I am hoping to get some insight from the guys who have commisioned instruments with, let's call them, 'alternative' woods. The way I see it, even if I got to spend a few hours with a dozen pine topped basses, I don't think I could make a fair comparison, having spent several thousand hours playing spruce basses. Buying an instrument that is already built would obviously be easy, but is it a big risk to commision a bass with lumber that is unfamiliar? There is a certain level of trust with the luthier, and there are some wonderful people in the business, but even then, instruments are a personal thing and words alone can't always accurately describe what we are after. I would appreciate any thoughts.