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I wanna learn - please, help!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by dreadhead, Aug 9, 2002.


  1. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Hello there, dear TBers. After owning lots of different basses, and after reading lots of beautiful interviews with some great luthiers, I REALLY wanna learn HOW to build a bass.
    This forum is lucky to have here a lot of worldwide known luthiers, so I hope that you'll can help me. I have LOTS of questions, and my English knowledge is poor, as you can see. What will I need to start? What books should I read?
    Thanx thanx thanx.
     
  2. Here is a great place to get started.


    MIMF
     
  3. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Yes, thanx! I was just checking it, but I'm a little confused: Should I get "Make your own electric guitar" by Melvyn Hiscock or "Make your own electric guitar & bass" by Waring & Raymond?
     
  4. Skorzen

    Skorzen

    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    I have the book by Waring & Raymond, and it is not bad. I have heard that the book by Hiscock goes into more detail, but I have never seen it my self so this is all second hand info.
     
  5. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Well, I did order both the books... I hope they'll help me!
     
  6. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Be sure to check out www.buildyourguitar.com

    Martin's book, ebook, CDROM and site are a great place to start alon with melvin's book.



    Fele free to ask questions here or by e-mail.

    Hope it helps.

    JP
     
  7. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    I'll certainly contact you... thanx a lot! I really like your basses... please, pm me a price list, thanx! :D
     
  8. I didn't really bother getting any books. I've taken apart and setup my basses (and other guitars and basses) so many times I feel like my knowledge of the instrument is pretty good. Building a body is easy if you have the right tools.

    The only thing I haven't tried is building a neck, but I might be trying that sooner or later.

    Best advice, measure twice, cut once.:D

    I should finish my body this weekend if all goes well. I'm just waiting to get a neck before I cut the neck pocket.
     
  9. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Well, I'll wait for the right book, and then I'll buy some gorgeous pieces of exotic woods! :D
     
  10. Oh of course! I really wan't trying to encourage you to build a bass if you aren't confident in your abilities to make one. I've heard that Melvin Hiscocks book is an excellent resource.

    I actually got the bookmatched set of figured walnut on ebay of all places. I've see some really nice woods up for grabs there.
     
  11. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe

    Do you think that I should start with a bolt-on bass? Do you think that I should start with soft woods? What happens if I start with hardwoods? Would it be harder? What tools will I have? Does Melvyn's book explain how to place frets ecc.?
     
  12. The bass I'm building is my first, too. I went with bolt on, but my next will be neckthrough. I'm buying my necks instead of making them. I don't feel confident enough to try that yet.

    Well, as I'm sure you already know, different woods have different qualities, some are harder to work with, others easier. I went with woods I knew the qualities for. Ash and Walnut are both widely used body woods, so that is what I went with. I haven't had any difficulties with it.

    Look into the properties of different woods. I remember a thread started by Ken Smith where he listed LOADS of info on different woods. I'll see if I can find it. I don't know if hard woods will be easier to work with over soft woods.

    I built my body with a jigsaw, sander, and router. A lot of the sanding was done by hand. I cut the "rough draft" with a hand saw.

    If you have a lot of pro wood working pwer tools, it will make the job a lot easier, obviously, but by doing it all by hand, I know this thing intimitely. :D

    I haven't read Melvins book, so I don't know if it has fretwork in there. I'm terrified of fret work, to be honest.
     
  13. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Thanx for the help! I already know lots of exotic hardwoods, but I think I'll start with a soft body wood and a neck-thru. I don't have the tools yet, but I think I'll make all by hand... what neck did you use? A Fender/Warmoth one? What neck should I look for to build a neck-thru?
     
  14. I'm buying a Warmoth all maple neck with the blank paddle headstock. I want my own design, not some Fender copy.

    www.StewMac.com sells neck-through necks. Warmoth doesn't advertise neckthroughs on the site, but you could probably contact them and ask. They do have international shipping. I'm not sure if StewMac does or not.

    IIRC, Carvin also sells neckthroughs.
     
  15. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Thanx! I'm also watching eBay... there are lots of fine lumber pieces... what are the dimensions I should look for to build a bass body?
     
  16. Yeah, ebay rocks. I got the ash and walnut for my bass for less than $20.

    Anyway, a typical 4 string body is roughly 13" at its widest point, and roughly 21" from the tip of the upper horn to the bottom.

    I went with a more traditional P style body, with a deeper set neck, a longer upper horn, and a short fat lower horn.

    When I started, I got out a ruler and measured all the points on my P bass. I placed it on a big sheet of paper and traced around it, then started drawing from there.
     
  17. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    My God! A neck-thru Stewmac baseball bat costs $200.00!! Do you think I should look for loose parts on eBay? What about getting a wood blank for the body from Stewmac?
     
  18. :D Yeah those neck throughs are a bit spendy. But those Warmoth necks can get way up there, too.

    I watch the necks on ebay pretty close. I have NEVER seen a blank neckthrough being sold, just bolt on's. The quality of the necks vary, too. I see necks from MIM Fenders, Warmoth, cheap kit basses, etc. So far, about 90% of the necks on ebay are Fender clones for P or J basses. If that is what you are looking for, ebay has plenty for you.

    The only thing about ebay is the prices aren't fixed. I see people buying BadAss II bridges for $60+ when they can buy one for $40 from AllParts.

    For most parts I need (as opposed to want) for my basses, I'm willing to pay the full price because I know it is brand new, has a return option, and I know what i'm getting.

    On the other hand, I'd be willing to spend $200 for the neckthrough from stewmac. It would take me a while to save for it, but I think it would be a justifiable buy, but YMMV.
     
  19. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    ... my God... it seems that the hardest thing about building a bass is to find the right shop! ;)
    However, since I'm in Italy, I'll try to get the wood here... but I fear that I'll be forced to get the rest on eBay...
     
  20. Skorzen

    Skorzen

    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    My first, and as of yet only(the next one is in the works :D ) bass is a neckthrough 5 string. I built the neck myself, and I really don't see why people are afraid of building a neck it is not really that hard. as for the price of buying a premade neck, it is expensive, but not as expensive as you may think compared to building one.

    truss rod ~20 fingerboard ~25-50 Frets ~15-20 wood ~20-50
    80-140 roughly for matirials, and if you need tools for fretting ect... that adds another 100-150 roughly.

    so in reality it may cost you 180-290 or more to build a neck. If you plan to build multiple instruments then paying the extra to get the tools ect.. will pay off in the long run. These numbers are just from memory so there may be some error, but I think that it is likely that the cost would be somewhere between them.

    As far as building a nechthrough vs. bolton, I think neck throughs are less difficult, but less forgiving.