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suggestions for custom basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mosh pit vocals, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. mosh pit vocals

    mosh pit vocals

    Jan 25, 2005
    i'm planning on making custom basses and selling them locally. i can't give you all the details right now, but should have a special feature patented soon. i will post more details when i am ready to launch the company. right now though i was wondering if anybody had any suggestions for pick-ups that i should use and also any parts retailers that you could suggest. Any help is greatly appreciated. post or email me. Thanx.

    Mosh Pit Vocals
  2. mosh pit vocals

    mosh pit vocals

    Jan 25, 2005
    I'm still in the process of pounding out the details on these custom basses. To help me out a little more, please tell me...

    What would you be willing to pay for a custom bass with the following standard specs?:
    *Neck-through-body construction
    *24 fret ebony fingerboard
    *2-way adjustable truss rod
    *Graphite neck reinforcement
    *Bartolini Dual Coil Active pickups and
    *Fully adjustable Hipshot bridges and keys
    *Customized shape, paint, and/or clear finish

    I have a price range in mind, but I would like a little feedback from you all. Thanks again.

    Mosh Pit Vocals
  3. mosh pit vocals

    mosh pit vocals

    Jan 25, 2005
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I would suggest that your best market research might be to look at the existing custom luthiers, see what they're making, and what they're charging. There are different types, including "super J" makers, exotic neck-thru makers, a few "cheap custom" builders, exotic material-based builders, and more. Plenty of markets.

    You might want to start here.

    There's a plenty of market for the type of instrument you describe, and more than a few builders servicing it. You should be able to fing several with that formula, and get a price idea that way.
  5. i think i've heard a ronco infomercial that sounds like this!
    either way...i think you should send a few of your basses out as test models, and then we can tell you how much its worth :D

    sorry it was worth a try...
  7. In terms of customisation. I like what you have going so far.

    I'd like to also see:
    -an option for different pickups, since I don't think Bartolini's are for everyone.
    -fretboard options, again since Ebony might not be for everyone, unless the Ebony provides a signature sound.
    -Inlay options, Mother of Pearl, Abalone, Black Dots, simple but effective

    Price wise? My opinion isn't to valid since im from across the ocean.
  8. I'm with gazman... I HATE Bartolini's and wouldn't even consider a custom bass from a luthier that didn't offer a choice of pickups... let alone woods, fretboards, inlays, shape, electronics (pre-amps),etc.

    The whole point of having a "custom" bass built is to be able to have it meet the customers' needs. Limiting yourself to any one component limits customer choice and will easily eliminate you from consideration for many peoples' projects.

    However, if you only want to work with your own designs and configurations that would then make you a "boutique" luthier. If you go this route you'd have to hope that what you were offering had a wide appeal.

    With regard to cost that all depends on the level of quality, both of the construction and the components. There are "custom" luthiers who will sell you a bass at $1,000.00 and those that want $10,000.00. You've got to decide where you want to play based upon the quality (woods, construction and components) and time per instrument you want to put into it. There's no point in you only making $10.00 an hour for your time involved in each bass.

    FYI, a number of luthiers started out doing custom work exclusively in order to give them an understanding of what worked and what they liked to do. They then took all of that learning and "stepped up" to become "boutique" luthiers once they'd established themselves.

    To try and actually answer your question on price - I'd think that as an unknown if the customer was getting an absolutely phenomenal bass, that delivered everything they wanted you could probably start pricing around and slightly above the $2,000.00 mark.
  9. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    You might seriously consider bolt-on neck options as well. They are easier to make from what I gather, less costly to make for sure, and you could offer them as a lower end, or at least an option. Many people do not like the midrange a neck-trhough provides. From what Pete Skjold told me, you can always dial up more midrange in a Bolt-on, you cant always dial it out of a neckthrough though.
  10. jvbjr


    Jan 8, 2005
    Selling a unknown product means you are forced to price yourself under market until people know who you are.

    You may want to start by putting a classified ad in Bass Player magazine so people start seeing your name, so that when you launch you have some interest.

    Best way to get interest is an endorsement deal, get Billy Sheenan to use your bass and people will line up for them.

    It takes money to make money, so I hope you have assets to make this really go, not sputter at the starting line.

    We have no idea what quality instrument you will make, but maybe you can show at NAMM 2006 and impress some people.

    The product is the least of making it a go, the ability to advertise and carry endorements to create sales eat up receipts like you can not believe. There are a lot of wood workers that can build a perfect bass, they just do not have the capital to make an idea into an organization.

    Get patent insurance otherwise it is on you to sue anyone infringing on your idea.
  11. mosh pit vocals

    mosh pit vocals

    Jan 25, 2005
    Thank you all, this website is a great help to me. However, I must clear one thing up before I continue: the specs that I posted above are the standard suggestions (merely things that I suggest as a starting point for customers). If a customer doesn't want a neck-thru-body or Bartolini pickups and electronics or etc...I would be glad to change the specs if the customer has an alternate preference. The way I want to run things is like this: I discuss all options with customers (likely via email), all specs are decided upon, I give the customer a price quote, a deposite on the bass is made before cunstruction begins (likelye 50% of overall cost...but I haven't decided), and finally, I build the bass. For those of you that object to the 50% deposite, from what I have seen, this is standard procedure, but I would not charge this untill I have some examples of my work so that you may have faith in my work. However, the deposite is made in order to cover loss if I build a custom bass and someone backs out on paying for it all. First off, I plan on making a few more for myself and using them for displays of my work. Also, I am under the risk of getting pounded with knowledge on this forum. I realize that, for once, I am speaking with bass experts. Please be gentle. I don't know everything about bass, but I know enough to make this work. Thanks for the help and keep it coming.

    Mosh Pit Vocals (I'm not just a singer, I used to be a bassist)
  12. yes, this is usually standard procedure, so i don't think anyone would object...
  13. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I really like different body styles. Non-Traditional. I do not like Bartolinin p-ups, but there are those who do. I would make something that you would play yourself. If you are not happy with them why would some else be happy with it?
    Keep us informed.. Send a web site for us to check out :bassist:
  14. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    You want some advice?

    1. You will never become rich as a luthier. Ask ANY luthier and see what they say.

    2. Unless you build up a great reputation, you won't even make a living as a luthier.

    3. The most successful luthiers have a vision. They build instruments for the love of building instruments. People start ordering the luthier's instruments after they have seen and heard the instruments he has made.
  15. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    I can't say much about making a bass better, but I can suggest some business stuff :D

    1) Be absolutely clear about your product and what it stands for. IMO, if you hold certain values and beliefs about what contributes to a great bass, stick to it.

    2) Know your ground - i.e. know who your closest competitors are and understand your potential customers needs/wants/expectations. This is a great place to do research on that; decide on who your closest "competitors" are, run a search here and find out what people are saying about them.

    3) Decide on a selling point - I'm no expert on this, but from what I've observed over the course of the year, it seems that the luthiers that are doing better than the rest in their respective markets are doing so by carving a niche for themselves; i.e. differentiation (which relates back to point 1 and 2 :) )

    Hope that was of some help...
    - Cherns
  16. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Cant agree with this enough.

    Say youre building 'super' Fender-style basses (you arent, but this is an example). Then youre biggest competitor is what? Sadowsky? Why do people like them? What stops people buying them? etc etc etc.

    Good luck, I hope you make some great basses.
  17. mosh pit vocals

    mosh pit vocals

    Jan 25, 2005
    Does anyone know some local CNC service companies? I need to find a company with a CNC machine that can do custom fingerboard inlays. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Mosh Pit Vocals
  18. i don't know any locally, but i'm sure some of the luthiers here might...
  19. mosh pit vocals

    mosh pit vocals

    Jan 25, 2005
    Hey guys,
    It's been a long time since I've been able to hit the guitar work very hard, but I hope to be up and running within a few months.

    Any other advice/suggestions would be great.

    Feel free to check out the pics I have of my current progress at www.myspace.com/ithirialcustoms
  20. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    OK, some tough but constructive criticism:

    Your Myspace page is almost impossible to read. Most people will just click right off it without digging deeper to find your instruments. I took a few minutes to look closer, and I still didn't see them. I didn't watch the Youtube though. If you want anyone to think of you as more than just a high school Beavis, you'll do some significant overhauling to make that page readable and worth reading.

    You seriously need to research what other builders are already doing. It's obvious that you haven't done any research, because doing so would make any half-intelligent designer refine the scope of what they offer, and develop a look/feel/gimmick that represents what they do.

    Don't come on here and ask "what do you want", because there are over 100,000 members on TB and they all want something different- or they want the same thing everyone else wants. Same result- no point in asking. Instead, do some reading in the Luthier's Corner forum, where there are many dozens of build reports and threads about luthier projects/businesses from the beginner hobbyist to the career professional. And read some of the literally hundreds of threads in the Basses forum where people talk about the features they love or covet on basses already out there on the market.

    If you do your homework, then you will have something to say here.