Homemade Bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bassistjedi, May 18, 2001.

  1. Has anyone either made or thought sincerely about making your own bass from scratch or some scratch and some pre-fab parts? I have been tossing around the idea and have not decided if it is worth the time and effort. Simply because I am not sure of how perfect it has to be to sound good, because if it sounds like crap why bother. My main concern is the neck. The body doesnt bother me that much. Just wondering if anyone has any experience.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I'd recommend against it, unless you want to wind up on Bunnybass's "Amusing Bass" page.
  3. You can always buy the neck from warmoth, and make your own body
  4. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Tallguybcs has the right idea. The neck probably is the hardest part to get down, so buying it probably wouldn't be a bad idea. I've been in the process of building for a loooonngg time, mostly because the money I need somehow ends up being needed for more essential things. The life of a college student I suppose.

    I bought the wood for the body, (walnut) and glued the pieces together. Later this week my friend, who has most of the tools necessary to carve a body, and I will start on the rough shape. Soon I'll be ordering my Gecko neck from Warmoth. With enough know-how, you can do it. Research it a little bit and I'm sure you'll be fine.

    Of course, you could just order all of the pieces seperately, and then basically just put it together and finish it. Quick and easy, and you'll get just what you want! If you want it all at once, Carvin makes kits for this type of project that have everything you need. Good luck!
  5. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I've made several basses and am in the process of making two more. They are 100% from scratch, (As far as the wood...). After carving my first neck for a bolt-on fretless several years ago, I stopped being afraid of the neck thing. Trust your own workmanship, take your time, and don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. There isn't some sort of zen mastery that you must possess to complete a project like a bass, just patience and confidence, (access to a few tools doesn't hurt!)

    There is an excellent book called 'Make your own electric guitar' by a guy named Melvyn Hiscock available from StewMac.


    I swear, I should be getting a percentage of sales here! Fantastic book, removes much of the 'mystery'. I cannot recommend this highly enough. There is something about playing an instrument that is truly 'yours'... Try it!!!

  6. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    I agree with rllefebv about the Hiscock book. I've built a few basses and a couple of guitars, but I've always bought the necks. My best work was a semi-hollow 5-string fretless that sounds killer. I would highly recommend making your own bass. I love playing my own creation.
  7. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Hey Monkey,

    Thanks for the agreement. I'm still trying to get over being called a liar, in a roundabout way, on another post :mad: ...

    Seriously, you should take a shot at a neck, just to see how it goes. The cost in materials is minimal. I favored the three laminate type and it has been satisfactory every time. Stanley makes a wonderful tool called a 'Surform'... Kinda like a cheese grater for wood! Comes in different shapes and makes working the neck somewhat easier. Another necessity is a spokeshave. That'll run into a few bucks for a good one, but well worth it. I still use the first one I bought.

    Right now, I'm working on an EUB and a 35" 5 string bass. Pix coming soon...

  8. Thank you guys for the vote of confidence and the encouragement. I have checked out the book by Hiscock from the library and found that it was full of information. Did the truss rod give you any trouble and what type did you use? Also what tools other than those you may find in an average workshop did you have to purchase?
  9. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon

    The truss rod wasn't really a problem, until I was carving the back of the neck and realized I had no idea of how deep I had cut the deepest part of the slot. Measure the depth!!! I didn't want to break into the slot from the back, so my first neck was somewhat of a baseball bat, but still very playable.

    I used a piece of 3/16" rod and threaded the ends as described in the book. You can also use 10-32 threaded rod that you find in most hardware stores... cut a 3' length down to the size you need. This saves you having to get yourself a die and wrench. I got lucky and found mine at a garage sale for a quarter!

    As far as specialty tools, the saw for cutting the fret slots was purchased from StewMac, and while you can cut the fret slots as described in the book, I built a jig using templates, dowel pins, and guides that is quite similar to the one in the StewMac catalog.

    The Surform tools may not be in your toolkit, but they are readily available. Once you have the various handles, the blades themselves can be purchased separately. I'd recommend a spare blade for each shape of Surform that you buy. The wood you're gonna be working with will dull your tools, and probably at the most inopportune time!

    For the bigger tools, like a bandsaw, planer, router, and such, try the local high school. They were very understanding when I needed to use the tools... A little explanation as well as demonstration of safety practices, and I was on my way. After building my first bass, I decided that I needed a bandsaw and router of my own. I'm still trying to convince the wife that we really, really need a planer!

    Other than that, I really can't think of anything else. Good luck, and please keep us posted!

  10. When we made our basses - pertaining to the truss rod - we used 0.25" mild steel rod that a guy welded a small piece onto the top to make a kinda letter T. We threaded the bottom to (as I remember 0BA size).

    When fitting the rod into the neck we filled around the rod - in the cavity as it were - with wood glue to stop vibrations.

    I've still got a prototype neck here now. The rod still works fine so we must of done something right!!


    Rockin John
  11. i had an idea for some odd basses or electrics

    - the cheese wheel bass

    - the fibreglass guitar

    - the conjoined guitar (the head of one is attatched to the back of the other so 2 people are effectively playing 1 guitar0

    - the asbestos guitar (just don't smash it on stage)

    that's all i recall now