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cheap body on Ebay

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Greg Johnsen, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    hey, I was on Ebay looking at bass bodies, and I found a whole bunch of fender jazz ones for like 20 bucks, I'm thinking about getting one, ordering a neck from warmoth, buying barts for it, new pre amp, and a hipshot A bridge.

    does that sound like it would work together? And is this a good idea?

  2. I take it that the "powers that be" have loosened up on this idea?

    Here is a strong warning. If you approach the project with the idea that the organization, assembly, and setup of the instrument will be as simple as the way you wrote the description of the project above, you will be very disappointed at the results. If the bodies you are describing are the ones from South America, it is conceivable that you will have fit problems with them. Not a guarantee that you will but these problems have been noted in the past. IF you do, what do you do about it? This is where the rubber meets the road. I and others have often said that while we will all make mistakes in building instruments, but the real skill is in how we recover from these mistakes. In your case, the question is "Do I have enough knowledge of the processes and solutions dictated to solve the possible problems I could run into?" The answer isn't as simple as a yes or no. It would also have to take into consideration the tools needed to make everything happen as planned or replanned in the case of error. Think about it. The body you are buying might be totally unfinished requring total sanding, filling, coating, clearcoating, etc. Have you done the research to understand what's needed to make that work on high quality woods in a manner that is permanent and good looking? Next is the Warmoth neck. These come unfinished you know - unless you are spending the large bucks to have Warmoth finish it for you. If you finish it yourself and intend to keep the warranty, you'll have to put a hard film finish on yourself. Do you know what that is and how to apply one?. On the assembly side, if the neck pocket is cut at the wrong angle to properly set the string height, would you know how and with what tools to correct it. Could you do it yourself? Do you know how to properly locate and set a bridge for proper string alignment and string intonation?. How would you make the coverplate for the control cavity? These are a few of the deeper questions that have to be answered - only by you - before that other question "Is this a good idea?" can be answered.

    Any one of the guys that contribute here on a regular basis (me included I hope) could take those parts and turn them into a stellar instrument. But 99.5% of the guys on TB couldn't. So it's not just whether WE THINK it's a good idea (hell yeah it is, we do it all the time!-see?) - it's more important that you understand it's a good idea and that those that have more say in what's going on around you agree it's a good idea.
  3. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    A much better carpenter than me once said "The difference between a professional and an amateur isn't how many mistakes they make, it's how well they hide them." Words to live by, if you ask me.

    About the only thing I'd add is that if you go in with the right attitude, it's a great idea. Don't expect a show quality instrument at the end because unless you invest a whole lot of time and money (and have a supernatural doseage of luck) chances are it won't get there. However, you'll never be able to produce a top of the line instrument if you never get your hands dirty, so call it a learning experience and see what you can pick up. I'm all about the hands on stuff, so no matter how much I read and how many more skilled people I ask, I still need to get in there and find out what works for me.

    If you're the kind of person who'll get frustrated and throw the whole thing out the window, I don't recommend this hobby of ours. If you're willing to screw up and willing to learn from the people who've screwed up before you, then there's no better way to spend your time.

  4. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    Hambone, my parents haven't been told about this idea yet (I haven't bought anything, I'm just looking ^^) And I can problem solve very easily, and even though I don't have many tools, I'm just one of those people who can get around the set backs.

    I have a great amount of patience, if I start something, I rarely ever give up on it. I go all the way, and if it turns to crap, I say "well, it was a learning experience" and if it turns out good, it's still a learning experience, but I get to rub it in my parents' faces <(^_^)>

    I need to save up some money first, I only have about 200 left after I spent most of it on a new bass. I'm gonna wait a while, and ask my parents my next birthday (november) because I'll have more money then.

    I've looked at alot of other basses on ebay, and I've found some fender replacements for a bit more money, but I'd be better off.

  5. A much better carpenter than me also once said "Measure twice, cut once".

    My junior high shop teacher was missing 2 fingers from a table saw accident.

    These are words to live by too! :D

    Nateo has made better points than I have concerning the attitude required for instrument building. And, it seems like you have what it takes to...

    do more research on the subject!

    The timeline of getting started around the beginning of the new year sounds just about right to me. I'm not joking here...as you get into the planning of this project, you will change your mind as often as the wind changes direction - just ask Teej ;) I'm not referring to the color or the style, I'm talking about small stuff like using inserts or simple wood screws or what bridge is most suitable or whether ash is better than maple on top of mahogany. Researching these types of questions and being patient enough to be thorough enough to really learn the subject is where the time comes in. It's like this for any self directed endeavour. That's where I'm at - been doing this now for 6 years and while I can do everything needed to build a bass with some flair and style, I don't do any of it extremely well and some of it rather poorly. I stick to it though, and learn with every project and new build. The guys I see that I respect have been at it much longer and do what I want to do with little or no perspiration expended because they've done it for so long and perfected their techniques. But their real secret, like Nateo alluded to, is that they put the time in and used each experience as a building block for the next. Somewhere early in their building lives, they crossed that barrier where they had gained enough knowledge to fluidly create without struggling with the process of creating. That's the goal.
  6. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    well, I'm having some trouble on what I want on some things...

    I know the pups I want to use, and I'm not going to change that (bart jazz) but I'm debating on some other stuff...

    I want either Sunburst or Blue body, either tourtise or black PG, either a Fender bridge, or a badassII bridge (really need help on that) and I don't know what tuners.

    What I know I'm keeping from my original ideas:

    Jazz style body
    Bartolini Jazz pups
    pickguard with chrome control plate
    Jazz neck with maple neck and fretboard, and black block inlays.
    Chrome hardware
    Chrome pup and bridge cover
    Chrome Vintage style tuners

    That's what I want to keep, but some of that might change, but that's pretty much what I want.

    The thing I really need help on, is the wiring, I know hpw to solder, and that kind of stuff, but I don't know waht goes where, some research on this subject is required, but help here would be appreciated.

  7. Fasoldt Basses

    Fasoldt Basses

    Mar 22, 2005
    Stevens Point, WI
    Karl Thompson, Builder (Formerly Fat Karl)
    May I suggest a book that will help you immensley. Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvin Hiscock is extremely helpfull and informative, and will answer probably 90% of your questions. There is a chapter devoted to "assembly" projects like yours. It's available through Luthier suppliers like Stewart Macdonald, also at Amazon.
  8. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    It's amazing what people will say about you behind your back. :smug: I wouldn't have even noticed this if I didn't do a search for my feedback thread. But yes, I'm quite experienced in the mind-changing department. I've been working on one particular design for about 1 1/2 years now. It's evolved from this now hideous, bulky thing to a sleek and sexy design that I'm STILL refining. And at first, it was going to be solid korina, then it became solid walnut with a koa top, then chambered walnut with a walnut top, then a maple top, and now it's chambered honduran mahogany with a flamed maple top. I think I started several "Official Trevor Joiner Such-and-such Bass" threads. I've since deleted them to help conserve the TB servers and storage space.
  9. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    You can't stress the research thing enough. It took me about a year of researching before i decided i knew enough to complete my first Bass, and three creations later, i'm still learning. the goal in the long run should be to never stop learing new things about your hobby, trade what have you. it puts you at the top of your game, and makes it always a challenge. :D