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first build organizing pathetic lack of planning

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by murrayatuptown, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. I am going about this probably in the wrong way, but with some organization I hope I can straighten things out.

    The design goals (ha!)

    5 string (I bought a set of 5 strings on sale).

    Small body, maybe with Klein-like leg rest. (I have a 2" thick cherry slab that might be big enough for a small guitar and small bass body.

    Laminated neck...maple and either purpleheart or cumaru (if I get over my fear of the sawdust), I have all three woods I selected for this. I'm considering a through neck...not sure why, maybe it's easier than bolting on or a 'set' neck.

    In case this ends up being an Abomino-bass, I bought cheap hardware & pickups. If I do the woodworking right, I can upgrade the other stuff later...right?

    I have a 5-position hardtail bridge, 5-tuners (3+2), and some kind of 'generic' 5-string P-Bass style single-coil pickup.

    Dimensions are obviously, or apparently, my biggest concern. If not dimensions, I'd like to learn the logistical layout of a functional instrument. Nothing worse than putting parts in the wrong place and being stuck.


  2. WardEarth

    WardEarth Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Anchormanville, CA
    I guess i'd suggest if you had a bass that you already liked, maybe copy the feel of that neck and try to make your body so that it balances the same (you know when you attach your strap and hope the neck doesn't point at the floor). Also, do an oil finish.
  3. Maxwell Badger

    Maxwell Badger

    Aug 16, 2013
    Start with your scale length. Add the length of your headstock plus 2" for safety. Now put lines with these measurements on your neck wood and put that on top of your cherry slab. Figure out your fret calculations and mark on your neck slab from the nut to the fret after the last fret. Now on your slab mark the end of your scale length and bridge hardware. Now you can draw out a body shape and leave enough under your neck end to bolt it on if you go with a bolt on.
  4. I'm building one with Cherry body wings also,must be a southwest Michigan thing!!
  5. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    I wish you a lot of luck because it doesn't sound like you have any experience. "A fear of sawdust" will certainly be a problem. My suggestion is to draw up some very detailed plans so you can design it with every component in its proper place.
  6. Ok, this worked for me on my first build...

    1. Get bunch of A3 sheets and stick em together long enough to fit the bass on.
    2. Draw a full size plan of the bass using a ruler, set squares, compasses and french curves (not that's not a woman).
    3. Put the drawing up here and let us help you with it.
    4. Copy the plan on a photocopier.
    5. Stick the copies onto 6mm MDF and then cut them out as templates.
    6. Make the bass from the templates.

    Takes a bit longer, but you end up with a bass worth owning. ;)
  7. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    I'm not sure what it is about the sawdust you're afraid of, but the workability for cumaru might make you lean towards purpleheart (although it looks like purpleheart is only slightly better).

    For neck construction, I'd say make it whichever way you'd like to have it, I don't think any of them are more difficult than another.
  8. Thanks all...not afraid of sawdust in general...I've eaten my share, good dust mask should be sufficient, but cumaru or tonka bean has some weird properties...

    It doesn't have anticoagulant properties directly, but can produce dicoumarol which does through fungus...it just seems like it needs a bit more inhalation avoidance than some other woods.


    I like oil finishes.

    Actually, I think this cherry came from Pennsylvania...but there's plenty here in Michigan...