A few Q's about Warmoth Basses...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Brendan, Feb 22, 2001.

  1. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    A few Questions about them That I haven't found answers to in other posts: What exactically do you have to do?

    Frets: I'm aware installing the parts, but what about frets? Do they come installed, and you have to work on them in that state, or install them yourself, or what?

    Electronics: Do you have to wire/solder them together yourself? Or just install the pups and pots? What do you have to do to as far as those go? Drill holes. Just put in the pots, Complete wiring, or what?

    *Neck: What is the feel? Fender, Ibanez, Warwick? Ect, In particular the Warmoth 13 degree angled Five neck. And do you have to put your own finish on the neck? And...Truss rod?

    Last but not least, how do you file the nut down? Circular file, what?

    I'm drooling over the possiblity for a completly custom bass for under 1600, and have heard so much good stuff, I'm just about sold on one, but my all thumbs talent may inhibit my drooling if I will have a pretty hard time with the frets, electronics, ect?
  2. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I'm certainly no expert regarding Warmoth basses, but I've learned a couple of things in my quest to satisfy my need to build my own;)

    With regards to Warmoth instruments, it's my understanding that you can pretty much do as much or as little as you desire, with relatively few exceptions. For example, you can buy a body "blank" that's no more than a piece of wood that needs cutting, shaping, sanding, finishing, routing, etc. Or, you can go the opposite route, whereby you purchase a completed body, one that's already been finished and routed, to your exacting standards. Or, of course, anywhere in between.

    Same thing goes for necks. You can buy a block of wood and do it all yourself, or you can go so far as to buy a completed neck, with already installed frets, and one that's been finished or unfinished, as you specify.

    There are a couple of things I'm pretty sure you'll have to take care of yourself, however. For one thing, I think you'll have to prepare the nut yourself (or by a professional in your neighborhood). Another thing that I think you have to do is install and solder the pickups yourself (or, again, by a professional in your neighborhood).

    If you have additional questions, consult the Warmoth website at www.Warmoth.com. They'll even respond quickly via e-mail for any questions or requests that you may have.

  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    To go completely custom will require a lot of work, as RAM said. To go semi-custom with a Fender, Dinky or Gecko body style can mean very little work, if you're comfortable with electronics installation and bass setups.

    The drawback with Warmoth...resale value.
  4. As the others said, it's very little work unless you do a lot of wierd custom stuff. The neck will come all in one piece, finished, fretted, everything. You'll need to drill holes in it and screw in onto the body. The body is already routed to your control, pickup, and neck specifications. Then you have to screw in the hardware; the bridge already has predrilled holes so that you get it in the right place. You need to do all the electronics, which is the hardest part. Then screw on the pickguard if you want one, and you're done.

    I had Warmoth make me a guitar body routed for bass ($100 more). Because of the way their machinery is set up they could rout the neck pocket, pickups, and bridge, but not the control cavity. Luckily I had a front routed design with a pickguard, so all you need is a blob-shaped hole-no precision routing. Then I also had to cut out the pickup and the neck pcket in the pickguard, once again, their machinery was not capable of this.

    The nut is the only real precision work that you need to do. I didn't want to mess it up, so I took it ti a shop where they did it for $35.

    It sounds and plays great. The neck has a beautiful finish on it. I got a P-Bass neck and it feels a lot like an older Fender P-Bass. It's baseball bat neck, but I like it--I have big hands. Some other people who play it complain though, especially those used to recent Fender Jazz basses.

    I hope this helps you.

    Kenan Sugar O'Brien
    The Sound of the Police

  5. Have any pictures of it? This is the jazzmaster bodied bass, I think? I'd love to see it. I am curious to see how close to the edge of the body the bridge is, among other things, and I think a picture would answer alot of my questions.

    Anyway, I also want to ask about Warmoths Jazz bass necks. How do they compare to more recent fender jazz necks? Anyone know?

  6. Randy Payne

    Randy Payne

    Jan 1, 2001
    I've got a Warmoth bass I'm very, very happy with.
    To assemble one yourself, you should have some basic woodworking, mechanical, and electrical skills.

    I will try to answer your questions:

    Frets? Warmoth does not do a final leveling and dressing of the frets. They explain this on their Website; it's buried in there somewhere. The ends of the frets are chamfered, but they are not filed. Now, I've gotten Warmoth necks with both 6150 and 6130 frets. The 6150's are pretty tall, and IMHO they require some dressing. This will require a special little file. I did mine myself for the first time, and it turned out reasonably well. The 6130's are not as tall, and for them I got by, by masking the entire fingerboard, and sanding the ends with progressively finer emery paper. this worked out well. Like I said, they don't do a final leveling, but they do an excellent job of seating the frets, and mine didn't need leveling. BTW, the chamfer is not a steep angle, and I increased the angle a little more with a sanding block.

    Electronics? Yes you will have to do the soldering and wiring yourself. The holes for the pots and pups are already there of couse.

    Neck? The Jazz neck is the same profile as a '62 Jazz I think. The thickness goes from .85" to .95" from the nut to the 12th fret. Nice feel.

    Neck finish? You have to put a finish on. Warmoth will do it for about $75, or you can do it yourself. I used Minwax spray satin Polyurethane, and it turned out GREAT. Slicker than snot on a doorknob. Just be patient and WAIT 2 days between coats, put on 6 or more coats....

    Nut? You have to do your own nut. Get a set of little files from the hardware store. Great Neck makes some good ones.

    Truss rod? Comes ready to go.

    My Warmoth Jazz cost about $750, not "cheap", but I think it's pretty nice. I suggested on Usenet that my Warmoth was as good as a Sadowski, and I still have 3rd degree burns from the flames, so I won't say "My Warmoth is as good as a Sadowski" here!

    The comment someone else made on resale value is absolutely right on. The resale value sucks, because nobody's going to trust your workmanship, they'll assume you're a dolt. What I would recommend to someone selling a Warmoth, would be "parting it out". Sell all the parts individually on E-Pay. If you do this, you will get more than the whole.

    , and a little they will need some fret dressing.
  7. Randy,
    I didn't touch the frets on my Warmoth bass. It seems fine. Was I supposed to?

    Kenan Sugar O'Brien
    The Sound of the Police
  8. Randy Payne

    Randy Payne

    Jan 1, 2001
    Hi Sound of the Police:

    Well, if the frets feel OK to you, then maybe you should just leave 'em alone. I wouldn't say you're "supposed" to dress the frets. Take a look at the fret ends. Do they look like they were just cut off at an angle, forming sharp edges at the cut? If the frets were dressed, the edge that is created by cutting off the ends of the frets would be rounded. (picture is worth 1000 words)

    This edge can be felt if you move your hand (while pressing) along the edge of the neck along the frets. Do you feel little sharp "pokes" when your hand goes past a fret?

    Some players like the raw feel I guess.

    Actually, if you go into a music store and look at basses, 90% of 'em will have non-dressed fret ends. When you start looking at high-end stuff, then the frets are usually dressed real nice. I played a Pedulla once that had a really nice fret job....

  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Randy, how would any thinking person debate whether your Warmoth was as nice as a Sadowsky...unless they had actually played yours?
  10. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Thanks Guys (Randy in particular). That helped a lot. I of course might just have to get me a Warmoth now. Isn't it cool to get a custom bass for less than what you pay for some stock models? If I get one, I'll let ya'll know how it turns out...