1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

How to get started?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Juneau, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Ive always been interested in building my own instruments, even before I could play at all (some would argue if I can now at all lol). Just looking for some advise on where to begin and how much initial investment I should plan on.

    Im in Dallas, TX. If anyone knows a good luthier here I could maybe learn some things from that would also be great. Any info would be awesome and I thank you in advance.

    Im new here, but cant believe I never found it before. From what ive read you are all nice folks and willing to answer questions. Good community :)
  2. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    A good bit of info on this site. Good luck.............t

  3. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Being someone who was in your position not to long ago and actually still am-i'll pass on these words of advice. Some people will advise you to build a kit bass for your first one-others will tell you to take the jump into building one from scratch. I'm building one from scratch. It's not completed yet-been designing and working since August of last year [took 4-6months just on body shape that worked]. I'm hooked-i'm 18, work retail @ our mall for minimal pay and give bass lessons and for the past few months my money has either gone to gas [for my impala & my van], parts [have roughly $850-900 total, $700 for one bass, the rest towards more projects], and slowly but surely starting my shop. :D

    Here's the other thing you'll hear plenty, and i'll be one of the first. Do a search for most things, tool lists, beginner tips, etc have been covered plenty yet don't hesitate to ask. The past 4 years that i've been here and the fairly recently since the forum in particular has been up everyone is more than willing to answer questions.

    For information about what I specifically have done-check out my webpage that i have linked. I have on there a little "journal" that is more or less a step by step presentation of what i've done so far and things i have learned.

    I don't think i'm really answering any of your questions now that i look at it so i'll end my post now. Take it easy and enjoy.
  4. There are many great luthiers here, and there's a lot to be learned from each of them. I haven't built a bass yet, but am planning on starting very soon. As far as the cost goes, I'm guestimating at around $800. Maybe more.

    I have built one instrument so far, that I call the Egamorf. It's a three-stringed bowed instrument. Didn't cost much to much to make. But... anywink. Wish I had more light to shine on ye. I could recommend some places for body blanks, neck blanks, hardware and blah blah blee. I'm sure there are a thousand other folk on here who could do the same... why am I still talking? :eyebrow:
  5. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    There are many things to consider and investigate, many of which have nothing to do with lutherie at all, but more with running a business.

    Are you looking to just build a few for yourself and maybe a friend or two, or are you looking to actually start a business? If a business, you'll need to research all the rules with your local Small Business Adminstration Office. You'll need a federal EIN number and a local and state sales tax license. Most suppliers will also require this before they'll sell you their products.

    Usually, all of the stuff involved with running an actual business is where most small business owners fail. They started the business for many reasons, usually one of which is that they wanted to do that type of work (whatever it is, dog grooming, accounting, roofing, whatever) and they didn't plan properly for all of the business stuff, including keeping track of the their own financial stuff (costs of products and supplies, money in vs. money out, paying taxes, etc.). Really research all of this stuff completely first. Many also forget to consider the small stuff when adding up costs. For example, I have a simple spreadsheet to figure up costs for a bass, and it includes EVERYTHING including so much $$ for wire to wire it up, $$ for glue and sandpaper, the lacquer or oil to finish it, etc. Believe me, this stuff adds up, and if you don't track it properly you can have several hundred dollars at the end of the year that you cannot account for.

    I won't go into all the tools and stuff, there are many other threads here and elsewhere that cover it. However, consider the following main areas for a business:

    - Tools
    - Supplies (again, ALL supplies - I track shop supplies seperately from bass supplies)
    - advertising and marketing
    - materials (wood, fingerboards, fretwire, electronics, hardware....)
    - labor (how much you want to make per hour, and keep track of the total hours spent on each bass....)
    - accounting
    - taxes (sales tax, use tax, etc.)

    Hope this helps a bit.

  6. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    Get the LMI, Stewart MacDonald, and AllParts catalogs. Read them cover to cover. Buy a lot of books on lutherie. Build something from a kit. Move on to buying parts from suppliers such as Warmoth. Build a parts bass. If you really get the bug, then go to Roberto Venn School of Lutherie in Phoenix for five months. All this info can be Googled here on-line.
  7. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    I appreciate all the advice folks!
  8. GregBreshears

    GregBreshears Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2002
    Independence, MO
    Owner: Greg Breshears Guitarworks
    I attended the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in the Fall of 2000, and I must say, if you are thinking about making a profession out of Luthiery, I couldn't recommend a better way to go. I can say nothing bad about the school. It was the most amazing time of my life, I learned so much, and met some of the best people from all over the world.

    If you want to know anymore about what it's like you can email me.
  9. eunchang


    May 12, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    Hey, I am kinda new to here too..also interested in building my own bass recently..and I'm in Denton, TX!! :D

    Have you started building your bass yet?? Did you find somebody who can be helpful around the town??
  10. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Hey eunchang!

    I'm also in Denton, nice to meet you. Sort of. Almost, hahah.

    Sorry can't offer any help, I could probably use some help with my own project.

    Oh yeah, what I've read a ton of times from the Project Guitar forums: buy Melvyn Hiscocks book, Make Your own electric Guitar. I think it covers two guitars and a bass. Supposed to be a great reference. I should buy that one too I suppose...