Back in April I asked Chad a few questions, thought I’d repost that today.
- Where are you located, and how long have you been in business?
I’m in Seattle, WA (West Seattle specifically). We launched in October of 2013.
- Do you have a physical location? Or are you online primarily?
Online right now, building a presence, and looking to add a physical location sometime this year.
- How long have you been in the “gear” business (past experience)
I worked as a bass specialist at Seattle Music from 1991-1993 then went on to co-found and run Bass Northwest for 15 years, 1994-2009.
- Why are you focusing on bass related gear only?
Although there are a number of bass specialty shops, the niche is still under-represented. I’ve been doing this for a very long time and have a long standing personal relationship with most bass and bass amp builders out there as well as a number of boutique pedal companies. It’s what I know and I have a lot of customers locally, nationwide, and globally who are excited to see my new shop take root.
- Do you buy used gear? Or are you exclusively selling new instruments?
I buy some used basses, rely on consignments mostly, and will eventually sell new basses from a few selected bass manufacturers. Overall, I expect an 80/20 mix of used to new instruments.
BTW, I’m always seeking out consignment basses. Right now, the split is 80/20 in the consignors favor, and I pay as sold after the trial period. Inventory is on the low side right now, but growing. So definitely contact me if you want to consign your bass. Here’s a link to all The Bass Shop policies including consignments: http://www.thebassshopseattle.com/pages/policies
- Do you sell amps and pedals as well?
I operate another website www.bassefx.com (Bass EFX), which I started in 2010. It’s doing very well and I will be able to incorporate it into the retail space along with the instruments. Local bassists are as excited about this and are stoked to have a place to try out the range of bass-oriented pedals I offer. Amps are different story. As a retailer, amps and cabs take up a lot of floor space, are a pain in the ass to ship, the margins aren’t that great, and they are widely available on most sites and from most other stores. If I sell and amp or cabinet, it will be one or two manufacturers, period. I will represent what I like and what I play through, that’s it. But for now, I just want to focus on the instrument. It’s a personal thing for all players and it’s where they need the most guidance, especially if they’re going to drop a big chunk of dough on a new or additional bass. Also, at my old shop, I was the guy setting up, cleaning, and sometimes resurrecting basses that we took in on trade or consignment. I take great satisfaction going through this process. It has allowed me to learn a great deal about the differences, subtleties, and personalities of a wide range of instruments. My former business partner estimated the number of setups I performed at around 20,000. It’s that kind of knowledge that allows me to help a player find the right instrument. Kind of went on a tangent, but you can tell it’s the instrument that motivates me.
- What are some of your favorite builders right now.. and why?
I’ve been a dealer for most of them, but I Iike Roscoe, Dingwall, Mike Lull, Nash, and Zon a lot. These builders have always made great instruments, but in any industry it’s the relationships that matter, and I really like working with these folks. They represent a full spectrum of the bass, from classic to modern design and the overall feel of these instruments is appealing to me. I should also mention Regenerate Guitar Works. They are a new builder here in the Northwest and creating some cool Fender-inspired basses, but also a range of higher end proprietary designs. They are the first “new” manufacturer that I will be working with and I really dig their stuff. But really, all serious builders make great instruments and my personal opinion is based on what suits me.
- Can you help advise on bass purchases?
And with other gear related purchases? Absolutely. On both. But since I won’t be selling amps, I can point you in the right direction and narrow down your choices. Bass purchases take more knowledge and finesse in guiding a player, in my experience, and that’s where I excel.
- What do you think are some of the most important features when picking out the perfect bass?
Weight, balance, neck profile, string spacing if it’s a 5 or 6 string bass, and pickup/electronics combination. If the bass feels good right away, the rest will fall into place as you start checking off the lesser variables. The biggest consideration for most players, though, is price.
- What did you like to listen to 20 years ago? What do you like to listen to today? Twenty years ago?
Lots of Seattle bands, Red Hot Chili Peppers, King’s X, Fishbone, Weather Report, and Soul Coughing. Today? It’s all over the map. With Spotify and other music outlets, I’m hearing so much great new stuff. We have a local radio station, KEXP, that’s totally independent and has turned me on to vast amounts of music. Depending on my mood, it can range from Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar to Metal to Techno to Dub Step to Rockabilly. I have kids now, so they listen to music I normally wouldn’t gravitate toward: PSY, LMFAO, Lady Gaga, etc…but I don’t throw them on unless the kids ask…nicely…with the “magic word”. Surprisingly, I appreciate what those artists do.
- Pick one.. active vs. passive?
- Pick one.. pick vs. fingers?