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Semi-Boutique Basses - Shadowsky vs. Lull vs. Nash

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jim C, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Interested in a light, great playing P with a 1 5/8" or 1 3/4" nut width and under $2K used.
    I am sure that these are all great instruments.
    On the used market they are all about the same price (Metro Sadowsky).

    Nash only comes in a relic'd finish presumably to keep costs down and neck width is not mentioned
    Lull comes with a 1 3/4" width at the nut which is OK for me and Plek'd
    Sadowsky Metro - looks like it only comes with a 1 1/2" nut?; NYC can come with 1 5/8" or 1 3/4"

    Looking for professional playability and great tone in a lightweight instrument (low 8lb. range would be great; higher 8 lb. could also work. Also like the handmade and Plek'd features.

    Can anyone shed some light as to other differences and preferences.
    Other options would be greatly appreciated.(Velenti, Bluesman, or ???)

    I have a bunch of Fender Basses (including Pre CBS) so looking for something different; Custom Shop used looks to be above $2K used
    I don't need another bass but would sell a bunch of unused gear to get one

    Lastly, is an AC THAT much better?
  2. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    I've been through enough "boutique" instruments. They're all gone. Currently, my best playing bass is a G&L JB2 tribute followed closely by a MIM Fender Precision. Both lightweight and play great. I still have a couple of USA Fenders but I'm not ashamed to play the inexpensive ones.
    Pbassmanca, jd56hawk and Jim C like this.
  3. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    Of the "boutique" instruments I've had, my fave was a USA LAKLAND Joe Osborne. I should have kept that one..
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  4. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    Its a very personal thing, unfortunately. The best you can do is try as many before you buy as you can. For me, a Mike Lull P4 is the best I've ever played. I have a number of them and they feel and sound amazing. I've had vintage Fenders, USA and Metro Sadowskys, USA Laklands, Nash, Alleva-Coppolo, Moolon, Nordstrand, LowEnd, Celinder, and Xotic but they didn't sound or feel as good to me.
    Good luck with your search, they are all great basses - you just have to find the right for fit you.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
    Afc70, phillipkregg, SJan3 and 3 others like this.
  5. SCT1422

    SCT1422 Supporting Member

    I also have owned alot of vintage, boutique and inexpensive basses ... It's just a matter of finding what fits you..
    SJan3 likes this.
  6. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Moolon. Heard they are hard to beat for vintage P basses, even at 2x the cost.
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    You put it about as well as anybody ever has on TB. A bass is truly a personal choice
  8. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    For some reason, the thread title has put the ole "Shattered" earworm, into my head, and I'm sure I will have to use surgical tongs to remove it... Shadooby, shattered, shattered...
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    They are all very well made instruments. My Lull P4 has been my primary bass for 14 years - when I bought it, they were comparatively unknown, and a decent price. Two things that might influence you one way or the other.

    1. Not a nitro or thin finish - looks great, but will not "relic" easily.
    2. The neck is fairly thin from to back. Supposedly it is based on his '64 P neck.
  10. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Interesting that at this level of craftsmanship, individual instruments from the same builder can be better/worse for a particular player. I didn't expect to hear this.

    Just to confirm, some of you have had a number of $2-3K instruments of different brands and had really strong feelings for one bass over another?

    Since these are bolt on instruments, I can only assume that these builders either buy bodies and necks from standard sources, or have their own specs built by a manufacturer.
    If some of these are pure bolt together instruments, does a company like Gama end up in the same league?

    Regarding finishes, I like really thin nitro finishes; not because of any relic look in the future but rather I find the thin nitro finishes sound better (different) that some of the thick polyurethane finishes that look like the were dipped.

    My main bass is a 60' P that was refinished in what looks like clear shellac and it's a super thin coat.
    Maybe that is the reason it is so loud acousticly and sings like a bird.
    One of my mid 70's is ash and sounds very good too; just different and heavy..
  11. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    The differences in most cases were quite obvious to me and it surprised me. One thing I ended up doing is ignoring most of what I thought I knew and just tried things out without prejudice. Playing is effortless on my Lull P4s, many of the others felt like they were fighting me.

    I used to think I preferred thin or oil neck finishes (and I still do), but some of my favorites have a gloss finished neck and it doesn't ever bother me at all.

    I used to think I preferred vintage radius fingerboards. I still do on some basses but others that I love and play all the time have modern 12" radius boards and they are somehow more comfortable than vintage radius necks made by the same company!

    One popular brand has a very strange string tension thing going on, the scale length is 34" but all 4 of their basses I owned felt really tight and hard to play.

    Another used top-notch build and materials but it just felt odd and oversized even though the measurements seemed the same as a typical P bass. I sold it and it bounced through a few other hands pretty quickly so it might not have been just me.
  12. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Nice to hear you preferred the Lull P4 to all of those...

    Right now I'm considering getting a Mike Lull P4, but it's not near me so I can't play it first. I've got a Fender custom shop '62 Precision heavy relic that is my favorite bass at the moment.

    I really like the relic neck feel, but the Lull isn't relic'd. The nut width is the same though - 1.75", which I like. Would you compare the neck of the Lull to a classic Fender style feel as far as width and thickness go?
  13. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    Mike based his neck shape on his favorite vintage 1964 Fender Precision. I find his 1.75" wide necks to be very comfortable - they have nicely rounded fingerboard edges, perfect frets, a great C shape to the back of the neck, and just the right thickness for me.

    The Fenders I've had were pretty variable in feel, some had flatter D shapes to the back of the neck, most didn't have rounded fingerboard edges, and most had the vintage 7.25" radius. Mike's radius is flatter at 12" but it feels great to me.
  14. jibass

    jibass Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    I've owned a number of boutique and factory production basses. My fave is currently a G&L LB-100 "P" bass. Through alot of [financially] painful trial and error, plus alot of education from bdgotoh, i've learned that name on headstock and specs are only a guide, not a guarantee. Name and specs can get you in the ballpark, ie build quality and general feel/sound, but as others have said it ends up being totally personal. For example, my $1100 LB-100 works for me and the $5500 boutique "P" did not...go figure. It was a great bass of course, but it didn't float my boat. EDIT: and i should add that other G&L LB-100's did not float my boat either. Such a personal thing!

    The downside is that i've had to try alot of different basses and endure my wife's stinkeye but it's a good feeling to always look forward to taking a bass out of its case.
    bdgotoh and Jim C like this.
  15. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    My preferred Precision bass is my Mike Lull PJ5.

    At 8 1/2 lbs and with flats and a lump of foam under the strings this bass plays like a dream and sounds just as good. And the icing on the cake. . . . it's a 3 tone sunburst with tort and rw board.

  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 14, 2021

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