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Build your own bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by D_Bag, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. D_Bag


    Feb 8, 2013
    St. Joseph, MO
    I have been playing the electric bass for about 15 years and I am looking into getting an upright. I found a DIY bass kit on ebay for a great price. You can check it out here. I was just wondering how difficult it is to setup an upright bass? I've always done my own setups and repairs on my own basses, but I imagine this is a completely different animal than the electric. What are your thoughts on this kit?
  2. Sir, you have no idea. Save your money.
  3. +1
  4. I might fool with it myself but, that is after I had almost tore up my old Kay thinking I could do the work myself 'cause I could set up my electric myself :eek:

    :rollno: Don't do it unless you have years of upright experience under you belt and even then, that experience will tell you to don't do it unless you just want something you can use as a planter box when done :rollno:

  5. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fishman Transducers, D'Addarrio Strings
    What on earth is "white ebony"?
  6. Ehm, do you know how difficult this instrument is?

    I think your time would be better spend on learning to *play*.

    (You'll need a teacher.)
  7. Ryker_M


    May 10, 2012
    London, Ontario
    I suppose if you had experience with wood working (more specifically luthier experience) it could end up saving you quite a bit of money.

    However, being on the journey of building a double bass; you need a lot of that experience or your going to spend a lot more money.

    These guys here are probably able to tell you the best way to get into the world of the double bass and help you acquire one that isn't going to end up being more trouble than its worth.
  8. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In my view, the main issue is that the bass is a complete unknown. You could take $450 plus shipping, plus varnish and tools, and turn it into a bass that's worth $450. If it were likely to be worth much more than that, then the seller would assemble and varnish the bass himself and profit from his work.

    The secondary issue is that all of the text points to a seller who doesn't really know much if anything about basses.
  9. Hi.

    Welcome to TalkBass D_Bag.

    Horribly expensive if You ask me.
    I'm a tinkerer, a DIYholic and I do love BSO's and CCB's, but I wouldn't recommend anyone to take a swing at that. At that price anyway.

    If You can follow simple instructions, have a basic understanding about the workings of a DB and don't expect miracles at the first 10 or so tries: EASY.

    OTOH, if one or several of the points above give You grief: from very hard to downright impossible.

    IME anyway.

    The same basic rules apply for both DB and BG, but the DB has many times the variables a BG has.

    All the variables make setting up a DB 10 times more rewarding than a BG does though. For me anyway.


    For a $100 it could be something I'd consider.

    If You're that interested about the wonderful world of DB (and aren't just a shill ;)), do yourself a favour and buy a CCB for a few hunnert.
    You can practise setups on that and nothing is lost even though you may ruin the first instrument in the process.

  10. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Well, I always have qualms when someone touts how thick their top is. Particularly in shouted caps.

    [from the listing]

    It appears that the copy betrays no knowledge of what a bass bar is, or for that matter a soundpost.
  11. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Sam, thank you for your clear and measured post.

    As a former professional guitar-repairer I say:

    On the plus side, this thing has a top made of solid spruce. You could leave it alone and it will sound better than some plywood tops. On the minus side, you need to remove it and carve it, and work on the bass bar for best sonic result, and then re-attach it. Even so if it's cheap green wood it will split no matter what you do. None of that relates to working on bass guitars.

    On the plus side, you can make this thing look like whatever you want. Traditional varnish, spray paint, boat epoxy, whatever makes you smile. On the minus side, making traditional inlaid wooden purfling look right is hard and many non-traditional finishes tend to make your bass not sound its best. That's different from working on bass guitars.

    On the plus side, you can learn the woodworking skills necessary to precisely set a neck using a half-blind tapered dovetail joint. On the minus side, an error of even a couple of degrees will have a substantial negative effect on your bass' ability to sound its best. That's a lot harder than working on bass guitars, where you can just unscrew the neck and shim with a yellow sticky.

    On the plus side, you can learn the luthiery skills required to plane a fingerboard. On the minus side, an error of even a couple of hundredths of an inch will leave your bass clanking like keys in the wash. That's a lot harder than working on bass guitars, where you can just adjust the neck curve with a screwdriver.

    On the plus side, you can learn the luthiery skills involved in cutting and adjusting a nut, soundpost and bridge. You will be better off for that. I think that double-bass owners ought to be familiar with that stuff. On the minus side, almost everybody who tries blows through a couple of nuts, bridges and soundposts along the road. This is not like adjusting the string-height on a bass guitar using a screwdriver or hex-wrench.

    Have at it, man. Or just donate the money to charity and reap a guaranteed positive result.
  12. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    Sam.. ouch.
  13. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Yup, Sam slams the point home. In other words, the real question is: do you want to pay $449 (plus shipping) for a crash course in Luthier Appreciation?

    Might be worthwhile as an interesting experience. What it's NOT is a cheap shortcut to a serviceable instrument.
  14. Hi.

    Thank You for the kind words Sam, appreciated.

    Agreed 99%, You said it way better than I did.

    I was mainly focusing on the more basic similarities of the two distant relatives and their requirements of being made playable for a novice by a novice.

    As for the 1% I do not agree with:

    Every detail, however vague or just because of that, in the description makes me doubt that the top is (or can be regraduated to be) actually better than a plywood top.
    There's also many varities of "spruce".

    As jsn pointed out, the absence of the bass bar and/or the sound post is a strong possibility.

    That makes one wonder what else is missing from the construction.

    I still do stand by my original suggestion that anyone starting their venture on the DB repairs, would do that on a "rockabilly CCB" that costs less than with an unknown and unfinished example like that in the link.

    OTOH the op follows a known pattern, so all this rambling of ours may be somewhat in vain ;).
    OP, please do prove me wrong.

  15. homersbassfarm

    homersbassfarm Banned

    Feb 4, 2013
    western TN
    If it looks cheap, it is cheap. IMO, you would do better to continue to research what you can get- This kit would be a mistake for several reasons. To order a bass "kit" or anything from any place other than an established business is extemely risky. IMO, this is reason enough to pass on this opportunity for disaster. You are very wise to ask some questions before buying anything. Find a good bass shop in your area and see what they have. Check with Gollihur's bass luthier directory.
  16. Awww C'mon you negative Nancies! This sounds like a great weekend project.

    "IT HAS 24:1 RACK AND PINION TUNING", most cars have rack & pinion steering, so you know it must be good. :D

    "OUR BASS NECK WILL NEVER BREAK." Wow, finally a bass that can refute the best efforts of airline baggage handlers. :eek:

    "IT IS DOUBTFUL YOU WILL EVER REPAIR IT!" Yeah man! Set it and forget it! :hyper:

    "OUR BASS HAS 6/32" SIDEWALLS" – what? Wait-a-minute. A guy needs at least 2" sidewalls on his hotrod for rockabilly; hell, even most modern cars' sidewalls are at least a 1/2". :eyebrow:

    Forget it, the sidewalls are too skinny, the deal's off. :spit:
  17. homersbassfarm

    homersbassfarm Banned

    Feb 4, 2013
    western TN
    Feral, lol-your profile is almost as funny as your post.

    Keep practicing and someday you will advance from the "toilet Band" to a nice restroom with ice in the urinal even. Maybe.
    Get you one of these DIY and no tellin what gigs you'll land.

    Don't give up!
  18. homersbassfarm

    homersbassfarm Banned

    Feb 4, 2013
    western TN
    If you will do a search for "white ebony" you will see pictures of it- beautiful wood- not 100% on this but I think that the grade A solid black and the ebony with white grain may come from different parts of the same tree- not sure, maybe some wood experts can help us out? When I get finger boards from Africa via Germany, the solid blacks are graded A and the ones with lighter grain(brown and white) are graded B
  19. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc

    I encourage everyone 100% to build their own double bass; it is an amazing journey and you'll learn a lot more than you ever expected about basses and wood and life.

    That said, I'd never encourage anybody to buy what the original post is looking at for 1000 reasons. This is not buiding a bass and never will be.