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Homemade ramps for fender jazz basses made by a beginner (pics)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by BarkerBass, May 12, 2010.

  1. Yes, they look nice and fulfil their function, well done.

    16 vote(s)
  2. Yes, but they could look a lot nicer with...

    3 vote(s)
  3. No, I think they look bad but usually like ramps...

    2 vote(s)
  4. No, hey look good/ok but I don't like ramps

    4 vote(s)
  5. Whatever you want to do with your basses is up to you

    15 vote(s)
  6. Carrots

    1 vote(s)
  1. This is just a quick thread to "document" my fender jazz bass' new ramps... I say document but I don't have any pictures yet and don't have any of the making process however it is pretty straight forward and though I'd offer some of you guys my experiences.

    It's not often you see ramps on non-boutique/exotic basses and so when I decided to try making them for my jazz basses I did a little research on TB but mainly just decided to go for it!:hyper:

    Got 2 scraps of MDF (I know, not fancy maple etc but I'm a student and this was done on a whim) used a sanding wheel at uni to rough out a radius and shape then brought them home with a hand full of sanding paper and spent a few hours trimming, sanding, positioning, taping and repeating this process, building up blocks of business cards for each ramp (between the jazz pups) to sit on and adjusting height etc.

    This worked well but I found they shifted in height when I applied pressure with the thumb of my plucking hand which caused one end to rise and one to dip and so I decided to make this a little more serious and drilled through the centre of the ramps and into the pickguard and basses :eek:. I figured if I hate them later I can fill the screw hole with a screw or just replace the Pickguard once the ramp has been removed and avoid sticky tape residue etc.:meh:

    Anyway to report, I have finished adding the ramps with one being painted white (to match the white bridge p'up cover) and the other left "natural" MDF (kinda matches the honey coloured HW1 bass. I'll post pictures tomorrow but right now I need sleep. However I've always doubted the bonuses of adding a ramp could bestow to a bass/player, but that said, it has allowed me to play more consistently (while testing and for the last half an hour) and stops me "over digging in" and fatiguing. We'll see if this is just a honeymoon period or a new level and contentment made possible by these little scraps of wood.

    Let me know your thoughts/questions and photos will come tomorrow morning if I get time before uni resumes.

    Cheers, BB
  2. 006.

    Here are photos, the White ramped bass is a MIM deluxe jazz from 1999 I think and has had a fair few mods done already so the ramp is just one more in a long line of additions.

    The white dots (look like position markers) on the ramps are the end of a pencil eraser which I trimmed down to cover the screw hole and I think it looks pretty cool, much better than a hole or exposed screw head.

    Thoughts? :)
  3. Droot


    Dec 29, 2006
    Looks good.
    Next time use standard paper type rubber cement to hold it on. Works great, less filling (screw holes that is).
  4. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    Good job!

    I like the fact that the ramp fits over the lugs on the side of the pickups. It looks neat and clean. The radius on top looks good, too.

    I did a similiar job for a guy the other day, and he was all distressed about the attachment process. Since he had been using the bass as it was for years, and it was unlikely that the pickup height was going to change, I carved the ramp so the cavities on the bottom that fit over the lugs on the inside edges of the covers held the pickup at his preferred height. Then I installed longer screws through countersunk holes in the ramp directly above the holes in the lugs. The screws passed through the ramp, through the holes in the lugs, and into the body, holding everything tightly in place with no extra holes. A reversible mod, but it took a long time!

    Looking at your work, I'm sure your next ones will be better than mine! Keep up the good work!
  5. gre107


    Dec 25, 2005
    Gary Willis has a two part video of him making a ramp for someones Jazz bass.
    Well, worth checking out! He has a few additional mods for the ramp that are quite insightful.
  6. cheers guys, and Giraffe I would have loved to do that through the pickup lugs (I did counter sink the bottom of the ramp to lock it down over the screw heads so it's fixed in height and location but still needed anchoring down with the other screw) I tried drilling through to the lugs but the MDF was too thin and would have crumbled so I decided to just screw it straight to the body instead. Pickup Heights remain the same so tone is uneffected however I have noticed what people say about decreased "dynamic range" meaning you can't dig in deep (a little less bass response because of this) but then that's precisely why I added the ramp in the first place, and a bonus of leaving the pickups uncovered it that I can still dig in over the bridge p'up for that aggressive Jaco tone and still pluck over the neck p'up for that quasi slap choking sorta tone... hard to explain but Jazz guys use it alot for dynaic effect and aggressive solos.
  7. nice! i have been wanting to make me a ramp for a really long time just dont really have any experience or idea on how to deal with the wood
  8. MDF, sand paper and a stanley knife is all it takes really... cos mdf is so soft and doesn't have a grain it sands REALLY easily so getting the right shape and radius is easy but it doesn't look the nicest and if you're wanting to take it off and put it on alot you'll probably strip the screw holes quickly cos it's a very soft wood... well technically it's a particle board and not wood but there we go
  9. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    Now that you know you can get a nice, tight carve, you can make your next one out of a hardwood. Lots of cabinet shops have scrap heaps that you can ransack for useable pieces of maple, or something that will support the screw holes. You did a good job by recognizing that problem before you ruined your first work piece!
  10. ok so am really going to make a ramp now! but the first problem is how to find a piece wood of the required thickness? or how can i make a thicker piece of wood thinner? just keep sanding it down!? sorry for such noobish questions i have no idea whatsoever about how to work with wood
  11. I used 6mm MDF which is very easy to come by, however I would recommend measuring the gap between body and strings and then buying a standard piece of wood, prederably hard wood and sanding it down on a machine sander if possible so the rough shape then fine sand it. Take it slow and don't worry bout making mistakes it's often how we learn the best
  12. sninja


    May 21, 2012
    Tokyo, Japan
    Here`s ramp on my SX Jazz
    Made from maple, painted black, glossed.
  13. samurai1993


    Jun 6, 2010
    Nice idea to reuse the pickguard holes! :hyper:

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