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Would you buy a bass that...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jasonbraatz, Nov 16, 2006.


  1. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    ...the body was CNC machined overseas and the neck was handmade to your specs?

    For the body let's say you had a choice between one or two body styles, ash or mahogany body, and maybe either jazz pickups or soapbars. Maybe the mahogany bodies have a quilt top and oil finish, and the ash bodies have a poly finish with a few color options.

    For the neck let's say you could choose profile, radius, woods, nut width, string spacing.

    As for brand of pickups and electronics, let's say a choice between Barts and Nordstrand pickups, and Bart or Aguilar pres.

    I've been kicking this around for a while...it seems like if you were going into a bass building operation that combining bodies from overseas with limited options with handmade necks would provide a really good price point for a bass that "feels" custom. I haven't really thought about price yet but let's say it would be a great value compared to completely US built big name factory basses.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Cincinnati
    This is a very interesting idea. I'll have to say YES to the question. I mean, if the neck of any bass is bad, how good does the rest of it have to be to make up the difference? I'd say, from my experience and from reading TB, that if the neck is right, the rest of the bass can be anything and its a winner. How difficult would it be to manufacture different necks? Would you offer different pre-made shapes, or have the necks be strickly custom? It seems like there could be a huge number of variable in neck construction from thickness, width, how the strings spaced from nut to bridge, fretted, unfretting, fan frets, number of strings. It would be cool to have some kind of interchangeable nuts so a player could switch to different string thickness for different tunings (BEADG vs. C#F#BEA etc etc)

    The only other thing to address in terms of the bass construction would be balance. I'm sure that many of us have found basses that sounded great, neck felt good and played well... but we just could live with it because of a balance issue...neck dive or wouldn't sit on a knee or was too heavy. I'm wondering if different body shapes (sizes, contours etc etc) could be offered to deal with tastes in balance.

    Seems like a cool idea. Good luck with it.
     
  3. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    Sure, why not?

    It sounds like a good idea and even though the options are slightly limited I think you would still have enough options to really feel as though you are having something "custom" made.

    I have a friend who get's so picky when building a bass and has every aspect of the bass made to his precise specifications. Not a bad thing, but when he tries to sell them he runs into trouble because not everyone has the same preferences. Some like a more traditional feeling neck or pickup placement. Custom is great, too custom limits the resale.

    Are you venturing into the world of bass building?
     
  4. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Inactive

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Its even cheaper if you get the blanks of wood from overseas and CNC them yourself... you can have an outstanding tri-axis CNC (computer included) for 5k-7k€ (DIY)... With the added advantage of being able to give more options in pickup routings and stuff... Im really looking foward to do this myself and i know this very experienced guy who can teach me how to carve (i might end up CNCing this too giving 3-4 neck dimention options...), glue, plane and fret (this can be done by CNC too do you know PEKK?) a neck...

    Finishing a guitar is another story... for me it would be tung oil and hand rubbed tint only.
     
  5. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    Hehe, I dunno I have this huge idea for a combination instrument shop / bass builder / lesson studios / recording studio / venue that I think is going to drive me insane if I don't do it...even though I'm certain it will put me in the poorhouse if I *do* do it. Basically the goal of everything would be to put good gear and good information and good influences and good experiences into peoples hands that normally couldn't because it's too expensive - especially younger kids.


    As for the neck profiles, I dunno - probably would offer a bunch of different options: woods, back shape, radius, nut width, string spacing, etc, so you could get it how you wanted.
     
  6. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    +1 for keeping the greatest level of control and customization on the necks.
    The body manufacture would depend entirely on the quality of the wood stock used and accuracy with which the vendor can CNC them. Cost is another factor - How much will all this international shipping of bodies cost you?
     
  7. Spoiled Grape

    Spoiled Grape I <3 Darkstar

    May 29, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    I would support.
     
  8. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I don't care WHERE it's made, as long as it's quality made.
     
  9. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    +1
     
  10. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I just don't trust the foreign electricity used to run the CNC machines. Most likey they are also powered by substandard non Toralobs power cables thus insuring a nonstandard cut leaving the buyer with a substandard piece of junk that is likely to fall into pieces during a gig.
     
  11. fryBASS

    fryBASS

    Aug 8, 2006
    New Haven, CT
    Wow, that would be insane!! :bassist:
     
  12. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA

    Um...ok...:eyebrow:
     
  13. Lug your kidding right? This is the only time i can say this. How the **** did you come up with that idea?

    Thats like the whole idea behind monster cables saying that there cables make you sound better. HA
     
  14. klocwerk

    klocwerk

    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    I don't know that Lug is ever NOT kidding. :D

    As to the OP's question, I don't give a crap where it's made or by what method. By hand... CNC... you're removing wood with a blade either way. If it's done well then it's done well.

    All i care about, in order of importance:
    -feel
    -sound
    -durability

    and appearance is somewhere in there of course. :D
     
  15. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA

    I feel tremendously lucky that, by the age of 18, I had played on stage at Lincoln Center, I had learned how to set up a PA, I had played shows where I had to tell someone what I wanted in a monitor, I had recorded professionally, that I received instruction in a musical setting that was a real "band," not a large ensemble. Most kids don't get these kinds of opportunities, and it's only going to get worse.

    So what if there was a place you could go and check out new gear, and take lessons like every other store out there. But what if they had this sweet line of instruments that you could get however you want AND it was cheaper than buying a USA fender? What if in addition to individual lessons you could get BAND lessons to help you learn how to play in a group? I mean, not every kid wants to play in jazz band in high school, right? I used to teach individual lessons to kids at a music store, and it took WAY too long to get them to feel comfortable playing in a group. Ok, so what if now that maybe you feel comfortable with playing in a group, you want to record? What if there was a cheap place for you to record your songs? Hell, what if YOU could help mix and learn why you place a mic in a certain place and what compression is? And what if you have this band that you finally want to play a show with - but where? What if there was a venue as well?

    I dunno, it seems pretty sweet to me! :cool:
     
  16. I agree with that as well, in fact I don't think that I own anything made in NA.

    lowsound
     
  17. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC/JAM USA: Distributor of Ashdown amplification
    there was a store with this exact business model and they went out of business, bankrupt even.....pretty quickly.
     
  18. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    Interesting...have any names or anything?

    It would of course function as a regular music store first and foremost. Probably my idea would be to start the store and shop first, then probably lessons and go from there.
     
  19. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC/JAM USA: Distributor of Ashdown amplification
    it was MARS. The owner really had the vision, a real neat one....just not realistic, of creating a "music community" with each store. Well, unfortunately, that costs money and you either have to pass that cost to your customers in higher prices or you take it out of your profits.
     
  20. RWP

    RWP

    Jul 1, 2006
    One thing I see as a real possibility is American guitar manufacturers going the way of GM and others. The products coming out of China are getting better by the day.
     

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