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Custom bass help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by deathbloomslife, May 16, 2005.

  1. 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.

  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    1.) For growly, I'd be looking at Mahogany, though it will be a bit heavy. Ash tends to be warmer IMO, maybe lean a little more towards alder or some dense exotics.

    2.) The tonal change of a laminate top is minimal. Tops merely provide cosmetic appeal, but the main structural part of the bass is a different material. There will be some change, but nothing MAJOR.

    3.) There is no best. Birdseye maple neck and board will do you fine, especially with rock.

    4.) As far as hardware, be sure to check out Hipshot at www.hipshotproducts.com for bridges (top loading heavy duty bridges) as well as lightweight tuning machines in either cloverleaf (Fender style) or Y key (Gotoh style) configurations.

    5.) For growl, perhaps EMG would be a good bet. I find Bartolini's to be more tame than EMG's. Can also check out Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders, they're fairly hot pickups.

    6.) If you feel you need active EQ, go for it, there are plenty out there (which I don't have enough experience to recommend) but you do not need active pickups. Passive pickups connected to an active onboard preamp will work fine in most cases.

    7.) If you're going for rock, might I try to pursuede you to check out some stainless steel roundwounds... perhaps D'Addario Prosteels or LaBella Hard Rockin' Steels. They give the zing and really cut through in a hard rock situation.

    Warmoth is a great supplier for just about everything. However, I would seriously consider Hipshot hardware.

    Good luck!

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