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Sadowky/Lull/Lakeland/Stambaugh - Sooooo Many Choices for a Noob!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BigEarl, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. BigEarl

    BigEarl Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2003
    Austin, TX
    I'm eleven years old again, it's a month til' Christmas and the Sears catalog just came in the mail - at least that how I feel because I am going to treat myself to a boutique in 2013.

    I've done my research and picked the most asthetically pleasing (to me) high-end basses out there. But, I have never played a boutique before ...yeah I know Bass Emporium used to be here, and they had lots on the floor to try, but I felt unworthy of a high end bass at the time and now we have to use the phase "used to be here" when speaking of BE (but I digress) so I have no first hand knowledge of the luxury that a custom made boutique can offer.

    So, brothers and sisters of the bass community, can anyone rave about one of the above maker's and give me some insight into the hoity-toidy world of the boo-tee-kyooo?
  2. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    I'd learn to spell Lakland before I bought one...

    I have a US Lakland. Great bass. But...don't buy any bass expecting more that just a bass. The difference between a $500 and a $3000 bass isn't as much as you'd think/hope. In fact, I gig them interchangeably.
  3. George Mann

    George Mann Banned

    May 27, 2012
    Don't forget Birdsong and Landing.
  4. SherwoodGreen

    SherwoodGreen Banned

    Dec 25, 2012
    Don't worry about spelling, and don't think that you have to be "worthy" of a boutique/high-end bass.
    If there were such a requirement, I can assure you a number of posters here would have to turn in their $$$ instruments!:D

    Look at the "Club" threads here for insight and pics etc. of the different builders.
    Look at their websites, check out the designs, specs, etc. and find one that catches your eyes and ears.
    You need to play and spend quality time with an instrument to find out if it fits you.

    All of the builders you mention- and many others- achieved status because their work earned them a following.

    Happy Hunting.
  5. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Hi Earl,

    The absolute best thing you could do is actually get your hands on as many of the basses you're considering as possible. Are there any high end shops within driving distance?

    The other thing I'd do is pin down as many of the important specs as you can. 4 or 5 strings? What kind of tone and for what kind of music? Active or passive? What type of pickups, radius, neck profile etc.

    Maybe let us know why you're looking at the brands you've listed.

    Sadowsky does a modern/refined take on Fender Basses. They are light weight and sound great in a mix. Lakland's Fender-like basses are more vintage retro though they also have some interesting original designs such as their Decade, Hollowbody and 55-01 which is a pretty versatile bass. Lull does Fender-like basses (active or passive) as well as modern Thunderbird designs. His basses use aftermarket pickups and preamps as opposed to the other two which employ proprietary electronics.

    I'm as big a Stambaugh fan as they come but he's very different from the others listed. His basses are totally hand made and completely custom. He certainly can do boutique Fender-style (check out Marcus Willets spalted topped Jazz in the Club Stambaugh thread) but he has no "standard" models. I actually have four basses on order from him right now so obviously I love his work, but you'd want to have clear thoughts on what you want or be prepared to spend a lot of time hammering out details with Chris before commissioning a bass from him.


    Feb 9, 2013
    San Diego, CA
    Play them all. Decide what feels good and sounds good to you. Don't forget to check out the used market. There are some great deals - including here on TB - in the used space. You never know where you might find just the right bass to inspire your playing.
  7. js1


    Oct 1, 2006
    Don't be in a hurry. Ya gotta play them.

    I travel on business, and have had the opportunity to visit Bass Central (Orlando), Bass Northwest (Seattle) and Gelb Music (Cali) and a few others. These stores are a different breed and being able to compare the brands head to head helps a lot.

    Next, individual instruments from the boutique guys will typically all be excellent, but they WILL vary from one to another.

    I played tons of them, and I finally found the one that I wanted at Gelb. It spoke to me, and we immediately bonded. Annnndd, I didn't buy it. Until I got home, couldn't stop thinking about it, then picked up the phone.

    I'm still as happy with my purchase now as the day that I first tried it.
  8. kai_ski


    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    Most if not all of these will hold their value quite well if you buy them on the used market. Pick them up one at a time used and spend some time with each to see what you prefer about one or another. I can't speak for stambaugh but Lull Lakland and Sadoswky all offer incredible consistency. So when you do finally get your custom it will be similar to the temporary bass but it will have all of the little features you specified.

    At least that's what I would do if I ever was to order a true custom.
  9. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    This! Jared nailed it. I'm a huge fan of US Laklands, but I've tried Sadowskys and they're great as well.

    The worst thing you can do is wait to see who shouts the loudest in this thread, because there are many fans of each of these builders. If you can't try any of them yourself, read the reviews here and see what meshes best with your needs and wants.
  10. T2k5


    Feb 16, 2011
    Kerava, Finland
    Chris gets my recommendation too. He offers excellent quality for very affordable prices and is flexible with design changes. The only critique I can think of is that his estimated build times are too optimistic, but that is easy to fix by interpreting "two weeks" as "three or four weeks" and so on. :D