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So I went to guitar center yesterday... I think I want to become a luthier

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kosko, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    Alright, so many have probably already seen my post about wanting an ultra boutique bass. Thats all fine and dandy but I wanted to have a solid point of reference of sound, feel and playability of different basses, and see if I could find one I liked for less money and available that moment.

    Ok, so I walk in and the first bass I see is:

    The Pedulla:
    Beautiful, eye catching, zebra wood over ash, awesome bass. But then I played it. Personally, it was much to skinny for me. And the lack of weight seemed reflected in the tone. It just didn't have the growl I wanted. Very nice bass, but not my thing. So I moved to

    Warwick Corvette:
    The neck was a tree trunk, automatically disqualified. But I liked Warwick so I tried

    Warwick Thumb Bass:
    Started playing sitting down and I thought I had found my dream bass. The bass literally growled. The bubinga, wenge and bit a maple were just gorgeous and the neck through was immaculate. Interesting fact I found out, the brass used on the frets is the same used in the church bells where the bass is made, and provides for more ring in the string. But then I tried it with a strap on (wow that sounds odd), and found the thing to be soooo top heavy. I either had to put loads of pressure onto the pickup from my right thumb or hold the bass up with my left hand. I had to move on to

    Musicman StingRay:
    Ok, I've always liked these. And it sound and sit very nicely. The problem was I had just tried the Warwick, and knew I wanted that growl. The StringRay had phenomenal sound, but it didn't have that angry growl in the B and E. It did have clarity and brilliant highs though. And I loved that. But, sorry StringRay lovers (me as well) it just wasn't PERFECT. So in dissappointment I thought, "I'll try the classic"

    Fender Jazz Bass:
    The problem was it wasn't a classic. It was a new fender jazz bass, passive pickups. It just wasn't my sound, and actually was a bit uncomfortable. I've tried a 62' Jazz Bass and loved it, but this was crap.

    Perfect being the key here, I wanted perfect. Perfect sound, perfect playability, perfectly sit against your body, everything. I understand a post like this, knocking most of the best major basses can offend a lot of people. But I'm being honest here, these were my findings. It also explains what I'm looking for a bit. I don't care about appearance anymore, I'm just looking for that perfect sound, playability and the way it balances.

    I think I may try my own hand at being a luthier. It seems fulfilling, fun, rewarding and like I could make "exactly" what I want (after about 10 years of practice and try and error that is). I was wondering if anyone could reccomend books or sources good for starting off in the field. I've read Cuppiano's book on acoustic making, but I'm looking for specifically bass. I'm also wondering what people think of the reviews. Thanks everyone.

  2. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    I know what you mean. It's hard for me to find my perfect bass as well. Oddly enough, I'd never considered luthiering before. I think I'm going to try this myself...thanks for the enlightenment, but sorry I can't be of any help!
  3. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    Yeah you know what I mean. I'm pretty sure want I want is a bass that growls like a warwick, is clear like a StringRay (and sits comfortably like one as well), and beautiful like a Pedulla. Is that possible?
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ratehr than being a lutheir, you can FIND a lutheir who will build you exactly what you want. Somehow i doubt a new luthier (yourself) will be able to accomplish what you want.
  5. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    You might try bringing your own amp/cab into the store.
  6. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    Definitly tried everything out on my exact amp and settings. Ampeg Classic with an Ampeg 6 x 10... drooooool... hehehe, i actually have that :) :) :)

    And Figjam, I totally agree. Thats why I said after about 10 years of training and trial and error. 10 years is a bit more time to wait than six months for custom, but the whole wood working thing and building my own instrument still intrigues me.
  7. I like the fact that there is a sponsor of TalkBass called "The Perfect Bass." While it may come close, I think speaking to custom luthiers is the only way to get what is right for you....but you must know what you want first.

    The contradictory statement to this is that one should try before buying. It's kinda hard to do that with a custom build (ergo, my signature line....)
  8. +1

    It reminds me of what I used to have (and may soon put back into) in my signature line ...

    "Ain't no panaceas out there."
  9. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    IMO, you really didn't do enough homework. Whether looking at MIM or USA Fenders, play every bass in the store (regardless of color, model, etc...) because even the high end stuff varies in feel and balance.

    You hit the main reasons that many Warwick detractors are Warwick detractors. Weird feeling necks, and some very neck-divey designs.

    Stingray not having enough growl... that is kinda subjective. Maybe you couldn't get that bass to sound a certain way right there in an instant. But if you owned it you would get used to it, get it set up the way you like, with the right strings, fresh strings, etc...

    And last, IMO, anyone searching for "perfection" gets what they deserve.
  10. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    If getting what they deserve is perfection then thats totally fine with me :)
  11. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    I guess that was kinda glib of me. Good luck.
  12. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Just so you understand what you're getting into. A good friend of mine has been working with wood in his father's woodshop for since he was 6 (he's 40 now) He said it would be tough for him to build me a bass, and he's been working with wood forever. 10 years isn't an exageration, it could take you that long. There are luthiers that make violins (I dont' remember the name) that they spend their entire life working in workshops and learning how to make them.
    It's not something you'll pick up in 6 months. You will probably be better off going to a luthier that knows what they're doing and have them build you one. All the woodworking equipment is very expensive, and the wood for the "trial and error" will get very expensive. be Ready to fork out alot of dough.
  13. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    Yeah, I didn't mean to sound like I'd be building my dream bass right off the bat (which would be nice though). Even if its just something I do on the side, while getting a true and experienced luthier to make my real bass would be fine with me. I just really like the idea of making a piece of art which in itself creates more art. I mean what could be more fulfilling.
  14. You know, the Luthier's Corner probably would have been the place for this post.
  15. I've tryed out pretty much all the basses you had in GC once, but i leaned towards the jazz a bit more with a maple neck. Solution: Save up and bulid my own bass, which i am in the process of right now.
  16. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    I've found my perfect basses: Mexican Fenders.

    That may change when I can afford a $2500 custom job, but for non-boutique basses I've never played anything that beats my two MIMs.
  17. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    What ever made you think you'd find the perfect bass in a place like GC?

    I've found mine... F bass.

    You'd probably be able to buy and sell at least one of every high-end bass on the planet and come out ahead of sinking the money into learning to become a luthier.
  18. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Agreed with all the comments above!

    Find a luthier to build to your specs, saying you want to become a luthier so you can build your "perfect" bass is a lot easier said than done.
  19. As the Samurai say...

    "One could spend one's whole life looking for the perfect blossom, and it would not be a wasted life".

    But then, these were the same folks who would stab themselves in the gut if they had a bad hair day! LOL
  20. Denyle Guitars

    Denyle Guitars

    Nov 30, 2005
    Go for it. It's not all that difficult to build one. Just don't expect to make any money in the process. The Dan Earlwine Guitar Repair book has some tips for doing the finishing work. The rest is just woodwork. Your biggest roadblock will probably be the cost of the specialized tools.