Build a new bass guitar

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by gianpiero, Aug 10, 2022.

  1. gianpiero


    Aug 24, 2021

    I would like to start to build or assembly my personal bass guitar (possibly in the style of a tele bass or of a stingray).

    The budget is low dus I would like not to go towards Warmoth and similar.
    I live in Belgium and these products are really expensive.

    My question is: best buy a kit and then add all the parts I need or best buy a basic bass (e.g. Squier classic vibe or Sterling sub) and then upgrade it replacing bridge, pickups, tuners and so on?

    According what I read, only Warmoth and Allparts make high quality kits, the other producers make kits that are not worth to upgrade.
    Unfortunately, here in Europe the assortment of Allparts products is very limited.

    What do you suggest?

    Thanks for your help
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  2. bigthemat and Ethereal Thorn like this.
  3. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    The "best" method is going to really depend on what you want. Allow your goals to choose your path.

    Do you want a bass with certain parts and features? Get a cheap bass with the right body shape and upgrade it.

    Or do you want the experience of building a bass yourself? If so, what parts of the process have you the most excited? Figure that out, then build from scratch or from kits.

    Kits are good in terms of teaching you basic finishing and assembly skills. If you compare building a kit to upgrading a cheap bass, the biggest difference is that the kit will (usually) require you to finish the wood parts.
    George Dennis and Dubious Aa like this.
  4. gianpiero


    Aug 24, 2021

    Yes, I forgot to say that I would like to skip the finishing, at least for my first project.

    I suppose it’ s better to start only with assemblying the bass (electronics included).
  5. gianpiero


    Aug 24, 2021
    TerribleTim68 likes this.
  6. If you aren't interested in finishing then definitely buy a bass and modify as required. There are lots of relatively cheap used basses out there, and upgrading the bits you want will be incremental costs.

    From scratch there is a lot of work, and buying good quality hardware and electronics can be very expensive.
  7. dcbluesbass


    Dec 29, 2007
    S.E. Indiana
    I've bought a 54 P Bass body from them. Worth checking out!!!
    darthplagis likes this.
  8. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    PM sent.
  9. The German forum has a busy bass building section, folks there will be more than happy to recommend suppliers in the EU.


    Likewise, France's also has a section of interest.

    Lutherie et réglage

    Finished bodies can be bought very reasonably from Bravacaster in Spain, there's a couple of sellers in Italy as well.

    Now that the Brexit nonsense has settled down somewhat I'd add Luthier Craft to Crimson and Guitarbuild already mentioned.

    Remember along with the poor €/$ exchange rate you would have VAT on both the goods and shipping for any items bought from the USA, there will also be import duty payable on the items.
    Katoosie likes this.
  10. That’s my suggestion too,
    Get a style you want and upgrade the heck out of it with what suits you. Strings, Tuners, pickups, pots, pick guard, bridge…,, ect.
    You might have to do some fret work, i did on mine but not a ton. Great inexpensive way to build something thats yours and if it doesn’t work out, use the parts on another project and learn from your mistakes.
    Good times!!
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  11. I'd agree with the idea of going with a possibly second hand, or cheap version of the style of bass you like and they stripping it and upgrading parts. Even if you put some of the old parts back, you've still had the experience of doing the work. So all good experience for your next project. (There will be more in the future, that's a certainty...)

    Brands such as Harley Benton are good value for money and would provide a good cheap base for some upgrading and customizing. SX (Essex) are good value and are surprisingly well built too.

    As far as kits go, you may, or may not get a descent body and neck, but the parts and electrics will almost certainly be pretty cheap and low quality and I don't think many, the commonly available budget priced kits come with finished bodies or necks.

    In hardware Wilkinson bridges and tuners are a step up from most of the no name stuff and Gotoh hardware is excellent, without breaking the bank.

    Good luck with your first project. I've always believed that playing something you've built or customized yourself, adds another level of enjoyment to playing music.
  12. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Buy a body. Buy a Fender neck to fit. Buy hardware and pickups.

    Altogether, it's gonna cost you around 1000 US dollars to build yourself a decent bass.

    If you're looking for great on a budget, buy a Harley benton, and swap the pickups and tuners. Then take it to a guitar shop, and get fretwork done. It'll still cost you around 1000 dollars. 700-1000 dollars.

    If you want a new instrument for cheap, buy a cheap instrument and do nothing to it.
  13. prowla


    Aug 19, 2004
    If you buy Fender/Squier/compatible bits you can make something basic to begin with and upgrade over time if you wish to carry on the journey.
  14. gianpiero


    Aug 24, 2021
    Maybe it's the best solution. I have seen that spare/upgrade parts of the Stingrays are very difficult to find, e.g. necks.
  15. gianpiero


    Aug 24, 2021

    Very interesting! Thx!
  16. Dadum


    Jul 2, 2022
    Some manufacturers have used paulownia wood, which is very lightweight, for the body. It’s not perfect but an option if you want a large body with light weight.

    Buy a good used bass for neck and pickups to transfer over.
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    Bass Guitar Kits – Pit Bull Guitars
    Cave Puppy likes this.
  18. You're welcome friend.

    TalkBass is a great resource but it can also be very USA centred, because of that you can easily miss suppliers closer to home.

    Best wishes on your build.
  19. Stewie

    Stewie Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I have a “China” Squier CV50s bass. The Indonesians come with a nice 4 barrel bridge, the Chinas came with a hideous heavy cast bridge. I replaced the tuners with Fender reverse and the bridge with a Kluson 70s style bridge. I wouldn’t touch the electronics because they sound wonderful.