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Al Krow

Your most expensive gear mistakes?

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I've had three custom builds over the last 15 years or so, and I've moved them all on for various reasons. They rarely turn out quite as you might expect. That's not to say they've been disasters, far from it, but I'm not sure the dream bass is really attainable, perhaps only a good compromise at best.

To compound the problem, a few bass makers I've had dealings with have had rather rigid ideas of what a bass should be like, right down to the type of strings you should use. Some appear to only be willing to entertain making an instrument the way they think it should be, as opposed to the way you might happen to want it!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a luthier, so I'm very much up for taking advice on what may or may not work, but I've found it can be a bit of a tussle to get what you want sometimes. The fact I no longer have any of the customs I had made may indicate that some of my ideas were flawed, or my expectations were unrealistic, of course.

My fourth custom bass arrives later this week! If anyone's interested, I'll let you know how it turns out...

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I've had one full custom (another one on the way) and I've bought other customs and modded them to what I wanted, and it's a long road to learning what you really need/want, and what's just wish-fulfilment and Shiny Thing GAS. I absolutely won't sell my full custom, ever, and the ones I've modded are keepers, too.

I've made many more expensive mistakes buying mass-produced basses which I ultimately knew wouldn't suit me (two Alembics, four (to date) Stingrays, two Ricks, and Buddha knows how many Jazzes) but I'd convinced myself this one would be different.

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I’ve never had a full custom. My Wal builds and incoming Fodera build are more basses built to order with a few aesthetic choices rather than full custom build jobs...

Given an open choice I’m not sure I’d want anything different to what i can already get from various builders. Thinking about a Marleaux Contra six or possibly a Claas six as next years bass purchase and I’d never have specified those from scratch.

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21 minutes ago, Muzz said:

I've made many more expensive mistakes buying mass-produced basses which I ultimately knew wouldn't suit me (two Alembics, four (to date) Stingrays, two Ricks, and Buddha knows how many Jazzes) but I'd convinced myself this one would be different.

I keep doing this with P basses. Telling myself I must have one as it’s the classic bass 95% of people want to see / hear. I even had a Moollon built a couple of years back which was as fine an example of a P bass as you could ever hope to find. Still didn’t work for me... I never picked it up in preference to other basses I preferred the tone of.

... I also don’t currently have one and consequently find myself looking at each one that crops up in the classifieds 🤦‍♂️

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Thing is you tend to put together all the little bits that you think would be just great

e.g. for me

  • PJ with reverse P pup
  • Meaty / growly pups
  • 3 band EQ with active / passive pull switch
  • Parametric mid sweep (a la BBNE2)
  • Neck through
  • Great finish

A couple of mainstream basses get very close, but not quite found one that ticks all the boxes.

In my head all the individual bits makes sense and it will probably look great. But it's a one-off frankensteinette-bass which won't have gone through endless production run refinements and testing. How the heck do you know it's going to sound great? Is there a reason why no-one's making it in the first place? Etc? Etc?

I still can't get over the look of disappointment on a fellow BC'ers face when I'd driven 90 mins to try his almost new custom ordered bass. It was actually a mainstream brand made bespoke with options so less chance for things to go wrong. It had all the bells and whistles you'd expect on a £4k bass and it was going for just over half price. But as much as I tried to like it, it was just too hi-fi for me and I walked away empty handed. He did manage to sell it shortly after so all's (kinda) well that ends. However it had been a matter of just a few months after getting it that he'd had that gut-churning realisation that he'e parted with £4k on a bass that wasn't for him and there were then no takers for it at £3.5k...£3.25k...£3k...£2.75k... £2.5k...£2.25k.... And I know it's not all about the money, but that whole experience would surely still have hurt?

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2 minutes ago, CamdenRob said:

I keep doing this with P basses. Telling myself I must have one as it’s the classic bass 95% of people want to see / hear. I even had a Moollon built a couple of years back which was as fine an example of a P bass as you could ever hope to find. Still didn’t work for me... I never picked it up in preference to other basses I preferred the tone of.

... I also don’t currently have one and consequently find myself looking at each one that crops up in the classifieds 🤦‍♂️

I have two 1990s MIJ Fender P 1951 reissues. One slab body and one contoured.

They're my " work horse" basses ", they have never let me down 

Blue

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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:
  • PJ with reverse P pup
  • Meaty / growly pups
  • 3 band EQ with active / passive pull switch
  • Parametric mid sweep (a la BBNE2)
  • Neck through
  • Great finish

I was thinking of putting an East Uni-Pre in my Streamer Stage one instead of the ACG pre currently in it... but either way it’s mine! 

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12 minutes ago, LukeFRC said:

I was thinking of putting an East Uni-Pre in my Streamer Stage one instead of the ACG pre currently in it... but either way it’s mine! 

Haha - I managed to avoid mentioning 5 string! So yup you get to keep your Streamer. 

Edited by Al Krow

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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

Haha - I managed to avoid mentioning 5 string! So yup you get to keep your Streamer. 

Phew! 

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There seem to be quite a few of us who sold Wals when you couldn’t give them away, only for them to go through the roof a few years later. 😕

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My 'expensive' mistake was a few months flirtation with a newly issued range of amplifiers last June, because my guitarist snagged me an artist deal on them.

The top amp was a 500w 2x10 combo and I also picked up a 250w 1x15 extension cab. 

They looked gorgeous, but the amp started to make hideous noises at the first or second gig, so it went back to the maker. They arranged courier collection and got it back to me fairly quickly. They blamed the fault on "a crimped wire." 

A couple of weeks later, the extension cab failed to power on, so that went back. It was replaced with a new one.

I warned the company that the next strike they would be out and I would be asking for a refund. 

The third strike followed a couple of months later. Fortunately, it was during the solitary rehearsal for a band reunion the next day. I went into the PA for the rehearsal. Thank God it didn't happen at the actual two gigs. 

I got the rig collected later that week and my refund was processed after a couple of reminders. 

The company were very fair with me and I cannot fault their superb customer service. 

I was refunded with no argument. 

I have been told by a number of friends who work at repairers and stores, upon mentioning that I had owned them, that this amp range is a bit of a disaster and the number of returns is unbelievable, without even mentioning my woes, though I did share my experience after that. 

No names, no pack drill, but think back to what new model bass range came into stores in July or August last year. 

Edited by 12stringbassist

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9 hours ago, 12stringbassist said:

I was refunded with no argument. 

 

 

So not expensive at all?

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10 hours ago, 4000 said:

There seem to be quite a few of us who sold Wals when you couldn’t give them away, only for them to go through the roof a few years later. 😕

Aye that would be me.

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On 07/10/2019 at 09:20, mcnach said:

 

What builder was that? Good results we hear from every company, but it's important to know how companies behave when there's problems, that's the true measure of their customer service, I guess.

I deliberately left that bit out as there’s no ‘name and shame’ aspect to the story and no ill feeling; he’s an honest and genuine bloke and the customer service I received was always cheerful and willing... and credit to him, he did keep going until the bass was comfortably playable. Whilst the end results didn’t match the price tag in my personal opinion (and experience of other production instruments up to the same value), for many happy owners they obviously do, so I’ll just stick to buying what I can inspect before handing over my cash from now on - a costly lesson, but I guess some are!

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14 hours ago, Twigman said:

So not expensive at all?

It was a lot of money to lay out (even with an artist discount for a sh*t product). 

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On 03/10/2019 at 22:01, NancyJohnson said:

Darkglass A/O head, Tech21dUg, Barefaced Big One, two custom build Mike Lulls, a Hamer FBIV, old Aria Primary.  I think that's it.  This isn't to say I still have a want list, but it's all about the getting, eh?

Hey Paul - saw on another thread that you still have a DG head and BF rig? (Which is exactly what I'm also using for my gigging rig).

Out of interest did you let your AO go and replace with another DG unit? And if so, what was it about the AO head that didn't hit the spot for you?

Edited by Al Krow
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