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Build Prices

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by silentmike, Aug 15, 2012.


  1. silentmike

    silentmike

    May 20, 2011
    Bristol, UK
    I'm planning on attempting a build at some point next year and have been pricing up everything and it looks to be really expensive (for me, at the moment at least), but this is pretty much the only way that I'll get the bass that I want. A lot of my cost is stuck in the hardware (Hipshot TransTone bridge and Ultralite tuners) and pickups (Nordstrand Jazz bridge and Mustang) that I plan on using, so I shouldn't be that surprised, but I'm still just kinda shocked to see how much it adds up to after everything has been accounted for (including screws, pickup springs, strap buttons etc.). I'm currently totalling at about £700 (roughly $1100), without any idea of painting costs (I would imagine roughly £200, but I could be very wrong. I would attempt doing the painting myself, but I just don't trust the English weather to be compliant and I currently have no access to a garage or basement to hang anything in) plus £165 for a custom flightcase afterwards. So lets say that I'm spending £1065 ($1670) total.

    This got me wondering, how much do the wise people of Luthier's Corner tend to spend on parts and materials? I know it helps to buy in bulk, and sometimes you can find ridiculous deals, but I'm talking about the average home builder, using good quality parts.

    I look forward to your responses and I hope to be able to share a build with you guys at some point! :bassist:
     
  2. silentmike

    silentmike

    May 20, 2011
    Bristol, UK
    P.S. Sorry about all the brackets...
     
  3. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    NH
    Builder: ThorBass
    It costs a lot, unless you build enough to get OEM prices on parts...
     
  4. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I try not to think of it in terms of cost. I mean, I'm just a hobbyist home builder, and so far all of my builds have been for me, so it's all about enjoying the creative process, and building something that didn't exist before, and can't be bought at Guitar Center. The dollars are a side-effect of that process.

    (P. S. - the TalkBass classifieds are your friend here. :) )
     
  5. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    I'm a hobbyist builder too. My first bass cost me about $850 for parts and wood, using hipshot hardware, bartolini pickups, and passive electronics. My second build was about $1000. Those numbers don't count tools. It's an expensive hobby.

    It's not a good idea to get into building to save money. You won't. I do it because I love it.
     
  6. Grant Bass

    Grant Bass

    Oct 14, 2010
    yup ^^^
    i never try to discourage ppl from building; but if moneys an issue and all you want is one dream bass; its cheaper and a more guarenteed plan to have one built; go middle of the road builder, u dont even have to pay the second half till its finished to your liking! :)
     
  7. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    The last bass I built was $970 in materials, but everything was high end/ top of the line, an average build costs a little less, but all in all $1000 is an average ballpark for high quality parts and woods.
     
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    The good thing though, is all of your parts don't have to be bought at once. You can spread this out through out the entire build.
     
  9. It's probably in your best interest to not spend that much on your very first build. You don't exactly want to commit $1000 to a project that you've never done before. Once you get the knack for it, sure, spend away. But, if you don't really have the experience, I'd forego the expensive parts for now and get something that is more "Learning grade".

    I am building a bass for the 3 wood challenge right now, and my plan is to have it up and running for under $100 Canadian. Basses can be built fairly cheap, but in the end they may feel and sound cheap. Best advice I can give you is to use middle of the road quality hardware etc. Then you get decent quality and a price that isn't as harsh on your wallet.

    -Ron
     
  10. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I hear you. I'm also putting a spreadsheet together to tally up the cost of parts for a project that I have in mind.

    It costs big money. In my case I'm trying to keep everything European, so Delano pickups, Schaller bridge and tuners, ACG EQ02 preamp. So far I only have the preamp, should be ordering the Schaller stuff next week and then start saving for the Delanos. It's frustrating waiting to amass all the parts, especially when you realise that you could go out and buy a very nice bass for the same outlay and not have any risk of things not turning out the way you wanted.

    But where is the fun in buying something off the peg? Especially since I'm trying to build something that will take over from my 1973 Ric as my main player and allow my long serving Ric the chance of an honourable retirement.

    I want it's replacement to be something that sounds like my Ric, has a Ric vibe but comes in 5 string format with decent string spacing. Ric never made one of those and that bass doesn't exist in any other catalogues either, so if you want something that doesn't exist you just have to make it...either yourself or find a luthier to do it for you.
     
  11. PatQ

    PatQ

    May 11, 2011
    Siegburg, Germany
    The bass I want to build next year is about $2000 in parts. But when I'm building sort of my dream bass I want to do it right...
     
  12. silentmike

    silentmike

    May 20, 2011
    Bristol, UK
    Thanks for all the replies. I have a lot to think about...

    I think that the amount seems like a lot to me because I've never spent more than £500 on an instrument. And that was my '76 Mustang. Also, these are grandiose plans for when I eventually get another job. Being poor makes everything expensive.

    Another potentially expensive option would be to attempt to make the body and then if it all goes wrong, I could then get a luthier to make the body for me and I can supply the rest. That would entail buying clamps, a workbench, a router, rasps, a planer etc. Lots of things, but if it pays off then it could be good. And I would have made it. :D I have also always wanted to try my hand at making my own instrument.

    For anyone who is interested, what I want to make/have made is the body of a Squier Jag SS, with my Mustang's neck profile, but thru-neck with a contoured heel. And then the nice Nordstrand pickups and lovely (probably black) Hipshot hardware. Then painted white on the front, sides and headstock, and then a natural finish on the back so you can see the laminations with a black pickguard. It's the cumulative dream of the past few years since I got my first shorty.

    I think my first step should be to get a hold of this book and give it a good read to see if it's something I think I can do.
     
  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    You are wise beyond your years, grasshopper. May the Thump be with you.
     
  14. silentmike

    silentmike

    May 20, 2011
    Bristol, UK
    Hah! I'm not that wise! :p But at 25 and after playing bass for 12 years, I've gotten a pretty good idea of what I really want in an instrument. I've also built effects pedals, re-finished my Mustang and made a bass amp (which unfortunately didn't work and later got resigned to the skip) and cab and have made plenty of mistakes along the way... I think I've just made so many mistakes that I've had to become more structured in my approach to building things! And in this case, even thinking about building.
     
  15. Clydesauce

    Clydesauce

    May 12, 2012
  16. Praxist

    Praxist

    May 28, 2010
    British Columbia
    this is the cost list of the build i'm doing right now which is my first build from scratch.

    40.00 fingerboard
    16.00 trussrod
    11.00 fretwire
    8.00 nut
    120.00 tuners
    52.00 bridge
    117.00 pickup (emg, includes electronics)
    10.00 straplocks
    374.00 total

    i got the rest of the wood for next to nothing so I'm not even counting it but the mahogany and maple would have been another probably 25 or so because they arent fancy.

    That does not include finishing, and i'm using all cheap parts and wood. Im expecting to be all in with odds and sods under 600 but who knows? :meh:

    also, when you factor in taht i've spent close to 400 on tools and they are all cheap ones i think its an expensive hobby!
     
  17. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Why don't you save on p-ups/electronics. Get some good wood, build body and neck. If you intend to use J p-ups get some inexpensive ones. The routing is the same as for the expensive ones. Make it passive. If you want a top end preamp in the future make the cavity large enough to accommodate the one you'll buy when you've got the money. You could do the same with the bridge - basic J bridge and later on upgrade to a better one.
     
  18. Praxist

    Praxist

    May 28, 2010
    British Columbia
    if i'd used a transtone (but I couldn't because i'm doing a sixer), it would be $151.00 for me and if I'd used ultralights, they would have been $225.00 and if I'd used a nordy like you, it would have been $160 and a mustang pickup would have been another 65 plus probably another 25-40 for knobs, pots, switches, jack and stuff. So i would have added another $450 or so by going with premium parts and two pickups like your plan has. I think we're in the same boat! :D
     
  19. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Norway
    I find it best to not really keep track of the costs. Ignorance is bliss! :smug:


    But yeah, building is normally more expensive than just buying, but not as fun.
     
  20. silentmike

    silentmike

    May 20, 2011
    Bristol, UK
    Right. I have a new plan for my first build (if I think I can still do it after reading the aforementioned book). The plan is for an ash body with a bolt on maple/maple neck, with much cheaper hardware and pickups as a first run through. The maple/maple neck is done for two reasons: I like the look of maple fretboards, and it allows me to use the same routing technique that I plan for my dream build. I also intend on doing an oil finish.

    I've priced this up at around £250 for everything, which I don't find nearly as daunting!
     

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