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NBD Chinese Custom Shop Content! Pic heavy

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BlueShox, May 23, 2018.

  1. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    I've been interested in a multiscale fanned fret bass for quite sometime, I played a Dingwall Super J at a guitar show a few years ago and have been hooked since. I've gotten my hands on a few of the intermediate Ibanez offerings and always enjoyed playing on them, however never really cared much for them aesthetically. I wanted something a little more traditional in terms of the design, and a Dingwall is well outside of what I personally would consider spending on an instrument, so I was left with limited options.

    Around Christmas time I read a thread where somebody ordered a knock-off of a custom, discontinued Rickenbacker off of an Aliexpress dealer by simply sending them a photo and some brief directions. I decided to go the same route; I used the builder on Halo Guitar's website to mock up my design because they have pretty much every body and headstock combination I could think of. Morally I was OK with this because all the features are pretty much borrowed from other manufacturers. Its a Jaguar body with a Fender-ish headstock.


    I searched Aliexpress looking for a builder that had made a few fanned fret basses and found one that had a few nice looking Mayones imitations.


    The seller responded quickly, he spoke OK English. I wasn't expecting perfection as far as the build quality or even matching my build sheet, but I felt confident that the important parts were understood as far the overall aesthetic, top-woods (I sent several reference photos) and scale length. I sent him specifications for Dingwall FD3s as far as the pick-up routes, and seller confirmed that the stock pick-ups were the same size. This was important to me because I wanted to drop in a quality replacement in the event I wasn't happy with the import pick-ups. I also asked to leave the headstock without any logo. I confirmed and placed my order in early February. $419 shipped. I knew from the get-go what sort of gamble I was taking in terms of quality, but the buyers protection of Aliexpress made me feel pretty confident about the process.

    The seller gave me an estimated date of early April to expect my bass. This seemed way too soon to finish the product, I was a little concerned as to what I would be receiving. The second week of March I started pestering the seller about progress, to which he told me it would still be another 6 weeks or so. He sent me an in-progress photo.


    I started pestering him again the 1st of this month, he informed me it would be another few weeks before he was finished. He sent me one finished photo last week and a shipping notification.


    I was pleased with everything, except for the fact that the Halo logo had been included with the order. I was hoping to leave the headstock logoless to not cause any confusion and to prevent this from every being mistaken as a true Halo bass. I messaged the seller and he said he must have misunderstood and that there wasn't much he could do at this point since it had shipped.

    It arrived today.

    IMG_20180523_132048764.jpg IMG_20180523_132054690.jpg IMG_20180523_132117913.jpg IMG_20180523_132130609.jpg IMG_20180523_132207114.jpg IMG_20180523_133025641.jpg IMG_20180523_133031318.jpg IMG_20180523_133105463.jpg

    Here are my thoughts so far.

    The Good: The bass looks just like the photo, it seems to be structurally sound, the neck is super straight and the truss rod has plenty of play. I brought my pedalboard from home and played a few minutes through my headphone rig, and it sounds good. I use a Sansamp BDDI, so honestly everything I put into that DI is going to sound like the Sansamp. It has a lot of high end bite that I can dial out with the pre-amp. The controls are balance, volume, bass and treble. I've never owned a multiscale bass, or even played one for more than 20 minutes straight, but it was effortless to adjust and I truly had a great time playing it; I did not want to set it down to go back to work. I was worried it would have neck dive, but it balances well.

    The Bad: Some of the finishing is mediocre-It has some ugly looking glue marks, and clear coating on the edge of the fretboard is especially sloppy looking. I had asked that the control routing be done from the rear so that I could switch between a pearl and clear pickguard to show more of the finish, however all the routing is under the pickguard. It is heavy, although I'm not sure how heavy. I also have a 5 string Jazz and a 5 string Jaguar and this is noticeably the heaviest of the 3 instruments. I purchased a string retainer to add to the headstock. And the logo is just awful to me, as I was hoping to have it plain. I'm not going to return it, but I'm debating either trying to remove the logo or simply painting the headstock black.

    For the money, I am extremely pleased with the bass. There is no mistaking this for a boutique custom shop instrument, its obviously not in the same conversation at the Super J that I played, but it does satisfy my itch for a multiscale bass and I am happy to have it!
  2. TuneSalad666

    TuneSalad666 Inactive

    Mar 1, 2018
    Congratulations. :bassist:

    Looking good. :thumbsup:

    I have pondered myself on having a custom bass made by Halo should I ever get the spare money it requires.

    I thought they had their basses made in South Korea though, but apparently I remember wrong.
  3. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    It actually isn't a Halo bass, the manufacturer I used from China just put their logo on the headstock when I asked for no headstock.
  4. TuneSalad666

    TuneSalad666 Inactive

    Mar 1, 2018
    Ah, right, suppose I didn't read your post proper through.

  5. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    For the price that is a fantastic deal. $400+ for a custom made bass, nice.
    Glad it’s a player.
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  6. Looks really nice!!

    Shame about the logo, but otherwise seems like a good deal for the money. Can I recommend black pearloid as an alternative to the clear? :D

    Should get some clips up!
  7. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    Which manufacturer did you use?
  8. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    a first time heavy risk experimental custom which nailed all the important factors, how can one complain at $400?
    the logo hate is understandable to a degree, but it's far from 'bad', if you luv the bass the logo will become cool.
    it ain't perfect but the next one might be!
    wmmj and Rickter like this.
  9. Mark76


    Dec 1, 2015
    So you wanted a headless bass?

    I think it looks pretty cool as it is :woot:
    Sixgunn likes this.
  10. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    12.4 lbs on my bathroom scale o_O
  11. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    TMusic Factory-Base of good custom guitar and base
    Novarocker, Clark Dark and Microbass like this.
  12. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    lined with lead, like the toys that come out of the backdoors of the factories?
  13. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    Most of the finish flaws can be easily fixed or smoothed out. Very nice design. Imagine what that would cost in the states.
  14. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    It is cool that you can get a guy to translate designs from your brain to wood for $400. With this sort of thing I would have maybe left out the finishing and the electronics. You have to admire the 'can do' attitude of the guy in China willing to build a *something* from the image you sent over.

    However the devil is in the detail. I wouldn't be happy with the quality of the fretwork presented here. Still, what OP has shown is a lot more interesting than most $400 basses!
  15. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    They also able to make you MIC dingwall too....
    Microbass likes this.
  16. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    A Chingwall!

    Man, that sounds racist but I don't think it is.
  17. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    Yeah but I didn't really want a Dingwall, I wanted a traditional style multiscale bass that didn't cost $3,000. My goal was to not have a knock-off; I didn't quite accomplish that because it has the Halo logo on the headstock.
    Clark Dark and scuzzy like this.
  18. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    It is 100% playable, and the actual condition of the playing field of the fretboard is fine. It actually came with a relatively good set-up, I'm sure I will tinker with it soon but its certainly better than some of the off-the-shelf mid level Ibanez basses I've played. It looks like they were rushing through finishing and didn't take the time to sand and evenly apply clear coat on the top side of the neck. I believe this is something I could smooth out pretty easily myself.

    I think it is a good idea to get them to skip the finishing and electronics, if anybody is interested in ordering in the future.
    Gabriel51 and Axstar like this.
  19. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    the ax looks really nice! hope it plays for you --- congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
  20. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Looks cool, I love when headstock match body color but that's just me.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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