I am uneasy thinking about buying an instrument off the internet sight unseen, and you should be too. But I'm confident you would love to play any of my basses. Nothing bad ever leaves my workshop! And if there ever is a problem, send it back at my expense for rework or replacement even if a problem develops down the road.
My prices represent a great value over retail stores. There are even some Grammy winners who say my bass is their new favorite bass, and they order another for backup. Please read below and see a small sample of my unsolicited reviews on HarmonyCentral.com, TalkBass.com, as well as my excellent feedback on eBay.
March 27, 2014
I find new things everyday about this bass - new tones, nuances, voices, so well done.
Both my Certain basses are now my go-to girls. Your basses are the best for the money. Can't be beat.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Just wanted to let you know that Snow White arrived safe n sound. I only had 5 minutes last night to plug her in...but..WOW.
Cant wait until i can properly fondle her.
Thank you for such a Beaut!!
The wiring harness went in without a hitch and the varitone is very cool.
Carson City, Nevada
My P-bass continues to impress. It's been a workhorse for some 6 years now. Despite our extremes of heat and cold, it never goes out of tune in a gig. I love the massive P-bass tone I get out it. And the new PP configuration you added last year lets me go from classic P-bass to more modern. It's a beautiful sunburst. David's setup is magic. Wish I had more money to buy another bass!
So last Friday was our launch for The Attic STL, and it was the first night I really
got to hear the bass you built me. Man was I floored at the tones I was getting. I
ran my Aguilar rig flat and just used the Varitone tone knob to change the sound
that I was wanting! The sound engineer was happy with all my sounds. After playing
that night, I had a ton of people coming up to me and asking what kind of bass I was
playing. I let them know right away that it was a Certain Bass built right here in
the STL! They were shocked and excited at the same time!
Needless to say I will be ordering another bass in the future. Not sure what style I
want but I do know that I will be more than happy with the results.
Thanks again David for the great customer service and knowledge that you gave me!
St. Louis, MO
My personal take on a P bass has been realized by David Certain. Its special due to its subtleties like an oil finish - neck, body & maple pickguard. Jazz neck with a nice U contour [that just lays in your hand like it's been there forever] and an exquisitely cut nut + rolled edges with a very nice grain that fits into the tightest neck pocket I've ever seen. Alder body, standard bridge & tuners, CTS pots with a uniquely mounted output jack that has no contact with the pickguard itself. David & I went over all the important details and he rose above & beyond what I expected.
Got it just before Christmas and, even though it's brand new, the feel of the wood makes it seem like you're holding a vintage [40-year old] bass in your hands. Strung it up with a set of D'Addario ENR70's and it's good to go. And the sound? Tone, Tone and more Tone, is all I can say.
In closing I just want to say from personal experience that he's golden in my book. From day one he worked with me to realize an instrument that far and away outshines anything that I might have come up with on my own [I re-discovered him while sourcing parts to build a bass]. His attention to detail and willingness to go that extra mile really made the whole experience something that I'll never forget. Some people say they're good basses "for the money". IMHO I say this is a great bass at any price. After all, getting exactly what you asked for - and then some - is priceless in my book.
There's nothing wrong with this bass whatsoever. It certainly rivals a new Geddy Lee jazz bass for playability. I got this bass as a back-up for my Modulus VJ-4. They look similar. This
bass is an EXCELLENT back-up for that bass and at less than 1/2 the cost.
Alan Hopkins, Stewartstown, PA
The sound I was
getting out of my new lightweight Jazz tonight was unreal. Some people who've seen us often said our mix has never sounded so clear, and my sound was definitely part of the reason. The Bartolinis are great with my simple setup - I got whatever tone I wanted, from clean and boomy to grinding and belting. With the hum-cancelling Barts I can even go all neck pickup and get a very solid Precision tone. Thanks again for working with me to help me get a great, affordable gig-worthy bass,
Saint Louis, MO
No wear and tear! It's holding up to the punk rock and me moshing in a pit with others, jumping off stuff, swinging it around. First few times I was very careful but it didnt take long to realize I cant really hurt this thing...unless I just throw it on the floor. I'm NOT ever going to do that!!! Best bass investment ever! Well worth the wait and money. I tell every one that wants to know about it. At the last show in TN a fellow bassist from another band said "sexy bass". I get comments like that often.
Bill Nottingham, Durham, NC
Just a quick note to thank you. This bass is so incredible. I've been playing it exclusively since I got it, and it feels unbelievable. Yesterday though, I picked up my Stingray and it absolutely felt like poop. I was completely blown away. Thank you for what you did. I'll be telling anyone who'll listen that what you do is truly something special.
Chris Huff, Joplin, MO
Thanks so much for a truly wonderful bass. it feels, plays and looks fabulous. the neck feels wonderful, a little more girth than other jazz necks I've played and I really dig that. thanks for recommending the vintage noiseless pups. The bridge pup sound is sweeeet. I am a very aggressive heavy hitter at times but have not had any fret buzzing. great job with the action, fast but still able to pound on it. Once again thanks for a very sweet bass.
Ron Steagall, Bellingham, Washington
Got the bass last night…excellent! The guitar has incredible sustain, looks sharp and the Varitone is pretty cool.
Matthew Sienkiewicz, Morrison, Colorado
I acquired my CertainBass second-hand. As soon as I started playing it, I knew that I had to have it. It was light, comfortable and had easy action and a great tone. Mine's the sunburst Jazz with the lightweight option, gloss maple neck, tortoise shell pickguard, etc....Classic! I've been playing this bass heavily for the past two years with many compliments about its tone as well as how pretty it is. My friend who is also a session bassist, asked me if it was Fender Custom Shop.
Anyway, I called the guy I acquired it from, got David's number and I contacted him to ask him about my cherished Instrument. He told me all about it. Does he remember every bass he makes? He also told me if I ever have problems, it has a lifetime warranty and you don't have to be the original owner. Wow! Folks, all I can say is,"If you haven't played around on one of these jokers, you're really missing out.' Anybody who owns one can tell you that they're one of the best investments out there.
I'm not a sixteen year old kid who just started jammin' last week in the garage (although one of these basses would be a great choice for any level bassist). I'm a session musician in Nashville who has worked with too many to mention. During my career, I've played everything that's came down the pike...........You cannot beat a Certain Bass
Bob Stout, Nashville, TN
I took the bass out on a couple of gigs this weekend. It was great, both
drummers in particular liked it. It is much like my two Musicman five strings, but
distinctly different as well with it's Tele body. The Musicman V's cut through the upper frequencies particularly well when slapping, but the tone for playing with my fingers is not
as full as the Certain bass. The Certain bass was highly praised by all of the
musicians who heard it (including several bass players). It had LOADS of bottom
end, yet all notes were round & full while being easily distinguishable.
Tom Price, Stamford, CT
I haven't been able to put it down since I got it - it's the only bass I've been playing. My request of putting a jazz pickup that close
neck gives the bass the fattest grindy tone. It's super punchy, growls like a mofo! Not to mention Mr. Certain sets up basses
to play like
butter - this thing screams!
George Potsos, St. Louis, MO
Bassist for Devon Allman's (Duane's son) Honeytribe and on tour (2010-11) with Gregg Allman
Plugged in for session #1 today. !! AWESOME! SOUND!!! I love the Varitone and the nut is cut perfectly. Great Job!!! The action is right on the money for me bro. . . must be a STL thang. LOL The neck is pretty ridiculous. Its plays smooth, very even and fast. Just did a club date last night with a big band. I used to have "dead" notes on my other Jazz bass. But tonight, I'm pleasantly surprised when I reached for certain notes and I HEAR them!!! You really did a great job on this bass...now, I'm your biggest fan! Thanks so much...I'm already looking forward to the next one! GREAT JOB David!!
Mark E. Peterson, New York, New York
Bassist for Casandra Wilson on her Grammy Award winning CD “New Moon Daughter”, Shakira, Clark Terry, Mavis Staples, Lyle Lovett,
Shania Twain, Ornette Coleman, Johnny Johnson, James Blood Ulmer and many more. He's been on MTV, HBO, BET,
The Learning Channel, Sesame Street, The Jay Leno Show, The View, Austin City Limits and The Johnny Carson Show. Associate conductor/bassist for Cirque du Soleil's 2010 WINTUK show
Well, I took it to practice last night and the general consensus was..."that sounds amazing!" and "wow that's beautiful!"
Thank you Dave for patiently keeping me in the loop and being willing to talk endlessly about tiny details of this project, you did a great job!
I'll be back for a Jazz when I've got some more cash...
Well, I used it for the gig I mentioned and it was brilliant! I've never had a p-bass that sounded so good! Thank you Dave!
I'm very pleased all around with my new 5 string bass's fit & finish. It's a beautiful instrument ! I love the Varitone!... all positions are great, essential (already dialed in - tones)... really glad I went with that option. I really like the tone of your pick ups too! .... probably a secret, best kept. And the "playability"? It's just as advertised and much, much more!!
It's really sweet and smooth... Like butta' baby!! I love it's light weight! I love playing a brand new instrument that feels like she's already been "house-broken" !! YOU ROCK, David! Kudos to you, on a fantastic job my friend!!
Keep in touch!
Mark Weil, Pittsburgh, PA
Just got my bass in. It is a beauty! The weight is really good and the sound! It's just what I wanted, bottom and more bottom. Thanks for the time you put into it. I have 7 other basses to keep me company. A Roscoe 6 string, a Lakland 6 string, a MTD 5 string fretless, a Warwick 5 string, a Q5 Modulus, 2 Fenders '74 and a '59 Replica., a G&L SB2. So yours joins good company. My guess is that it will move to the top of the list as I get used to it. It has a great neck and a tremendous sound. Again Thanks,
Jim King, Huntsville, AL
Plugged the bass in last night for the first time and I am blown away. The tone that comes out of this bass is TREMENDOUS!!!! Far and away the best bass I have ever played. My bandmates chins dropped when they saw it and they all just shook their heads with these huge grins on their faces when they heard it. Thank you again, it is more than I ever dreamed. Take care David and thank you one more time.
Keith Gault, Novi, Michigan
This bass definitely captures the playability and tone of some of the better Fenders I've handled. Good sustain, feels really solid. Playing it is a most enjoyable experience, I fully expect it to get even better with time. The finish is very nice, and I love matching headstocks, Well David, I think it's safe to say you build a hell of a bass. Thanks for all the hard work and attention to detail.
Johnny Lee Wilson.
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
I just got my bass last night, bad storms delayed delivery, so just got home and boy AM I HAPPY! Plays like butter!!! After playing a short scale for the last 2 years I was a bit nervous upgrading to 34"scale. But after seeing Jeff Beck's bassist, a petite thing, play a full scale bass, why can't I? I don't usually play past the 12th fret, but man..clarity city! Excellent all the way around. I am not worthy, but will keep on practicing. Again thank you.You've got an excellent product and I would recommend it to anyone. The best to you this Christmas season
Merry Christmas Dave,
Now that I've had this bass for a couple of weeks and have played
it...everyday! Just want to thank you again! I look forward daily to practice
now, and my brother and I will start rehearsing the new year. It is a real joy
to play your bass. Just like you've stated, the products on the store racks
are "nasty" in comparison. Also who makes your pickups? Noiseless!!!
Have a good day and a New Year,
Vince Sanfilippo, Petaluma CA
The basses arrived 2 days ago. First of all, let me congratulate you for the great job. The 5 string bass is the best bass I have played EVER. And the sound is perfect, I just recorded some bars from a tune I'm working on and it sounds "mixed" straight away, just plugging it into a direct box. And they look gorgeous. I will talk about your work to all my bassist friends. In fact, I don't think I will ever buy a bass anywhere else, your basses are an unbeatable deal.
Magi Batalla, d'Anoia,
My new bass and I just played our first gig, and i received several compliments on the Precision '57 style bass's sound and appearance. We recorded 9 of the tunes at our next rehearsal and the bass sounds even fuller on the recordings. It is a great "woody" type tone. And you're right, the set-up is to die for. Thanks again,
Fort Oglethorpe, GA
Hey David, how are things going for you? Just wanted to let you know that I am loving the bass. Here is a shot of it in action. A lot of people ask what kind of bass it is and are very impressed, you do amazing work man. Thanks again!
Got the 5 and it's waaaay coool! Just what the doctor ordered. The Varitone is killer...If I had to do it over, I'd get Hipshot tuners, but that's about it...The Sherwood Green metallic with the matching headstock is perfecto...You rock, David...
Tom Jenkins, Los Angeles
Anybody interested in bass guitars - check these suckers out!! I've played a couple and they're the best thing next to a pre-CBS Fender -- at a fraction of the price.
Kevin Kelly, New York, NY
The bass is great. I love the feel of the neck, it is an easy player.The setup is right on.
It sounds like a Fender Jazz Bass; just what i wanted.
Some day I will have you build me a P Bass.
Thanks for the follow up.
Ted Quitasol, Riverside CA
It's here, it's here, it's here!
The Contrbass has just arrived and it's in perfect condition. No dings, no marks, no scrapes, no scratches and no disappointments. Just lots of "wow's" and "oh my god's". The bass looks like it has just come off a showroom floor and not travelled 9085kms via the post from St Louis USA to Brisbane Australia. All I needed to do was tweak the 'E'. Not bad considering they were new strings. So I thank you for producing a quality bass. The neck and body feel like they have been cemented together.
The bass looks fantastic. All the recommendations you suggested were spot on. I can't thank you enough. It is certainly turnng heads in the office and drawing a lot of attention. Exactly what I had hoped for. At this moment in time I am struggling to convey just how pleased I am with the bass and the job you have done. Especially the way you matched the tinting of the maple pickguard to the tint of the maple neck. Have I managed to put the bass down since it arrived? No I haven't. I can't wait to get this bass into the studio on Saturday and then unvail it at the Tribute Festival on the Gold Coast in 3 weeks time.
I'm looking forward to trying your varitone electronics through my MarkBass rig. My amp doesn't colour the natural tone of any of my basses so it should prove to be a good test of the tonal qualities of this bass. Our communication throughout the build process was very reassuring and I would certainly recommend to others that they stop playing a bass that is 'almost' what you want and talk to you about making a bass that is 'exactly' what you want. Quality doesn't have to come at a price when it is a David Certain Elite Contrabass bass.
I laid down some scratch tracks for a new song I'm writing with the new bass last night. I burned a CD of the song and gave it to my singer, as he needed a draft version so he could work on the melody this week.
Anyway, he asked me, "What is that cool effect you're using on the bass". I said, "nothing, this is just how it sounds". He was floored.
It really sounds good and I suck at playing bass. I'm really a drummer and guitar player.
I'll email the finished MP3 when done!!!
Hi David! As I said in my call to you last night. I LOVE IT, LOVE IT LOVE IT!! I have been playing bass for over 30 years and I own 2 Fender Jazz basses already a Geddy Lee made in Japan and a Jaco Tribute Fretless made in Fullerton. This is the perfect addition to my collection and easily matches the quality of my other Jazzes. You are a man of your word the bass arrived in perfect condition, flawless build, beautiful hardware and I love the matching painted head! The varitone option is great... being able to dial in such a wide variety of tone right on the bass is awesome! Pups sound bright and the resonance from the instrument before it is even plugged in is huge! Fantastic setup.... as you can tell I'm thrilled!! Everything you advertise is 100% true - fit, finish, quality, service, shipping.... all of it. I wish you all the best in your endeavors you are true craftsman and I can't thank you enough for my beautiful bass it is worth at least twice what I paid for it and I can hardly wait to build another with you in the future...
Reframe Entertainment Corp
Hi everybody my name is Billy and I am from Greece. I just bought a jazz bass from David.The bass arrived in perfect condition it has a basswood body maple neck and a rosewood fretboard and it is everything that David promised me.It has an incredible sustain that i haven't heard in many expensive basses and it comes with an outstanding sunburst color.Of course it needs some adjustment regarding the neck but considering the journey from USA to Greece this is absolutely logical.The bass has a warmth round sound very similar to the old fenders.My best friend owns a 65 jazz bass and when he heard David's bass he couldn't believe it. I definitely recomend David.
You may get tired of all my mails but I had to share another quick P Bass story regarding my bass that you built. I had a studio gig last night- demo tracks for a "hopeful" young country singer. First off, the engineer was happy when I pulled out a P Bass. The beauty is that I ran straight to board and it took him less than a minute to dial in a round, fat sweet tone. The GHS precision Flats that I have her strung with compliment this instrument so well that it is scary. Needless to say, everyone was pleased. The signal was dead on with no "coloration". The engineer tried his best to talk me out of my bass so that he could have it for a "studio bass". NO CHANCE!
Once again, this is just another reason of my love for this instrument. I thank you again for building her for me.
All the best,
This bass is amazing and I feel very lucky to have her.
Thanks again David for creating this fine instrument.
I started playing in 1965 with my first gig in 66. I used a sunburst bass that kind of looked like a Fender that I purchased from Lafayette Radio Electronics Catalog(ah, the old days) for $49. I used that bass until 1969 when my folks got me a brand new Sunburst P Bass with a maple board as a graduation present. I used her through the 70's untill being bitten by the "boutique" bug. I went though Alembics, Ken Smith, Steinberger, etc. until going back to Fender in the mid 90's. My 69 was long gone. I have been searching for that feel since then. YOU HAVE RE-CREATED MY BASS FOR ME! This instrument plays so sweet, sounds awesome and has the look and feel of my old friend.
And here is another email I just got from another 40 year plus seasoned veteran bassist (February 08):
One of the nicest basses I've ever played at any price - and you can quote me. I had the opportunity to play the power trio gig with a "class a" rig featuring tube pre-amp, gobs of power and Eden cabinets capable of extended lows and pretty much capable of delivering bass frequencies and tone you don't even hear with other setups. The tone coming from your bass was amazing. The guy in the next band used my rig and plugged in a "real" Fender Precision and your bass put it to shame, the instrument plays "like butter" and sounds like thunder.