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Building my first bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bearcubs9497, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. This is my first attempt at building my own bass. This isn't an attempt to save money, but rather a labor of love, as well as a chance to learn and to make an instruement that is uniquely my own.

    That said, I've got a MIM Jazz body that I won in a bid on ebay. The routing cavity has been shielded with copper foil (a neatly done job, too). I've measured the neck pocket and it's just a hair under 2-1/2 inches (2-7/16, to be exact).

    I've been to the allparts web site and have made the following list of things to buy for this project:

    1. http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/bass_necksallparts.htm (the JMF-BB neck with black block inlays and binding)

    2. http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/bpickguard_jazzallparts.htm (the white pearloid pick guard)

    3. http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/bpickguard_jazzcontrolplates.htm (the genuine Fender chrome control plate)

    4. http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/bridge_gotoh.htm (the chrome Gotoh bridge)

    5. http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/bass_nutsfender.htm (the pre-slotted genuine Fender Jazz Bass nut)

    6. http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/bass_electricalwiringkits.htm (the standard wiring kit for a Fender Jazz bass)

    7. http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/guitarknobs_jazz.htm (the Vintage style Jazz Bass knobs)

    I've a Samick Greg Bennett Fairlane FN-1 bass that has an amazingly good sounding (and quiet!) set of single coil pups that I'd like to use. I called up Samick on Friday and was told by a guy named Rob (one of their techies) that the pups are Seymour Duncan designed and were their version of the Hot-for-Jazz model. I was also given the impression that Samick actually owns Seymour Duncan (I've no idea how to independantly verify this claim). Anyway, the pups on my Fairlane are exactly what I'm looking for in terms of tone.

    Other than tuners, what else might be missing from this list? Do you guys have better suggestions for parts, or opinions concerning my selection? Also, as an aside, I do have some moderate wood working skills, but know nothing about wiring pups (was gonna have my dad do that, as he's an electrical engineer).
  2. sDg


    Feb 26, 2003
    Wise, Virginia
    Have heard some less that positive things about these guys. You might want to try Brian at http://www.bestbassgear.com This guy is bar none the best individual I have bought from over the net.

  3. The thing I see missing is all of the screws needed to put this puppy together! :D You'll need screws for the pickguard, neck (I recommend inserts and machine bolts instead), tuners, and control plate. Use stainless steel for a nice look that won't ever rust on you. What about something to hang the bass from? A set of straplocks would be good. A string retainer is also needed.
  4. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    My first venture (in building) was also a jazz bass. Before then, I've modded and refinished and what have you, but never actually took a hunk of wood and made a bass from it.

    Word of advice: Those inserts are great, but if the neck isn't pre-drilled, use a drill press or drill guide. I thought I had a steady hand, but I wound up having to plug the holes TWICE -- the first time because of crooked holes, of course. The second time was because the oak dowel I used the first time splintered (too soft?) when redrilling the holes. In the end, the ash dowel I found at the local ma & pa hardware store did the trick.
  5. I don't have a drill press. Where can I get a drill guide?
  6. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I believe I saw one at Rockler.com the last time I checked (a few months back). They were something like $40. However, for about $60 (+tax), you can score a Delta drill press from Lowe's. It's not very big (everyone suggests a 15" or something), but it will do just fine.
  7. Just won an ebay auction on an Allparts Jazz Bass neck. Total cost, including shipping, is just under $70. Need to get a nut and tuning machines.

    I'll probably go with a set of Gotoh Vintage tuners. As far as the nut is concerned, I'll most likely get a replacement Fender nut.

    Just bid on a set of EMG-J pups on the 'bay, too. Heard a sound clip, and like it. Very clean and articulate low mids and mids.
  8. Just an update.

    I won the set of EMG-J's and they're already at the house. The Allparts neck is on the way and should be here in a few days.

    I've also ordered a set of Gotoh Vintage tuners (chrome), a white pearloid pick guard (I think it looks kewl:)), chrom control plate, Gotoh 201 bridge (chrome), pick guard screws, vintage Fender neck plate with screws, and a Graph-Tech 1-1/2" nut.
  9. Scooch


    Mar 11, 2005
    Have you started building yet? How are you painting it? are you going to post some pics?
  10. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    It sounds like you have most of the 'bases' :D covered! Tuner screws may be needed if they do not come with the tuners and P-up screws if they did not come with them. Also, the body should be predrilled for wiring for the back p-up and the bridge ground, but you may need a extended drill bit for that. Usually about $5 from a chain hardware store. I do all my drilling prior to finishing. You can erase quite a few scratches that way. Also, if you need to drill for the bridge, make sure of your scale length from the 12th fret to the saddles. Predrill all your holes when needed! It helps a great deal. PIC'S, we do need pictures!
  11. Hey all!

    I installed the bridge last night. Pretty much a drop-in type job. This evening I'll try to get everything else done, and if all goes well, I'll post pics.
  12. Well

    All did not go well. My EMG-J bridge pup is just a hair too long for the routing. So, today I'm making a trip to Lowes to get a Dremel tool. Fortunately for me, I just need to remove a tiny amount of wood from the bridge pup routing, so it shouldn't be too hard.

    All I have to do is take my time, and do it right.
  13. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Taking your time is the Key. Without a doubt. A dremel will not only help with the Pick Up route, but if you have any work to do with a new nut or some new Pots!
  14. Yep. The Dremel really helped in widening the bridge pup routing hole.

    Now, I've got to rout out a hole for the 9v battery. I was thinking of routing a hole somewhere underneath the pick guard, as well as routing a channel for the battery wires. The Dremel should work for that, as well.
  15. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    The main problem with that is all the work you have to do to change a battery if and when it goes out. If you are in the middle of a set, that is going to suck :bassist: :scowl:
  16. rhett


    Dec 23, 2004
    Austin TX
  17. True, if the battery died in the middle of a set, that would be bad, but that's why the good Lord has provided me the ability to own 3 other basses :)

    Besides, that should be easily overcome by changing the battery before each gig.
  18. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    There are a couple of things with this. A battery should last a year or so, if you leave it plugged in at gigs. If you are not playing and remove the cord, it should last longer. I use Lithium batteries (I have an 18v pre) and they should last about 2 years. I would suggest changing them about once every 6 months or more.
  19. Well

    got the battery cavity routed. Unfortunately, the wire leading to the input jack is a tad too short. :oops: So, it'll be off to the electronics store in the near future to get a new 9v battery wiring assembly.
  20. you know, if you have the right kind of wire, solder, and a little electrical tape, you can extend the leads...a good trick is to cut the leads to slightly different lengths, so that your bare wires don't match up, solder it...and then wrap the deal with some electrical tape...