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first build planning.......help me

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by John Rogers, May 11, 2010.

  1. John Rogers

    John Rogers

    Jul 20, 2009
    hey everyone, first I just wanted to say to all of the builders on here that the beautiful basses you have made from nothing but pieces of wood have inspired me to try to make my own, now I need your help

    I am still in the body designing stage but I am going to be getting about $400 from a bass I had on craigslist this weekend I want to know if this should cover my plans

    fanned frets maybe? no experience with them
    alder body with walnut top and back
    bartolini pickups not sure what model yet
    probably bartolini preamp too
    mahogany/maple/mahogany neck
    pau ferro fretboard

    is this do-able? or am I in over my head?
    all help greatly appreciated

  2. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    No. $400 with no experience in not doable. Fanned frets with no experience is not doable. The Bart package will consume most of the $400 alone.

    I would expect that build to cost me ~$1000 with experience. Without experience you can easily double that cost.

    Have you finished and assembled your first instrument?
  3. devo_stevo


    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern Utah
    Builder: Brumbaugh Guitarworks
    If you don't count the tools that I have bought to build my first one, I spent $165 on wood (walnut, maple and mahogony. Nothing over the top expensive). I have spent about $150 on hardware and still need a pick up. I am going passive with a single EMG pick up so it's a lot less than the Barts that you're talking about. Just with the stuff I've bought so far that I listed, I am in it ~$315. I'm still a ways off too. I have to buy a pick up and the side dot inlay material and the finishing stuff. I'm guessing it's another ~$150. This doesn't count all of the tools that I've bought for it which is a lot more. Oh and I'm building a fretless bass so that I don't have to worry about the other tools and materials that are involved with that. I'm saving the frets for the next one.

    In short, $400 won't get you close. Sorry.
  4. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Yeah, $400 wouldn't even buy me a decent bandsaw ;)

    If I were you John, start simpler, odds are it will come out better and play better as opposed to getting too intricate, especially on the fist one..... Save that for the second one ;)
  5. John Rogers

    John Rogers

    Jul 20, 2009
    alright well I'm just gonna scrap the idea and use my money for gas or something haha. thanks guys
  6. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    I would suggest buying a kit from Carvin. You will be able to finish and assemble your own bass. From there you can add making the body and neck to your next project.
  7. Dream Weaver

    Dream Weaver

    Jul 11, 2009
    One more vote for going cheap. Those Barts would blow your budget. =/

    Grizzly also has some nice kits.
  8. Hey.

    My build and situation was/is fairly close to yours. Since I don't have/make a lot of money, I had to get creative.

    My build was also close to yours in specs. (Build thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=641945 )

    So, to give you an accurate idea of the cost associated with it, I'll throw in the cost estimate of what it took to get mine (Just finished buying most of the last few things):

    Wood = $170-200
    Random Hardware (Like inlays, knobs, straplocks....... everything but the bridge/pickup/big stuff) = $100-150
    Tools (I needed a fretsaw, fretting hammer, couple of dremel bits, etc....) = $80-100
    Pickup = $125 (It would be more if bought online, but I bought it local)
    Bridge = $140 (Ordered from Hipshot direct)

    All together (A very conservative estimate) = $615-715

    And I didn't even include a preamp in mine.

    In order to afford all of this, I spent a long time collecting everything. Every 2 weeks to a month, I would spend a small chunk of money ($50-75) buying a few parts or tools or bits of wood at a time. Since I knew what I wanted very clearly, I made a list of EVERYTHING I would need and then I broke it down into small groups of things I could buy at once for small bits of money.

    One time, I might buy the fretwire, inlay dots, Knobs, pots and wiring. The next, I might buy the bridge. That way, it stayed affordable and I could make sure I was getting everything that I needed before I started. It also allowed me to re-check my design and make any changes that I might need to make.

    With $400, you could easily collect quite a few pieces that you will need to build a bass, or you could buy some tools. You could pick up all the wood you might need and the bridge and pickup for your bass with that cash. It's up to you.

    As for the other things, all of them are possible. I would just be very careful about fanned frets. It is possible, but you would have to measure 6 times, cut once :)

    Anyways, good luck.
  9. John Rogers

    John Rogers

    Jul 20, 2009
    thanks alot guys, and thanks alot bananaking. what kind of build could I do with my budget? I have most of the basic tools I need
  10. Which tools are those?

    I did most of mine with a Jigsaw and a Belt sander.
  11. John Rogers

    John Rogers

    Jul 20, 2009
    i have a jig saw, a dremel, and a belt sander I think too actually haha.

    I've changed the design. a practice build now, home depot wood
    red oak/poplar/red oak body wings
    maple/pop/maple/pop/maple neck
    maple fretboard
    cheap electronics and hardware
  12. You're right where I started. I had nothing more than that, really.

    Also, feel free to do whatever you want to. It's your build. This is all advice that you can take or leave as you wish.
  13. "$400 with no experience in not doable"

    My first two builds add up to slightly less than 400 dollars, and both turned out fine for me...
  14. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Dave - I would have many questions about that given the questions that you pose here. Keep those and let me know if you feel the same way ten years from now.
  15. stevetx19


    Sep 28, 2006
    Denton, Texas
    go for it.

    It's not about making an amazingly perfect instrument; it's about learning how. Don't worry about a finished product just yet. If you take your time and enjoy the process, your builds will progress in quality. When you finish a bass that looks, feels, and plays very well, you will know not to mess around with cheap hardware. Until then, enjoy!
    $400 is plenty to get you started, but if you are serious about learning bass building, prepare to shell out quite a bit more.
  16. John Rogers

    John Rogers

    Jul 20, 2009
    I have my body shape done now and I scaled up all of my measurements to what I want, but I cant re-create the drawing at this size so that I can create my template. what should I do?

    the measurements on the picture are 5 and 7/8" wide, by 7 and 1/16" tall

    the measurements for the real body are 13 and 7/8" wide, by 15 and 1/16" tall
  17. stevetx19


    Sep 28, 2006
    Denton, Texas
    you need to be sizing up from your scale length measurements(nut to bridge). You may need to redraw your shape keeping the scale length as your starting line.

    You can take your drawing to a printing center and run it through the large print machine. It will let you scale up to the size you need.
    For example, i always draw my plans in 1/2 scale. My 34" scale is drawn to 17", so i can easily scale up 200% and print out my template.

    Do you have one of the guitar building books? Take a look at the stickies for info on the books and a ton of other topics and then check your library or Amazon...that ought to be your first acquisition.
  18. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Take your full scale drawing in pdf form to Kinko's and have them print it.
  19. John Rogers

    John Rogers

    Jul 20, 2009
    ok, hey what is pdf form though?
  20. kuso


    Feb 25, 2010
    Plymouth, MA
    What did you do your initial drawing in? Photoshop? MS Paint?

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