Why don't more indie luthiers do this...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eilif, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    A quick story....(skip down to the question if you want)
    All this talk about the poor quality of dp, wish and other low priced custom guitars got me thinking. A year or so ago I was working at GC when a dude came in with a neckthru bass that he had built himself. The workmanship was good, and the neck was super stable, comfortable and extremely well made. I asked him about what he used to make the bass and he rattled off the parts, and when he got to the neck, he freely admitted that he had used a carvin neck thru neck (orderable off thier website) . He must have ordered it with the blank headstock because it was not a carvin shape. The falling down of many of these "custom" basses is the neck and fingerboard so my question is this...

    Why don't more "custom" builders outsource their necks (especially neck thrus) to someone like Carvin who actually knows what they are doing?

    I realize that Carvin necks only come in plain maple, but veners can be put over and under the necks. Even though the price of a carvin neck is a third the price of a base price DP custom the numerous man hours saved would surely make it worth the while, even if carvin refused to sell at a discount to luthiers. We could be looking at a whole slew of affordable indie luthiers with a more reliable product.
    Just an idea.....
  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    1) Headstock design (Last time I checked, Carvin had only 1 design for a neck-through)

    2) Lack of choices for neck width, especially on the 6


  3. BassikLee

    BassikLee Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
  4. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    There's a bet I'd prefer not to win. You just keep it.
  5. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    They can be ordered with a paddle headstock.
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Actually you can order a lot of custom options on Carvin necks, there just not on their website/catalog. Search the Luthiers Forum as this (options on Carvin necks) has been brought up before there.
  7. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    A lot of it is cost related. Youd actually be suprised prolly how much IS outsourced. Almost no one does their own finish work (there are of course exceptions), most people seem to buy pretty, pre-cut (planed and thin) tops, rather than blocks and cut their own tops and bookmatching ect. (This is a huge cost saver if you can buy blocks of wood instead of pre-cut tops and do it yourself). Necks, fret slotting, even all fretwork is often outsourced. Im sure there are a number of other things.

    Personally, I think you have to weight things out. If for example you arent much of a carver, I can see buying neck blanks, or having fretwork done if its just not your strong suit, or is too time intensive for the return on money you save ect. However, every little thing you can get by doing yourself, affects your profit margin at the end of the day. Then again, if you outsource most everything, you end up making no money on a $700 end priced instrument. While I no of no luthier thats "well off" from their luthier trade alone, they do still need to make ends meet and continue their business in the future. If for example DP started outsourcing necks, his price per instrument would likely have to go up to compensate the extra costs.
  8. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Ferndale MI.
    Artist: Xotic Basses/AccuGroove
    I could say the same about a bunch of other builders as well.
    Your link serves no point exactly. Just a link to Cresent Moon basses.
    Ever played or seen one?? I have, and they play and sound great. Not even close to Carvin (if thats what your implying).
    In fact a friend of mine owned the tiger one on the website. Nice bass, neck was a little too chunky for my tastes.

    A lot of builders do out-source necks, bodies & finishes. More than you might think.
    Funny, Pedulla necks are built with aluminum stiffing bars just like a certin aftermarket company we all know and love.
    A great deal of Tom Anderson Guitars work is for outsourced necks as well.

    I agree tho, If I were to start building basses, I'd out source a ton of it. Nino Valenti makes no secret of using Warmoth parts, and a ton of guys around here are raving about his basses. And they should, Nino is a class act and Warmoth makes great pieces. That in-of-it's-self equals a deadly combination.

    An extended question (and not to highjack this thread), how much does it matter to you if parts are out sourced???
  9. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses

    Can you describe the bass in any more detail? I wonder if it was mine...

    Chicago, IL
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    AFAIK Carvin offers an uncut headstock in addition to their own design..
  11. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    Cool, I kinda figured that, but didn't want to edit my post 'cause i'm lazy. :D

    As to the width on the 6 string neck - yucko (for me). The "wide" 5 seems to be a 6...that actually seems really nice, but the narrow 6 (to me it's very narrow), just doesn't cut it.

    In addition, I haven't really liked their neck to begin with. Just my personal, biased opinion.
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Pedulla uses steel reinforcement bars.
    Warmoth uses steel reinforcement bars.

    They both use maple, too. :rolleyes:

    Mike Pedulla does everything within his four walls, aside from manufacturing the hardware and electronics.

    Warmoth won't even make a neck for a neck-through.

    To quote the web site:
  13. I think I can do it better or at least cheaper and with more flexibility, but if I was screwing it up consistently and still was somehow able to nail the rest of the wood work on the body then I'd consider it. I don't know how you would be able to do all the wood working on a body (gluing, planing, routing, etc) and not be able to make a neck. It's not like the neck requires some radically different techniques than a body. I could possibly see the inability to do a fret job, but after practicing and actually reading and understading what is supposed to be done, I can't see how someone couldn't do it.
  14. OMG, I use maple too! :eek:

  15. I make my own necks because I can. I enjoy building the entire instrument from start to finish. I can also make it any way I want with any type of wood I want to try.

    It's also cheaper. I don't have to buy necks, I just buy wood. The wood I buy is usually milled to the thickness and deminsions I require. I currently don't have the equipment to do the milling myself on any large scale. Small things I can handle. Like Juneau said if you can buy raw wood and do your own milling thats even more money in your pocket.

    The more you do yourself the more money you keep.
  16. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    Bah! Necks are easy.
  17. I carve my necks with a pocket knife and sand them smooth with the callouses on my hands!! :eek:
  18. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars

    We chew the rough shape of the neck with our teeth (the rumors about beavers is completely false!), and sand them smooth with our foreheads!


    (Every thing except the electronics, certain metal and composite items, & hardware are milled, shaped and finished, PARTICULARLY finishwork, right here in our shop...no beavers either...:hyper: )
  19. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Hahahaha! :D :bassist:
  20. My spit cures harder than polyester and has the warm amber hue of a fine laquer.

    OK....this is getting out of hand. :help: