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selling a stingray to buy a custom???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Devo-lution, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    Well, here's my situation...

    I am fairly acquainted with a luthier who is considered one of the best around in this region and ever since I started playing bass, I had the idea that one day I'd have a personal instrument made by him...

    Nowadays, word is around (and it would be true) that this year is likely to be his last one as a luthier... so if I would be to follow this idea, I'd have to be quick and then here's where I stand. I don't have the cash to go for it right now, but if I'd sell my musicman stingray, I'd have it...

    So, the question is the following one... Would it be wise to sell my main bass to go to a luthier and have him build me another one? How is the value and quality (yes, this depends from luthier to luthier) of luthier-made gear compared to brand gear like Ernie Ball's?

    and for the technical side:
    Is it even possible to make a headless bass out of wood, since all of the I have seen aren't...

    thx a lot
  2. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Value-wise, most custom built basses tank in value, unless the luthier is internationally known, even then it still does. If it's custom, it was built for you, not necessarily options other people are going to want.

    Most custom builders only require you to put a down payment to get the insturment started, then pay the rest upon completion. Can't you do that instead of selling your main player...which when it comes to selling your main player, there's no guarantee you're going to love the tone of the custom more.
  3. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
    Will it make you a better player?
  4. Almost impossible to say without knowing the luthier or his work.
  5. Essthreetee


    Aug 19, 2007
    Visalia, CA
    Well, my $.02...why is he going out of business? What (other than a custom bass) would you gain by having him build one? How attached are you to your current bass? I don't know if I would do it. But in the end, it is up to you. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  6. Rumblefisher


    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    Out of curiosity, who is the luthier?
  7. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    1) It's up to you. Can you survive with your backup bass for 6+ months?
    2) There's no guarantee you'll like the sound or playability any more than your 'Ray, so it's a bit of a craps shoot, especially if you've never played or heard this luthier's instruments before.
    3) There are plenty of headless basses. Steinberger, Zon, Ritter, and a slew of other companies make/have made them. Just google "headless bass".
  8. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    He is going out of business to retire and stop his career I guess... This value thing was pretty predictable indeed, since it would be a custom...

    I like my stingray 2EQ in general, but it also annoys me on some grounds... It sounds somewhat tame in my opinion and give more treble then I'd ever like to have. Also It feels somewhat weak-ish in the lows...

    I am lately more and more drawn into those really woody basses (alembic, warwick), but an alembic is too expensive for me and a warwick has this nosedive thing which I detest. My thought was having myself such a bass built, but with a lot of detail on the balancing... Soundwise I'd be looking for something like a warwick thumb...

    The luthier is quite known in the national scene (europe) and some of the better known players, play instruments of his making...
  9. Why not actually ask him if he is finishing up this year so you know either way for sure - and THEN you can start weighing up the cost vs time frame dilemma.

    And in the meantime: save like crazy.
  10. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    I got the notice from one of his employees, so I'm pretty sure he'll be finishing up soon...
  11. Rumblefisher


    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    OK. What does that matter though? If he's finishing up and his work is pretty good, it's another matter if he's calling it quits but is a master craftsman. Would it be a bother if I asked you for his name again? I'd like to see what you would be "trading" your Stingray 2 band for.

    EDIT:http://www.myspace.com/jpbasses <-- is it him?
  12. ausf


    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    A few things strike me on this...

    First, I don't think 'woody' and headless. Headless seems the opposite direction.

    Second, I think the value of a custom headless bass would be nil, unless it was known for something, either builder or player, even then.

    Third, giving up your main for a complete unknown is nuts in my opinion. If it doesn't live up to your expectations, you're completely sunk.
  13. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    He owns a place called "Rik's Rockshop"... but since it's in Flanders I don't think any of you' know the shop... He also creates more guitars than basses...

  14. Rumblefisher


    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    Unless you don't like the feel of your Stingray, I wouldn't suggest replacing it with these custom basses. Don't get me wrong, he has made some nice things, but the build quality will most likely not be better, and certainly not thousands of euro better. If I were you, I would replace my pickup with a Nordstrand MM. They sound fantastic, very beefy, deep lows and soft treble. If you still feel compelled to spend lots of money, you can sink it in a top notch rig and eq to taste.
  15. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    Yeah, I'd guess that "it's risky" would be the case. The point with my stingray is that I've come to like it... but not love it.

    I've heard some recordings done with a warwick thumb lately and I like that sound waaaay more... There's more growl and it also has a lowmid presence the stingray 2 EQ doesn't have. Problem is that I can't stand a thumb because of the neckdive issue.

    Having a custom built would be a sollution to this, but on the other hand, it would also be an enormous risk... that's why I started the topic, to see some opinions on the matter :)... And the headless thought was btw only a "possible way to lose neck weight"...

  16. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    "Would it be wise to sell my main bass to go to a luthier and have him build me another one?"

    No. You can certainly do it, but it would most certainly not be wise.

    What do you not like about your main bass? Are your familiar with this builder's craftsmanship to know for certain it will outperform your main bass?
  17. Jens Ricker was his name, or something like that... :D
  18. bobwhite


    Mar 11, 2010
    Personally, I'd never buy a custom bass from a guy in Flanders, but that's just me....:p

    I toyed with getting a custom recently, but mainly the price seemed good compared to full price for a custom shop Fender. This is a tough one. Frankly, if you are in love with what you have, stick with it. If not, then take a chance.

    Of course, if you have some concerns after the custom is delivered and you want changes, can you get them if the builder is retired? One of the selling points for me on buying a custom would be the luthier's standing behind his work over time, even if I wanted major changes after a year or two because I changed my mind on what I thought I wanted.
  19. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    You just said the magic words that piqued my interest.... 2band eq.
    My respose will be; not in my experience. I have owned a thumb 4 before, I still own a fleet of 2band eq Musicmans, and my opinion the Rays have far more presence, especially the bottom end and low mids.
    When it comes to recordings you are hearing lots of gear in the signal as well as a different bass player, you really need to experience it first hand for an accurate comparison.
  20. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    DO IT.

    You can always buy another stringray.

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