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Free plans for a DB

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by maartez, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. maartez


    Feb 13, 2006
    Hi everyone,
    i want to build a cheap double bass( or a contrabass as it is called in holland).
    BUT i cannot find someone who has been so kind to place a usefull plan for it on the internet. I have build an electric guitar.. there were plenty of resources for that.
    There must be some lost website that holds a plan i can use.

    I could visit my music store and measure the whole thing but i need some details about the inside as well.

    Does anyone have hints on were to look? i searched internet alot and this is my last hope. :hyper:

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    You haven't found this then?


    Maarten, don't waste your time looking for free stuff, unless you had a washtub in mind.

    Spend a little on the above, and buy plans from his range of basses for $17 each.

    But that's the cheapest part ... so save your pfenigs
  3. I think you should consider building an electric upright. That should give you some of the satisfaction of a real UB.

    The difference between building an electric guitar and an acoustic bass is just too enormous for me to try to write down. A bass that wasn't expertly constructed, would self-destruct before you could tune it to pitch.

    Let's just say that just because someone has a drivers' liscense doesn't mean they could beat Michael Schumacher.

  4. maartez


    Feb 13, 2006
    haha i found the wushtub idea.
    I went to my library and picked up a book about building cello´s. It goes in great detail and covers pretty much everything (how to make your own tools, clamps, wood bending devices).
    And i went to the 2nd hand shop and found 2 giant tables for only €15 each. :D The only thing is that They are oak.. but they produced a good 'TOooink' when i knocked it.
    A guy at the musicstore told me that people used to build basses square and flat from plywood, and it sounded almost as good.

    I already own an electric bass (not upright). i now need the noisy warm and analog acoustics i fell in love with when i started listening to jazz.
    Im not trying to reínvent the wheel or beat Shumacher, i just like to know that i can construct everything i desire myself.
    The difference between building an electric guitar and an fairly acceptable acoustic bass is just the time and effort i guess. I know how to bend wood and i can handle chisels.

    I already checked out the book matthew was talking about. But the thing is that these things are made since 1800 or so. It should be easy to figure out the basic sizes like the thickness of the back and the size of the bar inside.

    The only thing Really Really expensive is the ebony scale. Its huge!!
    Strings and peg's are fairly easy to get around here.

    Im scanning the forum for anything that helps.
    Thanks alot guys!
  5. Oy...:rolleyes:

  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I'm the polar opposite of an expert on the subject:eyebrow: , but it seems to me that you might want to do a violin or two before you jump into DB construction, since you'll learn a lot of the specifics (carving plates, scrolls, varnishing, etc.) on a much smaller and cheaper scale than that of a double bass.

    That said, I do have a friend who built a very serviceable bass on his first try, although he did use a precarved neck. His second bass is to be completely built from scratch. This guy is a very talented luthier who builds acoustic guitars and ukulele for a living. He used the books and plans that Matthew mentioned, and did a lot of research first, including taking measurements from my double basses.

    Who knows, maybe you could build a bass just as nice as anything Michael Schumacher could build.
  7. Crikey! Can he build basses too? :eek: Next thing you're gonna tell me is he does it all with the buttons on the Ferrari's steering wheel.

  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Anybody who doesn't follow F1 is doing this;:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
  9. Your enthusiasm is sooo...dare I say naive. I certainly don't wish to offend. It's not meant as an insult. It's just that a real carved top/back stringed instrument is one of the most complex instruments to make. So much of what goes into it is based on the luthier's years of experience and inate abilities. If one wasn't up to building a genuinely playable, long-lasting bass...why waste the time? just MHO
    ps. A good set of tuning pegs or machines, are alot more expensive than a fingerboard.

  10. maartez


    Feb 13, 2006
    You are probably right about that. I am enormously exited about it! :hyper:

    Maybe i do not realize how long it takes to carve a good belly. But i am confident that it should work out someday. I think i make a cheap violin belly to practice first.

    I made a full scale drawing of a 1/4 bass belly to get a idea of what i'm up to . its 980mm in heigth, wich is still quite a large piece to work on in great detail.

    But with building a violin you have to work with such small pieces that i get all itchy by just thinking about it.

    As long as i work slowly and constantly measure the thickness of the piece as i make progress, i can atleast make a playable instrument.
    Thanks everybody for their feedback!
  11. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    If you are really interested in making a double bass, this is what goes into the construction of one:





    I honestly think you should just buy a cheaper used bass, making one will not be cheap. Materials alone will cost alot of $$$, as well as tools, jigs, material for jigs, etc.
  12. rdhbass


    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
  13. rdhbass


    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
    To build one of these correctly takes lots of time and materials. Whole luthiery schools have been started, just learning to build these and violins. It is an art to have the right bracing, materials and other components to build these. Sometimes it takes months or a whole year to make one right. Your better off building an electric upright bass, that is not hollow body, but uses same bridge and components of DBass. that is my two cents.
  14. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    Cheap DB.

    The Guild of American Luthiers http://www.luth.org/index.html
    sells plans for a Low-Cost Bass Vio http://www.luth.org/plans/bp.htm [sroll down]
    By Frederick Lyman
    I "think" there is more info on it the THE BIG RED BOOK of American Lutherie, Volume Two [they sell this], but I don't have the book yet so I'm not 100% on which volume it's in.