Building An Aluminum Bass Guitar...Advices??

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by borden, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Hello,

    As a welder/fabricator i'm tempted to build an aluminum bass guitar but i've heard so much stories of grouding problems that i require explanations on properly grounding the electronics.

    As aluminum is very current conductible, i was wondering if you had any toughts/advices/explanations on doin' such thing.

    I'm pretty sure there's a way to do i but i need TBer's opinions.

    Thank you
  2. Helstar


    Nov 26, 2005
    Rouge used to make aluminu basses I have never heard one but was interested
  3. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    check out what was done in the 70's by Kramer for a gallery of alum + wood "veneer"

    I have an '83 Kramer alum 8-string bass. I only have two gripes with it:

    1) it's impossible to keep in tune. if I'm playing it at a large, well lighted gig the bass needs to sit in the lights for an hour or so to acclimate itself and settle down. Failure to do this results in the neck growing as it warms up from playing ... and this results in the tuning getting progressively sharper with each minute that passes. Eventually it settles down after repeated retuning. But then I'm stuck playing just this bass all night - if I set it down for more than one song it's seriously out of tune (flat) and I repeat the whole settling in process again. :(

    2) the bridge has one saddle for each octave pair of strings - it's pretty much an intonate in the five fret range where it's most critical kinda deal. The neck is too narrow to utilize any of the aftermarket 8-string bridges with dual witness points for each string pair.

    Based on my experiences with this bass and several other alum Kramers, I'd definitely not purchase one again. If you can figure out how to stabalize the neck expansion by utilizing a different grade of alum than what Kramer used, you might have something.

    All the best,

  4. didier


    Aug 4, 2005
    don't go outside or play it during lightning storms
  5. Well Thank you for this post... i seemed to have negliged the fact that metal dilates and retract on this specific project.

    Also, i had planned to use a wodden bass neck from a crappy bass i just bought for cheap.

    i still need some grounding information as to HOW to properly ground the whole thing..... Do i just ground the aluminum body at the same time than the bridge grounding? should i NOT ground the body and shield it to the best possible way?

    All your toughts and answer are very appreciated, please share your knowledge!!

    Thank you
  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Since aluminum is conductive it should be very easy to ground. One wire to the body would ground and shield everything including the bridge. No need for copper tape or anything except on the control cover.
  7. Use a star grounding scheme with the body as the central ground. Ground your pickups to one pot. No need to tie the jack and pots with a ground cable as they'll all see a ground from the body, assuming they're directly mounted.