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Build A High Quality New Bass Challange $350 or Less!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Quadzilla, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Hey all,

    Just sharing my experiences with my first low-budget build a bass project. The object was to spend $350 or less but all use very high quality, NEW (not used) parts. I think that I accomplished this. Let me say that building a bass does require a lot of trial and error, so be prepared to screw things up and then have to fix them.

    First off, here is the list of parts that I aquired:

    Vaccaro new (not used) Bass Body - made in USA originally for the famed, $2400 Hartke XL-4 bass, from Ebay with pickguard: $60 Shipped

    AXS Neck (made in Japan, VERY nice) with tuners from Ebay: $90 Shipped

    Pickups - DiMarzio P/J Pup kit: $95 shipped (Musicians Friend)

    Various other parts: $92 shipped (Guitarelectronics.com)
    Pot kit with CTS pots and input jack
    9v battery box (not running active now, but hole was already in body so I needed to fill it with something)
    Neck mounting screws and washers
    Schaller strap locks
    Pickup mounting screws (pups came w black and I wanted chrome)
    Pickguard mounting screws
    Circuit wire
    Switchcraft long reach 1/4" input jack
    Very nice heavy duty no-name chrome bridge
    Chrome, machined knobs (nice and heavy)

    Total cost = $337 INCLUDING shipping with a few bucks left over for strings

    As you can see from the pictures, the first thing I had to do was remove material from the neck pocket as the neck was almost 1/8" wider at the base than the body. I carefully measured and drew lines on the body. Used a dremel to get the bulk of the material out then fine sanded the remaining (what a pain!).

    Next was the wiring. Had to scratch my head a bit as the Dimarzio wiring diagram varied slightly from the pot kit one. I also ultimately had to drill a route to underneath the bridge and ground everything there as there was some minor hum before grounding to the bridge.

    The bridge thru me for a loop as well because I followed measuring intructions from the luthiers forum but had to move the bridge back twice because the innotation was still too sharp. It acutally could prob go back another 1/4" yet (which I may still do). Thank god the bridge covers my mistakes...

    Bottom line, it plays and sounds amazing! The neck is sooo fast and sooo smooth! Frett work is on par with my USA G&L! Pickups really make this baby cut thru. All and all I had a TON of fun doing this and recommend that everybody try it at least once! Here come the pics!
  2. Sutton


    Mar 3, 2005
    Plainwell, MI
    *waiting on the pics*
  3. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member


    Neck pocket After Dremel But Before Fine Finish Sanding (don't worry, it now looks a lot better than this now that it's finished)



    Wiring At About 50% Complete (before grouding, treble cut capacitor, input jack, etc. It's complete now)...


    All Assembled (except for strap locks which I'm doing tonight)!!!!


  4. Sutton


    Mar 3, 2005
    Plainwell, MI
    Thats sharp as hell! It sounds really good too eh? I may look around and make me a bass. It wasnt too difficult to assemble, right? (I'm not a noob when it comes to this stuff, just not an expert)
  5. eric234

    eric234 Guest

    Mar 11, 2005
    why don't you just buy a peavy gring with free shipping?
  6. Niiiiiice & congrats on doing a fine job! Very nice job on the wiring too...
  7. He described his goal as being to BUILD a bass for under $350, not buy one.
  8. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Thanks Sarge (and all)!!!!
  9. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Well my "Build a boutique bass of exotic woods with high-quality components, in lefty 6er flavour" project is now @ $1300-1400... :meh:
    It's funny that you can build an entire bass from decent parts for $350 - for me, getting just the pick-ups and electronics for a 6er is more :( :spit:
  10. Nice! I've been looking at buying a neck and shaping my own body. I didn't set such I tight budget for it because I was finding necks for the price of your entire build (warmoth)! I guess I need to look into the neck you picked up! Again... nice job!
  11. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Yeah, the cost of pickups goes wwwwway up when you get into 5, 6 + string pups, plus I stayed passive for now. Also, I used a fairly standard wood body - US poplar which is comparible to Alder, nothing exotic like you are doing. :D ;)
  12. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    That looks really nice! Good work and a great price. If it plays as good as it looks, touchdown!
  13. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I'm working on a similar Idea. I'm building a 5 string jazz and hoping to keep it under 400. I may do a combination prebuilt neck/homemade body or I may build it all myself. Who knows.
  14. keith phelps

    keith phelps

    Sep 25, 2002
    SWEET!!! Great Job. Beautiful Bass.
  15. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    Nice of you to share your build experience. It looks great. :)
  16. konfishily


    Jan 24, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    I am blown away, nice work. Props to Quadzilla
  17. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I paid $350 for my ESP, gotta love clearance sales.
  18. wow, looks really nice man...i usually don't dig the look of a j bass, but the silver pick guard really helps the aesthetic part. really great job :bassist:
  19. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Wow, thanks for the response guys. Guess I'll have to save up a few more bucks and do another one! :D I'll let you know how she does at practice Thurs eve.
  20. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Hey Quad - great job, man! I'm wondering if the contest rules require that ALL work be done by me. ;)

    I recently finished a jazz bass that I'm quite happy with, though i had my luthier do the neck assembly for me because i don't have a drill press. I don't have pics yet, but soon will. Here's what i did - tell me if this qualifies:

    Using the following parts:

    - natural finish import jazz body from a fellow TBer
    - dimarzio jazz pickups (also purchased from fellow TBer)
    - Fender Jazz '62 re-issue control plate, knobs and wiring (you guessed - from yet another fellow TBer)
    - white pickguard, tuners, strap buttons, string tree and neckplate from MIM Fender jazz
    - new neck from Mighty Mite
    - Fender Jazz decal off of ebay
    - Badass II bridge that I had previously installed on MIM Jazz mentioned above

    Assembled the entirety of the body components, finished the neck myself (including fretboard) with a few light coats of spray satin urethane and added the waterslide decal to the headstock (covering it with several coats of the same satin finish spray urethane.

    Due to previous recent failures with neck drilling, I decided not to take any chances, so I took the rest of it to my trusted luthier, who finished the job, installing the neck and tuners and insuring that any wiring sloppiness/issues were resolved.

    The end result is a sweet jazz bass that plays and sounds great.