First warmoth/mjt build what makes a bass sound good?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 77stingray77, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. 77stingray77


    Mar 27, 2017
    Sorry if this a redundent question but im doing my first bass build and i wanted to know what makes a custom build sound good?
  2. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I've done a couple warmoths, one finished by MJT and the quality of the parts is high. The challenge isn't so much to get it to sound good so much as getting it to sound like you want it to. For that, you need a fairly good sense of how wood/pickups/hardware contribute to the sound.
    Clark Dark likes this.
  3. 77stingray77


    Mar 27, 2017
    Alder body
    Hipshot kick ass
    Seymour antiquity alnico v

    Geddy jazz neck or a roasted warmoth neck
  4. There is now way to tell how your bass will sound until you put it together. All wood is different, even lumber cut from the same tree.

    I have a warmoth build with a swamp body and paduak/rosewood neck. I chose the woods because I liked the way they look, not because what I or other people think the wood sounds like. In the end, it sounds like a P bass.
    superheavyfunk, wintremute and pudge like this.
  5. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    I have 2 Warmoth builds completed over 20 years ago, both w/ MJT makeovers 3 years ago. The Warmoth necks are amazing with not a dead spot to be found and great playability up and down the neck. The MJT finishes were the perfect compliment to both, receiving the exact treatment I was looking for.

    Not sure if I was lucky or just relied on tried and true concepts by Leo.

    Unfortunately, the a$$holes at Photobucket won't allow me to show you.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
    Dark Horse and pjbassist like this.
  6. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Loring, Reedt2000, Treebeard and 3 others like this.
  7. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    The player
  8. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    you can have the best components made, but if they are assembled poorly, the result will not be the best. if you know how to do setups from the ground up, you will be pleased. if not, you can assemble, but I would then get it to a qualified professional to do a full work-over to get it in top shape.
  9. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    sound good = your preferred tone

    which , to me , covers several electronics involved parts ... everything from the Strings to the Speakers .. !

    strings have their sound
    pickups have their sound

    that's when our Classifieds and Manufactures' Tone descriptions come in handy .. !!

    i change my tone with pups and my preamps ... since i have strings i prefer ..

    you might need to try out / install a few different pups to find Your sound .. ?

    i also have a couple Warmoths and other parts builds ...
  10. pudge


    Sep 13, 2008
    The beauty of the fender style bass is you can swap parts til you're "reasonably happy",necks,p.u's bridges are easily tried and swapped out.Although be forewarned you might find your "reasonable happiness" is always just one more part swap away.
    MegaSwing likes this.
  11. navijaz

    navijaz Guest

    Sep 20, 2016
    After years of building and tinkering, I have personally come to the conclusion that the neck is the one decisive component in an electric instrument. The way it feels, plays and sounds determines the character of the instrument. Also very important are the pickups and strings. Everything else seems to have only a very minor influence on the overall sound.

    So my tip would be to find a neck you like and build your bass around it.

    Warmoth parts are generally of great quality but I personally find their bass necks a little too heavy. It's purely a matter of taste, though.
  12. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    In the late 1990s I put together a Warmoth PJ 4 string that was pretty great:
    Blue trans swamp ash body, Birdseye Maple neck with rwfb, hipshot ultralites, Schaller steel bridge, 8SR P-Pickup, 9WL4 J-Pickups, wired up passive w/vol-blend-tone controls.

    That bass was amazing. Would sustain forever. Tone had authority, but was not overly harsh. I sold it a couple years ago, and wish I hadn't, but anyway, to answer your question, I think you should duplicate my efforts and that will get you the best possible bass that Warmoth could ever build for you. - Before you do tho, realized that what I think is best and what you think is best are (and should be) probably different....

    This was my first build and before pulling the trigger and making everything happen, I read and read, and read....
    This was back when internet was dial up, which made it take longer, but still I persisted and made the best choices I could about the characteristics of wood, pickup voicing, etc...

    It's a journey. Good thing all this is fun to learn about!!

    Hope that helps!!
  13. Dude, use the TB file upload tool. It is right there where you type in your posts. I want to see theses MJT makeovers.
    superheavyfunk, BigKD and pjbassist like this.
  14. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Spend the money on a great neck. The body is secondary. I've made a number of Warmoths, and their necks can be stunningly good. Unfortunately, the things that take them from really good to stunningly good (roasted maple, graphite reinforcement, stainless frets, thin profile) all cost extra. In the end, getting what you really want is worth it to me, but be prepared for a bit of sticker shock.
    navijaz, dg27 and pjbassist like this.
  15. Super loaded question surrounded by endless theories and a lot of misinformation. Here's my take:

    Fundamentally, you have 2 components of the tone: the physical vibration of the string and the accompanying vibration properties of what it is attached to; and the electronics.

    On the first matter, people focus a lot on wood. I believe (first caveat!) that wood density has an effect on the vibration properties. Now two pieces of the same kind of wood (say maple) might have significant variances. The issue there is that wood is organic. It grows. No two trees are exactly alike.

    There's a big rabbit hole you can jump down, but my belief (second caveat!) is that the wood of the neck itself plays an important role in the vibration properties and the overall tone of the bass.

    Skipping ahead a bunch, you have to choose the right bridge, body wood/weight, tuners, and then start thinking about electronics and active or passive and what choices you made with the neck and body woods and how you should then choose your pickups.

    Skipping further ahead, leys say you get a solid ebony neck on a maple body, with stainless steel frets and a high mass bridge. Most people would say that would likely result in a bright tone. The pickups you choose can then compensate for that - ie pickups have different frequency responses, so pick something "warmer" with more low mids.

    No one knows what the bass will sound like until its completed. At that point you can make changes in order to get it closer to the sound you want. Remember, tone is subjective. What you think sounds great might differ from someone else.

    A lot of people/companies go with a maple neck, and an alder body for a more neutral starting point. Each wood can have variances, but you generally know what to expect. If you know exactly what you want, then you can use different woods in an attempt to get there. Or different pickups or preamp. Or strings. Or frets.

    Like I said, its a lot of theory but the bass is made up of everything on it, and everything works towards the final tone of the instrument.

    Other factors might be if you want a raw unfinished neck, or satin or gloss clear coat. The feel of the neck is as important as the tone of the bass for some people. Also, the weight of the body could be a concern.

    What should you do? Its up to you. Just remember that no matter what advice you get during the build, you won't truly know how the bass sounds until its actually completed.
    I Can't Dance likes this.
  16. With all the above said, my advice would be to get a nice neck and go from there. You can cheap out on many other components, but a good neck is essential. After that you can look at pickups and a preamp if you want to go active.
    navijaz likes this.
  17. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    They've been seen countless times in TB but here ya' go.

  18. First and foremost all a great bass can do is be the vehicle for your hands and your personal tone. That being said, different woods have different properties you can use to get a certain sounds.

    I built a Warmoth parts bass about 8 years ago and it's been fantastic. When you build it, make sure you get it done by someone who really knows what they are doing and can set it up correctly. I didn't know how so my friend put it together for me. :)

    I bought all custom parts, Lindy Fralin handwound pickups, Badass bridge, Audere preamp and Hipshot tuners with drop D, but the important thing was the wood. Lighter woods give lighter, more trebly sound, Heavier woods give darker, deeper sounds. I chose mahogany for the body (dark) quilted maple for the top (medium to light) and ash for the neck (light) and ebony for the fingerboard (heavy, resists string damage).

    In the end I had no idea how it would sound, but choosing these woods got it kind of close to what I wa expecting. It's an adventure, and you're going to love playing it for the first time!
  19. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Mainly the type and number of pickups, the choice of strings, the amp you're plugged into - and you.

    I've found the rest of it (body, neck, tuners, bridge, woods, method of neck attachment, and type of capacitor) had very little if any effect on the overall tone.

    I'd suggest starting with what type of sound you want - and which pickups (there aren't really that many different choices when you get right down to it) can come closest to getting that for you - and proceed from there.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
    navijaz likes this.
  20. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Pick your neck wood based on the tone you want. It's the starting point for tone. Pick a heavier body, going light will lend a lot of "air" to the sound and the low end will start to suffer. Light bodies typically have an indistinct low end.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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