So what is a “Boutique Bass Guitar”? Before you can build a list of the Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars you really need to define exactly what a Boutique Bass Guitar *is*.
Even answering that basic question is open to lots of interpretation. Some time ago I asked this question on my favourite bass forum TalkBASS. You can read that thread here.
The official 101 Basses definition of a boutique bass is as follows:Boutique Bass: “A high end, hand crafted bass made by a low production luthier that has been tailored for a specific bassists’ needs and requirements.”
Once you have a definition, the next step is trying to figure out which bass builders fit the bill. The Bass-Aholic DataBass keeps information on over 900 brands of bass guitar. So which of those 900 are boutique?
Once again I went to TalkBASS and started a thread there asking which bass guitar builders would be considered boutique. The response was overwhelming . And if I took the advice of everyone that responded I think all 900 would have been contenders. But in the end I was able to come up with about 100 bass brands that could be considered “boutique”. The Bass-Aholic list of Boutique Basses can be found here.
In the end there were well over one hundred contenders for the top ten boutique basses. I then setup a polling form and recorded the results from TalkBASS members. Most of the results were not so surprising. Some of the builders I was familiar with, but didn’t realize they had such a following. The top two, however, seem to be no contest hands down winners. Who were they?