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Sign of the times; From Boutiques down to Budget basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassconbeatz, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. Bassconbeatz

    Bassconbeatz Way down low Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Porter Ranch, CA
    As a long time member, I've gone through so many builders both new and used basses. I have to admit, buying a high priced boutique has it positives. The craftsmanship, the rareness and the high price point. I really love those but now with another looming recession upon us, I've gone almost completely budget. I still have my Spector US Coda, which are not as pricey as a Fodera, but hey, it's pretty damn nice. Spector has always been my dream bass, when I started playing many ions ago. I recently purchased a KDS Chinese build and also an Ibanez Portomento. I have to admit these Asian built basses are pretty good for the price point; especially the Ibanez. I was wonder how many of us Tb's have gone back to the good ol' budget minded beauties.
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I've been crazy nuts I'm gonna sell all my basses in love with my new Rickenbacker that people must be getting sick of hearing about... but I took my Ibanez TMB300 to a rehearsal last week, and if I was forced to use only that bass for some god forsaken reason - I'd be fine.
  3. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    I tried going budget by teasing myself with an $85 P clone from a pawn shop. The bass sounded fine. It was a wreck, but still playable. I splurged for a brand new American Standard P bass, went back and bought the P clone and within two weeks that POS was back in the pawn shop. I wasn't exactly in a position to be blowing money on a rehab (ok, I lied - AK PFD $$ had just come out ;)), but decided I wanted quality. I have never been more satisfied with a bass purchase.

    But yeah, budget basses are great... Some, anyway. I just try not to compromise quality for $. I just shop for good deelz...
    Clark Westfield likes this.
  4. aaronious

    aaronious Supporting Member

    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    I've only ever owned one " custom high end bass" It was a Carvin. $1300 worth of bass. It was a real nice instrument. Everyone loved it. I hated it. I didn't even know how to play when I bought it. I thought if I got nice bass it would force me to learn how to play. I was right and wrong. I learned how to play, but on a Squire Affinity P bass. It was just more comfortable. Once I could play I realized it sounded horrible and I hate 24 frets.

    Since then, I just can't Fathom spending boutique money on a bass. I have 4 fenders, 2 Mexican, a Korean and a Japanese. One day I'll get an American Standard P bass, even then I'll get it only if it's used and cheap. I play my Squire VM Jazz as much as any of them.

    Maybe one day Just to say I have it I'll commission Cliff Bordwell to build me a boutique bass, It'll still just be a jazz bass, with sexy wood and a funky looking upper horn, and 21 frets.

    just home to me.
  5. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Gone back? Hey this is TB! I don't get rid of basses unless they are real dogs. Certainly not my high end boutiques!

    Just dug out the ole Ken Smith the other day just for grins. I hadn't touched it for the longest time! Cripes what an AMAZING bass! Every time I get it out I"m just re-amazed at how great it is! And for grins I plugged my Modulus Q6 into the big amp. My gut is still vibrating from the tone! But they are both fretted and I'm not doing that right now.

    But these days I'm putting in hours on my good old Chinese SX fretless 6 string. (avatar) Just $150 and time to tweak it into fretless. I just LOVE that thing. Sure I've got an Alembic Epic fretless 6er, but it's not Fenderish, it's not burst and it has no tort guard! I've already taken it to a blues gig and reaped the ridicule! Disaster.

    Point is it makes NO difference to me if the bass cost $200 or two grand. If it does what I'm looking for then that's enough. Tone is where you find it.

    So If what you are trying to do REQUIRES a boutique bass then yeah, if what you are doing is cool then obviously having a boutique bass makes you cool. But if what you are trying to do can be done well on an SX then having a boutique bass only makes you look dumb because you wasted all that money on something that did not contribute to your music.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
  6. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    I don't understand how taking a hit by selling a boutique keeps you in times of a recession. If anything, it just means when times are good again, one would spend money like there was no tomorrow chasing the feel of the boutique that was sold earlier.

    The point I am trying to get to is this: Don't buy anything that you don't plan on keeping and don't sell anything that you will miss.
  7. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    As another long time TBer, I've gone the other way. For my gigging Country band, I have a Roscoe Signature SKB 3005 (see avatar), a TI loaded Dingwall AB1 5, and am having a very expensive Dingwall SJ5XXX built. My main 4 is a Fender CS '59 NOS I had commissioned. But then there is too little sand left in the hourglass for me to settle.
  8. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Looming recession? Certainly overdue for a correction but recession might be a bit strong.
    TinIndian, grrg63, dinodino and 11 others like this.
  9. taylor16


    Dec 25, 2012
    I went from Roscoe, Lull and Sadowsky to Fender American Standards and Lakland Skylines and I love them just as much. The "step down" is all in your mind.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Heck, I keep hearing about some sort of "recovery" we're in. I haven't seen it but "they" tell me it's here. :thumbsup:
  11. Imports continue to get better, but it's still hard for assembly line basses to compete with handmade.

    I don't know why musicians have to "go back" on gear.
    red_rhino and Shortie like this.
  12. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Got what I want and want what I got. Paid in full. All mine. Won't sell unless I am beyond desperate. Need nothing else. Except maybe that Orange O bass....
    TMARK, red_rhino, Qlanq and 1 other person like this.
  13. Binary1


    Aug 13, 2015
    Hollywood East
    That's news to me.
    TMARK, grrg63, red_rhino and 4 others like this.
  14. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear

    Aug 14, 2000
    I originally joined TB back in 1999 under the name Homer_J, but with I completely forgot what my password or email for that ID was.

    Anyway, in that time I've also seen the mass migration from jazz to precision basses, the return of decent Fender QC, and as mentioned, a significant run of boutique basses. I've had a LOT of basses over the years, and am currently down to one - a 5 string Bongo. IME, it seems like a lot of people have just realized that they can do the same thing with a Fender, or what have you, as they can with a custom Fodera, etc. for a fraction of the cost. Plus with advances to CNC and building processes you get a fairly consistently well made bass.

    Although, it seems as if the whole hipster, Americana scene has also pushed the coolness factor of burst/tort p-basses as well. ;)
    wmmj, lowdownthump and Thumper like this.
  15. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    I am agreeing on the recession statement. The market is looking at another big correction , despite the lies the feds tell unemployment is really high, housing is again somewhat over-valued and demand for manufactured goods is slowing. That is more than a correction coming.

  16. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Much like predictions of the afterlife, we'll all know for sure after it's too late.
  17. Economy be damned...I love what I play and THIS time it didn't cost me the farm...I own SEVERAL basses that cost what one so-so "cool" bass cost me in the past...and if and when the whole thing goes in the toilet, I'll still be ready to ROCK. nothin' but love~
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    I think it's a great idea being able to have gig worthy basses that are inexpensive. I've found a few in my days. I also feel that the higher end builds are much more consistent. Most all of them I owned play and sound great. No need to make an exhausting and lengthy search to get a great piece unlike some lower price points
    Old Blastard likes this.
  19. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    I play what I like, the lowest price I can for what feels right to me, and sounds right to me.
    My Warwick Dolphin is the most expensive single purchase I have ever made. I DO NOT REGRET IT.
    most everything else is sub 1k, some less than 200.
    The budget lines get the most shed and stage time.
    My Squier VMP5, Carvin B4 fret less kit, my Goya double P, and Cort A5 get out the most. All sub 500.
  20. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Play what you like, so long as you like what you play.
    And if you find yourself thinking "I can't understand why someone else would (pay, play, do) something different that I think is right - re-enroll in "Opposite Sex 101". You'll never understand, so let it be.
    The End.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016

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