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Bass Kits - What's a Good One?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by mattzink, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Hey y'all!
    Wanted to build my next bass before I went off the deep end and tried to build one from scratch. I thought it'd be a good way to learn my way around. I've found a few kits for sale, but I wonder which is best? I'd like to build a P-bass, but am not that particular.

    Can anyone recommend a good kit with quality woods, hardware, and factory workmanship? I'd appreciate it,
  2. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    Some TBers may know of a quality complete kit bass, but I haven't seen them. Carvin may be an option, but I have no experience with them.

    I assembled a Jazz bass recently from the following sources:
    Body and neck- USA custom guitars---$500
    Pickups---bestbassgear.com $110
    Hardware---AllParts, Warmoth---$200

    If your budget permits this kind of expense and you have general knowledge regarding fitting a nut, wiring and setting up an instrument, this may be something to consider.

    If you are a Newbie I'd recommend buying an SX for $100 and learn on that. They are good basses and will benefit from better parts. :D
  3. Clink's got good advice - I'll only add that IMO the Carvin kits would be pretty high quality because they use the same parts as their bolt-on customs. Of course those killer finishes aren't going to happen but at least the basic goods are up to par. Now, I haven't built one but I've studied them with Carvin and I've played a bolt-on Carvin or two and liked the quality.

    But the SX might be your best bet. Think of them as the Chevy small block of bassdom. They're easy to fix, alter, re-alter, and get parts for. And when you're done, you can have a pretty neat hot-rod as your class project.
  4. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I thin k those Carvin kits get pretty good bang for the buck, plus, you don't have to shop around for anything on them.

    Only thing is, the necs are a bit wonky feeling, if I remember right. Nothing like a Fender. But, on the flipside, you could just pick up a Fender from the pawn shop and rod it out as well.
  5. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Thanks all - I appreciate the advice so far. I've been also thinking of assembling a bass from parts like Warmouth (I had envisioned a P-bass with a Moses graphite neck) but frankly am scared. Do I really want to spend $400-$600 on a bass that I could screw up when I could just buy a P-bass for around that?

    Of course, the answer is to get over the fear. I have no significant carpentry experience, but the fact that my dream of building a bass (one day I'll build from scratch) has not died means I should probably quit hemming and hawing and get on the stick.

    I will look into the SX - I've never heard of it before.
    Thanks again,
  6. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    Good luck to you.
    The Jazz is my first attempt at assembling a semi-custom bass and it was a bit humbling at times. The process is not difficult, but I had to take my time, research the process and be careful.
    A friend of mine who's 'beater' is a Conklin played the Jazz Sunday is now inspired to make a fretless 5 so I think my skills get a passing grade.
    An SX was a project bass for me, so I recommend it to you.
    I have faith in you. :cool:
  7. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I "built" a Carvin 4 string from one of their kits. it turned out great and is a nice sounding, jazz like bass. Quality of parts is exceptional and the neck is a dream to play. Better than most over $1000 instruments. Frets were perfectly levelled and dressed.The neck is not at all "wonky". The pickups are very good single coils.. You could easily change them out for other jazz type pickups. Shielding is very good.

    The bass is light-only 7.25 lbs. No neck dive. Mine is alder. You can also get it in swamp ash and on special order from Carvin, walnut.

    The most fun for me was putting on a nice finish-hand rubbed varnish, many coats, over a stain.

    The parts fit together perfectly. Carvin turns out very high quality work.
  8. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Hey, I don't mean there is anything wrong with their necks at all, but I don't think they are anything like fender J or P necks, so it will just feel new, thats all!


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    A Conklin beater......daaaaayum :eek:

    The Warmouth kits aren't bad from what I can see....I've been contemplating a kit myself
  10. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I built a Carvin B5 fretless from their kit. A nice bass, good quality, sounds good. I also bought a fretted neck, and switch them as needed (not very often).
  11. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I, too, built a bass from a Carvin kit. Easy to put together & quality parts. The hardest part was just having the patience to let the finish dry. ;)
  12. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I'm siding with an SX. You can probably throw in pickups, pots, a pickguard; all the stuff you want for less than a body would cost at Warmoth (well...almost.)
  13. I can second the neck feel - those are about the best finished necks you'll find. The Hook is right in that they aren't a Fender style neck and don't feel like it either. They are thinner, faster, and have a canted headstock to help with downforce on the nut. Their fretboards are awesome also.
  14. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    What is the body, neck and finger board made out of on the SX kit?
  15. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Zink: the SX is not a kit, but a basic bass that plays pretty well right out of the box. It seems many people at Talk Bass think the SX is the best bang for your buck, so you can feel confident in modding a decent quality inexpensive bass. You are responsible for locating replacement parts. This is a good way to learn guitar repair because you can remove and replace 1 piece at a time, at your leisure.

    On the SX that I ordered, the body is made of Alder, the neck is made of maple and the fingerboard is made of rosewood. Here's the website:

  16. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Excellent - thanks for the clarification. I was a little hazy on whether or not it was an actual kit.
  17. username1


    Dec 28, 2005
    alberta canada
    I would look on ebay and find the mighty mite necks and bodies. Necks are just under $100 and bodies start at $58. They are also licenced by fender so they have the fender peg head shape and are excellent quality.
  18. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    If you want a p bass go for one.
    But you decide things like-
    -body wood and finish
    -fretboard wood
    -traditional pickguard or rear routed
    -pickup brand and type
    In otherwords go for your ideal P bass and then do not settle for anything else
    save for quality parts and then you will end up with a bass you will want to keep forever
  19. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    thank you jeff. honestly, it's almost as if you know me - i've made some bad purchases of late b/c i have been impatient or get it in my head that something is "nifty". the Mighty Mite stuff looks very intriguing - that seems like a good tip. Anybody know anything about their rep?

    Thanks all for the encouragment in this tread. It feels real good!
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    +1!!!! Their hardware's pretty good, too. And if you've got a hankering for a P bass, go to www.reverend.com and get one of their closeout prototype 8.7ohm P bass pickups or it. They sound fantastic.

    I've built basses from kits and you are correct to start with something inexpensive where you won't mind screwing up.