Building Your Own Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Stampy, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Stampy


    Jun 30, 2008
    Even though I am a beginner to playing the bass guitar I have always wanted to build my own. Do any of the major manufactures offer kits where you can build your own? I would imagine the hardest part is all of the wiring and electronics. Is there special wood stain/paint used on guitars. I would think it would be cheaper than just going out buying one, example would it be cheaper to build a Geddy Lee bass or to buy a Geddy Lee bass? I don't know its just an idea or dream of mine.:)
  2. Hansel


    Jan 20, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    Buying it would be cheaper because you would come no where near the quality of a fender CIJ one (geddy).

    As far as kits, look for the "SAGA" kits at any music store.
  3. playibanez


    Apr 3, 2006
    There are a bunch of manufactures you can get parts to put a parts bass together. Warmoth are very highly regarded bodies around here, as are their necks. For the rest of the things you need they should be easy to find, just need to figure out what you want.
  4. nickn


    Oct 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Regarding the cost... You're not going to save any money by building one up from parts, unless maybe you watch eBay and Craigslist like a hawk for the next few months and find some KILLER deals. Even then you probably wouldn't have top-notch parts. If you're looking to save money, you definitely want to just buy a used bass.

    That said, Carvin does have a couple different bass kits.
  5. chris_nairn


    Feb 14, 2007
    I think you could save money by buying a decent used bass but you stated that you have always wanted to build your own. With Carvin, Warmoth or Stewart McDonald you will end up with a decent instrument and the satisfaction of knowing you built it yourself. If you really like the Geddy Lee Fender, they are not very expensive in the first place--I think around $800 and you could probably find a used one for a lot less. It is a pretty good bass but I don't think it would be any better than a bass you built yourself from parts.
  6. playibanez


    Apr 3, 2006
    If you keep an eye out a Geddy Lee can be had for as low as around 500. Used of course.
  7. Stampy


    Jun 30, 2008
    I want both lol!!!
  8. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    I would recomend buying it. In the long run you will save money and theres no way that the quality would be as good as the fender. And the neck is slimmed down on the geddy lee sig bass. If your really set on building a bass from a kit it wont be too hard. Just make sure you shield everything since the single coil pickups buzz alot.
  9. Stampy


    Jun 30, 2008
    That Carvin kit looks very nice!!! Now how much is it to buy the guitar assembled? Also can some provide link to other companies that sell kits also that would be great. It actually doesnt look that hard at all.
  10. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    The Carvin is not at all hard to assemble. Putting on a finish can be as easy as applying several coats of tung oil, as Carvin recommends, or as difficult as putting on a highly polished lacquer or varnish coating.

    I've built the Carvin BK4-the Bolt model with alder body and ebony fingerboard. It turned out very nice-actually better than very nice. The sound is very much a modern J type. Carvin's real strength is in the high quality and precision workmanship. The necks come right from the factory with perfectly leveled frets and setting the bass up after assembly is easy. Carvin gives directions. The other companies I've seen don't always have such finely made necks and you may have to spend quite a bit of time on fret leveling and set up.

    One drawback of the Carvin is you are stuck with only a J type bass or a humbucking plus J pickup bass. Unless you want to wait a while and pay quite a bit more, you're limited to alder or ash for the body.

    If you can live with that you'll wind up with a bass that plays better than most $1000 and up basses and sounds very good. This is all my opinion of course, backed by personal experience with Carvin. I wound up with an excellent sounding and beautiful to play bass that weighed in at 7 lbs. Nice for old backs.
  11. I made my first bass after I'd been playing for about 2 years,just long enough to really know what I wanted.I bought from carvin about $850 in parts for the most expensive 6-string neck though I could get (from them).Still love that bass after 9 years.
  12. kyral210


    Sep 14, 2007
    I would STRONGLY recomend buying a squire, stripping it down to the wood, and then rebuilding it. OK, its not a true new bass, but you learn allot, and maybe next time you can built it all!

    I made my Industrial P-Bass in this way. I added:

    • New Graphtech Nut
    • New EMG Select Pickup (full EMG isnt worth it on a squire)
    • New custom scratch plate (only tone)
    • New electronics (only tone)
    • Moved the jack to the side of the bass
    • New black mottled coat
    • Industrial/ tribal decal
    • New Epiphone Thunderbird Tuners
    • My name (PARKER) on the headstock
    • Headstock painted
    • Pro setup (im an engineer)
    • GHS Boomers strings
    • Very tight fitting neck, not the usual squire shoddy work
    • Chamfered the edge to give a slightly Gothic look under spotlight


  13. Stampy


    Jun 30, 2008
    That looks really nice too!
  14. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Yeah...the price is NOT why you build your own bass from parts (unless you comb Ebay for months/years to get deals on everything)

    I built a Warmoth Jazz bass and it cost about $1400 when it was all said and done. I could have scraped off some cash here and there, but I got all top quality stuff...Audere Preamp, Duncan Fat Stack P'ups, quilt maple get the idea!

    It's a fabulous sounding and playing bass, though. I would imagine a bass of this quality could easily cost this much or more by a manufacturer. Warmoth quality is fantastic.

    The fact that I built it myself is worth the cost...and when i bring it to practices, the guys are all impressed by it and gush over it's fancy-ness! That right there is worth the cost!
  15. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Cornell , IL.
  16. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    Just buy a used Geddy. Why bother with soldering, shimming, intonation and other adjustments that may cause you to screw up a DIY bass?

    A used Geddy should be in the $600 range.
  17. Stampy


    Jun 30, 2008
    I probably should have stated this a little clearer in the begining. I was wondering what would be cheaper building a bass or buying a Geddy Lee bass. Of course theres you get more satisfaction if you build one yourself. That other kit is really cheap. I wonder how good the quality is? I like that fender style.
  18. Stampy


    Jun 30, 2008
    Now how hard is it to change out the pickups?
  19. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    Stampy change some pickups is not hard at all.

    As already stated if you want to build a good sounding bass is not going to be cheap. If you like Fender basses actually it would be cheaper if you go out and buy a used one than build a quality one by your self.

    You have to have in mind that theres a lot to learn in building a bass (even if you are only going to put some part and piece together).

    If you want to build something cheap, youll end up with a cheap sounding bass. The fun of building a bass is to build one according to what you like and be creative. If you like Fender, buy a Fender.
  20. Stampy


    Jun 30, 2008
    I know. I do want to build ny own just want to get a feel for how complex the project will be.