opinions on my DP custom specs

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by skrubbles, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. skrubbles


    Oct 30, 2002
    Steilacoom, WA
    I just bought my first bass and it hasn't even arrived yet and I'm already considering getting a DP custom... I just know I'm gonna love playing the bass. Anyway, the bass that's on its way is an Ibanez ex series 5-string. It'll be my learning guitar till I have enough money to get the DP custom of my dreams.

    Here are the specs I was thinking of:

    35" scale
    woods: cocobolo body wings
    neck: wenge/maple/cocobolo/maple/wenge
    headstork: wenge maple and cocobolo
    fretboard: wenge
    electronics: dual bartolini pickups (passive) and 3 band EQ preamp with coil selection switches and an on/off switch
    tuners: schaller M4
    bridge: schaller
    dunlop straplocks
    bell knobs
    ALL hardware gold

    I even through together what the bass would end up looking like in photoshop with the body design I was thinking about (see below).... I might use his standard body design, this one just popped in my head.

    I don't know a whole hell of a lot about bass guitars and the woods and electronics, so I don't know what this thing'll sound like... I just know I'd be interested in playing slap so, I hope the sound will be good for that.

    Also, I have no clue how much this thing'll cost with the extras I have on it and the exotic woods... it'll probably be a few months before I have enough for a down payment for this beauty.

    Please Please Please give your thoughts on this bass
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Sounds pretty nice, but you'll have to find a body wood, as cocobolo can be used as a top but I don't think you could find enough to use for the body itself. It is also recommended by Matt Schmill of FBB Custom to not use cocobolo as a neck wood. Good luck with it though.
  3. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I don't wanna pee on your campfire, but if you have only recently just bought your first bass you may want to wait a while before ordering a custom.

    I'd been playing for the better part of 20 years before I even considered ordering a custom. I'd owned about 7 different basses by then and had spent a significant amount of time playing others to find out what I did and didn't like. I'm not saying "do as I do" but here's a couple notes from my experience:

    I went into my custom order KNOWING exactly what I wanted it to sound like. I knew the company that was to build it and knew a decent amount about my wood choices. (I've learned about triple that here on TB after receiving the bass). I love the end result, but even now I recognize things I might have done differently.

    Even thopguh I pretty much knew what I wanted, I changed my order three or four times, because I kept getting exposed to different ideas and opinions.

    The really funny thing, is that my "custom" is not too dissimilar from what can be ordered from catalog. It is basically different options from several models assembled in a way that is different from stock. I didn't have to make pick up position choices or pre-amp choices, etc...etc

    When you deal with a luthier like DP Custom, they expect that you're coming in knowing a heckuva lot more than I had to know going into my custom.

    At the end, you'll get what you get and how good it is depends as much on how much you knew going in as on the luthier's skill in delivering it.

    Good luck whatever you wind up doing!


  4. GRCorman

    GRCorman Guest

    Oct 29, 2002
    I say go for it!:D
    Just don't be afraid to ask Dave his advice..

    but you may want to re-think the cocobolo for the neck, and solid cocobolo for the body...besides being very heavy, it'll probably be expensive (even at Dave's rates!) Cocobolo sandwiched around ash looks nioce to me (I've seen one like that on Dave's site)

  5. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I say wait.. You don't even know what you like on a bass yet... you may may like the bright sound of maple... or you may hate it..

    These are nice specs.. but do you even know what you are getting into with these woods???
  6. I would also recommend waiting. DO you want a thin neck? fat? C-shape? Slanted D? Do you prefer the tone of soapbars? Js? Passive? MM? Body shape preferences?

    I'd recommend playing everything you can get your hands on over the next year or so. Take notes as to what you like/dislike. You'll know sooooo much more a year or so from now.

    Really do admire your passion!

    Good luck!
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    James advice is pure wisdom, IME. What's my experience (as you have every right to ask)??? Well, I've been playing this thing since the late 60's.
    I doubt James started out with his ultra high-end Alembics and the first time I felt like I had a "real bass" is my hands was my first pre-CBS Precision.

    That's not to say that I think everyone should start out playing "junk" basses like I did. We're not trying to create some kind of phony "club" of bass elitists. But, you're talking "custom" territory and a knowledge of why certain components work/don't work together is critical.

    It's just like one of your first romances or first cars - at first, it's all about looks and what impresses others, (well, admittedly, some older people never get past that). But there are extremely few people who will turn your desires down as long as you have the cash. They have to eat, too.

    But the point is, IMO and IME - You never will really know what makes you happy until you know what doesn't make you happy.

    I'll bet dollars to donuts that your spec's are based on what others rave about here on TB and what LOOKS cool. So, yeah, you may end up with a custom that will impress a lot of other people but really isn't what satisfies you.

    And that's the whole point of having a custom made --- you've tried all kinds of basses with different woods/pickups/designs/brand names at the music stores but you think/hope you finally know enough about their plusses and minuses to come up with your own design.

    My advice - get to "know" that Ibanez you have ordered. Learn to play it as best as you can. At some point, your ability and your appreciation of fine bass sound may be more than it can give you. Then it's time to move on to a better mass production bass or, possibly, a custom.

    In the meantime, I encourage you to learn all you can. For instance;

    - your spec's call for a lot of cocobolo.........is that Mexican cocobolo or Panamanian/Nicaraguan cocobolo??? (there is a HUGE difference)
    - your spec's call for wenge.....can the luthier get some good wenge??? Civil war and rained out roads have made the exportation of wenge extremely difficult and raised the prices. Warwick doesn't even offer it any longer due to the procurement problems.

    If you're wealthy and can just offer it on eBay for the highest bid if you're not happy with your custom, then, go for it.
  8. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
  9. skrubbles


    Oct 30, 2002
    Steilacoom, WA
    thank you all very very much for helping.

    Just so you know, I didn't plan on getting this thing next month... a few months for me means in about 6 or so months.

    As far as getting a custom, I thought I might as well get a custom at Dave's really nice/pretty low prices as oppose to getting a company manufactured 5-string that will probably run the same amount and not have what I want.

    Yes, I have been looking around to see what the rave was on different parts and what not, but I didn't just through them into my specs just because of other's impressions.... I did some research to see if certain parts (example: the electronics) is what I'd really want... and I couldn't really see myself getting anything else....

    As of now, this is a work in progress and I'm sure things'll change before I actually get a custom... I posted this because I wanted to have feedback on parts and if they would work together and whatnot.

    And another reason I really wanted to get a custom is because when learning and starting off playing the bass I'd want to play more and more if I looked over and saw a really beautiful guitar that looks and sounds are just for me.... and I'd wanna just grab it and start playing and learning every time I saw it... as oppose to looking over and seeing junk that doesn't really look and sound all to hot... I'm not gonna wanna play and learn as much... I hope that kinda makes sense and doesn't just sound like I'm rambling.

    Why I chose what I chose: For the electronics I decided on passive pickups with an active 3 band preamp so that I could play around with the tone alot. And at first I was thinking about starting off with a 4 string, but 5 strings really got me thinking... I know I'd wanna play a 5 string (I just know, its hard to explain). The reason I was kinda doubting it is because the wider neck.. that's why I decided to get an ibanez 5 string for my first bass because I know that they have a neck that's a lil slimmer than most 5-strings.... so yeah, I'd get a slim neck on the custom

    And as for the cocobolo in the neck, why wouldn't that work? strength? sound? if it's strength I'd imagine since its a 5 piece neck that the surrounding wood would be enough support... but I think I'll look into changing all the cocobolo to padaux on the guitar.... and I didn't know that wenge was so rare and hard to come by, I could change the fretboard wood to another... I don't know what though... I know I'd like to have a dark wood there.

    thanks again, and please keep your opinions coming... you guys are a BIG help.
  10. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    You never know.. you may find what you want in a manufactured bass.... I'm really not trying to be rude about it... but you really don't know what you want yet....... ALL these options you may end up hating..
  11. skrubbles


    Oct 30, 2002
    Steilacoom, WA
    ldiezman - you're not being rude... I understand completely what you're saying... that's why I'm not SET on everything... I'm just super excited about playing the bass and I'm kinda in dreamland right now already thinking about getting a custom hehe..

    Oh and I wound DEFINATELY have Dave give me advice on everything in the future when/if I get a custom.
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    And then....it wouldn't be "a custom" if you really think about it.

    To me, Sadowsky's and some others, exquisite-sounding as they are, aren't "true customs." Roger has a proven design that has been successful and it's hard to argue with it as long as you want a bass that looks like every other Jazz bass on the block. But it sure will sound much better.

    They're just like going to a Chinese restaurant where the menu says "Choose one from menu A and one from menu B." That's all the choices there are and, so often, they are quite boring. The thing is, the "food" will have a wonderful "taste."

    But if you want to be adventurous, the guys who cling to their dogmatic designs aren't much fun. For instance, Anthony Jackson finally had to approach Carl Thompson with his ideas that were considered "whack" by most bass luthiers at the time. Now, his ideas are "conventional."

    I don't dis any of them. If you have a design that makes you rich, who am I to argue??? But I really admire those willing to try "something different" a la Ned Steinberger.
  13. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Thanks for not Taking anything I say as mean Skrubbles.. good luck with your bass and playing..
  14. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I was full into getting a custom about a year ago or better (you might remember the PM's, Rick;) ).
    I ended up finding the "perfect bass" for me in a Modulus Quantum 5, so I scrapped the idea of doing a custom, that I might not have liked when I got it. Sure, I paid a bit more for my Modulus (OK, a lot more) than I would have paid for a full on custom job from Dave, but paying extra was worth it to know that I had found "my" bass.

    Get out and play every stinking bass you can get your hands on, as has already been mentioned. And don't be afraid to ask more questions here, if you decide to go ahead with it. There are some very helpful guys here that have done a ton of research on all of the aspects of having a custom built, and they can give you some great advice. A few of those guys have already posted here.

    Oh, and welcome to Talkbass!:D
  15. skrubbles


    Oct 30, 2002
    Steilacoom, WA
    don't worry, I'll be play a lot of basses before I decide what it is I want on my custom... this is just a starting point of what I think I'll want... and if it turns out I don't like a certain aspect, I'll change it... I'm not gonna get a custom if I'm unsure of what I like.

    I'm gonna be practicing and playing like mad and I'll be testing out a bunch of basses so I know what I like and what I don't like.... The reason why I posted all this stuff now is because I'm REALLY SUPER EXCITED and I want to know what you guys think... like what it might sound like overall with the woods I've chosen and all that jazz.

    But I'm still pretty sure I'm gonna wanna custom come 6 months... because I want a pretty unique/beautiful design and I wanna be involved in its creation... that's why I want a custom... I want it my way. Hell, I'd buy a mass-produced bass guitar if I felt it looked nice and played well... but I'm an artist and I'm pretty picky in what I like and what I don't like... Also with a beautiful bass that I helped design and sounds great I'm gonna wanna learn and play more an more... which leads to getting better faster ander faster.... which leads to me wanting to learn and play alot more.... and so on....

    I hope this is understandable... I'm not trying to be stuburn or anything... I just know I'm gonna wanna play alot more with a bass I wanna play with. And so far not alot of mass-manufactured ones tickle my fancy in the looks department... and the ones that have, cost a LOT more than a custom from Dave would cost and with a custom I get it looking just right :) mmmmm And just because I get a custom earlier in the program doesn't mean I'm stuck with it forever... I can either make some alterations or send it back and have dave make a few or just get another guitar... I think this makes more sense then buying a more expensive one and then buying a custom afterwards... but I will be researching alot to make sure what I want before I get a custom and alot of that comes from what other bass players recommend and what they like and dislike and why and taking all that into account... and also playing alot of other basses so I know what I want in sound and overall design.
  16. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City

    It's refreshing to see how receptive you are to all the advice / suggestions coming your way. Here's one more suggestion you might be able to have some fun with.

    You say within about 6 months you wanna go the custom route. Try this. Today - write down EVERYTHING you know about the bass you want to order 6 months from now. You have a real good start in your original post, but get REALLY specific. What do you want for string spacings, neck width at the nut, neck width at the 21st or 24th fret, heck, do you want 21 or 24 frets? Neck radius (flat or "sawn off bat"?), satin or poly finish on the neck, etc.

    Now, put it in an envelope and stick it in a drawer and forget about it for 3 months. Go out and play a ton of basses like you've already said you wanna do. In three months, sit down and make a new list, based on the stuff you've played. Now get the first list out and compare the two. Stick both lists and all the cash you've saved up in the 3 months, put it all back in the envelope and put it away for another 3 months.

    At the end of 6 months you'll have a better idea of what you like and don't like and a pretty good headstart on a downpayment for your custom. You might evn decide that you may want to try one more 3 month cycle of playin' and savin'.


  17. skrubbles


    Oct 30, 2002
    Steilacoom, WA
    James - that's an EXCELLENT idea!! I'm definately gonna go ahead and do that.

    Thank you guys for all your help so far :)