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Building a custom bass guitar?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by topfuel300, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. topfuel300


    Jun 2, 2014
    Hi, I'm 16 and have my dream bass guitar already figured out. I was wondering, would I be able to build one myself? I have little woodworking experience, and can't afford to pay someone else.

    My woodworking experience includes: Art class project, where we made jig saw puzzles with particle board. And, making a CO2 car in Engineering class. (Lot's of sanding)

    Can I do this?
  2. A lot of guys here use Warmoth bodies/necks that are premade, buy pups/hardware and construct their own basses that way with a minimum of woodworking skills needed, Check out their site. Could be just what you're looking for.
    BassChuck likes this.
  3. Hi.

    Welcome to TalkBass topfuel300.

    IMO anyone with even the most basic wood-working skills can make a playable instrument if they have the patience to do some research and the ability to follow simple guidelines.

    Whether that first (or second for that matter ;)) attempt happens to fullfill that dream in Your head, that's another matter entirely.

    Applies to any craft really, not just instrument building.
    In my humble opinion, the main things are to always keep the safety first, and never fear failure.

    Instrument building is a very addictive and very rewarding hobby/profession, I'd say go for it.

    bluesdogblues likes this.
  4. +1
    take a look at the luthier's corner- great inspiration. Best of luck :)

    Sent from my iPhone using TalkBass
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    The other consideration would be investing in tools. How much of a shop do you have access to? Could you use your school's wood shop, does your dad or weird uncle Henry or anyone have a good setup? You''re not necessarily saving any money to build a bass yourself if you have to buy all the tools and you only make one.
  6. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    You could make a parts bass if you are patient and shop well. Sometimes you can obtain parts for a bolt on 4 string at around $200 budget. Learn to solder.
  7. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    As has been mentioned, unless you have the tools, it might be best to start out tinkering with parts basses and work your way up to more involved projects as you develop your knowledge of what makes a good bass and what you want to avoid in your dream bass.

    As a long time sufferer of tinkeritis, I can tell you from hard won experience that it's very rare to knock it out of the park on your first try. It's much better to take the long view and work your way up to the vision you have in your head.

    Another alternative is to hook up with an experienced builder and talk it over. Their experience could well save you tons of wasted time, effort, and material, or after talking to them you may decide to just commission a pro to bring your vision to reality.

    Not trying to discourage you from your desire to build your own bass, just trying to make you aware of some things you may not have thought of yet.

    Either way, best of luck with your project, whichever form it winds up taking.
  8. EricssonB


    Apr 5, 2011
    CoSpgs, CO.
    If it counts for anything, I was about your age when I built my red guitar. It's my primary electric.

    Warmoth angled paddle neck; maple/ebony. Two blocks of Honduras Redwood sandwiched together. Used my dad's or uncle's tools, depending on what need to be done. Drill press and band saw are a must. I don't recommend using a pneumatic grinder, but hey, it worked.

    Preparation and design are important if you want to ensure proper action and intonation. Be sure of those distances (scale applied from nut to bridge, 12th fret...) and angles that consider bridge height, et al.

    eSFYxuf. tmAX96s. F9fUk.
  9. 6jase5

    6jase5 Mammogram is down but I'm working manually

    Dec 17, 2007
    San Diego/LA
    Well, it really comes down to your dad's tools.

    nukes_da_bass likes this.
  10. Nidan


    Oct 31, 2008
    Duluth , Ga
    +1 on Warmoth , they make good quality parts , and if you go with EMG pickups you don't even have to solder . I started out that way many years ago and it blossomed into a custom business . You learn something from every build .
  11. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    These are the most important tools in any woodworkers toolbox:
    1. Preparation
    2. Patience

    If you have those two things in good supply, you can achieve virtually anything. If you ever run low on either, STOP NOW and wait until you've got them back before doing anything, because you WILL screw something up, and it WILL be difficult or impossible to fix.

    Even a very fancy and beautiful bass can be done with a few simple hand tools, if you have those two things. Certainly a shop with 20 grand worth of equipment will make things go a lot faster and easier, but as they say, it's a poor craftsman who blames his tools.
    T-Bird likes this.
  12. topfuel300


    Jun 2, 2014
    Hi, sorry I lost access to my account for a while. :(

    Anyway, thanks for the tips! I will definitely be doing this soon!
  13. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    They say..


    So I'd say, Go for it.

    To have the skill, you have to have experience from learn and do it. If you do it, it will add to your experience, and one day with your experience, you'll have better skill. Wish You all the best.
    Doctor_Clock likes this.
  14. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    You can do anything you put your mind too, BUT, having the right tools is a HUGE help in the area of building your own bass. Also, do your homework and most important, be patient. Ask questions on the Luthier's corner here and get as much info as you can on all things building basses. The math will be a pretty important part of it too I would imagine if you want it to play well to great. With all this, again, you can do anything. Especially if you really want it and are passionate about it. Good luck!!

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