building your own...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by instigata, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. instigata


    Feb 24, 2006
    New Jersey
    how much work, research, money, and time is optimal for building my own. i have previous shop experience, but no building experience guitar wise. are there any tips, cheaper parts, or hints/advice those of you who have dared to can give?
  2. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    read the first sticky top of the threads
  3. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Here's the link mentioned:

    A decent amount, lots, depends, and depends. You could save a lot simply by hunting down the good deals: start with a list of ALL the parts you'll need, from wood to wires. Please trust me on this one: you can get all the information here at TB, but it'd help tremendously if you got one or a few of the books mentioned in the link above.

    You could probably crank out a bass in a week if you have the time to dedicate to it. Me, well, I took my time with my first, thought a lot about it, was very careful, did all shaping by hand (after rough cuts), and it ended up taking a while. If you want to save time, plan out projects that can be done simultaneously: gluing tops, bodies, necks, etc., and letting them sit while you work on another part of the bass.

    Money...again, that all depends on the effort you put in to finding what you need for the right price. Of course, it also depends on whether or not you have or can borrow the tools. Me, I sank a lot of money into tools as well as parts. I skimped on very little, and don't regret it a bit.

    So check out the link above, get some of the books, and see what you think. Then, come back with specific questions, check the FAQs again, search a little, and then ask away. All the guys here are good, but I don't have enough digits to count all the times I've seen certain questions here;) .

    Start with the books, a parts list, a tools list (see the FAQs), and work up a design, then let us know what's up.

    EDIT: a couple more thoughts...there's some good retailers out there online where you can get many of the things you need. If money is a concern, start with some good, solid, inexpensive pieces of wood. Then give some thought to the hardware/electronics. There's definitely a range of prices, and you can end up spending quite a bit.
  4. instigata


    Feb 24, 2006
    New Jersey
    thanks alot. i'll slowly read thru all of that. for the first time, bolt-on is probably easier? i'd assume. and i hear the less lamination and glue in the body, the better it sounds. but maybe thats a myth....

    i tend to think mike tobias knows what he's talking about though.
  5. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    I could see that, though I guess I should say that "better" is pretty subjective. I wonder if he meant less layering of laminates?
  6. Well okay I'll step in front of the train on that, I totally disagree with the lamination / glue subject. IMHO that's completely ridiculous to think that multiple woods and glue are not "better".
    I hate to say it but it's like the old neck-thru, bolt-on debate.
    The bass I'm working on has a 5 piece neck and each body wing will be 4 layers. I guess I'll officially weigh in on this when the bass is finished. But I do have an existing bass that the neck is 3 lams and the body wings are 5 lams, it's a great bass and what I built mine similar to I like it so much. And I've never done a bolt on myself, I really prefer neck-thru and it make total sense to me to keep doing them that way.

    By the way reading here and asking questions is the best way to figure it out, at least that's what I did. ;)
    Good Luck,
  7. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Mike Tobias can say and believe whatever he wants, but keep this in mind: If laminations were a tone killer, how exactly would Alembic manage to charge what they do?

    For your first try, why not just get wood that is easy to work with, cheap, and reasonably pleasing to the eye? Maple and mahogany spring immediately to mind. Regardless of what you believe in terms of wood influencing tone (personally I think it's generally nonsense) this combination is well established in high end instruments.

    One thing to keep in mind. This likely won't be a $10,000 masterpiece when you're done, but it could easily be worth that much in personal experience. Make plenty of mistakes and learn from them and you're well on your way to becoming a successful backyard builder. From there your own ambition will dictate how far you go into the world of luthierie.