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Advantages of building a bass from a kit?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by airrick, Mar 25, 2006.


  1. airrick

    airrick

    Dec 4, 2005
    is there any other then self satisfaction, is it cheaper, etc?
     
  2. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Just satisfaction and mods along the way.

    Generally, it's as expensive if not more.

    DIY almost always is these days.
     
  3. Diego

    Diego

    Dec 9, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    I agree with tplyons: financial-wise it is not cheaper. The cool side of it is you get to learn how to bulid it, personal satusfaction, and you'll learn A LOT about set-up and repair issues (if you don't know them already).
     
  4. airrick

    airrick

    Dec 4, 2005
    what companies do this
     
  5. Diego

    Diego

    Dec 9, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    The best parts you can get (quality wise) are from Warmoth (www.warmoth.com) but they are not cheap, actually they are quite good, high quality parts. If you opt to go for the "cheaper" road, Carvin sells a kit tha goes for around $350and still would be decent for a summer project (IMHO) but there is no comparison with the quality of warmoth (which would sum up to about $1300-1500). You can also buy spare parts form stewmac, lmii and american guitar supply. Also OK. If this is absolutely experiemental, you could get a "really cheap" kit form ebay.
     
  6. Whacked

    Whacked

    Sep 21, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Carvin makes a good kit, $400 on up depending on upgrades. You will have to finish the body/neck yourself tho.
     
  7. haxality

    haxality

    Feb 14, 2006
    On a related note, how much does warmoth generally charge to assemble everything for you, more or less custom building you a bass?
     
  8. instigata

    instigata

    Feb 24, 2006
    New Jersey
    they don't do it. i asked. they only sell you the parts.

    and it becomes a decent sum after a while. but i think it sure as hell beats the quality of a fender if you do it yourself. and it really is as simple as screwing in a few screws and being able to use a solder for a few minutes.

    i'm thinking about doing it. OR having valenti do it for me, cos he's better :)
     
  9. keb

    keb

    Mar 30, 2004
    Building from a kit actually saved a little bit of money for me. But then again, the finish I put on mine was just a very basic finish of a few coats of spray-on poly lightly sanded to a satin finish, nothing too elaborate that required tools or materials that I didn't have. The tools and other stuff I needed (soldering iron, sandpaper, polyurethane, pickups of choice, etc) was stuff I already had around long before I built mine. If you don't have that stuff already, the cost of them can add up.
     
  10. Groundloop

    Groundloop

    Jun 21, 2005
    Toronto
    Another source for bodies and necks is Mighty Mite http://www.mightymite.com/.

    A possible advantage of building your own is, if you're strapped for cash, you can spread out the purchases over time, picking up the bits as finances allow, or as deals come along. You might end up with higher quality stuff this way.
     
  11. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    If you are looking at Warmoth stuff...check out Valenti. He is a Talkbass member that works for Sadowsky Basses and builds custom basses from Warmoth(and others) parts. He does fantastic work...way better than most mass manufacturing companies. He's not cheap (in the 1500-1800 or so range, I think). I imagine you'd spend close to that much in parts from Warmoth for you to put together, though. I was pricing all the parts up one day and I got over a grand and still wasn't done....I realized it was cheaper to just buy a new bass already completed! But, there is that "I made this myself" feeling you can get by building it.
     
  12. ironfist

    ironfist

    Feb 5, 2000
    I would really like to put together one of those Carvin kits. It's cheaper than buying an assembled B4 or B5 of course, but you have to do the finishing yourself. With the availability of scores of low priced imports these days, most kit and part basses will end up costing you more. Still, I'm waiting until I win the Carvin gear giveaway so I can buy a B5 kit. ;) I'd choose the following options: walnut body, no inlays on fretboard, black hardware, and passive B4 style electronics. I'd use Tru-Oil to finish the body and neck and slap 'er together. The nice thing about the Carvin kits is that everything is basically done - all the holes are drilled for you.
     
  13. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    Ironfist;

    Go for it! I built 3 B4's and they sound great. If you go to the Carvin website, they have a great BBS for asking questions. Or drop me a line, I'd be happy to add my $.02

    Mike

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. ironfist

    ironfist

    Feb 5, 2000
    Thanks man. Those basses look really sweet! What kind of finishes are on each one? The first one (with active electronics and gold hardware) looks like oiled walnut. I love that look, although the blue/green one at the bottom is sweet. It also looks like you didn't use the stock pickups in the last one.

    Carvin doesn't list a passive option for their 5 string kit but the guys in their BB assured me it could easily be done if I asked. Now I really want one of these things, especially now that they're using the Hipshot A style bridge.
     
  15. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I built the Carvin B4 kit a couple years ago. I can attest that it's a high quality kit with excellent hardware and everything fits together perfectly.

    The neck is exceptional. perfectly finished frets, you can set the action very low if you like that and it's very comfortable to play on.

    It's also light and easy on the back and shoulders. Mine, in alder, is just a shade under 7 lbs. The balance is perfect.

    About all you need to put it together are a couple of screwdrivers and a soldering iron. Very easy soldering as the wiring harness is pre-assembled.

    A lot of people just use a simple wipe on finish such as MinWax which is easy and quick and looks quite good. I used a penetrating oil stain and multiple coats of varnish, finally levelling it out and polishing it to a beautiful gloss. That was the fun part for me.

    I was surprised when I finished how much I like the bass. It's the one I pick up first just because it's so nice to play. I've taken it as a backup on gigs and wound up using it all night.

    I guess I saved some money but that wasn't the point for me. It was fun to do and the finished bass will stand up to anything from the big names in the $1000 plus range.

    It sounds great too.
     
  16. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I'm building my own custom Jazz bass with the neck and body from Warmoth.

    The advantage is I can buy the parts as I have the cash for it.

    The neck only cost me $225 (exactly the way I wanted it). The body will cost me $265 (rear routed with a laminate top). That's $490 for the neck and body. There is no way I'll be spending $610 or more on hardware! Bridge, pickups, controls, wiring and tuning pegs costing that much? :eek:

    I'll be finishing it myself and assembling it. I don't know how a custom built bass from Warmoth parts would cost more than a stock bass bought elsewhere. I'd build my own any day. Then I can have it exactly as I want it, for a lot less than some basses I've lusted after in the past...ones that still had some things I'd have had to settle for.
     
  17. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    If you build a carvin, or take your time choosing pieces at good prices, building your own bass can save you a bundle, especially if you like tung oil finishes. I probably saved about 300 bucks on the bass I built. It's hard to imagine a better bass for 400 bucks than you would get with a Carvin kit.

    But the real reason to build a bass kit is to learn how to do it! When you can assemble and repair most anything on your bass, you will save a lot in setup/repair fees, and will be far more willing and able to mod your bass.
     
  18. yugo

    yugo

    Mar 28, 2006
    How are the carvins? i was thinking about one but i've never played one, but on the other hand i would also like to do some exotic jazz bass with warmoth stuff but its just so damn costly.
     
  19. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    Ironfist;

    The first one (active gold hardware) was the Alder body stained with Minwax 'special walnet' stain. I then did the neck and body with Minwax tung oil. about 6-7 coats on the neck and about 9 on the body.

    The best advice if you use tungoil is DO NOT leave it one too long. You put in on for 5-6 minutes, then wipe it off. If you wait too long, it turns the consistancy of honey and is a *itch to wipe off.

    The blue one was swamp ash stained with woodburst stain. (www.woodburst.com) The stain is mixed in a tung oil base, and I used Minwax wipe on poly gloss. THe wipe on poly is basically thined out polyuretane, so you need twice as many coats than normal. I think the blue one had 11-12 coats/=.

    No matter what kit you choose, TAKE YOUR TIME. Enjoy the experience.

    Mike
     
  20. BassFelt

    BassFelt

    Mar 26, 2002
    If a guy assembles a bass for close to the value of the parts, I wouldn't say: he's not cheap :)
     

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