story bro" story.
  2. ausf


    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    Some people have an inflated idea of themselves or judge who they are only by how they stand compared to the guy next to them.

    That said, I went to a guy who is considered one of the go to guys in NYC. Does mostly uprights and has some pretty big clients (not that he would tell you that). We sat in his shop on a saturday morning and he just told us what he thought, honestly no hard sell and gave all the options. This guy has designed and made quite a few interesting things so far in his career, all that I found out from others after I met him.

    Anyway, I asked him about what he wanted for a setup. He wants an hour of my time and $60. The hour was so he could guide me through the setup, so I'd never need to pay someone else to do it. Now that's someone who has nothing to prove.
  3. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    IMO it is completely unprofessional to talk about a competitors business in a bad manner. Absolutely 100% unprofessional. Either you have the ability to "stand on your own" due to the quality of your work and products - or you don't. When people bad mouth competitors that just tells me that they are trying to deflect attention from their own shortcomings.

    Think of it this way : That's one less music store you'll have to go to when shopping for a new bass !
  4. Sijjvra


    Mar 31, 2009
    Ausf...That's a true professional in my opinion. Doesn't have to rip on others or try to pull the wool over your eyes to sell you his products or services. I'd be so much more impressed and inclined to go to a person like that than someone who spent an hour dissing other area luthiers and products they don't happen to sell in their store.

    And agree Darkhorse.
  5. +1! Anyone can learn to do their own setup. I would never pay someone unless there was fretwork involved.
  6. ausf


    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    Yeah, my impression of him even charging the $60 was to kind of make it official. As it was, he had spent a few hours in casual conversation, answering every question we had on a variety of subjects. He seemed genuinely interested in helping us as players and we were just two guys off the street he never met before.

    We ended up getting one of three uprights serviced on his recommendation, we probably would have had all 3 done based on his reputation. I never did get the set up either, I've since switched to EBMMs and setting them up is second nature (I was 'set up shy' from my Ric days with neck thru and dual rods). Hearing it form a pro was the last push I needed to jump in myself.

    I'm not as naive as I probably sound, he is a businessman and his small time investment reaps many rewards (including this word of mouth), but you can tell when a guy is on top of his game and just enjoys what he's doing.
  7. Beginner Bass

    Beginner Bass

    Jul 8, 2009
    Round Rock, TX
    A&R, Soulless Corporation Records
    I'd go back later. He might have a very rare SX that normally goes for $500, but he'll only charge $300 for it! Maybe he's also a Nigerian prince who's father just died.

    Someone needs to learn a little about economics, meaning people want to spend LESS money, not MORE.
  8. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Superb story!

    I agree 100% that most any bassist should be able to adjust their action, intonation, truss rod, nut height, etc. by themselves. It's NOT rocket science, and it helps you get to know your instrument a little better.

    I learned by having so darn many substandard basses in my early days, "what the heck? I got nothin' to lose, really, let's crank on this..."

    Fretwork?...now that's different.... get a pro!
  9. Sijjvra


    Mar 31, 2009
    Yeah I agree... basic stuff like adjusting truss rod tension, action, intonation and stuff isn't too hard once you get the hang of it. I do my own "basic set up" at home and am definitely NOT going to pay someone 175 bucks to do it.

    Fret levels I usually take in to have done because I don't have the tools nor the know how on that one.
  10. Ausf--

    reminds me of the fella that ran the store that used to be here in town (he sold it and retired and the new owner moved it). I'd go there about every other day and just hang out. This fella was about 70 years old or so and was like your cool uncle who knew EVERYTHING about guitars and just wanted to share his knowledge with you. I loved hanging out with him. He really taught me alot.

  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Um, That would be because while being a jerk isn't an absolute requirement to be a luthier, it happens often enough that it makes a pretty decent rule! Apparently there is something about making instruments that makes you think you are God's gift to music. Sometimes that is the case, but you never hear THOSE guys pulling all this ego crap.

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