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Creating my first Warmoth

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Alexander, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I am interested in creating my first Warmoth - probably a 4 string jazz body (alder) with a rosewood neck (with binding and inlays) and PJ pickup configuration. I will most likely use SD Antiquities for the pickups. Fairly standard stuff, so I assume if I do things right, I should have a pretty traditional old-school tone, right? I'm doing this mainly for the fun and learning of it but hope to have a good bass at the end. I know a number of TBers have done this and I've read back through the threads. Just wanted to see if anyone had advice for a first time amateur like me - help me avoid the landmines, you know? Any suggestions?
  2. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    I am very interested in creating a custom warmoth jazz bass (similar to jaco's look but active) with SD pickups.

    Any help for the both of us TBer's?:D

  3. I have built a number of Warmoth basses. If you take your time you will end with a VERY nice bass. Warmoth parts are top notch. Your tone will depend on the type of woods you use. For traditional jazz tone you will want the standard maple neck with rosewood or maple fretboard. The body should be Alder or Swamp Ash. Their necks are solid as a rock. They are a tad heavy due to the steel rods so You might want to go with modern light weight tuners to avoid neck dive. I built a P-bass and used the traditional Schaller BML style tuners and the neck was quite heavy.

    I personally would build a Warmoth over buying a Fender American series bass. I believe you end up with a more solid bass and it will cost less too. Even if you let them do the finish it's a bargain.
  4. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    That was what i was thinking.

    Wanted a fender jazz in sunburst, active pre-amp and no pickguard, they don't make it and the only bass that comes close is the jaco bass but that's passive anyway and i am not into buying signature basses so i thought WARMOTH! :cool:

    Just out of the curiousity, how much did you spend on your warmoth P-Bass?
  5. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Cheaper than a MIA Fender? So far, my parts are up to nearly $1200. But that is with finished neck and body with the Antiquity PUPs... Thanks for the tip on the lightweight tuners - I had the BMLs on my parts list...
  6. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    $1200? what kind of options are you adding on your list? My approx. price comes up to $927, here's the list:


    Solid alder - $155
    Gotoh bridge (Chrome) - $30
    1 Battery pack - $25
    Sunburst body finish - $200
    J control plate (Chrome) - $12


    13 degrees angled warmoth style peghead with rosewood fingerboard and maple wood neck on 21 frets - $186
    Clear satin neck finish - $50
    Schaller BML tuners (Chrome) - $46
    4-screw neck plate (Chrome) - $4.50
    Fender graphite nut - $3.75
    Vintage round string retainers (Chrome) - $2.10

    Pickups and Pre-amp:

    Quarter-pound OR Hot passive pickups (neck and bridge) - $118.50
    2-Band tone circuit for passive pickups - $96.75

    I know i am missing some other things like pots, truss rod, knobs, strap holders etc... but those things are like under $10.
  7. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA

    Advice! I'm good a giving that, even when I'm not asked for it. :)

    So, my advice would be to buy/find the proper tools for the job. Set yourself up a nice area to work, and clear it of anything that might get in the way. Be patient, and work through things before you do any drilling, screwing, or soldering. Specific advice:

    1.) When drilling, use a drill press when possible. You will get best results if your drilled holes are straight.
    2.) Get some real nut files and possibly some fret files.
    3.) Get the right wattage soldering iron.
    4.) Use the right type of solder.
    5.) Buy quality parts, don't skimp.
    6.) Make sure you get the neck on straight :) Straight edges are your friend.
    7.) Make sure the pickups you choose will work with where warmoth puts the routes. I noticed the Sadowsky pickups I purchased for my P-J project didn't line-up quite right.
    8.) Use masking tape to protect the paint when you are working.
    9.) Route your own truss-rod access route. The Warmoth one doesn't go deep enough.
    10.) Use a template when you route!!
    11.) Your time costs money, don't forget that :) It took me about 10 hours total to put mine together, and I still didn't finish the nut. I had one of the nickle alloy nuts from Warmoth, those are hard to work with.
    12.) If you decide to sell, you won't get your money back.
    13.) Have fun.
  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses

    Again, be VERY PATIENT!!!!!!!!! :)
  9. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Also, be patient when tightening your screws... Unless you want to break off a screw head in your neck or something...

    I soaped up the screws BEFORE installing, to reduce friction.
  10. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    Doesn't warmoth put the bass together for you though if you ask them to?
  11. Good point McHack!

    The screws that come with the tuners are very easy to break. Pre-drill everything and don't screw them in very tight. If you break the head off those tiny screws they are very hard to get out.
  12. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Yeah, that's a good one. I used paraffin wax on my screws. I didn't scrip or break any screws. Don't over tighten, the part you are attaching will start sinking into the wood. Snug is good enough.
  13. I made my own Warmoth based P Bass. I keep on changing it, but I started out with a nice Warmoth ash body and went with the SD Antiquity II PUPs. I had a maple P neck on it at first, but then purchased a Genuine Fender J neck and have been happy with the change. I used nitro on every thing. The painting was the hardest part for me, so if you can have them do it for you that is better. Nonetheless, my paint job was sufficient, and I am particularly happy with the relic look to it. I would strongly recommend this, as it has been an enjoyable experience and my bass sounds amazing! I want to do another in time.

    I agree, however, the process can be more expensive then buying a pre-made bass if you use great parts and the re-sale value is not as good as a pre-made Fender, but I don't plan on selling this one because I put it together and it has been a great experience.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    Get exactly what you want if your going completely custom, its going to be your bass. Enjoy :bassist:
  15. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I was looking at an alder body\flame maple top with sunburst finish - also at one of the J necks with binding and block inlays, which added up. Also budgeted $250 for the Antiquities...
  16. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    similar to what i am want minus the flame maple top and type of pickups
  17. I'm planning on building another P-bass. Lake Placid blue with a maple neck and board. I may go with one of those Raven Labs P bass preamps. Sweet and simple.
  18. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    They don't make 'em any more. :bawl:
  19. That stinks!
  20. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    No. They'll apply the finish for a fee, but not assemble the instrument.