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New 17th Street / Carruthers 5 String

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AaronS, Apr 9, 2006.


  1. I've been looking for a 5 string for the past couple years. I was lucky to get my 4 string Turner Electroline and I can't afford $4K for a matching 5 string. For the past year my favorite local shop has had a 5 string in that I really liked, but also couldn't afford at $1795. The bass was made by John Carruthers of Venice, CA for a small company named 17th Street. They have since gone out of business. So much for the "Limited Lifetime Warranty" that came with the bass. I guess that means the bass was warranted for the limited lifetime of the company, meaning 1 year. In any case Carruthers Guitars has been very helpful with information on the pickups, preamp, etc. He is still in business, has been for the past 40 years, and makes great basses and guitars under his own name.

    Specs:
    Body: Swamp Ash
    Weight: 8.5 pounds Same as my Turner and my Tele
    Fingerboard: Very dark Rosewood. I almost thought it was ebony
    Neck: Maple
    Bridge: Hipshot
    Tuners: Hipshot
    Scale: 34.5
    Neck Radius: 14 inches
    Pickups: EMG TW both bridge and neck
    Preamp: EMG BQC
    Nut: Carved Bone

    The guitar is a dream to wear and is quite comfortable for 2 hours of practice using one of my 2 inch suede guitar straps. The neck is a dream to play; neither too wide, nor too narrow and shallow enough that I can keep my thumb in place in the middle of the back and easily reach from the top to the bottom string at the 12th fret. The neck pocket is so tight that I can't even slip a new $20 bill in any of the gaps. The pickups are very flexible with a volume knob for each pickup which are push/pull; down is dual coil (noisy and hot) and up is single coil (sweet, pure and not as hot). The preamp knobs are a stacked treble & bass and a stacked mid cut / boost on top of a frequency sweep. It is going to take a while to figure out this system. It is certainly very flexible with lots of good workable tones. However, it makes me appreciate all the more Rick Turner's proprietary Highlander system.

    The shop owner gets tired of most instruments that don't sell after a year (unless he is using them himself) and blows them out. I got this bass for 10% over cost. I'll post photos in a little while when I figure out how photobucket works.
     
  2. Ok, here are the required photos. They don't do the bass justice. Click on the thumbnails for full size photos.
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  3. CurbowPete

    CurbowPete

    Aug 28, 2004
    USA
    I had the opportunity to play a Carruthers 5 string a couple years ago. It was a really nice playing/sounding and well made bass. It just wasn't exactly what I was looking for at the time. It's definitely not a name I would overlook.

    -Pete
     
  4. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    John Curruther's has been doing my guitar and bass work since the 70's and he's the best. He has worked on the guitars of just about every major artist at one point of another. Demeter started as John's amp repair guy. John's also pretty much invented CNC guitar building and is a consultant to most the major guitar and bass manufactuers.

    I don't own one of John's custom guitars or basses, but have played them for years in his shop. Keep saying one day I'm going to get one, but he makes my other guitars and basses play so well I never get around to it. Another thing if you ever have a guitar or bass you love he can duplicate anything.

    Definately John's 5-strings are hot that 34.5" scale rocks. Easy to play like a 34", but has sound and feel of a 35". When in L.A. check John's shop out.
     
  5. I've played a couple 17th Street basses at ABG. They're wonderful, no-nonsense instruments that would make great high performance workhorses for anybody playing rock, country, etc... Congratulations! :^D
     
  6. That is exactly my feeling after owning it for two days. I told my wife that I get a little concerned taking the Rick Turner out on some gigs at $4K a pop, but I feel like this is a bass I could take anywhere, play all night and love the tone. And I play 1940s to 1965 country, rockabilly, and r&b, to boot. I was playing it this afternoon and I am still impressed with the quality of the workmanship and how easy it is to play.
     
  7. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Very nice bass, Aaron. Congrats on your purchase! (and yes, that fingerboard looks like ebony)
     

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