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'Building' your own bass from parts.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by blackcoffee83, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. blackcoffee83


    Aug 10, 2011
    I currently own 2010 Rick' 4003 which, obviously, I adore, but was thinking about 'building' my own Fender PJ bass from parts bought on Ebay (for a fun hobby and because presumably it would be cheaper than buying a MIJ/MIA Fender).
    Has anyone done this? Looking at prices for bodies/necks on Ebay I'm almost thinking I should just get a Squier and mod it or would it be possibly to build my dream Fender for under, say $500?

    Apologies if this threads been done before but I couldn't find anything matching the subject.
  2. jbednarski


    May 31, 2010
    Chicago area
    I did this (built a p bass from parts found on ebay, etc.) a few years ago. Short story; cost more in the long run than it would have been to buy a new p bass. I did learn a lot in doing it and found out that I needed more help than I thought in the end with final assembly, set-up, etc. Things I would do differently would be to leave the road worn body as is and not refinish it (it was worn from years of playing but I just HAD to have a surf green bass) and spend more and get a better neck. In the end it all worked out but the bridge didn't align with the neck properly and I had to have it doweled in and re-drilled which cost an extra $125. I bought a Might Mite neck to save money and it had a bit of a twist in it but my local luthier fixed that with no problem (but a $50. charge) and now it's great. About 6 months later the maple dried out a bit more and I had to spend more money getting the fret sprout fixed. The bass is a little heavier than I would have wanted but plays and sounds great now. The body was loaded when I got it with a professionally copper shielded cavity and God only knows what kind of pickup but it's loud, low and hollow sounding so I may have got lucky with that score. It did teach me what to look for in a bass when buying after that and what I'm capable of and not capable of doing myself so that education is invaluable. It's just that for all the parts, paint and fix costs I could have gotten an MIA P used for the same money. If you take your time and can afford some mistakes and don't expect a boutique outcome you'll have a lot of fun.
  3. highway


    Aug 20, 2008
    get a warmoth body from the classifieds
  4. SlingBass4


    Feb 28, 2009
    Kansas City
    *I* like Warmoth necks, and forcus my funds, accordingly. Bodies can be had for less that will do just fine. Good tuners, bridges, and pups can all be found here, eBay, and other sources like: http://reverb.com/ Just my $.02 ;)
  5. dane22


    Dec 21, 2010
    You can mix and match parts from Ebay. I've done it and it's become a fun hobby!!! 1 -Jazz, 1 -Fenderbird, 1 -original parts 74/75 p bass under construction. The Jazz cost less than 500 and the Fenderbird ( Epi t'bird body/squier VM Jazz neck) was under 300!!!! You need to be able to solder, do a setup and adjust a neck. Also, with the Fenderbird, I learned how to reroute a neck pocket. Craigslist has some deals, too. I love doing it!!!!
  6. Bufalo

    Bufalo Funk in the Trunk Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Harrisburg, PA
    I've built a couple basses out of parts sourced here and on eBay, and what I've found is that as long as you don't go into it trying to be as cheap as possible, you'll be fine. Treat it as a hobby (just like playing) and it's very enjoyable. Plus, you end up with combinations of colors and features that were never done by anyone else.
  7. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    No one has ever done this. You totally should, and reap the rewards of your new cottage-industry upstart. Perhaps a kickstarter is in order here.

  8. dane22


    Dec 21, 2010
    a pic..

    Attached Files:

  9. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    It will be very challenging to DIY a parts bass cheaper than a new MIM Fender. It's almost always more expensive.

    Buying a used MIM or Squier that is as close to what you want and modding a few parts to your preference will likely be the cheapest way to go.
  10. Jbass4me


    Jun 27, 2013
    I "Frankensteined" a Hondo bass body, with Seymour Duncan J-bass bridge pup with Bartolini P-bass pups and a Mighty Mite lefty neck, which gives it that Hendrix look (upside down headstock)..I drilled the side fret markers installed mother of pearl markers. Added an all black bridge and black/clear knobs. The bass is a bit heavy because the Hondo body, but it's manageable..It sounds amazing with more tone than a typical jazz bass....It may or may not cost you more, but building it yourself is most rewarding.. IMHO
  11. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    If you pick and choose, you should be alright. But be very careful with the neck. Here, you might want to go to USACustom or Warmouth at the higher end, or an Allparts neck. I would recommend against a certain vender with a same similar to a classic Fender Guitar. What they offer is basically B stock parts at A stock prices. Also, they are utterly clueless on what to do with a neck once it's removed.
  12. Batmensch


    Jul 4, 2010
    Media, PA.
    Now that Fender is selling bodies and necks, I'm seriously considering building myself a P-bass. Total cost should end up about what a MIM costs. Why not just buy a MIM? I dunno, it just seems like it might be easier for me to get the parts month by month than saving up for an already assembled one. We'll see.
  13. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Inactive

    Jan 20, 2011
    Tb classifieds is a good source for parts. Easily under 500 & the end result is specific to your decisions & it's fun.
  14. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Inactive

    Jan 20, 2011
    Right-- fork over 500+ now or build slowly over time w better parts I'd rather build slowly.

    Bodies don't have to be brand name for me squier is fine but the neck ought to be good quality. Squier ok too.
  15. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike

    Nov 18, 2005
    If your doing it for a hobby ? Hell yeah.

    If your doing it to save money ? You won't
  16. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    I recently started building myself a project P-Bass. In the case of mine, I've got some pretty specific goals in mind. As a result I've been trying to source some very specific parts.

    Now, if I tried to do this EXACT bass through a builder? I'd probably wind up paying at least $1600, maybe more. Doing it this way, I'm looking at about $1200.

    I'm planning on taking my time. I've already got a good number of the parts including the body. The neck will be the single most expensive item in the build. But it's really one of the most crucial, isn't it? It's one area where I don't want to skimp.

    I definitely plan to buy some parts here (if at all possible), but also directly from Fender as well as Seymour Duncan. They've got the EXACT parts that I want.

    One thing I'm trying to figure out? I want the onboard electronics to be as close to what's on the Pino Palladino P-Bass as possible. That's going to take a little research, but it should be do-able.

    Now, will this project come together perfectly? Probably not. I expect some bumps in the road.
  17. I just "finished" my parts bass. Fender MIA jazz body and bridge. Fender MIA precision neck. Sadowsky split coil pickups. John east JRetro preamp. I wanted the classic shape, so I went with the standard neck and body. Rotosound nickel strings. Did my first gig with it last night, sounded fantastic, very impressed. I know quite a bit about setup and the fender body/neck went together beautifully (both 2012), nice tight neck pocket, no shims necessary. Great low action. I've gone through a couple necks after trying a Fender jazz neck and Warmoth jazz neck with exotic woods. I found that the precision neck is what I like, the jazz neck made my hands cramp up and the Warmoth neck came in without the proper fretwork (it is thicker front to back and weighed too much), so I got rid of both. Things to watch for are the fretwork, neck pocket fit, neck weight, and tuner weight. It is VERY difficult to create a nice balanced instrument, so if you're uncertain, I would just get a squire CV 60s p and route a j bridge pickup or get the PJ. I had a jazz before as well from 2004 and the parts bass from 2012 parts came out MUCH better IMO. If you have questions feel free to ask. This is not an economical way to go, but I ended up with what I like. I have a Warmoth pg with a p route a p pup and may route the body for it.
  18. Batmensch


    Jul 4, 2010
    Media, PA.
    Well, I don't need to buy the pickup, wiring, or pickguard, I already have that from a Squier VM P, and I would like to get gold hardware, which is something you won't find on any current P-bass.
  19. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Waste of time and money you'll never get back.
  20. I did this a couple years ago, and not only was it a ton of fun, but the bass turned out great. I got a Highway One Precision neck off of ebay, an unfinished body from USA Custom Guitars, and the rest of the bits and pieces from various sources. In the end, it was a bit more expensive than an MIM Precision, but a LOT cheaper than a USA model, and I ended up with a fantastic-sounding bass in a unique color (a reddish orange), and learned a lot, too. You might not be able to build your dream Fender for $500 (especially if you want to buy a pre-finished body), but you might be able to do it for a couple hundred more.