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Bass Kit - good idea?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by triumph72, Jan 3, 2014.


  1. triumph72

    triumph72

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    I am considering buying a kit to build a Jazz Bass, as much for the enjoyment of the build process as anything else. However I do want to end up with a decent tool.

    My only other bass is a rather battered by lovely Westone Thunder 1a that I have has since new in 1985; I am not used to handling high end kit.

    So - does anyone have experience of any of the various kits available?
     
  2. TinyE

    TinyE Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Location:
    portland,or
    Do a search. I remember reading about a guy buying a carvin kit and after all the work and trouble it ended up costing the same as buying the finished product.
     
  3. awilkie84

    awilkie84

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    That same guy didn't really do a lot of research or practice before hand, though.

    I'm currently refinishing a bass & it will take me the better part of 2-3 months to do, no doubt. But, if I take my time, it will be a good learning experience & a lot of fun.
     
  4. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2001
    Location:
    California
    No.

    The many reasons should be obvious.

    To head off the usual "learning" rationalization, you'll also learn more useful things about instruments by doing setup and simple repair than you will cobbling together some dodgy kit.
     
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  6. awilkie84

    awilkie84

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    Useful for a standard player, but what if you truly enjoy this kind of tinkering?
     
  7. Jaco D

    Jaco D

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Kits and off the shelf instruments are basically a compromise, with manufacturers trying to come up with a combination that's affordable and "decent". If you intend to go the "I made it myself" route, why not make one with components all of your liking? Visit the Warmoth and other similar sites and "spec out" a bass from soup to nuts. You'll spend more in the long run, but at least everything that goes there is what you pay for.
     
  8. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Verde Valley, AZ
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Dark Horse strings
    That's unadulterated BS. I have a white Carvin B50 I built and it's as good as factory built at 50-60% of the price. You can check that out in the Carvin megathread. The "guy" either screwed up the kit or forgot to read the part about finish choices.
     
  9. MVE

    MVE

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    If you are looking to have fun and learn to put a bolt-on together, then yes it is a great idea. (Really you don't even need a kit. You can go to Warmoth and pick and choose components and put together a great instrument. It does take quite a bit of time, some specialized tools, and quite a bit of money.)

    If you are doing this to save money....NO!!!!

    Go to ebay and pick us a used Yamaha RBX for $150 bucks or so. - they are far and away the best bang-for-the-buck bass you can get.
     
  10. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    It isn't. That thread definitely happened.
     
  11. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC Area
    The cheap kits aren't worth your time and trouble. For the "first time build" experience, I'd recommend buying a new SX Jazz from rondomusic to disassemble, refinish and detail-rebuild (taking care to shield the pickups, etc, etc). Here's an ash-bodied one for less than $200:

    http://www.rondomusic.com/ursa2rnashna1.html

    After you've gotten your hands dirty on the SX, then consider a Carvin kit, or Warmoth body and neck, or make your own body and use a neck from Fender or other reputable maker. Or use your SX body and a fancier neck, or...

    ...you might be very happy with the "rebuilt" SX.
     
  12. awilkie84

    awilkie84

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    The guy's kit was pristine. The finish ended up costing him a pretty penny because he tried to do it himself & then had to have it redone by a friend of his because it was terrible.
     
  13. kevteop

    kevteop

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    York, UK
    To build a decent bass from parts will cost you more than, for example, a Squier Classic Vibe - which would most likely be a much better bass.

    Reasons for building your own: It's quite satisfying to do, you can spec the electronics however you want (if you have particularly odd requirements).

    Reasons against: Getting a good finish on a body at home is very difficult, it's no cheaper than buying a new bass of equivalent or better quality, you'll probably do something wrong.
     
  14. triumph72

    triumph72

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Ok thanks for you views. My initial thoughts were to find an inexpensive used bass to take apart perhaps modify etc.

    I was distracted from this possibility by the kits available at less than £100.

    Perhaps I will go back to plan A.
     
  15. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

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    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC Area
    IIRC, SX is sold as Essex in the UK.
     
  16. jamminology101

    jamminology101

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    Indianapolis In
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    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    If its the same dude that I read as well....he did screw it up...pretty bad actually and had to pay a friend to finish it. It actually is a really cool story as he takes the reader from the first blunder till the last.
     
  17. jamminology101

    jamminology101

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2012
    Location:
    Indianapolis In
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    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Is that your track roadster in your avatar box??
     
  18. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    I've done kits and I've done MANY SX "rebuilds". All have been reasonably successful. In my experience, the hardest part of a kit is finishing the wood. Trying to get a nice factory looking finish takes some wood skills. So IF your wood working skilz are up to it and that represents "fun" for you, they have at it. Pick a kit with decent wood to start and you can save some decent money on a top end bass. If your finishing skills are so-so, I'd recommend a rub-on tung oil finish (which is a kind of dull natural wood thing but looks great if your are into that. I"ve got a factory guitar like that). Tung oil rub is easy for noobs to get to look good.

    But if your thing is not so much wood but other stuff like wiring electronics etc. then a Rondo SX is the answer. Great wood, decently finished, but often needing other things like rewiring, fret leveling and so forth. Those also can save some major cash.

    I"ve done both and there is a lot of satisfaction and fun in taking raw flamed maple parts and turning it into a striking instrument that plays like a boutique. There is also a lot of satisfaction in having a $100 bass that has been tweaked to blow the strings off $1000 basses. And not only that it's been customized to be just EXACTLY what you want in a bass.

    So either way, the idea is to start with low cash and substitute your work for that of a luthier that cost many dollars per hour. The key obviously is how your work compares to his.
     
  19. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC Area
  20. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Location:
    Nacogdoches, TX
    "The cheap kits aren't worth your time and trouble. For the "first time build" experience, I'd recommend buying a new SX Jazz from rondomusic to disassemble, refinish and detail-rebuild (taking care to shield the pickups, etc, etc). Here's an ash-bodied one for less than $200:"

    http://www.rondomusic.com/ursa2rnashna1.html

    THIS!

    You can even find a regular SX "Jazz" at Rondo Music with alder body on sale for less than $100.00 from time to time. After you've upgraded the bridge, pots, pickups and strings, you'll have a PLAYER that rivals most "budget" basses, and sounds good to boot! Check the "Essex" (SX) threads....they get a LOT of love here at TB!

    As already stated, once you've had the experience building the electronics you can redo the cosmetcs, and have ALL the fun of a "learning curve" on an instrument whose overall quality is a known quantity.

    THAT effort will tell you if you want to go on to the next step, or just enjoy the experience and play your socks off! I think this is a much better approach than hoping an anonymous Chinese "kit" will turn out to be worth the money.

    Buy that's just MY opinion...I'm tearing down a T40 right now, and am glad I've already done this to a bass that didn't cost me much. It gave me the confidence to tackle the restoration on a badly refinished vintage Peavey I want to play and keep forever!

    Good luck whichever course you take!
     
    madjazzbass likes this.
  21. TinyE

    TinyE Supporting Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Location:
    portland,or

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