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Fender Bass Project

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by PtchNK, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. PtchNK


    Jul 17, 2007

    I'm thinking about building my own bass starting from Fender Parts. You can see a first idea of the design I came to here... http://ptchnk-n-uke.over-blog.com/article-6940957.html. It's not the final design, I've already tough to some changes such as a reverse head neck, to knobs relocated on the painted band under the bridges... etc. The body shape is just a jazzbass body with the upper horn shorterned as a telebass, and the lower one shorterned as a jaguar bass... I totally love this new shaped that kinda keep the fender spirit as well.

    So I have few questions:

    1-Where can i find a jazzbass body with a rear capacity without bankrupt my project?

    2-I am thinking about adding a third JB-type pickup just in front of the neck to add some possibilities of sounds... i've seen that on some basses... but as the distances between each string is getting narrower when getting from the brigdes to the neck... theorically this third pickup should be shorter than the middle one that is effectively shorter than the bridge one. Does anybody knows anything about the mods...? what kind of pickup can i use?

    3-I'm thinking about doing the bass stereo with two jack outputs, and 3 switches to affect each pickup to any of the outputs or both, I'm also thing about using double knobs for the tonality and 3 volume controls (for instance upper one for one output, lower one for the other one)...

    what do you thing of the global idea of this project...? is it worth of it?

    I'll take any advices,


  2. the wiring would be very difficult, however possible, you should go with pickups with rail magnets rather than bobbins (those metal pole pieces that stick out of a fender jazz pickup), those would be emg, bartolini, and some nordstrands (i think) just research jazz bass pickups through google and you should know where you want to go with that, the body shape is very custom, possibly warmoth?
  3. PtchNK


    Jul 17, 2007
    rail magnets pickup sounds like the way to go... i was thinking about that but wanted to check if anybody did know about regular JB-type pickup for such mods.

    for the body, i can handle the mods on the horns starting from a jazzbass body with a rear cavity as i don't plan to use a control plate. ... otherwise, warmoth probably as you said.

    yes the wiring would probably be tough but if i can go thru it could be nice as i'll be able two have two different sounds coming out the bass at the same time...

    i still have to finalize everything... and will only start it in few months
  4. Dang, man....That's going to be nice. I totally dig it. Honestly though, the thing screams Darkstars to me. Kudos on the reverse headstock too.
  5. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    since you are severly shortening the upper horn, you need to be very detailed about wieght and balance or you're going to have a bass with a headstock stuck on the floor. here's a couple things to consider:

    * Hipshot Ultralight tuners - here's an immediate 1/2 pound of weight removed from the headstock

    * the Dark Stars would be very cool and also help on the balance by adding some extra weight to the body, but fitting three in the body would be pretty tight and also ruin the look you're shooting for

    * look for an Alder body or heavier Ash body to help in offsetting the reduced length of your upper horn. a heavier body will help your bass balance better

    * Warmoth and USACG can make you a rear routed J-body for under $200, but you're going to be finishing it yourself if you want to keep things on the cheap

    all the best on your project,

  6. PtchNK


    Jul 17, 2007
    Thanks a lot for those precious advices.

    to lighten even more, i can also go with a reversed Telebass type neck with ultralight tuners... but will not make the head too light and kinda and slighlty deteriote the sounds a the bass ?!!!... i dunno about that...

    I checked the Dark Stars pick up and they look great... baye be with a combination of one dark star in front of the neck and two JB type for the bridge and middle position , it could be nice too... even more variety in the outcoming sound. question: does anybody know about "chrome" type JB pick-up... just for the look.

    I'll try to update the design soon with a reversed Telebass head and a darkstar type neck pickup

    - ptchnk
  7. Kent Armstrong makes chrome lipstick tube style pickups that are direct replacements for J bass pickups. I always wanted to try them. You can get them here:


    Scroll down to the bottom.

    Although I'm not sure, I'd assume they are blade or bar magnets which would negate any pickup placement problems as far as string spacing goes.
  8. Cool body shape! I say go for it. I'd really like to see how the reverse neck goes, I've thought of that for awhile now. Can it work O.K. strain-wise, having the E high in the headstock? I wonder if a thicker (more than 16mm) would be necessary.
    Good luck with it and post back often.
  9. PtchNK


    Jul 17, 2007
    here... http://ptchnk-n-uke.over-blog.com/photo-329869-falcon2-by-ptchnk_jpg.html

    I updated a little the design of my project by pasting some pictures of new pickups... some Kent Amstrong chrome lipstick pickup instead of the stock JB one and a dark star as close to the neck as possible for great low. I like the chrome design of those two kind of pickup as they will fit perfectly with vintage note i want to give tow the bass. Color of the body will go for an old dark red with unpainted triple stripe that will allow to see the veins of the wood underneath. And the pickguard will probalby be "cream" or "aged white" instead of pure white that is a little to flashy.

    For the electronics, i do have a more precise idea... I will use two jack output (mono), concentric pods for each pickup (volume+tone), and q jaguar type swicht combo with 3 positions switch (on-off-on) to be able to switch off each pickup or two affect them to any of the two jack outputs.

    the brige will be a badass II for a good sustain (question: will a PB style bridge cover fir ont the badass bridge?... always for the vintage touch), the body will probably be a modified warmoth JB one, the neck a WD one, as adviced above, i'll probably go ultralight tuner... pods, stwitch and so on will probaby come from warmoth or WD.

    ... BUT I will ony start the assembly next fall or winter... i'm moving back to France in the meantime... so i don't have much time, tools and money to put in it right now... still i can start getting the part as it will be out of price back in France.

    thanks again for the good advice about pickups and provider... it 's really helpful

    _ PtchNK
  10. DazzyPig


    Jul 16, 2007
    Birmingham UK
    I've gotta say it, i thought the other colour combo was better.
  11. I love your design. I was thinking about versalility. How about adding a bridge piezo pickup instead of the first neck pickup
  12. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I love the look, but think the reversed headstock looks out of proportion somehow. I also think the long E string may have issues. Have you tested this idea with a lefty bass neck on a righty body?
  13. PtchNK


    Jul 17, 2007
    Not long ago, i've seen a leftie playing a reverse P-bass (a regular one) so i guess the reverse neck may do it. btw do you guys know about neck manufacturer that do smaller fender type head style ofr the neck?

    About the color, my choice is not done yet, i'm just think about few other option... and yes the orange one looks really cool to me and it's less common than red... i still have time to finalize it.

    about a piezo pickup bridge... i dunno, i'll think about it! do you have any provider suggestions?

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