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building a bass???! am i crazy

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by aaguudis, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. aaguudis


    Apr 3, 2001
    i took my bass to a luthier for the first time recently and when i was in the shop looking the stuff interested me. my dad, my sister, and her husband are all amateur woodworkers, and my sister wants to make furniture professionally. do you suppose it would be possible to work with them and some books to make a bass?? or is there something im missing?
  2. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, you could build a bass, but it won't necessarily sound good. You might want to talk with the luthier let him know your interests and see if you could get yourself some hands-on educating in exchange for offering some assistance. It'll get you a lot closer to your goal, I suspect.

  3. I thought I was crazy for taking the table off of my bass. (it's still not put back together):eek:

    My luthier says... "those who make basses don't write books, their too busy making basses".... anyway, good luck, and if you get good- make one for me.... :)
  4. Aarguudass,

    You need to fill out your bio. I spoke to Martin this week and he said he was thinking about taking on an apprentice.
  5. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Yes, you are crazy---so?!?!

    If you want a super set-up on your bass take it to Lex Luthier
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    There's a new book by Peter Chandler that demystifies bass building to a certain degree. You can link to it through (All Hail) Bob Gollihur's website, in the bass construction section. While you're there, check out Bob Hitching's website, and a link to another guy named Bob Kogut, both of whom built their own. If you're crazy, then so am I, 'cuz I'm gonna give it a shot. Also, log on to the Musical Instrument Maker's Forum, where you'll find lots of valuable info on luthiery.
  7. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    The electric-guitar builder I apprenticed-to twenty years ago said about dressing fingerboards: "The first two hundred are the toughest." He was right, and the advice is good in so many ways.

    I'm not discouraging you from exploring luthiery. It's an art, a science and a lifetime study. However, I wouldn't hesitate to discourage you from exploring on your own. "Get a teacher" is the watchword around here. Otherwise, you're going to produce what my luthier-sister refers to as a "strung object."
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    You might consider building a violin first. That way, you'll get experience carving the top and back plates, shaping a scroll, and using hide glue and varnish, all on a project with less financial outlay than that of a bass. Bass tonewoods are scarce and expensive. But don't let me discourage you; I know an old guy in Wisconsin who is a succesful builder, and his first project was a bass;), he's since done violins, celli, and archtop guitars.
  9. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    There is a CD-ROM available on bass making. I believe that it was a project of Italian luthier Luciano Golia along with the late Ovidiu Badila. From my understanding it is in Italian, but there is an English translation. Anyway, Lemur Music might have it. It may provide your Castoresque Clan with some idea of what it takes to make a bass.
  10. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    I have never built a bass but am also intrigued by the concept. The Guild of American Luthiers has a plan for a "Low cost bass viol" (really a flat back DB). I haven't purchased the plan but I had a librarian friend pull the articles that went with it. The concept is to keep the costs low by pre-cutting spruce 2x4's to different profiles for the top, then glueing them up before carving. The rest of the bass is conventionally built. Back and sides are plywood but you could always use solid wood.

    There are several books out (most of them not reviewed well) which you can find from (All Hail) Bob Gollihur's site. The build a violin first suggestion seems like a good one. I highly recommend the Musical Instrument Makers Forum http://www.mimf.com. You can learn a lot over there just lurking and reviewing the archives.

    If you have woodworkers in the family with equipped shops then go for it. The worst that will happen is that you will have spent some time having fun with it and learning a lot about the process.

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