Fantasy Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Keech, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    I'm sure this has been asked many times but please indulge me anyway:

    Somebody asked which bass you have GAS for and I said a custom-built Alembic. It occurred to me, though, that I really don't know what all I would want on a bass and how I would design it or whom I would have doing the work. I see some people are here are in fact building their own, which is great.

    SO, with that in mind, if you could custom-build your own bass from scratch and money was no object (filthy rich as we bass-players generally are), what specs would you want? (e.g. pups, pots, electronix, woods, tuners, bolt-on or neck-thru, fingerboard, fretted or unfretted (lined, unlined), body design, scale length, how many strings, bridge, weight, 4-in-line or 2+2 or other, etc.

    Also please provide reasons why you want those particular features as opposed to others (i.e. better slapping ability, deeper sound, easier string action, minimizing deadspots, etc.). And whom would you hire to do the work?

    This is your chance to get it out of your system, folks, so just let your fertile bass-obsessed imaginations run wild. Go all out and build the "America's Castles" of basses!

    PS - I'm going to lay one restriction just to make it interesting: you can only build one.
  2. Well, I'm actually in the planning stages of my first custom bass, but I'm not finished yet, so I can only tell you what I've decided so far. The plan is to build one that feels Jazz-like to me, but gives me some added tonal colors that are not available through my old Fender Jazzes or Gibson G3 bass.

    Body shape -- Jazz bass (of course). In swamp ash.
    Neck -- Maple with Maple 'board. Probably also have a smaller headstock shape to reduce weight.
    Neck profile -- As close as possible to my trusty '66 Jazz.
    Pickups -- Hotrodded P (probably a Quarter Pounder) & MusicMan (probably also a Duncan or "Basslines" replacement model).
    Preamp -- Currently undecided. A J-Retro or U-Retro maybe. I definitely want a passive options w/ passive tone control, in addition to the active eq.
    Hardware -- Undecided. Probably something beefy at the bridge, and lightweight tuners.
    Finish -- A black/brown/gold burst

    I've got a local luthier to build it. He'll do a fine job, I believe. However, I suppose if money was no object, I'd run up to Chicago and have Mike Lull put 'er together for me.
  3. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    I've never owned a J-bass but I've played them and they are extremely nice. My Schecter is active but the one thing about it that I don't like is that it has no passive mode. When I played the Lakland 55-04 (Korean), it had an active cutout switch which you work by pulling outward on the volume control which puts the bass in passive. I really LIKE that. That could come in very handy on stage if your battery dies. But you'd better turn that amp down if you replace the battery between sets because that pre-amp will blow everybody out of their socks once you engage it. It's quite powerful.

    I also assume that you are building a fretted 4-string (22 frets?).
  4. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX

    -FBB 5er 35" scale
    -Jive body, because I like the more compact body styles
    -Maple/Walnut 3 peice neck: classic smooth and deep
    -Rosewood 24 fret Freboard
    -Alder wings: my spector has them. Good enough for me
    -Padauk top: dig the dark rust color after oiling and airing
    -Carved shape (like Warwicks or Spectors)- comfort
    -EMG35s, 9 volt pre, because they treat me right, and the 9 volts cuts the headroom, but adds this grit I really like.
    -P at the end of the fretboard, P slighty back from the normal P position. I like me my deep bass. I don't slap enough to need the room right at the end of the fretboard, and just behind the pickup would work find for popping.
    -BTS 3 Band EQ Vol/Blend. I like having a bit of high end bite/spank at my disposal, should I need it.
    -Hipshot Ultralites
    -ABM or Hipshot A bridge
    -Black hardware
    -Custom strap pins

    The custon strap pins would be milled in the shape of a Schaller straplock, with a screw 3" long and three times as thick as a regular screw, with the strap recepticle the same peice of metal as the screw, with the philips-head screw head inside the straplock. Then use a regular Schaller straplock strap adaptor.

    So the damned screws wouldn't come loose after some serious hours (which they do, even with the ol' tooppick and glue bit). My own creation. I call them Metal-Locks: straplocks for the overactive bassist.

    They could be made as Dunlop or Schaller locks in any style, in black, chrome, and gold.
  5. Actually, I believe the Laklands allow you to set the amount of preamp gain you like. You can set it so that the level with the preamp kicked in matches the level of the bass in passive mode, if you prefer.

    Fretted four string, correct. 22 frets. I suppose that adding a zero fret wouldn't be a bad idea, though.
  6. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Body Core- Mahagony (Just tonal preference)
    Body Top- Nice piece of Koa or some sorta fancy top
    Neck- Maple
    Fretboard- Pau Ferro/Morado
    Pickups- Sadowsky pickups but custom like the Roscoe Beck 5 signature type with the two sing coils and interswitchable
    J-Retro onboard pre or Mike Pope pre
    5string of course =)
    Jazz bass style body,
    Badass V bridge
    probably some sorta lightweight tuners or whatever doesn't really matter.
  7. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    As Johnny Carson used to say, "I did not know that. I did not know that."

    I didn't notice it on the bass I played. But it would make sense to have such a feature.

    As far as Lakland's go, the only bass of their's I really like is the Joe Osborn model. The others don't feel that great to me. Nice features but bad feel.
  8. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    And whom would you hire to build it?
  9. Five string Carl Thompson.

    Walnut core.
    Macassar Ebony top.
    5 peice Walnut/purple heart neck.
    Macassar Ebony headtsock cover, Macassar Ebony fretboard.
    Ebony/purple heart knobs.
    Wenge pickup covers and control pannel.
    Black hardware.
    Black hipshot bass trem bridge.
    Bartolini hum's.
    35 inch scale.

    Other doodads.
  10. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    Fretted? What's the scale length? I take it that this is a bolt-on if it has a J-bass body. How many strings?
  11. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    Fretted? How many? What kind of music would this be made for? Never heard of Macassar. See that? I learn something new everyday.
  12. Brad, I think you just built my dream bass!

  13. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Steinberger custom, but not the normal broom stick shape, more like a stingray.
    4 string
    Color: Black w/ Black Perloid pickguard
    Wood:Swamp Ash
    Neck: Maple with maple fingerboard
    Fretted: Medium frets
    Pickups: Seymour duncan quarter pounder, and a Musicman of some sort
    Hardware: Steinberger de-tunable bridge
    Black hardware
    34 inch scale.
  14. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    A bad drawing .. just make neck maple.
  15. Fretted, 30 frets, and for mostly slap and heavier music.(Primus too)
  16. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I said.

  17. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Fretted 34" or 35" scale (doesn't matter to me), 5 string 22frets. I just personally prefer bolt ons, but a neck through wouldn't bother me.
  18. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    *lookin back.. wow that was a bad 'drawing'...*
  19. I would have a custom Conklin built:
    • Fretted Bolt-on Neck
    • 34" Scale
    • Maple and Wenge Neck
    • Ebony fingerboard
    • 24 Frets
    • Cross-Over Body Design
    • 10 Strings (5 doubled)
    • Maple Body
    • Custom Melted Top
    • Custom Inlay (This:
    • Red Stain Finish (yes, over the melted top)
    • One MM Style Bartolini Pickup (with matching wood cover)
    • Aguilar OBP3 Preamp
    • RMC Piezo Bridge (10 piezos in total, 1 for each string)
    • The piezos are wired to a stereo output. One side for normal bass strings and one side for the octave strings.
    • The octave strings are also wired to an RMC Polydrive with 13 pin output.
    • Normal output for magnetic pickup.

    I can't think if I'm missing anything, but I should be able to get so many tones out of this. This isn't too realistic, but I can dream.
  20. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    Not bad for a quickie pic. It is headless to minimize deadspots?
  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.

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