wow, so many custom luthiers (opinions wanted)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jammadave, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Okay, so I've accepted the fact that GAS will throw me toward a custom-built bass sometime in the not too distant future. But with all these custom guys around, I don't even know where to begin! I don't necessarily know everything i *do* want, but i know i don't like "traditional shapes" like Ps and Js, don't like many of the high-end production stuff like warwick and spector... I want something truly different, and light as a feather to boot. 4 strangs, 34" or 35" scale, frets, a nice satiny wood finish, a long upper bout balanced against a small body...

    I started thinking Carl Thompson, but then saw the Nordstrand, JP, and Esh singlecuts, but then I played a Curbow (heavy!), but then I skated over to Alembic's site... My head's gonna explode.

    I'll budget myself to, say, the mid-2000s but what the heck should I get, and how can I play some before ordering? (considering I live near DC).

    Ima keep playing my $489 Schecter for now, but i'm dreamin' of a bass christmas =0)
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    one thing i'll say
    alembic makes wonderful basses but they tend to be a bit pricey
    they will take one of their regular basses (like an essence) and give you any body shape you want, but that costs bucks
    there might be a local luthier near you that would work with you - i'ts worth checking out
  3. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    oh yeah, alembic's out by my own admission of problems with them prices =0)
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Take a look beyond the main road, some of the "bigger" names in the biz took advantage of the snob effect (price), e.g. Fodera, Sadowsky, Alembic.

    Some of the smaller ones are more reasonably priced and still offer great designs and quality.
  5. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
  6. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Ok, here are my favorites:

    David King

    Jack Read

    Karl Hoyt

    I actually have Karl building a custom for me now. He is a bass player himself and teaches guitar building in his local public school. His instruments are incredible and at a reasonable price but not so cheap that he is forced to cut corners.

    Despite the fact that Karl is a Red Sox fan, I would still highly recommend him.
  7. Bass7755

    Bass7755 Supporting Member

    Oct 27, 2000
    Roanoke, Va.
    There are (2) Benavente owners in Roanoke, Va. About 4 hours south of DC. Here's mine.

    I also have a Nordstrand on order. But I still
    have a few months to wait.:bawl:

  8. Skerik1


    Sep 21, 2002
    Saint Paul, MN
    Darrin is booked for the rest of the year, but he's GREAT!!!

    Darrin posts quite often here on TB, and on his Yahoo! group as well. He's a great guy! He's discontinuing his "R" series after this year, and will be making new models there after. The "Z" series is staying though!

    The "Z" series:

    The Discontinuted "R" series:

    Here's my bass!!!
    (I think I've posted this pic like 35,392 times here on TB)

    Sorry, but Darrin can't make you a bass like mine!!

  9. banditcosmo

    banditcosmo Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2002
    Charlottesville, Va.
    check out Chris Stambaugh basses

    Also check out Ken Smith basses. Chuck Levin's Washington Music in Wheaton, Md. is a dealer for Ken Smith's and they have some in stock so you can see what you like then customize a bass.
  10. Sheldon Dingwall

    His Prima, Zebra, or Afterburner bodies might fit your bill. Extended scale lengths...not a problem
  11. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Awrighty - you know, I think I'm gonna go with a single-cut instrument and am looking harder at Bee, Benavente, Nordstrand and even JP. I appreciate everything you guys put into the thread, it's been great looking at all the websites and stuff =0)
  12. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
  13. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    I'm very happy with my MPG6:

    (second one down [right now] on this list) Basses.html

    It's in your price range, and seems to meet your specs. I'm sure there are some owners in DC -- you should contact Matt if you're interested.

  14. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  15. Chaputa

    Chaputa Bass-Not just fo eatin anymore


    How's the neck profile on that? Did you customize yours, or did he just build it? I'm currently talking to him about a bass that he's started building that has the same top (from the same board I guess) as yours, but nnothing on it so far, just the body.

    Any thoughts so far on your MPG as well?

  16. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ok, everyone has their favorites and here's mine. This builder is on your list of prospects.

  17. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    and then, of course, there is conklin...



    if looking at my collection isn't enough :D check out his webpage at
  18. lowfreqguy


    Oct 18, 2000
    I have a 51P and man,it's sweet. I know you're not looking for a traditional shape,but the build quality and finish are awesone. I'm in the Baltimore area, and travel into VA and College Park, MD (Atomic) from time to time. Let me know if you'd like a gander.