Why Parts Basses are Better

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bdplaid, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Because the OEMs are giving you outsourced crap.

    Lesgo, Bassist Jay and soulman969 like this.
  2. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Yeah yeah, another professional Youtuber trying to make a name for themselves (and drum up some advert revenue) by ruffling feathers. His message isn't anything that wasn't said in a whackier and more entertaining manner on Ed Roman's website about 20 years ago.

    Parts basses are great until you try to sell them. I'm personally never going to pay used-Fender money for something assembled on the kitchen table, and a lot of parts basses I see for sale have a certain lack of finesse to them. Plus, they're a bit like buying a suit taylored for another man's body. A great suit that met the requirements for the original owner, but not necessarily the best option for me.

    If you want to try a P bass or J bass then buy a used Fender and see how you get on. Yes, I know the Chinese stuff is contracted out and ghostbuilt by some faceless corporation, but the Fender squiggle on the headstock is enough for people to believe it is worth the money. Used Fenders of all types hold their value better than most other manufacturers, and used parts basses are typically at the bottom of the pecking order here. If you don't like your used Fender MIA/MIM/MIC/CIJ then you won't lose any money on the resale. Add a Gotoh 201 or Badass II to that P or J bass and wave goodbye to your investment in aftermarket parts, or remove the replacement bridge and sell it separately. This is the start of the slippery slope with parts instruments. Ask me how I know!

    However if you've played a raft of basses and know what you like, and it goes beyond the performance of an off-the-peg bass at your given price point, then a parts bass is the way to go. I love a P bass with a Jazz neck, and I'm not spoilt for choice for even this basic difference in bass design. I've bought P basses, sold the necks and then bought Jazz necks to bolt on. The problem is that potential buyers can't get over the fact that a P bass has a J bass decal on it. It just isn't a used P bass any more. In short, don't expect the world to get as excited when you decide to sell The One for whatever reason.

    Also don't stick an Ebay decal on the headstock and attempt your own relic'd finish. Please, just don't do it (British bassists seem especially bad for this). A good number of parts basses I see for sale are embarrassing fakes, and when you read the advert copy it becomes clear it is a Squier body with an Encore neck, a rattle can Nitro finish, a random wiring harness, a Wilkinson bridge etc.

    And I've seen a lot of The One basses for sale, usually with the seller revising the asking price every couple of weeks. If anything parts basses just make bassists more neutoric. They think they can grab control of every parameter and tonal attribute of a bass by building it to exacting specs, only to discover that Warmoth dyed the wood a little too deep a shade of purple, or that those Seymour Duncans sound darker than hoped. Then you break out the scales and find the bass is 4 oz heavier than you were aiming for. To the classifieds with it!!!! Rinse, repeat.
  3. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Sigh. Phil McKnight.....
    TobyTheBass and Axstar like this.
  4. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    (Sigh...)Go play your bass.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    JIO, rufus.K, Stilltryin and 5 others like this.
  5. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Seems as though the condescending fanbois have come out to play.
  6. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Hey, ALL basses are "parts basses" (unless you got a 3D printer)

    The only real question is WHO is picking out the parts and putting them together?
  7. IPA


    May 5, 2010

    Wait, you can play this thing? I thought I was just supposed to set it up, swap out the pickups, and then sell it and get another? :bassist:
    BioDriver, Zane DeBord, dmt and 9 others like this.
  8. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Hardly. But at least you aren't angry about it..... ;)
  9. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    And warranty. And resale.
    Luigir and bassbenj like this.
  10. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    Sometimes they can be better. You can be very selective choosing parts to be sure the weight is low and the balance is good. You're free to put a P neck on a jazz body if you like or vice versa.There's no limit to the mods you can build in right from the get-go.
  11. AM Reflection

    AM Reflection

    Oct 10, 2016
    Hm. I'm not seeing the relevance between this thread title and the post content. Are you really trying to say that OEM "outsourced crap" is all of a lesser quality than some mismatched aftermarket crap?
    JIO, Marihino, GregC and 4 others like this.
  12. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I’m a big fan of parts basses, but I’m not really sure that conclusion follows from the video. At most, I think all he can say is that cheap instruments usually have cheap parts and that’s nothing new.
  13. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    A “parts” bass is as inconsistent as Fender is.
    I have one that’s insanely badass that I’ll never sell.
    And I’ve had others that were horrible.
    scuzzy, Bassbeater and mikeyjm2 like this.
  14. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    100% agree that parts basses are NOT for resale. OTOH, I don’t have a lot in them, they are precisely what I prefer, and I absolutely would never sell them. But, that does have to be part of the deal. Here are my pair:

    0935F41A-3868-4E49-8631-966BC00E892D.jpeg E3221933-BE48-428C-8EEF-AB2FA4021961.jpeg
    Badwater, murphy, codiak and 10 others like this.
  15. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    Amen. I've been working on my own guitars and basses for over 25 years and if I'm upgrading components it's to enhance the instruments for my own benefit not to resell at a profit. I play them as a semi-pro musician and any upgrade needs to be done correctly and professionally.

    I realize this isn't always the case but if it's one I'm selling it damn well is. So for those who automatically discount the value of such upgrades because they weren't factory installed it's painting with a very broad brush indeed and IMHO you're missing out on some damn fine instruments by holding to that belief.
    JIO, Iofflight, bassbenj and 2 others like this.
  16. BassholeKI


    Feb 10, 2017
    I built a jazz partsbass since I thought that was the easiest and cheaper way to go than buying an MIA one.

    If I ever had to sell it (not that I ever would- if I was so jammed up that I needed to start selling gear I'd figure a better way out of it), I'd part it out.

    18V Bartolini pups, with concentric knobs so I could get 4 pots on the control plate should be worth about what I paid for them.

    Mighty Mite bass neck, about half, tuners, bridge and other HW probably about what I'd paid for them.
  17. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    Sure they are because basically you get a bass that is exactly what you want, nothing more and nothing less.
  18. Because you order them a la carte. You can assemble any type of components in any fashion you wish. You control the finances, time line and every aspect of the design. Building a mutt is the equivalent of having your own personal Custom Shop. Want a fretless purple plaid 7 string bass with active electronics and gold hardware? No problem. If you like Bourns pots better than CTS, use those. If you like ebony instead of maple for the board, use that. The absolute best feature of DIY mutts, is that there are no surprises. You see all of the holes being drilled, all of the electronics being installed, how much care has been taken throughout the steps. How can a mass produced instrument compete with that?
  19. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Most of my basses end up being a "parts bass" to one degree or another.
    I rarely keep a bass stock.
    Did we really expect one maker to make every single component?
    Times are a changin'
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    murphy and Papalampraina like this.
  20. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Suspended Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    How about carrots with pineapple stems!!!
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