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What would you want in a custom bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Grandon, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. Grandon


    Dec 13, 2005
    Hello, I am 2 months away from attending a lutheiry school. For those of you whom may not know, lutheiry is the art of building stringed instruments. Anyways we have the option to build an electric guitar or bass. I am leaning toward bass because i will already be building an acoustic guitar. I however am not very knowledgable on the subject of bass guitar and would like some opinions from real players. one of the only restrictions is that the bass guitar must be a flat top, no carved tops. and either a set neck or bolt on.

    So, what would you guys want in a bass? I personally find most of the bass body styles out right now to be kind of unattractive. most of them are based on a modified stratocaster design it seems. Anyways I was wondering if you guys think a telecaster body style would look good on a bass?

    What are some top notch tuners, pickups, and other things you would want on a bass?

    thanks alot.
    Aaron Grandon
  2. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    way to not do any research before posting...
    pick just about any thread in this forum and you'll find a hojillion pictures of basses of all sizes and shapes.

    Specifically I'd suggest investigating "singlecut" basses if you like the telecaster shape.

    here's a superb example.
  3. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    make it look like this...


    and I'll dig it!

    However, it must be said that I hate Tele style basses.
  4. if you dont like traditional J and P bass designs, you gotta dig a little. LaCompte has some great designs too.

    Check out some of the custom luthiers. Google names like Carl Thompson and Cliff Bordwell.

    Some larger producers that buck the J/P trend are Warrior, Fodera, and Conklin. Also check out Spector and Warwick. Warwick definately has some cool designs, its hard to see how much difference w/o seeing it in 3-D, as alot has to do with the backs, necks, etc.
  5. OrionManMatt


    Feb 17, 2004
    Luthier, dude. Luthier.
  6. Oxblood

    Oxblood Banned

    Apr 17, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Tuners: Hipshot Ultralites

    Pickups: I myself prefer EMG, Bartolini, and Nordstrand.

    Bridge: Hipshot, as well as Schaller and Badass.

    As far as other hardware goes... I like Schaller Straplocks, Hipshot String Tree's, and custom wood or dome knobs.
  7. Human Bass

    Human Bass

    Aug 26, 2005
    very low action, fast but not very thin neck, easy acess to high frets, light weight, comfortable, tight low B, D-tuner on 4-string, massive bridge, etc :)
  8. skewh


    Sep 5, 2005
    Ithaca, NY
    Well said!

    In all seriousness, I would prefer some sort of active EQ (in the style of Sadowsky, Alembic, etc.), Hipshot or Schaller tuners, and a nice-looking body shape, maybe similar to a Fender Jazz bass or an Alembic Series I/II.
  9. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Realllllllllllllllly good fretjob.
  10. Shearstown


    Oct 15, 2005
    Good neck that will not slow down the fret hand when going up and down the neck.
  11. Grandon


    Dec 13, 2005
    wow, thanks guys for all the input so far. yeah also on the luthiery thing i was typing fast and i was never that good at i before e. :)

    Anyways thanks for the names to research, and some good recommendations. like Im a guitarist trying to learn about bass, so that i can build one, sorry if i angered anyone for not doing that much research beforehand, i just thought i might as well see what real bassists want.
  12. for a moment, i read that as "good neck that will slow down the fret hand.."

    "Eh? Whaddaya mean slow down the fret hand? That doesnt make any sense!"

    Was just about to do a search on it but caught the misread. :D

    Anyyyyyway..... as per ideal qualities of a custom made bass... I would advocate minimization of neck dive as a VERY desirable quality..
  13. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    You could check out the luthier's forum right here on Talkbass.

    Luthier's Corner
  14. UtBDan


    Oct 29, 2004
    check your PMs for my maaaaaaaaassive input. lol
  15. Grandon


    Dec 13, 2005
    i got your pm thanks. lots of good stuff there
  16. A custom bass should have....
    Great tonal range. Bright highs and clear fat lows.
    Comfortable, fast smooth neck.
    Comfortable body shape, something that won't piss me off or cause any wrist pain.
    Good balance.
    Automatic tuning.
    Perfect intonation ALWAYS.
    A neck that never goes out of wack.
    And a little toaster in the back, in case I get hungry for a snack during a gig.
  17. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
  18. Genious! That has to be the best idea ever! :D
  19. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Personally I do not like "coffee table" basses at all. I used to think I did, and I even had one custom built. They are beautiful and have top notch parts, but just are not my cup of tea. So what I would want in a "custom" bass is something like a traditional Fender. Basic Alder body, probably sunburst finish, plain white pickguard. Maple neck with maple fingerboard.
    I personally think it would look great. Do a search on the G&L ASAT bass to see a nice example.
    For pickups, I'd go with a "P-bass" style single pickup arrangement or a "J-bass" arrangement, with passive electronics like a classic Fender. I think a Tele style body with J style pickups would be both very unusual and very attractive. Reverend guitars has some nice ones for sale. If I were building a custom bass I'd probably go with an inexpensive but competent pickup like a Mighty-Mite. I do not like high-dollar high-end pickups personally.

    I would want a bone nut, and for Hardware I would want everything sourced from Schaller.

    Oh, set necks are very unusual for basses, not sure why. Gibson seems to be the only company that ever made them in volume. So I'd say go bolt-on. Have fun!
  20. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Setnecks aren't as unusual as they used to be. They're obviously not as common as bolt-ons or neckthrus, but lots of independant luthiers have been doing it lately (Benavente, Stambaugh, Marlaux...)

    I also recommend Bartolini pickups, and Carvin also makes good and inexpensive pickups. Bartolini and Aguilar make good preamps.

    Hipshot ultralights are the reference for high-end basses, but for most 4-strings, you can probably use Gotohs gb-7 without suffering from neckdive.

    Apart from Hipshot and Badass, ABM makes some really nice bridges. For a fretless, you can make a wooden bridge, looks original, and since it's a fretless, you can get away with less than perfect "saddle" alignement.

    For fretless, I use fingerboard wood for the nut, to get the same tone on an open string than on a "fretted" one. Bone is the referrence for nuts, I think zero frets are practical, and some guys use Lignum Vitae for nuts (it's a super hard and oily wood (read: 25% harder than ebony)).

    As far as body styles go, you'll find a lot more variety in basses than in guitars. You should look around in the basses and luthiers sections for some insight.

    hope this helps