Displaying my ignorance and suspicion here.
How are bond specialists compensated? Are they paid by the bond issuer for their recommendation and sales?
Does a bond specialist give you your money back if a recommended bond defaults? If compensated by the bond issuer, do they still come out ahead?
Individual bonds: Orange County, Stockton, San Bernardino, Mammoth Lakes, .....
The beauty of a bond fund is that it has already been populated with bonds selected by bond specialists, it has more diversity than you could typically afford by yourself, and the fund handles the research/purchases/redemptions for you. So there is no need to construct a bond ladder. And above bond defaults should be only a small percentage of a well-diversified bond fund.
From the literature (BH-recommended books), there may be good reasons to purchase individual bonds, but honestly, I forget what they are. Maybe one was "you can choose for yourself only bonds that will not default." (J/K)
d.r.a, not dr.a.