Talkbass Basses ...Can "boutique" basses be your daily driver ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mb94952, Nov 20, 2021.

  1. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Supporting Member

    The reason I bring this up is two fold. It's impossible to go on Talkbass and not hear about these basses. I never really gave them much afterthought until recently.

    Years ago my friend Jim bought a Two Rock boutique guitar half stack back when the company was still small. Jim spent nearly $3k over a decade ago and after playing it for a while he can't play it anymore live. He said it sounds GREAT alone, but once it's in the mix it doesn't sound "familiar". The audience can't relate to it, so he went back to his Marshall. He plays in cover bands, so basically he now has a $3k paper weight.
    Do boutique basses suffer the same fate or do you guys play them as your daily driver ?

    There are basses that I only see on Talkbass and they are just names to me, but the more I look into them the more they come to life and I want to try them badly.

    I'm talking about :
    Cliff Bordwell
    Alien Audio
    Dragonfly, AtelierZ (the MIJ heavyweights ! Especially Dragonfly OMG !)
    Maruszczyk (Can't spell that one without looking !)

    These have been on my GAS list for the last month or so ever since Quadzilla started the "Polish basses are killin' it thread". I own a Garz bass built by Mark Garza and I've owned a few from him over the years and they are wonderful. I think if Mark was a little more well known his basses would command more because he knows how to build anything you can think of.

    Priced from anywhere from $1,500-$3,000 which is what one would expect to pay for a forever bass. I like the basses that are right in the sweet spot of classic meets modern bass.

    I seem to always gravitate back to my production basses like Peavey and SIRE. It seems apparent to me that there's a reason the production basses sell. They are GOOD. They also sound good. I mean, how good can a bass get ? I feel like between my Peavey RJIV, Cirrus, and SIREs I'm covered but I still think there's a bass out there that will blow my mind when I hold it. I want to have that experience ! Like when I played a Cirrus for the first time I never was so blown away. To make it even better, the Cirrus is affordable.

    Does your boutique bass cover all your needs or do you have to have a more "mainstream sounding" bass ? Some engineers don't even want you unless it's a Fender.

    And, of the basses mentioned above which ones are known to have necks to die for ? I know for me, it's not so much the bass as it is the neck feel.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  2. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Supporting Member

    Oh another thing I forgot to mention is used vs wait time. What I LOVE about Garz Guitars is the wait time is only FOUR MONTHS from concept to playing it.

    I just read that people are STILL waiting after over 3 years for some of their basses. That's INSANE, rude, and people change. I guarantee what I liked 3 years ago is different today. I bet I wouldn't even be excited anymore to get a bass after a 3 year wait.
    Fuzzbass, DJ Bebop, whero and 2 others like this.
  3. sleddogn


    Sep 8, 2013
    Read the Huff or Prat threads, lol
    I'm a daily Serek player, about a year wait on one right only non gibby or fso
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Play whatever you want to play. Some folks fret about playing boutiques in dive bars. Why buy the bass if you're not going to play it?!
  5. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Of course.

    Why not?

    Maruszczyk basses don't cost more than a USA Fender. Even if you go overboard with the specs, you won't spend more than you would spend on a Warwick, or a Musicman.
    tuckerllc, larrygs, Kenny235 and 14 others like this.
  6. I've had this same thought many times myself. If your bass is too valuable to play at your gig then why have it?

    My 3 basses total are worth less than $100 from a financial standpoint but they're immensely important to me based on being painted by my kids. But I never hesitate to take them to a gig.

    Whatever floats your bobber but I never understood the "too valuable to take to a gig" mindset. I thought that only applied to the red Ferrari in Ferris Bueller that Cameron's dad didn't drive, he just polished it with a diaper.
  7. Steve88


    Mar 27, 2014
    Macedon, NY
    Why not? If I spent some serious dollars on a custom ordered boutique bass, you can bet I would be playing it every chance that I could.
    larrygs, fattychugs, J33 and 14 others like this.
  8. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    My Lull P4 is the bass I gigged exclusively for over a decade. My friend played a '58 Strat, '63 ES335, and PRS (tuned standard, open G and open E) for the same period - bars, clubs, festivals, private gigs, etc.
    larrygs, DJ Bebop, JRA and 3 others like this.
  9. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Sure, not much different than driving your McLaren 720S every day of the week, whether going grocery shopping, to McDonald's, bringing the kids to school, etc.
    Bass Man Dan likes this.
  10. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    I've not yet taken a bass to a gig and blamed the bass or my rig for a lack of audience response. Maybe guitarists who need Marshall stacks have that problem but I doubt many bassists do.

    I'm with the others; if you own it and you love it, play it. I take my most expensive axe to just about every show I play and never think twice about it. It's there to be enjoyed and played.
    fattychugs, DJ Bebop, JRA and 20 others like this.
  11. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Canton, GA
    Absolutely. And now, a boutique (Vigier Excess) is my only bass and I’ve never been happier with an instrument. Amp-wise, I used to gig a Reeves Custom 225 with Reeves 410 all the time. Why not gig boutique basses and amps?

    I’m not sure I understand the “audience can’t relate” to the amp comment.
  12. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Yes my boutique goes to work, even beer halls.
  13. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Supporting Member

    I'm sorry, I'm not the best at getting my point across sometimes. Jim meant that his Two Rock has such a distinctive tone, that the audience hears the song, but it doesn't seem right. This is from a NON-Musician POV. For example, he played a song like Jail Break and the tone didn't sound like the song, but when he played the Marshall it all made sense.

    Maybe with bass it's less obvious ?
    DJ Bebop and Tanner5382 like this.
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I play a $5,300 Dingwall on every gig, including travel dates. So… yes.
    TonyP-, Zbudah, larrygs and 14 others like this.
  15. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Canton, GA
    No need to apologize, it’s all good. I see what you mean. Well, hopefully he can can sell the Two Rock and get some of that money back! That’s a shame it didn’t work out.
    fattychugs, DJ Bebop and mb94952 like this.
  16. Yes
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  17. I play a Warwick at every gig. Not exactly a boutique bass but also not a Fender. I love it. Maybe some people don’t like how it sounds and wouldn’t hire me, but I like how it sounds.
  18. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Love my Alien Audio basses and play them regularly. Maybe they'll get a ding, eh.
    fattychugs, xbud, DJ Bebop and 4 others like this.
  19. I don't own a boutique bass. I do own basses that are worth as much (a '68 P etc.). I don't worry about taking any of my instruments to any gig at any time. The odds of getting into a car accident on the way (and either getting killed and/or having your bass destroyed) are better than than that of losing a bass at the gig. I won't let the possibility of loss deter me from entertaining my customers. Whichever bass is the one that gets the nod (depending on mood) for the night is the one brought. The same for the backup instruments. If you find that the bass that inspires you is a $100 generic model, fine. If the bass that inspires you is a $5000 Marleaux, that's fine too. Just make sure you do your best at the gig.
  20. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Johnson City, TN
    I played a musical this month with my Muckekroy. The soundtrack has multiple bass tones on it, and my Muck pretty well nailed them throughout the show. I was told it was great in the mix (except when I kicked on my FlipTop Boost for some extra volume and ended up changing the entire toneprint of my sound, but that’s another story).

    So yeah, it’s my daily live driver and also my session bass.
  21. 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.

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