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Why is Mike Lull bases soooo EXPENSIVE?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by arvidgunardi, Aug 2, 2001.


  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Because they are hand built, not machine made, have excellent attention to details and have better electronics.
     
  2. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    and better and lighter woods. not exotic, but better. anyway i would prefer a fender. i'm not into such expensive machines...
     
  3. I own a Lull that looks the same as this one. It is an incredibly made instrument. Mike's basses are similar to Sadowskys in construction and detail. My M5V sounds great both live and in the studio and is VERY noise free considering it has single coil pups. I have played many Fenders and they are not even in the same ballpark with regards to construction, sound and playability. Mike makes these basses by hand. Each bass takes about three months. If you were to have a bass made by the Fender Custom Shop with this much attention to detail you would probably pay more. The price is list, the actual selling price would be less. Just because it looks like a Jazz Bass doesn't mean it is the same.
     
  4. I agree with embellisher and barroso. Mike Lull pays close attention to the details since he only produces a handfull of basses each year when compared to Fender so quality control is not an issue. I own a Vintage 4 which is a passive 4 string and it is the best feeling/sounding jazz bass style bass I have played to date (I haven't had a chance to play a Sadowsky yet though!). It's well designed and contructed and the fret work is the best I've seen. If you ever get a chance to play one you'll see. If a Sadowsky is out of your price range a Lull is a great second choice IMHO.
     
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Just expanding on what the others are saying about wood;

    - when a fine luthier selects the wood for your instrument, the first thing many of them do after visually inspecting the wood is feel how heavy/light it is. Let's say he wants a piece of northern rock maple for the body to give the tone brightness, depth, and definition, but the piece he picks up isn't heavy like northern maple should be. He'll reject it because he knows light wood gives warmer, less articualte tones.


    Then, they will tap the wood several times or flick it with their fingers and listen to the wood, just like a violin maker. They try to see how "lively" the wood is, how it resonantes and vibrates.

    Meanwhile, back at the Fender ranch, Bertram, the guy at the saw, has a stack of boards next to hiim. The way he selects which wood will be used for your bass is to take whatever boards happens to be on top of the pile. He gets paid by the hour, probably, so he may have a quota to meet and may not have ever played a bass in his life. But, hey, it's not his name on the headstock.

    So, one of the things you are paying more for with that custom is the luthier's skill, experience, and critical judgement in selecting the best looking AND SOUNDING boards they can find.
     
  6. Just ask mr. Sadowsky and mr. Lakin.
     
  7. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Banned

    Jun 10, 2001
    I could be wrong, but I've always heard from people in the know that Lull has his bodies and necks made by other people and he assembles. This is no big deal to me and he may even pick the wood himself but, if this is true lets not call him a luthier. I think that's an insult to the real artists out there who are sculpting wood into something few of us can afford.
     
  8. Same goes for any expensive basses really, you're paying for someone's knwoledge, skill, experience and, above all, time. - Rather than a machine or factory line.
     
  9. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I played bass boy Lull and I think they worth every penny.
     
  10. Mike has his woods cut by the same machines as Sadowsky. By your logic Sadowsky is also not a luthier. Your last statement is the real insult- to luthiers like Lull, Sadowsky and many other luthiers.
     
  11. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    I really don't see anything that's "un-luthier" like about using CNC cut bodies and necks. I mean, really...anyone who discounts technology couldn't stay in business for very long. The real skill, as others have said, is in the choice and quality of the woods and components and their assembly.

    So, a guy has to actually sculpt bodies and wood to be a luthier? What about the guy that just does extremely skillful repairs (this is how Sadowsky started out, and it's still a good piece of his business, as well as Lull)....is he any less a luthier? I don't think so.
     
  12. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    There's a simpler answer to all of this..."because he can."

    If he can get away with charging more for his product, at a price where people will still find it to be a good value, then they'll take advantage of it. It's not a bad thing, it's just economics.
     
  13. I never realise that there's that many details and art in selecting woods. I'm starting to wonder how does the luthier that's making my bass is selecting his wood. Hmmmm

    Regarding what Peter Paker is saying, I think you have a point there, but does it really make Lull any less Luthier? I sorta doubt it, cause he probably did it simply because he's producing too many basses, and he can't possibly manage to do everything himself. I'm sure he would know how to sculpt a bass body don't you think?:)
     
  14. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I never got the CNC dis either :confused: It sounds all organic and arsty to imagine the luthier bent over the wood with a piece of sandpaper.

    But I don't get what's wrong with having all the basic dimensions cut by a machine with incredbly precise tolerances and leaving the fine tuning up to the craftsman?
     
  15. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    So how much are they anyway? Same as Sadowsky?
     
  16. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Actually, he isn't referred to in reviews of his work as a "big name"/"high end" builder. Low $2k's to mid $3k's (loaded) from what I've seen. His instruments get compared favorably to customs costing considerably more..........and his site has a link....."See what the people at Talkbass are saying" (or close to that) :D
     
  17. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Banned

    Jun 10, 2001
    I was not trying to say there is anything wrong with what Sadowsky and Lull do to get their bodies. I don't care what they charge. What is the definition of a luthier? I don't know what Webster says about it but I remember reading some interview with either Mike Tobias or Rick Turner and they said their's a difference between an assembler and a luthier and they were referring to the sadowsky style of construction. How much are Lull or Sadowsky actually doing with the wood, meaning are they doing any shaping or carving or do they get the neck and bodies in finished form and all they have to do is paint them and assemble? I don't know. I don't have anything against either company, though I've never played an instrument from either company that I liked. I like CNC machines. I would rather have an instrument made by a consistent machine than an inconsistent hand. I don't think any bulider is done by hand. They all use electrical saws. Some guide the wood by hand through a band saw while others have computers guide the wood through. Understand I wasn't dissing them but I still wouldn't call them luthiers. That's just my opinion.
     
  18. Randy Payne

    Randy Payne

    Jan 1, 2001
    Peter:
    From what I've read, Sadowsky selects the raw wood, and then sends it out to have it made somewhere else by CNC. I don't think this makes him any less a luthier than anyone else, just because he isn't carving it! Where his skills come in are going to be in the assembly, fretwork, finishing, and setup. The out of house CNC thing is just going to save everyone money, without compromising the tone of the end bass one bit.

    Randy
     
  19. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Cutting out a raw body shape is the smallest part of lutherie, in my humble opinion. Give it to the machine. I operate a CNC laser and cut 2-dimensional parts out of sheet metal and plate. The difference between this process and hand cutting with a torch is night and day. this doesn't mean that the luthier isn't paying attention to the crafting of wood, he's paying attention to the important stuff, like getting the neck, frets, and finish right.