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Soliciting Bass buying/building advice: Help me decide!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by oliverjr73, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. oliverjr73


    Feb 13, 2014
    Hello everyone! This is my first post but I've been lurking around well before I had an account here.
    I had no idea where to put this thread, as I am looking for advice in a couple different areas that could fit in more than one forum category. If this is in the wrong forum, I apologize.

    First off I'd like to say that outside of this forum being extremely entertaining, I'd like to thank everyone for the volume of information available here. This place is one of the greatest resources for bass players anywhere.

    Sorry in advance for the long read!

    here's my problem:
    I live in the mountains of North Carolina. There are a few music shops in the area and most of them (all but one, actually) specialize in folk and bluegrass instruments.

    The second problem is that I'm left handed. I've called just about every music shop that I can feasibly get to without putting a dent in my purchasing power. The only ones I've come across have been the low end Ibanez's (GSR200 I think) in black. Even then, the only bass I've ever touched outside of a Squier or an Upright is an Ibanez (Gsomething190 i think), and I didn't enjoy it. Nothing wrong with the instrument, just not for me. Not well suited for my body type. I'm a big guy, and it just felt wrong. Didn't sit well on my leg, and felt like it was trying to leap away from my torso. I've touched an SR505, It looked great, but those same problems with the 190, while muted were still present.

    I currently have a 14 year old Squier that I love and have been the sole owner of, but through youthful neglect and circumstance has been turned into a POS. Literally every component of the bass has something wrong with it. It's gotten to the point where its physically painful to play. I feel as though I'm endangering my ability to play in the future to satisfy my need to play music NOW. I would fix it up if the end cost wouldn't be somewhere in the neighborhood of a new Squier.
    I know Squier has stepped up their game in recent years, but I just don't personally enjoy the aesthetics of Fender basses. I want a bass that speaks to me visually along with my desire to play bass. It's shallow, but I can't help it. After rocking the same one since I was a teen, I think it's time for one that more accurately reflects what my sense of style has evolved into after 17 years.
    I'm really adverse to buying anything sight unseen, let alone purchasing a musical instrument so I've been looking at AMS due to their payment options and 45 day return policy.
    Even then, I'm back to the whole being left handed thing. The only bass that meet my requirements and appears to be in stock is the SR1205, which looks amazing but is out of my range for a lump sum purchase or even payments if I am to be honest with myself. I'm currently waiting on a reply from them regarding special orders and their payment plan. Barring a favorable reply, it seems that the only way to get my way is to build my own. I understand that building your own bass is NO way to save money, but it would be fun and I would get exactly what I'm looking for in a situation that would amount to making small payments (in this case money AND my time) in exchange for what could be the bass of my dreams. I have rudimentary woodworking experience and know people capable of helping should I run into any issues.

    The stiletto Studio 5 has caught my eye in a way that I can't shake and it's also in my price range. No matter how pretty I think it is, If it plays like crap then I really don't want to be stuck with it. That really is the only reason I haven't gone the eBay route. I've done as much research on it as I can without actually having held one. It looks like a great bass I can either leave as is, or change and upgrade as my requirements change.

    If AMS will special order one and do payments, then I think my search is over. If I'm asking too much from them, then I've been eyeing the Carvin NT5 Neck blank as an option. I've seen a couple of NT5 builds both on TalkBass and on the Carvin BBS site. Pretty much every one I've seen has looked amazing. Mapleglo's current "Leafenbaker" build comes to mind. Lemmy should get her to make his next bass!

    If I can't get a left handed Studio 5 from AMS on payments then I'll have no choice but to begin a bass build.
    I know everyone hates this question at Talkbass, but If you were in my position and could choose the Stiletto or a DIY, what would you do?

    Thanks for any help!
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Carvin has in-house financing available to Americans. I would probably consider ordering a Carvin on credit if I was in your shoes. I know your adverse to ordering a bass online but Carvin offers a 10-day return trial even on a custom build (assuming you do not get an option 50.)

    I personally think I would have to assemble several basses before I had one I was actually happy with. I would rather pay to leave it to the professionals, but that is me.
  3. oliverjr73


    Feb 13, 2014
    Thanks for the quick reply! I've been looking at the Carvin basses, the Icon 5 string specifically. They're beautiful and I've seen mostly high praise for them and Carvin in general. After pricing one out, it's a bit out of my price range and putting it on credit isn't really an option for me. The most I could realistically afford at once is about $800, which is less than what I'd owe Carvin after having paid a $380 deposit. I'd be willing to save up for an Icon specifically if I had a playable bass to tide me over. As it stands, I'm being forced to stop playing the one I have.

    The situation is such that I've been saving money to purchase a bass with the goal of either having a new one by the end of summer or using what I have saved up to purchase wood, parts and the NT5 neck. I'd be willing to wait longer if I was using the time I'd normally be playing to craft an instrument. The idea of building my own instrument is very alluring, however I wish I could get one of those $100 SX's or some cheap eBay find to tide me over till I find "The One." To my knowledge I don't believe they make left handed SX's.

    Not playing till August is something I can live with but it would take me longer than that to save up for an Icon.
    Should my situation change, Carvin is probably the first place I'd go for a REALLY nice bass.