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AC Guitars vs Shuker


bassmansam

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I'm in the market for a 2nd custom J type Bass. 

 

Not a huge budget (around £2k-£2.5k) and was looking at AC Guitars and Shuker. I already own an Overwater J5 which is lovely but fancy something different for my 2nd build. 

 

Does anyone have any experience with both of these luthiers and could help detail some differences please? From what I've seen they're quite popular on Basschat. 

 

Thanks 

Edited by bassmansam
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I've had custom basses from both. While Jon will build you pretty much anything you desire, Alan has a more fixed menu of options - which is in no way a criticism. 

Personally I found dealing with Alan a much more pleasurable experience. He got my build 100% correct... And on time... Neither of which I can say about my Shuker. Still an outstanding bass but Alan's work is another level. IMHO, YMMV, etc. 

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I've had both ACG and Shuker basses.
My Shukers were excellent basses, but they didn't have the personality of my ACGs, they're just a much better fit for me.

As much as there's a fixed menu of options with ACG, they're not really any more fixed than most luthiers, the only difference is that Alan will stick to his tried and tested designs rather than gamble on a self penned idea, or a straight up copy of something else. Alan will only use his propriety pickups, but there's a degree of customisation available as they are hand wound to spec.

And, to second what @Bigwan stated above, not once have any of my ACGs come with any mistakes, or late, every time they have been early, a rarity in this game.

Finally, the build quality of all of my ACGs is spectacular, and knocks the stuffing out of a lot of high end basses I've tried, absolutely incredible workmanship.

 

I don't think you can go wrong with either, but I would certainly tip towards ACG though :) 

 

Cheers,
Eude

Edited by eude
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5 minutes ago, OliverBlackman said:

Is it ACG that uses filters instead of EQ or is that Alpher? That will give you something very different to the Overwater. 

The filter preamp is an exclusive option with ACG, you can also go passive, or have a John East Uni-Pre or P-Retro too though.

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I love my shuker and I haven't gelled with that many ACGs, but I will say that the pickups that ACG make are better than pretty well anything else, couldn't say anything bad about them, plus he does his individual coil pickups with the dual filter preamp, which is something I would really love to try (but doubtless never be able to afford!).

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I'm a total Shuker fanboi, I've got two and a half (long story, but a new neck/rebuild kinda thing is the half) and have had three more, plus I've another on the way, and I've also met Alan and played some ACGs at an event a while ago, and I've owned one.

 

The really good news is you can't go wrong with either, really; it just depends, as other people have said, what you want, and a lot of it (for me, anyway, but then I'm as shallow as a puddle) is down to looks. I don't really get on with the ACG designs, whereas Jon will make anything you want, or work around anything you want, in every detail. Plus I love the Horn (steady) design, too...

 

There's a Shuker Jazz on here at the mo for a song (not my ad, I hasten to add), but Jon will work around any spec you might have for him, and it'll be a great bass. The more 'Jazz' you want it to look, I think the more you're moving away form what Alan does...

 

On that (and there's been plenty of discussion of this elsewhere on here), the best way to avoid CLBBR*, is to be absolutely sure what you want, and why you want it. It's happened before that people have specc'd their dream bass (and been delivered it) only to find that what they thought they wanted didn't actually suit them. Lots of communication before the build starts is the best plan...

 

 

 

* Custom Luthier Build Buyer's Remorse...it'll never catch on like GAS, I know...

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I've had both - both make excellent instruments - and there are benefits to owning either.

 

Personally I found the Shuker to be quite sterile with little character of it's own where as the ACG are all individuals. I know where I would spend the money if I were in your position.

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Did you spec the Shuker, or buy it secondhand? I only ask because I had the opposite experience, but I spec my Shukers, and the ACG I had was secondhand, and clearly not my sorta bass...to be clear, I had exactly that from an Overwater, too*, but other people love them...

 

* I even emailed Chris and had a chat with him about making it less..polite, but it was a case of 'that's the way the bass is'...a great bass, clearly just a mismatch for me...

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14 minutes ago, Muzz said:

Did you spec the Shuker, or buy it secondhand? I only ask because I had the opposite experience, but I spec my Shukers, and the ACG I had was secondhand, and clearly not my sorta bass...to be clear, I had exactly that from an Overwater, too*, but other people love them...

 

* I even emailed Chris and had a chat with him about making it less..polite, but it was a case of 'that's the way the bass is'...a great bass, clearly just a mismatch for me...

I received my custom J5 Contemporary this year. Build quality superb and certainly a firey beast in the mix but love it!  Different strokes I guess 🙂

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I bought both secondhand. The Shuker could have been just about anything - the ACG was definitely an ACG.

 

Agree with the Overwater being a cut above most other basses. I sold mine and bought it back. Build quality is up there with the very best and Chris and Co are some of the nicest people on the planet - always polite and helpful and will take the time to answer any queries.

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Yeah, spec and personal taste are everything - I've got to the point now where I can look at a bass, note the pickups and position, and say 'It looks absolutely lovely, but it'd suit me like a fish suits a bicycle'...

 

Actually, although this complicates things by 50%, another Overwater could be an idea...

Edited by Muzz
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Just now, Muzz said:

Actually, although this complicates things by 50%, the OP could look at Overwaters, too...

 

He could look at Alphers too if he wanted to. If you start spreading the initial post it can get quite wide, but he did specifically ask about shukers and ACGs.

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I think if it was me I would probably want to go to some bass guitar show where representative instruments were at. The bass guitar show in london was the one where I saw the shuker I have now and played some of the ACGs (although I had an ACG, it wasn't really representative).

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6 minutes ago, acidbass said:

AC Guitars look like they could be made in a garage by an amateur woodworker, whereas Shuker to me says quality.  I would go Shuker all day long.

Wow!

Have you ever played instruments from either luthier?

 

And, I should add, I can't imagine you have with a statement like that.

Edited by eude
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3 minutes ago, eude said:

The OP maybe in luck, the UK Bass Guitar Show will be back next year, in Liverpool, Pandemic permitting.
https://theukbassguitarshow.com/

I know ACG will be there and Jon Shuker has attended several of these in the past too.

 

Sounds like the best plan. It is a big commitment and by giving some of them a try you can find out what really works for you and what doesn't.

 

4 minutes ago, acidbass said:

AC Guitars look like they could be made in a garage by an amateur woodworker, whereas Shuker to me says quality.  I would go Shuker all day long.

 

That is very far from the truth. Although there are some amazing amater woodworkers that can do professional work (including a few on here), there is nothing amaturish about ACG instruments.

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13 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

 

He could look at Alphers too if he wanted to. If you start spreading the initial post it can get quite wide, but he did specifically ask about shukers and ACGs.

I definitely haven't ruled out Alpher... They look great. Just maybe out of budget

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2 minutes ago, bassmansam said:

I definitely haven't ruled out Alpher... They look great. Just maybe out of budget

 

They start in the same ballpark as the others. Possibly the difference is less actual flexability in that there are just a couple of actual shapes to do.

I did spec one up for myself, and maybe one day!

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