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Dumb idea?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Old_Noob, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. When I get into a new hobby, I tend to get obsessive and read/watch/learn everything I can. I am also a hard-knocks tinkerer. When I got into my other hobby 20 years ago (bicycles), I knew nothing of how they worked. So I bought a frame, and cobbled together parts for a rudimentary single speed...over those 20 years I have probably assembled 15 parts bikes of varying complexities for myself and friends/family members. I have a garage filled with mediocre builds.

    So, you see where this is going.....I have the urge to do a parts bass. I fully understand this will be more expensive than buying something off the shelf and that I will probably screw things up or buy the wrong parts. Willing to accept that risk.

    I am trying to do as much of a “plug and play” as I can....looking at using a p-bass body from rosser (sp??) on ebay, with a squire jazz neck and the emg solderless passive pickups.

    I understand there is a lot of work to do for final sanding/finishing the body.

    So, my question to this learned group is...am I embarking on a foolhardy mission designed to fail? Can a complete noob realistically do this and wind up with a semi-decent looking instrument that is playable?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.
  2. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Yes you totally can. But a word of warning. No one ever just does a single instrument. This rabbit hole is deep and storied. But there's a great community inside, plus soon you'll have 5 dozen basses in your living room. Not to worry though, they'll all fit when your spouse leaves with all the furniture. :smug:
  3. Yes, it’s very doable. If you source a body and neck that use standard Fender specs it should bolt together with minimal “adjustment.” If you get a bare body the main challenge will probably be the finish. If you don’t want to get into spray equipment (you probably will eventually) read some of the threads about oil finishes. TruOil works well and is comparatively easy to apply if a bit time consuming. It’s a good group here and you’ll probably get several solutions to any problems you ask about. That’s one thing I love here, the other builders coming up with a solution to or process for something that I never would think of on my own.
    MonetBass, fleabitten, dwizum and 4 others like this.
  4. Bent77


    Mar 6, 2013
    I’ve assembled a few from parts, and did some modifications, refinishing, and even a broken headstock repair based off things I’ve learned here

    Plus the winter build off is ramping up!
    Reedt2000 and CallMeAl like this.
  5. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Personally, I like doing parts builds and tinkering. But finishing raw wood is a job I’ve not been too interested to take on. I’ve Considered a stain, or truoil. (I did a neck in truoil; a little tedious, but kinda fun!) If you want more towards plug-n-play, consider a Squier body. Not to say it’s not worth doing, where there’s a will there’s a way!

    Also with neck fit, Squier-on-Squier will give you best chance for “drop in.” But generally, a little bit of sand or shim will make anything fit ;)

    Nice choice! Drop by the club for inspiration:
    J Neck P Bass Club

    Yeah, winter is coming, and I’m starting to get the shakes! :laugh:
    JRA and stuffedbread like this.
  6. I by no means am in the league with the craftsmen in this forum but i say go for it.
    I started down my rabbit hole with a kit bass. I must have gotten lucky with the one i picked because it is now my player and im super happy with it. I ended up finishing the body with Osmo polyx-oil with a tint that a buddy of mine was going to trash. After fine sanding the body, the osmo went on easy and after a few coats it was better than I expected. I already had years of soldering experience and electronics so that part was just icing on the cake.
    Anyway, I learned a LOT and gained more confidence to modify and set up my other basses.
    Now i cant stop!
    Of course, the obligatory pic 5C555036-7DEB-49D6-842A-D49FBDDCDA57.jpeg
  7. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    do it...its fun...you'll learn a lot and probably want to build more. Don't doubt yourself before you even get started. Buy a bunch of used parts at first, plenty of deals here in the classifieds. I didn't think i'd ever build my own till i saw its just bolting and soldering. Never built a bass from a slab of wood either and would require a lot of knowledge and practice with shop tools i don't own or have he space for. I am currently doing my first refin on what was once a sunburst p/j body and only have one last coat of paint and my clearcoats before i assemble the parts, lots of sanding tho and used a heatgun to take off the old poly ..Yet having fun with it so far and feel confident it will turn out decent...just take your time, come back and let us know how your doing
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
    C Stone likes this.
  8. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Follow your practices with your other hobbies -- read, watch, learn everything you can. TalkBass is an outstanding resource for this kind of project.

    +1 on making sure your neck and body are compatible. That's most important. After that, you can go nuts.

    Ask questions... have fun... post updates here or it didn't happen! :smug:
    C Stone likes this.
  9. AboutSweetSue


    Sep 29, 2018
    Rosser makes a good body. I bought two from him. The specs were right on to my Fender neck. One of the bodies was heavy...but it was northern ash.

    Look into Kelling Sound on EBay for a solder-less harness. The guy does great work.

    A bike is far more complicated than a parts bass, imo. Well, minus the finishing aspect. That part drives me nuts.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
    C Stone and CallMeAl like this.
  10. C Stone

    C Stone

    Sep 4, 2020
    YES, YES, go for it! Although I would recommend a "finished body" for your first build/assy.
    Very affordable, pre-routed and pre drilled for correct bridge location. Or just go nuts!!!
    Dubious Aa and CallMeAl like this.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    You totally can! You can ask the body maker for recommendations for neck builder if you aren't so good with measuring things. Good luck. Post pics.
    There are a lot of good resources and the Stew Mac and Warmoth folks are also there to help their customers.

    p.s. I raced my first crits and track omniums on parts bikes paid for with lawn mowing money.
    If something goes wrong on your bass you can come out of tune. If something goes wrong on your bike you can eat pavement.
    bassb66, C Stone and Dubious Aa like this.
  12. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    have a few basses I'm working on.. squier korea basses.. my american is a p with a j neck.. try a geezer pickup..

    my simple set up is emg geezer.. omega bridge.. gotoh tuners.. anodized pickguard.. pure tone multicontact jack.. the most plug and play is pickup wired to jack.. hope that helps.. I'd say.. get a pre painted bass body.. it's a pain..
    Dubious Aa likes this.
  13. yeah...maybe a pure parts is the way to go for the first one......anyone know of other brands that use a jaguar style body, or p bass style with the horns filled in partially?...like a bronco or mustang...but 34 scale
  14. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Commercial User

    I’ve said this a number of times on this forum over the years: Bikes and guitars are a similar category of dorkiness.

    I’ve built both bikes and guitars. Building a parts bass is about the same as building a parts bike. I say go for it.

    A few tips I always give to guys asking this question:

    1) Squier Affinity bass bodies are made of alder and are 100% compatible with Fender necks. I bought one for $35.

    2) Stay away from cheap Chinese necks on EBay. You can get AllParts necks for a pretty good price on EBay. Allparts are made in Japan. I’ve found good prices on used necks here on TB.

    3) BezDez is seller on EBay. They sell pretty decent Korean-made hardware.

    4) The Seymour Duncan SPB-1 is a great P pickup. You can get them used for about $60. I think they’re $80 new.
    BishopJP and Old_Noob like this.
  15. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
  16. lark_z

    lark_z Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2020
    You and I have the EXACT same personality type. It's no fun until you take the cover off and change something.

    I did it and it was a blast. Yes - I was kinda in hell for a month getting the finish looking decent. I built the body and bolted a Squier neck to it.

    Now, I'm well into the second one. I'm making a new body for my dumpster find (late 90s Yamaha RBX260).

    First build - body only

    "P-Yama" - Second Build - body only
  17. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    The joy is in the journey, not the destination. Go for it.
    JRA and Dubious Aa like this.
  18. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    You seem like perfect type for this kind of project. If I can produce 2 builds that have remained as part of my stable for 20 years, you can too.
    JRA likes this.
  19. Yes you can certainly assemble a bass from parts. But may I suggest using the same builder's parts?

    I mention that as you will have less fit issues, using different makers could cause serious issues and if you don't have the skills to fix the issues you've made and unplayable instrument perhaps.

    I would expect it to be cheaper than buying an already assembled one.

    Good luck,
  20. Rosser rocks. Get a set of feeler gauges and nut files. You'll need them for your neck. Everything else is slap together. 20200624_184318.jpg 20201114_150727.jpg

    My two rosser bodies.
    Robscott and JRA like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 25, 2021

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