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Binding a jazz bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by BryanM, Mar 8, 2013.


  1. BryanM

    BryanM

    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I've got a VM Squier jazz bass body that I'm planning on breathing new life into. I don't have much precise woodworking experience, but it was a free body so I'm planning on learning as I go. My neighbor has built several guitars and basses from scratch and has offered his assistance, but my question is whether it's possible to modify a jazz body so that it's bound on top like an Aerodyne. If it is possible, would something like this be far too advanced to undertake for a beginner?

    I have a maple P-bass neck that I've started de-fretting and have started stripping the stain off of the body. I plan on stripping the neck and body completely, sanding and spraying the body and headstock with Sonic Blue Reranch. I plan to bind the neck and headstock with dark abalone and add abalone block inlays and use a dark wood veneer for fretlines. I'd possibly also like to shave the body down to eliminate the roundover and route for binding on the body as well, but with the forearm contour intact, then re-round the back of the bass before spraying.

    My last question is this: with doing this much modification to the body and having a decently equipped shop at my disposal, would it be more efficient to build a body from scratch?
     
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    It would take some pretty thick binding to get rid of the round over, I'm not sure that you could make it look good when it was all said and done.
     
  3. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Norway
    You could do normal binding if you shrink the body a bit. Just rout a deep channel for the binding, glue the binding in place and use the binding as a template for a flush trim bit to shrink the body. This will get rid of the roundover.

    That's in theory anyway. I have never tried it myself.
     
  4. BryanM

    BryanM

    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    This is the idea that I had in mind, though my thought was to trim the body, then route for the binding and apply it. I may just try my hand at building the body from scratch using the jazz bass as a template, since to use the pickups that I plan to would require some modification to the pickup routes anyways. I don't have access to a jointer/planer right now, though, so I'd probably have to buy some blanks pre-jointed or find some wood and pay someone to prep it for me.
     
  5. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Norway
    I see. Sounds like making a new body is just as easy. At least it's less risky. ;)

    Warmoth sell premade body blanks. They can even route for the neck and pickup if you want, although that takes some of the fun out of it IMO. :)
     

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