Building a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dumfish, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. Dumfish


    Oct 6, 2001
    Santa Rosa, Ca
    OK. Here it is. I was looking into building a bass. My wood decisions are: alder for the body and Maple for the neck. It will be a five string.

    If anyone wants to give me some ideas it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Check out

    The Musical Instrument Maker Forum. Lots of good info on building your own instrument, as well as info on wood, electronics, finishing, etc.

  3. Here are a few suggestions from my own experience.

    Unless you are an experienced woodworker, expect that the first bass you build will have problems. That said, start simple, there is less room for error.

    I would suggest working with "cheaper" components on the first try, it will save you money. A poorly constructed bass with all the best hardware will not sound good (I don't mean to incinuate that your bass will be bad...hopefully you understand.

    Take your time. Don't rush to get it done, take the time to make sure everything fits as perfectly as possible.

    Learn from the first. You will be surprised at all the things you have learned after you finish the first one. It will make you want to build another so you can try all the things you learned.

    Thats about all I have. Have fun, mine was a ton of fun, and when I start the next I just know how much better it will turn out.

    Hope this helps.

  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    There are a multitude of options and combinations for different tastes and needs. Feel free to shoot me an email and maybe I can help you narrow down your choices.

    If you like, check out the one I have in progress

    Also, be sure to check out Fretless's link before he gets tired of giving it out! ;) It's quite good. They tell you up front what tools you need to take the course.
  5. Just love the colour of that purple wood, Rick:D

  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Heh! Thank you, Rockin'! Funny thing is, personally, I'm not all that crazy about the looks of purpleheart, usually. But if you look at the properties of the wood or have played an instrument made with it, the wood just seems to be created for bassists.

    A Talkbasser from England (I'm pretty sure) put up a thread around the beginning of the year to show a chambered Fodera-body style bass he built out of purpleheart. It looked gorgeous, (and I"m not an admirer of purple), and said it sounded like the nutz!
  7. Player


    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    A good book on the subject is "Make Your Own Electric Guitar" by Melvin Hiscock. He claims he's made every mistake possible and can tell you how to avoid them. You can probably find the first edition (1986) used. From what I understand the newer edition (1998?) has information on building from kits and an updated and more extensive supplier list.
    I started by piecing together guitars and basses from used parts just to get experience with how everything goes together (and you can usually sell the completed instrument for more than the cost of the parts). Next I built a Carvin kit. It was good to get the experience with bare wood, sanding, finishing, etc. (and it made a very nice bass with very little work). Then I built a couple bodies from scratch to go with necks that I had acquired (I got a few for $1 each from a local music store). I still haven't attempted carving my own neck, but that will be next. The right tools are very important. My first body I cut out with a jigsaw and you can tell. If you don't have a bandsaw
    My current project is a six (bass). I met a local luthier that offered to make the neck for a price that I couldn't pass up. The neck is 5 ply maple/mahogany/maple/mahogany/maple and the body is 1/4" walnut sandwiched between 2 pieces of 3/4" primivera. I'll try to post some pics of it in progress.
  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Are you building one from scratch or using parts?
  9. Dumfish


    Oct 6, 2001
    Santa Rosa, Ca
    I want to do it from scratch, I think that would be a lot of fun, and I've got a friend that is a pretty good wood-worker that wants to help.

    Oh yeah, and I checked out that guitar book. It looks very helpful.