Okay, I've been thinking it would be fun to assemble my own bass, but I'm actually making an effort to see if I could afford it (yikes!) and right now, thats a no, since I'm looking to buy a new bass. But, I would like some input from my fellow TB'ers out there. I just have a few general questions... 1.) What type of body wood should I use? I want a real low growly heavy metal/hard rock sound, and I'm oblivious as to which wood is the best for that sound. Right now I'm thinking of using an Ash, or a Swamp Ash. 2.) Would a laminate top change the sound of my bass? I'm thinking of getting a flamed maple top becuase they're so beautiful, but will it change the charicteristics of the tone of my bass? 3.) What's the best neck wood/fingerboard combo? Since I'm going to most likely go with a transparent dark blue color, I was thinking of using birdseye maple for the neck wood, and the same for the fingerboard. 4.) Hardware? I like the look and feel of a really fat bridge, like the "heavy-duty" looking ones on the SDGR Ibanezs'. I was suggested I go with an ABM. Are they good? I would like to get a bridge that will sustain well. Hard-tail, or through bridge, does not matter to me (unless it affects the tone or sustain.) Also, what type of tuners are the best? About the only companies I ever hear about are Schaller and Gotoh. I was thinking Gotoh is the better bet, as I see it more commonly used in production basses. 5.) What pickups are my best bet for that deep growly heavy metal/hard rock sound? I was just gonna slap a pair of EMG PJs' or EMG Js' in there, but is there a better set for a really growly bass? Bartolini MM style perhaps? (ala MTD?) 6.) Active EQ? I'm looking for a Volume, Blend, Treb, Mid, Bass setup, and maybe a double tap or a toggle for active/passive, but that requires special pickups, right? Also, 18v or 9v? 7.) Not that its a custom bass question, but strings??? I really "had my heart set" on a new set of DR Black Beauties, but is there something that you guys all reccomend I use instead? I'm planning on ordering close to all of my parts from Warmoth with the exception of the bridge. I thank any and all of you who have read through this extensive "questionaire" of mine, and deeply deeply deeply appreciate any feedback I recieve on this. Thanks, Ryan.