Below are excerpted unsolicited reviews from members of the Talkbass.com discussion forum
Registered User Join Date: Feb 2009
Well, call me naive, but 100% feedback on Ebay in last 12 months isn't bad. Think about it: 1415 feedbacks and 99%. Only the best shops on ebay have that kind of stats...
(and don't say something like he forges his 1415 feedbacks or what ever, stay serious!)
Registered User Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Topeka, KS
I have had my Certainbass since earlier this year. Here's what I think:
It sounds really good. Mine is a jazz bass. I don't know where the pickups came from, but they do sound good, like good ol' single coils. My bass also has a varitone, which Dave says he developed himself. I find the six different settings useful, although I do use the "normal" setting most of the time.
It plays really well. Stays in tune. The neck joint seems well put together. Overall the bass looks nice (natural ash body, maple fingerboard with blocks and binding, black pickguard).
This bass has served me well and I don't regret buying it. That's my opinion and I hope you find it helpful.
GOLD Supporting Member Join Date: Sep 2007
I found David to be easy to work with, no problems. And I love his varitone.
I had a bass refinished & an extra pick-up added + the varitone.
My experience was refinishing and modifying an existing bass, and he delivered Big Time.
Mgemnt: One Vision Entertainment Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Fairfield, Brisbane, Qld, Australia
I wanted a reverse head P-Bass and David Certainbuilt me a beauty. The neck pocket is tight and I rarely have to tune it. There no buzzing at all and he shaved the neck down to a jazz profile for my short fingers. He added a second tone pot as per my wiring specs and a custom maple pickguard and maple pickups. All landed in Australia for $800. Local Luthers in Oz were all asking $1500 plus and none of them knew what a maple pick guard or maple pickups were. It's a great bass.
Registered User Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Vancouver, B.C. Canada
I have a great Jazz bass that David built for me last summer. Have gigged it with, recorded with it and play it alot. I love it.
I have played bass since 1975 I have owned many different types, Rics, Arias, Music Man but mostly Fender Jazz basses. I currently own 3 jazz basses a Geddy and Jaco Fretless. Yes I have read the threads posted here, the Ebay feedback and the HC reviews, one of which I posted (2nd review is mine):
First the bass: modeled after an early 60s Jazz - I ordered vintage Gotoh reverse tuners,vintage bridge, 21 fret rosewood fretboard and an alder body. I went with David's stock pups and CTS pots as well as the Varitone option. Wired first pot as a ,aster volume for both pups. 2nd is the Varitone and 3rd is blend. I asked and received an Olympic white body with tort pickguard and David added in a matching painted headstock and bridge covers to complete the vintage look. The neck is as tightly mounted as can be with no gaps or play. All the hardware is first quality and flawless as is the finish. Set up was perfect out of the box and the bass resonated beautifully before I even plugged it in. A quick tune up and:
THE SOUND: Went with rounds. Tested thru a Mesa Walkabout Scout 1x12 clean eq. Unbelievable tone, no fret buzz or noise period. Sounds like a jazz bass should. Full bottom and crisp highs. Varitone worked great and is passive which I prefer. Tested in rehearsal with a full band and comments were unanimous awesome bass! Guitar player was blown away buy how beautiful it looked and sounded. (He's another 30+ year player albeit guitar). Used it in a gig 2 nights after receiving it and the balance and sound were perfect (sound guy loved it and he's heard all my basses).
SERVICE: From the moment I contacted David by email his service was awesome. I'm a stickler for service no matter what I'm buying because as far as I'm concerned with all the competition out there in any business only service sets you apart. We discussed what I would like and offered up some advice based on his experience. Some I took some I didn't. Before I even officially ordered it David was underway as he liked the ideas I had regardless. He worked with me on my schedule and when I asked him to call me to discuss some things he did so in a matter of minutes.
SHIPPING: When I explained to David that I would really like to have it for an upcoming gig and regular international shipping wouldn't make it he sent it at additional expense that he bore so that it would arrive on time. It did and in perfect shape and well packed.
FOLLOW UP: David followed up with me by email and phone to make sure I was happy and enjoying the bass.
CONCLUSION: I would recommend David Certain and his instruments 100% in fact I'm coming up with a new idea for him to build in the fall. Sure there are tons of you on this forum who have more experience and are better players than me. He has taken some hits on this forum and frankly I can't comment on that I can only tell you what my impression is and what my experience was. It was a first class transaction from beginning to end and I absolutely love the bass he built. When I get a chance to take pics of it I will post them for you all to see. If anybody wants to contact me directly I would be happy to give further details.
I have another one coming in a couple of weeks that is a natural ash P-body with a maple J bound neck MOP inlays, Gotoh vintage reverse tuners, Schaller 3-D4 bridge. Decided to have fun with it so on a white pearloid pg I added black knobs, screws and DR Black Beauty strings. My profile avatar pic is the Jazz.
Registered User Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: St. Louis
I have a beautiful Certainbass P-bass with varitone that I absolutely love. It plays like a dream and is everything David promised it would be. He lives in town and I have met him - he's a real guy, very laid back and very willing to share his experience and expertise, cool to talk to, looking to get you a great bass. He's a monster player as well and that's an understatement. He knows bass. http://www.certainbass.com
I have seen David play in two different styles of bands and his bass playing is nothing short of amazing. And there's a lot more to him than meets the internet eye. Again, I'm in the same town, so he's asked via email if my basses need an occasional checkup and has done this for me and I really am glad I bought a bass from him. On the times when I've talked to him in person, I end up smarter about basses and bass playing and am inspired every time. He hand cut, filed and installed a new bone nut on my bass before my very eyes. You can castigate me for being a CertainBass apologist - yes, quite frankly I am, which is I guess a bold statement. I love my big thick P-bass sound - great bass even though David says his forte' is making Jazz basses.
Registered User Join Date: May 2008
to the original poster of this growingly-lame and besides the point thread... this has nothing to do with CertainBass.
All others, I don't know you, but beware, set your flamethrowers on simmer, this is my first post, and is as long-winded as David's E-Bay listing! (j/k. David, love you babe)
I just received my CertainBass Vintage P-Bass, and can tell you that David is a full on ARIES! i.e., alright by me. He is communicative, helpful, and only seems to enjoy getting folks into great playing basses at killer entry level to midrange prices. I KNOW he isn't making a ton of money on them, but is genuinely excited about making good basses, and it reflects all over.
I know that you just want to know more about David the man, who HE is, WHAT he says, HOW MUCH he says it (that Aries thing) in his listings, and what everyone else who HASN'T seen, felt, played or heard his basses say, parts from America vs. parts from the Red countries, copyrights/licensing infringements or not, snake oils vs. tinctures, teepees vs. lean-to's... all of this matters when you're considering a new instrument!
I am a working, gigging and session bassist AND guitarist for the last, oh, 27 years. I've been through major studios, around major talent, and around the world with music. My ears are not blown, and my fingers and body KNOW when an instrument or an amp is right. I also have become a pro at finding fantastic gear by shopping around on a budget and determining what fits my niche... meaning quality, quality again, the best quality I can get for my price range/budget, usability for my applications, shipping, yadda yadda... and last but not least, it makes a difference who or where it's comin' from. Politics aside, I don't want no crunk mojo on my sheetz. I am a gear geek too... HEH!
I asked David if the Basswood body made the balance top heavy... To quote David, "the bass is not neck heavy, and one more thing: it's not basswood. i made a mistake, it's alder like vintage fenders. i build with both and i neglected to edit the listing. oops!" So I got the alder body... bone-us. The maple has a gorgeous figuration, the rosewood neck IS the beefy slab. And like his sometimes-viewed-by-others as longwinded report/sales pitch goes... the real deal is in how he gets very nice real maple, mahogany, basswood, alder, at affordable prices, AND PUTS THEM TOGETHER & SETS THEM UP to make one truly SOLID bass. It handles sensitive arpeggios with clarity, tone and grace, and I could probably bludgeon someone or something with it, and pick right back up with my arpeggios. The bass is solid.
Besides, I like knowing the someone behind it, and David and I spoke quite a bit before he sent my bass out to me, so that he could get a sense of where I was coming from musically to set the action as close to my preferences as possible. It's perfect for me.
I got David's P-(styled)-Bass (that's styled after an early Fender Precision... not a real Precision with real or Fender authorized parts mind you) for around $450, so I basically stole it from him, and he was sore to let this one go, with reason, but was amiable about it.
Really, OP, this bass has been completely gone over by David, and if you want to spend $1200-2400 on a "Real" one, go for it. I just entered into collector territory for the first time, and it's great, but bottom line is... I just want something great to play that will last. For the price I paid for: the killer woods, finish, tuners, highly adequate electronics, and mostly the super intense set-up by David... I feel like Blackbeard, 'cause I STOLE THIS BASS, and David was more than happy to send it my way.
Later, if I want to pop in some snooty-snoot pups and wiring, I will. But I'm out the gate running hard with this bass.
Oh, to the asking for soundfiles, I have to say that it is a highly subjective endeavor. I mean, how are you going to truly tell if a bass sounds good, plays good, and feels good on YouTube? You have the choice of amp, the mikes, the software, recording technique, the media/ums in general, that make it near impossible to gauge if the bass is worth a crap or not. But most of all, it's in the hands of the player.
There's a lot of stuff to sift through out there...It's your decision. Good luck.
Registered User Join Date: Jun 2008
I have owned a Certainbass for about two years now and it's still my favorite bass I have ever owned. I bought a simple sunburst p-bass with a maple neck with rosewood fretboard and tort guard from him with all his standard features. The fit and finish were flawless, and the hardware and pickups were amazing. I got the whole thing, including fully insured FedEx shipping, for an unbelievable price. David was available for several phone calls and promptly returned emails, he talked to me about wood choices, finish choices, the pickups and electronics he prefers. The guy was great to deal with. The pickups and hardware were amazing on his entry level bass. I've been playing for 17 years and have owned thirty or so basses from an American p, vintage Ibanez, an '80's G&L L2000, etc. I buy and trade basses like they're going out of style, but for me this is the one.
Check his reviews on e-bay, harmony-central, from other owners on here and on other forums; they're all the same- if you want a great fender-style bass for low cash with a guy who's easy to work with, buy one. If your decision is based on whether or not the talkbass community is in love with him, well, maybe you shouldn't buy one. All I'm saying is, that's a silly reason not to buy a great bass.
I have a p-bass from him. It's awesome. Plays amazing, sounds amazing. I made some mods to mine. I switched out the classic bridge for a gotoh, though he'd warned me it would be a classic Fender style bridge. I also changed the pickups to Teslas. The pickups they came with were really great, but a little too much growl for what I play. Very similar to fender pickups. I also put on a bridge cover.
He was great to deal with, gave regular updates on progress, and really listened to what I wanted. Everyone who has actually bought a bass from him that I've ever seen a review form loves his products and loved working with him. There are other TBers with Certainbasses; I think they'll give similar reports. More than worth the money.
I also bought a Certainbass for $450 direct form Dave Certain to replace an American P-Bass I foolishly sold about five years ago. It, like that bass, has a sunburst alder body, maroon tort guard, and maple rosewood neck. I changed the nut to bone, put on a gotoh bridge, replaced the pickups with Teslas, and put on a bridge cover. It smokes my old p in a million ways. Better sounding, better playing, better looking. This is my actual to die for bass. The whole upgrade cost me $100, so for a $550 I got my dream bass.
I bought one to replace an American '62 reissue p-bass I had regretted selling and I have to say I like this bass better. The sound is identical, the finish was perfect, and the neck plays like butter. I get a ton of compliments on teh bass, and have convinced some of my friends to buy them.
You get a standard no-frills bass that rivals an American Fender. When you get into fancier parts and electronics they go up. Considering what you get versus what you would pay for a comparable bass, its a hell of a deal. You can check his ebay responses and Harmony-Central. Not a bad word about the guy.
I'm a bass hoarder and picky about what I buy, and I would definitely buy another one of these.
I own one, and its by far my favorite bass. For the record, David's incredibly easy to deal with. He was in constant contact with me both by phone and email for any questions I had, had a relatively quick turn around, and the bass was amazing. His attention to detail is great. I have no complaints. It was exactly what I wanted, he promptly communicated issues with regard to the bass, was helpful on wood choice, hardware, pickups, and price point, which was dirt cheap. I wanted a simple passive p-bass and that's what I got. I bought this one to replace a 2000 '62 reissue fender p-bass, and I like my certainbass better; plus it was half the price.
The finish is top notch, the setup was outstanding, and it felt like everything a p should be. The body on mine is just slightly thinner than a fender p, which was fine by me. The hardware was also top notch, and the pickups he uses are great.
I did change mine quite a bit. I put on a gotoh bridge, some Tesla pickups and a bridge cover. David had already offered to install any bridge I wanted, any pickups I wanted and the bridge cover. It actually probably would have been cheaper to go through him. I changed the pickups because I wanted something with slightly less bite than his stock pickups (which get great reviews).
All in all, it was a great experience. Check his reviews harmony-central, also. All the reviews (mine included) are very positive.
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