How do we feel about "Frankenstein" basses here?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by AuntieBeeb, Oct 24, 2012.


  1. AuntieBeeb

    AuntieBeeb

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    I just wanted to dip my toe in the water here...I'm in the process of building a bass, but with very little actually luthiery involved - basically, it's a Frankenstein bass build from parts bought on eBay, with a mahogany body of rather mysterious origin.

    I started to document the process on my blog, and I just wondered whether people would be interested on here. Since, as I say, there's very little luthiery involved, I won't be offended if you think this would be better placed in another forum!

    Edit: decided, based on advice, that it was perhaps a bit cheeky to link out to my blog from here, so I've removed the links. If anyone's still interested, there's a link to the blog on my profile.
     
  2. lethargytartare

    lethargytartare

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    I don't think parts-builds are necessarily off-limits -- you've certainly avoided one pitfall by acknowledging up front that it's not the same as the luthierie generally on display in this forum. But it's probably beyond the rules to use the forum to link out to your blog.

    Specifically on your build: having read up to the part where you were screwing in the neck screws, apparently without pre-drilling, without owning a drill, and without a neck plate, and having read lines like "as I tried to ignore the pain of a screwdriver that seemed it would rather push itself back into my hand than rotate that screw through another degree" "I was trying to rotate that screwdriver with both arms, and once more concerned that I was damaging the screw heads" and "getting gradually closer to the countersinks on the back of the body" I think you need to stop, research a bit (plenty of info in these forums), get a few basic tools, and THEN go back at it. If you're going to build stuff, you should invest in some basic tools -- here a power drill and a set of bits would resolve your issue. But you should also have a neck plate on there. And since you might be using a short-scale body with a normal scale neck, you may discover your bass won't intonate properly -- again, plenty in these forums to explain that.

    Cheers!
    ltt
     
  3. AuntieBeeb

    AuntieBeeb

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    First of all, just wanted to thank you for the advice - both on the forum etiquette and the build!

    You might be reassured to know I've since sorted the problem with the screw heads; managed to remove them, get some proper holes drilled and also picked up a better screwdriver in the meantime!

    You were right to be suspicious about the bridge: I wasn't too surprised myself that I had to put it right at the back of the body to get the right scale length, and even then I had to take the saddles back a bit to sort out the intonation.

    The only thing I'm wondering about is the neck plate: the holes on the back of the body already had metal countersinks in them, which I presumed would be strong enough. Or is my thinking very wrong?
     
  4. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64

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    There's nothing wrong with frankensteining an instrument. It can be fun. Just be sure that you don't claim to be building an instrument.

    I've built an instrument from blocks of wood. That guitar is a big fat Meh, IMHO. I pretty much hate it. It is disassembled mostly in my garage now.

    Recently, I salvaged a Peavey bass that I nabbed on Craig's list. That was a fun project, and the resulting instrument is eons better than my homemade tele.

    Yesterday I finished assembling a Strat completely from spare parts that I've accumulated over the past couple of years. That was really fun, and yesterday I was able to play it for the first time. I still need to set it up, and tweak the nut a little bit, but I think it's going to be a special guitar, based on my first impressions. One of the most useful skills I've developed (and honed) by working on freebie/beater/cheap instruments is fret leveling.

    This is a hobby for me, not a profession. If you have the time, check out my Tele build thread linked above, you will see that I made some colossal mistakes along the way. I'm not in a hurry to build another guitar; however, I seem to be generating a lot of repeat customers (though I never charge for my labor) amongst friends and friends of friends for set-ups and repairs (I also dabble with amp building and repair). This has had the pleasant side-effect of people giving me old instruments, or "crappy" instruments for free to do with as I please. It's a lot of fun to bring them back to life.

    Here's a few freebies that need some attention:
    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    A beat old Samick before:
    [​IMG]

    Samick after:
    [​IMG]

    So I say, keep on learning, assembling and fixing. It's been very fulfilling to me so far, and I look forward to more projects!
     
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  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    The best basses are Frankensteined basses!!!

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  7. AuntieBeeb

    AuntieBeeb

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    Some beautiful specimens here, guys. Though I've got to admit - Ric5...I can't get used to the look of the triangular headstocks on those SG-shaped basses! (Maybe I'm just too used to the original design - he said, looking lovingly at his Epi SG bass)
     
  8. kikstand454

    kikstand454 Supporting Member

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    Those 5string SG's are bad ass. It is weird seeing the flying V headstock on them...but I'm feelin it.

    Great thread.
     
  9. bolophonic

    bolophonic

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    I am totally down with Frankenbasses, but I don't quite understand why it would violate the forum rules to post a link to a website where we can see a build documented, provided it isn't a commercial link or a political blog or something.
     
  10. bassteban

    bassteban

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    I love Fronkunsteen basses. Don't have one but do have nearly all the parts- currently in search of Hans Delbruck's brain...
     
  11. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

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    Just make sure you don't come back with Abby Normal's brain by mistake!:D

    IMO making parts basses is a great way to get in to the world of building. It gives you a nice basic understanding of where things are supposed to go and how they work. Once you get a few parts projects under your belt it may fuel you to take on a build of your own from scratch.
     
  12. lethargytartare

    lethargytartare

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    Ahhh -- nope, you're spot on there, then -- I didn't notice the ferrules. I would still line up the screws I was using against the heel to see how far into the neck wood they're going to go just to make sure they're not long enough to go too deeply into the neck.

    Sounds like you've got it sorted out -- good job!!

    ltt
     
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    I like to use the Abby brain ...
     
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    Ya I start out with a paddle headstock and I don't want to cut out a Gibby headstock. The pointy headstock still is sort of Gibson plus it is easier to cut out. And I really like the way it looks. I also like the straight string path to the tuners.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    I don't like cutting blank blocks of wood, and I sure don't want to build my own necks. I don't mind routing holes. So Frankensteined basses are perfect for me.
     
  16. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64

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    Having tried the former, I also prefer the latter.
     
  17. AuntieBeeb

    AuntieBeeb

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    I guess that would be the next logical step though - if my current project is successful, I quite like the idea of cutting myself a body. Don't think I'd have the confidence to cut and fret a neck at this stage though, so it would probably be a trip back to eBay for another pre-cut P-bass neck!

    Mind you, I'd also need to massively expand my toolset to cut the body. And probably warn the missus well in advance...
     
  18. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Supporting Member

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    Frankenstein basses are fun. I've turned out a few that came out well & sold here on tb.
     
  19. AuntieBeeb

    AuntieBeeb

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    Just for you, then - I put up part III a little while ago http://wp.me/p2GOWH-2m
     
  20. Phendyr_Loon

    Phendyr_Loon

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    That is because there is nothing wrong with it. I've seen plenty of times where the post body will include a link to photo bucket, Instagram or a blog, all the same.
    Until you get a PM or reply post from an actual MOD, don't worry about it. Your blog is photos and text displaying your built process, with no monetary gain intended.
     
  21. AuntieBeeb

    AuntieBeeb

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    Okeydokey, well just a little update to say that part IV is up (some of you may have stumbled across it already): http://thecrowfrombelow.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-birth-of-aradia-part-iv/

    As the post says, it may be a while before I get round to writing part V as I wanted that to be a synopsis of the French Polishing process, which, as I'm sure many of you know, can take a couple of weeks to complete (especially when you've got to fit in annoyances like a day job and a social life in between polishing sessions)! If people are interested, I might try and put up a few intermediate photos as the coats are applied.
     

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