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Building my own 4 string Reggae Bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jokerone, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. I’m debating about starting a new project at home. I was thinking about building a Reggae bass guitar.

    I don’t want to do it from scratch, but from parts. Never done it before.

    So I have a few questions.

    The style will be a Fender Jazz Bass like guitar (I hope).
    If I find a Squire body, should I throw it in the trash and keep looking?

    Are graphite necks worth the money?

    Good Deep Dark pickups for Reggae Dub? I read Dimarzio Model J would do well.

    I would like to keep the price below $1000 for the entire project, so will this just be a waste of money and I should be a new MIM Fender Jazz Bass or what?

  2. Konquest


    Aug 26, 2003
    You'll have no problems finding parts for under $1000 to put this together. I'd recommend a less-expensive neck from Warmoth, Allparts, or one of the other Fender clones. Take the money you save there and put it into a figured maple topped jazz body and try to dye a fade of "Rasta" colors on it! There are lots of tutorial videos on this process and with water-based dyes it is really forgiving. How about BEAD tuning for those booming deep bass bombs? Maybe a P/J configuration? String mutes?
  3. pudge

    pudge Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    I'd look to get a mim or squier jazz and mod it.But buying all the parts and putting it together depending on the amount of work you'll do yourself under 1k is easily doable.Make a list and figure the cost of compionentsGet on the classifieds here good deals come up all the time.
  4. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I built a bass that turned out to be perfect for really low 4 string dub/reggae. It has a Korina body, a fretless Steinberger graphite neck, DB bridge (drop D or B) Bartolini pu's and Aguilar OP-2 preamp w/passive switch and of course, flats (La Bella). Really consistent rich deep lows. The graphite neck really delivers in this setting IMO. If I would have known, I might have considered a whole different colour scheme!

  5. Thats a great idea! thanks! :hyper:
  6. I put the $1k as a marker so I didn't get bogged down with questions like "you can do anything if you have the money".

    I actually own a Fender Active Jazz bass MIM. Its got a great sunburst finish on it. I would hate to ruin it. That was sort why I thought I could start with a different body.
  7. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    In my Dub days i went through a few Basses, J is NOT the best for Dub, P is better but i found that a traditional placed Music Man humbucker with an Active worked Best, cut your highs, bump your lows on the pre amp, a little EQ on your head and you will get an amazing Dub tone you cant really hear but feel. I also used a floor pedal per amp and a compressor, you want to get a round sound that has less of a dynamic range than a natrual naked bass signal.
  8. Very nice. I really like it.

    So you were going for a low Reggae Dub or it ended up working well for it? just wondering.
  9. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I really didn't have a sonic goal other than creating a unique bass - it just ended up being well suited for even-balanced low tones. For your needs, what you could glean from this is the combo of pu's/placement, preamp, neck material and strings to hotrod your Squire for a similar result. Moses makes a nice P or J graphite neck fretted or fretless, and a fat bucker in the neck position can really deliver the low stuff. I have a J set-up w/Lindy Fraylin split-pole J's / Audere preamp and it also delivers some pretty nice/rich bass/lows. It has a (very nice) standard maple/ebony board neck but I can imagine it w/a graphite neck sounding super even. That's what this material is good for - it really holds the tone.

    I remember seeing/hearing a Reggae band playing at an outdoor venue years ago from a distance and the bass was so thick and deep. When I got to the stage the bass player was playing a Yamaha headless (Steinberger-type) bass. I was reminded of that sound when I heard mine.
  10. very cool. thanks. it gives me a direction I hadn't considered.
  11. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    You can easily do it for under $1K. The body should be your least expense. Your tone will come from the pu's, preamp, neck, set-up and strings.., (and of course your amp) and your feel will come from your fingers. Have fun mon!
  12. Thanks! good deal.

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