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Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Alex, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. I am going to attempt to construct my first bass. I have a basic understanding of how everything goes together and works, but I am in the dark about some things.

    1. I know that there are pickups, and I know there are controls, and I know there is an output jack. What I don't know is what is between them, and how to get it there. (where do I get the wiring, knobs, pots, etc. for this) Also, what carving and stuff do I have to do to the body for the electronics?

    2. I have a vague understanding of the makeup of the neck. I just have no idea how to put it all together. Does anyone have detailed instructions and step by step pics? (I have a book on the way) I want to do a neck - thru body.

    If I took apart my current bass to look at how all the electronics and stuff works, could I put it all back together so it is fine, or would the bass be finished after that.

    Thanks so much for any help

  2. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    electronics and wiring your bass:
    it depends on what you want ... if its passive then its fairly easy.
    for active preamps, it depends on which preamp ur buying. in this case manufacturer's schematics are to be used.
    for passive wirings which are standard on famous guitars, check www.stewmac.com:
    this is for Precision basses which is the most simple one.

    for the neck:
    two ways i do them. depends on if you have powertools or not:
    1. powertools which involve the use of spindle moulder which is an extremely dangrous. you shape your own cutter to the radius you want. you insert the neck in a way to remove all the wood that is needed.

    2. hand-made which involves lots of filing, shaving and sanding. this is a lot safer and would recommend it to the new guys. you start shaving the pointy edges of the neck till its almost an odd shaped polygon. start filing by hand to round the neck to the shape you. use a ruler to check any bumps or troughs in your neck. start sanding and finishing.

    that is all in a nutshell. ofcourse there is a lot more to it. i am not one of the better luthiers around here so others have better methods.

    i would also recommend a visit to the local woodworking workshop. they can do the powertools for you and you can learn how to manipulate wood from them easily.

    good work
  3. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Cables. Solder. Some compartments.
    No, seriously, you need to do some real reding up on electronics, since they are a greatly important part of electric instruments. I highly recommend Martin Koch's book, that covers this in detail, without going too deep, AND alla other aspects of making solid body or semiacoustic basses and guitars.

    Again: Martin Koch's book!
    Mahrous second version is the very same approach. His first is not for normal human beings, only for those with high professional ambitions in carpentry (incl. luthierie or not).

    You can do that, rather easily. Remember, though, that it may be a good idea to leave the cables soldered! And to keep a good trac of what you are doing, e.g by taking pictures and/or marking every part you take away.

    But, Mahrous:
    isn't it the other way around? You take away the wood that is not needed, right? ;)
  4. Ok so you want to make athrough neck guitar, and you need to learn some electronics. Get hold of a copy of Melvyn Hiscocks 'Make your own electric guitar'. THis book covers most of the basics of building and melvyn takes you through the process of building 3 guitars, the last one being a through neck 8 string bass, it contains lots of information needed for designing and building guitars. It also has a chapter on electronics but doesnt cover active pickup systems.
  5. I looked into the details of making a neck and I fairly quickly decided that making a neck is not something a first time luthier should undertake (i forgot about trussrods!!). So I'm going to cop out and use a warmoth neck. My focus has now shifted to choosing the woods that I will use. I want a versatile sound that is thick, punchy, and thumps. I also slap a lot, too. I'm leaning towards bubinga for the neck wood, but I don't know what to use for the fretboard or body. Suggestions would be awesome.

    Also, I checked into martin koch's book, and also melvin hiscock's, but they didn't have it in my library system. Is it worth the money or should I enlist my local techie?
  6. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Why not???? It's the fun part! In principle, it's no more difficult than a body, though it may be a bit more particular to th execution. Go build it!
    Look here: Koch
    You will probably not find such litterature in libraries, alas... But it is well worth every cent to buy a copy. He has some nice short videos, too.
  8. alright, I have decided on a bubinga neck with a rosewood fingerboard, and either an alder or walnut body.

    Next dilemmas:
    what type of bridge should I use?

    Do Warmoth necks come with a nut? Where would I get a nut if Warmoth didn't have them?

    are some tuning pegs better than others?
  9. what type of bridge should I use?

    Which ever one you like, fender styles are probably the easiest/simplist.

    Do Warmoth necks come with a nut? Where would I get a nut if Warmoth didn't have them?
    I aint sure but you can check out places like stewart-macdonald and allparts for this kind of thing, an everything else you will need. Generally even if they have a nut you still need to cut it yourself, but you can buy pre-cut ones.

    are some tuning pegs better than others?[/

    Yes, it helps to know which ones you like. It not always the most expensive that are best

  10. +1 I've got that book! :hyper: In fact its the only book I own regarding building guitars... I used it as a reference when I put my project P-bass together...

    I bought it about 15 years ago...its a great book...I haven't read it in years (I must get my mother to post it to me from the states...still too much of my stuff there)....
  11. hiscock or koch's book? I can only get 1. if hiscock's book doesn't cover active lectronics I should probably get kock's eh?
  12. Not read Koch's but i cant recommend Hiscocks enough. It doesn't cover active electronics but the instructions you get with the pickups should do that, or at least lookat some pickup manufacturers websites for installation instruction.

    Its my Bible, i still use it regularly and i have now built about 17 guitars and basses
  13. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Read both, intensively, and settled for Koch as my base. It covers the same country as Hiscock, and adds a few more, including some basics re. active electronics.

    Having Hiscocks as a side input would be great, but not affordable for me :D