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interesting in learning about bass construction

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by tbassist4, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. Topic title pretty much explains it. I've been studying books on building different instruments and looking up web pages on it and things like that, mostly for guitar and electric bass. Now that i've started playing double bass i've been really interested in actually building one.
    Yes, I am aware of the work and that most of you probably think I should just stop now before I even start, but none the less I'd like to order the materials and attempt to build one. I was just wondering if there are any books/book series and places where i can get blueprints to study, so I can learn the bass specific things and get a general idea of things, and also get into the very specific details.
    Again, I am aware of the size and scale of this project, even making a guitar is difficult, and I know this will be even more so. I know all of the tools and many hours of this and that, and yes I do have experience with wood working, haha, although I have not attempted an instrument yet. I'd assume i'll build something smaller first, such as a mandolin or an electric guitar or something, to get used to the idea. Well thanks in advance to anyone who can offer some help!
  2. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    Nope. Do it, and have fun!

    Here are some DB building webpages:






    Here is a good book along with full size plans:


    Personally, I'd build something a little more similar to the bass, like a violin, if I were you. Violins are very similar in construction (I'm building one right now), but on a much smaller/easier scale.

    Good Luck.
  3. oh awesome, well thanks for the help and support! I can't wait to actually start on one!
  4. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    Also, Bob [all hail] Bob Gollihur's Double Bass Luthier Directory
    http://www.urbbob.com/luthiers.html is a great resource, a lot of good building pictures can be found throughout.
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
  6. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    You can learn quite a bit about bass construction by first making a few violins. It takes a lot less room, the materials cost a helluva lot less, and the principle/building method is very similar. Building a pattern, building a mold, bending wood, carving blocks, joining plates, purfling, arching, graduating, cutting ff-holes, carving a scroll, neck setting, and then trying to understand varnish (that will take a lifetime...)

    All of this adds up to time at the bench with knives, planes, gouges, etc. Bass building is very physically demanding, and you really need to know/be comfortable with your hand tools first.

    If you wanted, you could purchase a violin kit that is half-done, and then finish it. I don't know of a bass kit...

  7. You can buy basses in the white from China or Eastern Europe as well. Some importers will accomodate this request. Starting with a rough fully constructed bass will allow you to get practice graduating plates, finish scraping/sanding, fingerboard dressing, varnishing and set-up without the hassles of doing the major carving and wood aquisition, side bending, etc. - Just a thought. This is how would approach it if I were starting out. I think it's a cost and labor effective first project. Let the factories do the rough work for you. If that's successfulll, then next time you do the corpus yourself, then the scroll, etc.
  8. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I agree with Nick. Make a violin first. The wood is much much less dollars, but the skills you acquire will help you build the bass. If you just want a bass, the white bass might be a good idea as mentioned by jneuman.

    Or, since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line and if you are very confident, go ahead and do the bass. By using domestic wood you can save a lot of money, but still be prepared for a major investment in tools.

    Good luck. You won't be the first or last to take this journey.