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Bass Kits?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by volt9stormrider, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. I've just begun to hear about these.

    are they good?
    how expensive are they?
    are they hard to put together?
    is it worth it?

    I have no knowledge whatsoever of these kits, and I would like to have some feedback on them.
  2. theLimeyBrit

    theLimeyBrit Used Register

    Feb 3, 2006
    Longview, TX
    If you're looking to build a bass just to save some money, don't bother. If you want to do it right, you'll spend about the same amount of money as you would on a mid-priced bass- somewhere in the region of $600-$1000. If you factor in the time, effort and expense in putting it all together, a kit will end up costing a lot more than a manufactured instrument. Worth it? You'll end up with an instrument that is a lot more personal than just buying something off the rack. That'd make it worth it for me.
  3. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    The other benefit is that you'll probably end up with a lot of nice tools ;)
  4. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    I love tools!
  5. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Some kits require you do a lot of work in the final fitting, with some fret levelling more than likely and of course, putting a finish on it.

    One kit, the Carvin Bolt 4 or 5 kits come complete with everything including the electronics. All you need to do is some final sanding and apply the finish, then assemble. Everything fits together perfectly. You solder a couple of pickup connections, set the action to your liking and your're done. No fret levelling needed. You end up with an excellent playing and sounding jazz type bass.

    The Carvin overall is cheaper as long as you don't get carried away with options. I built the Bolt 4. I now have a very nice sounding bass that I love to play. It's the one I pick up most often.
  6. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    +1 on the carvin kits. I built 4 of them and they are fairly easy to assemble. All parts fit perfectly and Carvin necks are excellent. YOu can get good info at the carvin forums too.


    SWILLKILL Banned

    Apr 24, 2007
    are there any other companies offering kits like this at a lower price? or with just body neck ?
  8. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Saga kits are cheap, but you get what you pay for
  9. !Rob!


    Mar 2, 2007
    I just ordered 2....one for a newbie student, and one for me to fart around with....for $129,each I couldn't resist....even if I just hang mine on the wall in my studio, it still will have given me a few hours of fun.
  10. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    yeah, I have played around with a few different kits brought to me by customers. The quality varies greatly, but they are always fun to play with, and you can usually get a decent playing instrument if you take the time.

    Have fun with them

    SWILLKILL Banned

    Apr 24, 2007
    yea - i am def. gonna get one. i have some color / paint ideas i want to try with embbed led wire.

    besides ebay - where can you order online? the website doesnt direct you to any online dealers.
  12. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    I have no experience with these kits. I've just seen them from the catalog or something. Probably been mentioned here a few times too. Another source that may be worth checking out.

  13. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - PerĂº

  14. Im looking hard at the Carvin B4 kit. Now I just have to talk my wife into it :help:
  15. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    The alder bodies are the cheaper option. They are also lighter usually than ash. You can use one of the easy wipe on tung oil type finishes and get an acceptable finish in a couple days. Or you can go all out if you have the skills to handle other finishes.

    I did mine with multiple thin coats of varnish, thinned 50/50 with naptha and wiped on with a cloth; probably about 12 coats overall. Then I rubbed it out with 0000 steel wool and paste wax to a beautiful satin finish. That's easy enough but time consuming. I used Benjamin Moore One Hour clear gloss varnish. I used a light walnut water based dye stain underneath. Dye stains won't obscure the grain as much as the heavy pigment stains. With alder that can be important.

    You'll have a lot of fun with the Bolt and end up with a bass that plays very well. Everything on mine fit together perfectly with no slop or neck joint gaps. Amazing neck on it too. The sound is very jazz bass like. I optioned for the J99 single coil pickups.
  16. Thats good news. I may order it today.
    I was considering a tung oil finish but then got an idea for a theme type bass.
    Im a huge Emerson, Lake and Palmer fan. My plan is to shoot it all glossy bright white (w/black hardware). I plan to print decals from the cover art from ELP's album Tarkus for the body and headpiece. The headpiece would say "TarkBass" and the back of the body to have a huge ELP logo. Other various tarkus character to appear on the front of the body.

    Anyway...just an idea.
  17. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I saw photos of a couple Carvin Bolts that were decorated with photos in that manner. That can be quite striking. Good luck with convincing your wife (kit building makes me a more sensitive person and helps me relax and contemplate how I can make our marriage more fulfilling) and on building the kit.
  18. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    Here's one of my Carvin kits with adler and minwax stain and minwax tung oil.....


    ...and swamp ash with minwax tung oil....


    And with woodburst stain and tung oil on swamp ash.....


    Let us know your decision and best of luck!!!


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