Building My First Custom bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mcdade, May 1, 2005.

  1. mcdade


    Sep 27, 2004
    London (UK)
    Hi All,

    Names Robbie(28) from the UK,im a toolmaker by trade and a keen bassist.Ive been looking at having a custom bass built for me over the last couple of years.Im having a 5 string singlecut made for me by Grandon at ,but thought i would build my own 4 string fretless.

    The specs are,

    Ebony FB
    maple/mahogany neck 5 piece
    Black walnut body wings
    Rear maple tone block
    Crotch Mahogany top
    Bassculture pickups
    My own custom tailpiece and bridge
    Classical style headstock



    Ive been in touch with a few great luthiers on this site about them building me a bass,JP at JP basses and Matt at FBB.I would like some feedback on this bass and thanks for the inspiration for this bass.

    Look out for RM Basses,as it looks like I might have my first custom order.


  2. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    That's your first bass? Hmmmph. You could do better than that now, if you just put a little attention to detail and such... ;)

    Seriously, that's just sick! Great design, awesome machine work, and the crotch mahogany looks like it's two feet deep! Love to see the finished product! Phenomenal! :D
  3. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    That's awesome! I really like the overall design. The headstock design (using the classical approach is wonderful)...the body design, the wood choices are great.
    How does she sound? Got a name for her yet?
    Gret job on the machining of the bridge and tailpiece, wish I could do that kind of work.
    Keep it up! Love to see more.
  4. mcdade


    Sep 27, 2004
    London (UK)
    The Bass sounds nice and clear without the pickups in,fingers crossed she should be a nice bass.As far as names go,Im not sure maybe you guys could help me out with a name.
    I'll get some sound clips up as soon as she is finished. :bassist:
  5. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    It's like naming your children - no matter what anyone else says, it ultimately comes down to you.

    What pickup(s) are you planning on using?
  6. Luke Sheridan

    Luke Sheridan Commercial User

    Dec 30, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    I build guitars and sell them. Strings, too
    Thats really nice and i hate singlecuts.
    Looks like an Ace of Spades. Call it the Ace Bass.
  7. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    How come you can post pics of your new bass in the Luthier's forum and in the Basses forum, but when I posted pics of my new bass in the basses forum and only a link here in the Luthier's forum to the thread in the Basses forum my thread got yanked from the Luthier's forum?

    Nice first shot, btw.
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    probably because i hadn't seen it yet. i've seen it now, though.
  9. mattwells


    Mar 19, 2003
    I love your bass, there is very little I would change and, in all honesty, if you were stateside I may consider you when I have a custom fretless built (and still may if you start doing it a little more and don't mind someone who changes their mind alot ;) )

    There are a couple of things though (but these are personal preference), and I will be honest:

    I think the Tailpiece section of wood is a little long. It seems unbalanced with the rest of the bass. Also, you could have considered tapering the tailpiece wood so that it matches the end of the fingerboard and the headstock. An inlay that corresponds would have been nice as well.

    I wish the upper horn were smooth. I love single-cuts, but the reason I chose not to go with Grandon when having my custom built was the little "hump" on the upper horn.

    I would have used an accent layer between the top and body.

    I would have put on an exotic back, in comparison to the top, the back looks too simple (the top is very striking).

    And finally, chambers...ohhhh, chambers. I think that fretlesses should be chambered. I think it helps them "speak", especially with Piezo pickups in them.

    A little more than my .02.
  10. mcdade


    Sep 27, 2004
    London (UK)
    Cheers for all the input on this bass,Im going to say ive enjoyed making this bass and have learn't alot.As far as me being a skilled luthier,well ive still got alot to learn just like I am as a Toolmaker.Balance wise on this bass,its spot on.that was one of my main goal to get it to balance nice.The pickup are coming from Chris at

    This pic was taken 2 weeks ago before final sanding,it shows me being well chuffed.

  11. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Sir, that is a very striking and lovely bass. GREAT work. I can't help thinking that it is going to break my heart when it gets routed for pickups :crying:

    It looks very well balanced and much more compact in the shot with you holding it. I like it very much, and the singlecut with ornamentation in the outline is very nicely done. I'm not usually into that sort of thing but you have done a nice job visually as well as stricturally.

    Keep up the fine work!
  12. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    It seems to me it might cheapen a beauty instrument by naming it after a mediocre 90's pop band.

    I'm debating stealing your classical idea for the headstock on my EUB. It'd certianly relieve my fears of the open centre not being strong enough.

  13. That design is used on a bunch of classical guitars, so I wouldn't worry to much about stealing it.

    By the way, you're a jerk. ;)
  14. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    That may be, but at least I'm not named after a mediocre 90's pop band.

  15. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    Hooooowee. wow. that's your first? nice design, and i absolutely love that wood man. the slotted headstock is sweet... love it not something you see often on an electric.

    man i wish i had the tools to make custom bridges.
  16. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    *CLEAN* work, my friend. :eek:

    Just so you know, I saved the second, third & fourth pics into my "Bass's" file on my computer, where only the coolest, most inspiring bass pictures go(ie - Conklins, JP's, Nordstrand's). :cool:
  17. mcdade


    Sep 27, 2004
    London (UK)
    Just got the Pickup from Chris at in germany today.




    Should be in the bass by the end of next week.
  18. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    That's pretty cool- staggered wood polepice covers? Very trick!
  19. man thats a nice bass for ur frist i wish mine was that good.
  20. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses

    I've been wondering for a while how those singlecuts are made. I'd like to make one for my next project.

    Do you have any pics showing how you glued the neck to the body and how exactly you cut that "top horn" angle thing. I can't think of a proper jig to do this. Did you cut the horn first then glued the neck or did you glue it all then got really careful in cutting and filing the wood away? :confused:

    Any help is appreciated.