First Bass Build 15 Years Old

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by cmlax21, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. Hi im 15 and ive been playing for 5 years now and after seeing all the people making their own basses on this website ive decided to make my own.

    I already started one made out of all pinewood (practice since its my first bulid) and its going good ill post pictures soon.

    But for the real deal heres my idea
    Zebrawood Body
    Curly Maple Neck
    Ebony Fingerboard 24 Frets
    Gold Hardware
    Hipshot Supertone Bridge (Possibly)
    Bartolini J Pickups
    Bartolini 3 Band Preamp (Possibly)
    And my life savings:rollno:

    Since this is my first build if you have tips or advice for me they would be apreciated. Also could you guys give me some feedback on my idea and other suggestions.

    Pictures soon
  2. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    What's the idea? I don't see anything too unusual here.

    I'd say ebony might be a little bit pointless for a fretted board. IMO, there's not going to be a huge, if noticeable, tonal difference, and to me its subtle beauty is kind of lost when it's covered by frets and strings. Just one guy's opinion, though.
  3. I wasnt going to put frets on it i just didnt know how to word it right
  4. This is what it looks like cutout on cardboard

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  5. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Well, body shape is an "eye of the beholder" thing, so it doesn't really matter whether we approve there. The only thing I'll say is to make sure that the upper horn (with the strap button) extends to around the 12th fret. As drawn your shape looks like it might neck dive a little.
  6. Hi.

    I kind of like the shape, sort of a mix between reverse- and non-reverse Thunderbird.

    IMHO Your design won't neckdive nearly as badly as the "original" as the strap button is on the 15th or so "fret", and the neckdive on SG's and TB's is greatly exaggerated. IME/IMHO only of course.

    As for the tips, read as much as You can, both real literature and in the internet, buy a book about the subject and most importantly: HAVE FUN.

  7. OHSPyro89


    Jun 21, 2009
    Well if you made it out of pine, I'd suggest finishing it and testing it out! Pine is a decent wood, it will hold for a while I would assume. It'd hold long enough for some ''road testing'' to see what is wrong with maybe the shape, location of knobs, and so on.

    Other than that, I think one very important aspect of building anything is having the correct tooling. I can't stress the importance of this enough. You can't build a guitar with a paint brush and an eisel, and you can't paint a beautiful portrait with a router and a fret saw! So do research on what tooling you have. Learn to use every machine safely using fences, push sticks, and anything else. Try not to outsource you're tools either. Don't rely on your neighbor to use his planer. If you need a planer, go get one. You'll be happy you spent the money for one!
  8. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    Too many first timers get exited and go and buy top of the line parts, thinking it will give a better result. The quality of the instrument IS TOP PRIORITY. No one would care if it has X amount of money put into parts, if the construction quality and playability sux. I know all this from me making the same mistakes on my first build. I recommend that you use parts that require the same routing and drill holes as the expensive parts on your list (EX: cheapo jazz pups, and a bridge that has the same string height and drill hole locations (drill hole locations are not as important, because if you need to change that its a simple dowel-glue-redrill fix) and go passive, because you can switch to actiive pretty easily) then you can decide if the bass is worthy of the expensive parts, or if you use those on a different build (trust me, you always want to do another)
    Apart from that, don't do a 1 piece flamed maple neck (flamed maple likes to warp, because the figure is caused by wood in maple trees twisting at large branches.) do laminates, or regular maple. I have not worked with zebrawood, but i have heard it is heavy. You might want to consider chambering the body. For a fingerboard, ebony really goes best with fretless, not too mention it is hella expensive. You can use ebonizing stain on cheaper substitute to give it an ebony appearence. My favorate fb wood is bloodwood. it looks amazing and it is pretty cheap, very hard, and great for instruments.
  9. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    yeah, but a planer (for example) will run him 500-800 dollars if he wants a decent one. and he has already stated that his life savings are going into this, so i dont think he will be able to buy any large electric tools. and actually i out source all my tools, the shop i use belongs to a friend

    just sayin
  10. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
  11. Thanks guys i think after i finish the pine one ill keep with cheap electronics and stuff and maybe when my dads business picks up and i get to work more and get more money ill start a more expensive build.
  12. I havent posted for a while i just cut out the pine body.
    I also changed the wood for the real one itll be poplar and red oak. Not sure if its a good tone mix but its what i can get at home depot.
    Gotta route for the pickups yet. I didnt bother to plane or sand it because i wont be using it.
  13. Warning about Home Depot wood... from what I understand, it's not aged/cured/baked/etc - so it's a bad choice to use. The guys here can tell you more, but before you go spending good money on bad wood, buy from a guitar supplier instead as long as the blank is large enough.

    Also, I'd do everything on the pine body as practice - better to figure it out (or mess it up) there, than on the good piece of wood. That said, people have used pine to build solid body guitars (and basses?) since the 40's - so it's not a terrible choice.

    The most critical part will be routing the neck cavity. That has to be dead straight, and the perfect size!! Practice practice practice on that pine body for sure! Make sure you're using templates when you do your routing, etc.

    Good luck! It's a big undertaking to build your own bass body. Oh - for what it's worth, if you are afraid or can't do the routings, I think Warmoth will sell you a block that has the neck and pickup routings already done - then you just shape the wood to your design and you're good to go! Not a bad option, and you get good workmanship from their precision routers.
  14. poplar was what i made my first build out of nd it sounds fine as a body wood. When you go to get the wood if u look at the bottom of the pile u might be able to find some pieces with mineral stains tht can give the wood a green to purple color.
    for my first build i bought a neck off ebay and a beater bass for its hardwear and just designed a body with those parts in mind.
  15. kingquasar


    Jul 29, 2009
    Poplar is an EXCELLENT choice for a first project. It's very similar acoustically to alder and very easy to work. My first build was a chambered qs maple body. My second was poplar, and it was like going from concrete to butter.

    Regarding tools...
    Consider investing in some decent hand tools. Pick up a couple of hand planes (block and jack to start). You'll also need files and rasps (my "4 in hand" gets a lot of use in builds), sanding blocks (make them yourself), lots of clamps, CALIPERS(!), a good straight-edge, rulers, etc. I know I'm leaving a bunch out, but the point is you can do a lot by hand and you'll learn so much more about what power tools you may want/need in the future.

    The only really necessary power tools IMO are a router and a drill press.

    One last thing... in your picture of the pine body that you've cut, I can't make out a center line. It's ALWAYS a good idea to work from the center line. Put it on your body, your neck, your fingerboard, all of you jigs, templates, etc. Line everything up to that.

  16. Thanks for the advice my dads a contractor so i have all of that.
  17. axaneel


    May 9, 2009