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Do-It-Yourself Bass Guitar Kits

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by backdraft641, Oct 26, 2013.


  1. backdraft641

    backdraft641

    Aug 11, 2010
    New Jersey
    Who has experience with these? I'm considering buying a kit and putting my own bass together. I'd like to know who has experience with these and I'd like to hear your success (or failure) story...
     
  2. BrianToska

    BrianToska

    Jan 14, 2013
    Houston, TX
    I would also like to hear about these. I've always been curious.
     
  3. jcanderson

    jcanderson

    Apr 13, 2013
    Los Altos, CA
  4. BrianToska

    BrianToska

    Jan 14, 2013
    Houston, TX

    Thanks! I'm definitely going to give that a read when I get home tonight
     
  5. jcanderson

    jcanderson

    Apr 13, 2013
    Los Altos, CA
    A word of warning...some of the video links don't show up when I view the blog on my iPad, but they're ok when viewed on my PC. Not sure how to fix it...
     
  6. pnut166

    pnut166

    Jun 5, 2008
    alabama
    I`ve heard a lot of bad stories about the prepackaged kits. Depending on budget and building acumen, buy an unfinished / finished body - Mighty Mite on the low end, Warmoth on the high, or anything in between. Same for neck, although I wouldn`t skimp here if possible - I think that`s the major flaw in the kits. If you get a used loaded neck, you`re all set there hardware - wise. Then it`s just a question of hardware preference, pickguard, and wiring / pup configuration; wiring schematics are easily obtained. You`ll come out spending anywhere from a little to a lot more than a kit, but you`ll have an end product that, chances are, is going to be infinitely better in quality & playability. It IS good fun to mod / build / tinker - these days, I do more of that than actual playing.
     
  7. BrianToska

    BrianToska

    Jan 14, 2013
    Houston, TX

    I actually just got a neck in the mail last week so I'm going to start building soon. I tinker and mess around with things too much also
     
  8. jazz41

    jazz41

    Nov 4, 2012
    Greensboro, NC
    Get a Carvin kit. Thank me later. Cuss me for the habit you'll develop.

    I had no experience before building a bass. I just got a wild hair in me then I built a walnut Carvin BK40 kit a year ago. I have since built a Warmoth SG, finishing a walnut Jazz and just bought a custom P body with three different woods in it. It is a lot of fun and very satisfying when you complete one. There are two challenges that are easily overcome: applying the finish (which isn't hard) and soldering up the electronics (which is a little difficult depending on how you want to wire your pickups).

    I recommend the Carvin kit because it is the same bass they sell for around $700, but for $450 (with no options). It comes with good instructions, everything you need, and when you finish, you've got a top quality instrument and the satisfaction of putting it together. Go get one!!
     
  9. I made my own kit. I got MIM P bass body (alder) and neck (maple) and MIA 62 RI pickups. All new from Ebay.
    I shielded the body with some aluminum tape and installed the pickup. Originally, I put Babicz bridge on, but later replaced it with Fender grooved saddles one. Everything went perfectly well, all holes were correct and no additional drilling required. It is a great sounding bass.

    photo_zpsb7e3594d.
     
  10. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    It's fun and easy to do, just be aware you will not get your money back on it. But it is a great learning experience.
     
  11. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    No, just no. :rollno:
     
  12. rocmonster

    rocmonster

    Oct 31, 2011
    Here is my experience with a Saga fretless Jazz copy kit.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/first-time-build-saga-jb-12-fretless-jazz-887794/

    I loved the whole experience and wound up with a really cool instrument and since most of my investment was time, I don't have to worry about 'losing value'.

    Good luck!
     
  13. jcanderson

    jcanderson

    Apr 13, 2013
    Los Altos, CA
    You'll learn a lot, if you purchase one of the inexpensive kits. You will probably also end up with an assortment of specialized tools and a developing skill to use them.

    In other words, if you enjoy building for the pleasure of creating something new, and you if aren't (too) intimidated by unforeseen problems, then go for it. But don't expect to save money!

    I didn't know what to expect when I purchased my kit, and I was a bit shocked by all of the problems it had. Which is the reason why I wrote my blog posts on my experiences, so that others would have some idea what to expect. But I'm glad I built it. Because of its issues, it was a great (albeit unanticipated) learning platform.

    Would I do it again? Yes. I'd love to see a cheap Ric kit from China, but in the meantime, there is an intriguing lefty kit on ebay with a humbucker and a weird headstock, and I'm tempted to see how it sounds...

    By the way, here's the final result from the bass kit:

    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1382885040.966036.
     
  14. jcanderson

    jcanderson

    Apr 13, 2013
    Los Altos, CA
  15. rocmonster

    rocmonster

    Oct 31, 2011
    Thanks.

    Building from a kit affords you a cheap opportunity to learn how the parts come together, how you need to troubleshoot problems, and how you can modify and existing design to better fit your needs, from matching a custom color to something as little as sanding 1/16" off the back of, or rounding the sides of, the neck.

    Good luck!
     
  16. pnut166

    pnut166

    Jun 5, 2008
    alabama
    IMG_4511. I bought this Affinity for $40. Filled the body dents, refinished, new PG, nut, block stickers, MIM pups, and a headstock veneer. When finished, I had about $120 in it, some reusable tools & supplies, a great deal of learning experience, and a nice bass that I, coincidentally, sold on Ebay for about $40 more than I had in it.
     
  17. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    The more I read through this post, the more interested I'm getting in buying a kit and building a bass.
    I've built all sorts of things throughout my life, but never an instrument. And I don't have the desire, patience, space, tools etc to build one from scratch.

    Thanks for the inspiration, folks. :)
     
  18. frankieC

    frankieC A swell guy from Warren Harding High

    Jul 21, 2012
    My Carvin B50 (see avatar) was a kit bass. My first time, too. It's fretless (with fret lines) 5 string, and it has a 9vdc active preamp, and a passive push/pull.
    I built it about 5 years ago, and it's gigged countless times. It sounds and plays great. Action is super low, slightly less than 3/32" at the 12th fret position, with no buzz.

    I've made a number of changes to it along the way, mostly electronic just experimenting, but now it's back to the original Carvin electronics, it was pretty hard to beat their package.

    It's a great kit if you "don't have the desire, patience, space, tools etc to build one from scratch". lol

    Depending on the finish you want, you could build a Carvin kit in a weekend. With basing hand tools, and little experience, and end up with a completely profession looking, sounding, and feeling bass.

    There is also a company by the name of Grizzly (they are a tool manufacturer), the owner is a guitarist, and has produced some pretty low cost, high quality kits, and now has a whole array of options, too. They are worth taking look at. They use the kits and finished products to promote their tools. Pretty cool idea, if you ask me.

    Anyway, don't shy away from kits. The end result is what you make it. I think you'll find that once you start, you'll love it. Same components as regular, factory built basses, at a lower cost, because you are providing the assembly and finishing labor.
     
  19. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    It sounds like it can be a great and fun learning experience. As far as cost+labor=results, I dunno. You can get a brand new Rondo "Essex" (SX) for less than many of these kits, and "mod" it up to (from many accounts) "giggable" quality. Or you can find many used Affinity, VM, etc. and do the same thing.

    So anyone expecting to save money by building their own bass from a kit I think is in for a disappointment. If, however, you've always wanted to learn how to build, but don't have all the tools to build from scratch, I believe it's a reasonable price to pay for the experience.

    I am continually astonished at how much the price has gone up on these kits in just a few years. To get any variety other than a plain "P" or "J", you end up spending as much as a Squier in some instances. If I just want an inexpensive bass to play, I'm buying one already put together by a known manufacturer that also comes with a warranty!

    But that's just me....YMMV, IME, IMHO etc. etc.
     
  20. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Thanks for all the info. Being as I live in Greece now, I'm trying to find the lowest cost shipping option. I've looked at the Thomann site, but I'm interested in a lined, fretless kit, and they don't have one. I'll look more into Carvin and I'll check out Grizzly, too.
     

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