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I intrested in being a luthier

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Kosko, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    So I want to try. I understand its hard, long, a hell of process and requires time, knowledge, money, tools and skill. But beyond all this, is there a good place to start. As in even reading materials. I've read Cuppiano's book on acoustics but is there something geared toward bass specifically. And how about even neck-through, bolt on and various considerations like that covered in the book. Thanks for the help.
  2. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I want to make a bass before i die...

    I too would love to know how to do this. For now, you can do what i did and learn about woods and what they are good for and what sounds they acheive.

    It seems to me that a lot of bass luthiers who are starting out go with the fretless route first.

    There are a TON of things to take into consideration when making a bass and i have no idea where to start either.
  3. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    Wow, didn't realize how poorly the topic was titled. I swear I know 3rd grade English. But BannedWit, I totally agree.
  4. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Is my memory playing tricks on me or was there a sticky with lots of info that was removed?

    Anyway, you'll find some info here:
    Many people recommend his book, they say it's good.

    Also, just searching and reading through Luthier's Corner has lots of extra tips, as well.
  5. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Try Melvyn Hiscock's book. It has pretty much exactly what you're asking for.

  6. pnchad

    pnchad Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2005
    I am working on getting started myself so I've been picking the good brains around here. Some really talented folks.
    I am reading everything I can get my hands on and exploring tool choices. ;)
  7. So, I've quietly and patiently done my research on everything, read plenty of material and such, have designs ready and two nice boards of wood just waiting to be made into body blanks...

    I have no idea where to go from here... I've got no hardware, I've got no way to make necks with laminates in them without buying the peices pre-cut, no way to radius fretboards, and I've got extremely little real woodworking and jigmaking experience...

    I really have no idea what I'm saying anymore; I just really would like some guidance from more experienced people. I'm really just a kid who wants something better to do with his time and loves everything about basses and has a lot of woodworking history in his blood, and I'd really appreciate some help from people with more life and luthiery experience...

    I guess this is mostly me griping about being just too young to know what to do from here.
  8. bound


    Dec 28, 2003
    Jersey, Baby!
    Well, Melvin Hiscock's book is a very good start. Also, Google luthier, guitar building, all that sort of stuff, and you run across all sorts of usefull sites. There's stewart-macdonald for parts, along with Warmoth and a couple others. Read every thread on this forum and any other forum on bass building. You'll spend the rest of your life learning about and refining our skills in luthiery. It's a lot of fun, and doesn't have to be as difficult as some make it out to be.
    Good luck!
  9. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    The neck is the most complicated part to make IMO - how's about using a premade neck, or having a luthier make it for you? That's what I went with.
    The body is easier. Finish can be a bit tricky, though (as I found out las weekend......) You just have to plan and think things over thoroughly, and go forth carefully, especially when using power tools... Better take more time and more passes to do something right, than to do it fast, but screw it up - learned this from the p-up routes :rolleyes:
    As for hardware, you know, the internet is a great source ;)
    If you know what you want, then you can figure out what parts you need and you'll find a way to obtain them
  10. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    How do you know the neck is the hardest part if you've never made one? :D

    Seriously, it's really not as difficult as most people think. If you can build a body, you can build a neck. We all have to learn somewhere and you should also learn that bit. It's all in how prepared you are.

    A lot of us buy the pieces cut and planed and just glue them together and go from there. As I just said the biggest part is to be as prepared as you can be. Read as much as you can.
    The best way to learn is by starting the project. You'll learn woodworking as you go. First bass might not be the best in the world but you'll learn tons and the second one will be much better.
  11. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    If you admittedly have very little wood working experience, checkout your local Home Depot or Lowes, as well as places like WoodCraft or Rockler, they have classes all the time teaching everything from basic hand tool use to beginning and advanced router techniques. Part of being a good wood worker, or luthier as well, is not just the wood knowledge, but knowing how to use the tools properly, what tools to use for what job, and how to get through the build process and still have 2 thumbs, 8 fingers and two eyes.... learning to use the tools properly and safely is invaluable knowledge.

    You're also going to need to know basic electronics and good soldering techniques to be able to install and assemble all of the pickups and other electronics when the wood and finishing part is done.

    And you need to know how to do a good setup with it too. How to cut the nut properly, how to level and dress the fingerboard before installing the frets, and then how to level and dress the frets down.

    Also, they say the measure of your craft isn't always what you do right, but what you do to fix the things that you didn't do right.....

    So, start out with some basic wood working classes, and learn to build a solid birdhouse before tackling expensive hardwoods.
  12. Well, I don't want to buy a premade neck... To me, then the bass won't be mine, it'll just be some parts I threw on a neck. Thanks for the other advice.

    Well, I'd really like to have the ability to be able to make necks out of the same board that my body wood comes from so that it'll have a more uniform tone, color, and figure...

    I've been going to as many woordworking demos at Rockler as I can; especially those on routing and finishing.

    I've done work with my router on some pretty basic stuff around the house with a decent amount of success. I've been soldering things for a long time, probably started soldering basic circuits maybe 8 years ago. I've repaired circuits on all of my basses, and I know the inside and out of a pickup well enough to be able to have a good enough grasp to feel confident that I can make them myself, which I will start doing after the holidays.

    Thanks a lot for the advice guys!

    EDIT: OT... Grandon, have you gotten yourself settled into Indiana yet?
  13. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    With no source for wenge, preslotted ebony fb, graphite bars, or even frets, I didn't have much choice

    Careful with the neck/body thing! What is suitable as a body may not be suitable as a neck
  14. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Yes we have, and I will be going full time with my bass business starting January 14th!
  15. Excellent man! I hope everything goes well for you out here.

    Frank, did you look at LMI at all? They sell preslotted ebony boards (up to being wide enough for a 6er now!), graphite rods, and fretwire, and are willing to ship anywhere.
  16. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yes, I ordered a set of Hipshot Ultralites and some TruOil from them.
    However, ordering all these from them would've been expensive with shipping, customs and 25% VAT, trying to source wenge and then trying to do this myself - as I had absolutely no woodworking experience - seemed a bit too steep, so I thought it was better if I left it to a professional luthier ;)
  17. Biagio139

    Biagio139 Dealer: Hipshot Products, Inc.

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ithaca N.Y.
    Where do you live? if your near me you can come apprentice if not check the mimf.com bill moll does an amazing online workshop, the basses that people make are really very impressive.
  18. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works

    we'd know where you are if you properly filled out your public user profile :meh:

    All the best,

  19. callmeMrThumbs

    callmeMrThumbs Guest

    Oct 6, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    I'm also very interested in being a luthier. I asked for a soldering iron and a router for christmas...hahaha (only 16). Anyway, best of luck to ya.

  20. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY


    I was just searching on your threads and came across this one...
    who would have thought we know each other?

    Talk to you later,