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Looking for a good book

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Moonchild, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. Moonchild


    Sep 29, 2003
    Hi, I'm looking for a good book for beginner electric bass builders.

    I am thinking of building one together with my father (who is an excellent woodworker), so I can get some experience myself.
    But before I start I would like to have some good literature about the subject.
    I've been looking around some internet bookstores, but I thought it would be better to ask some experienced luthiers about which books would be suitable.
    I prefer a book, that describes everything from selecting the woods to the applying of a finish.

    thanks in advance,
  2. Groove Theory

    Groove Theory Grizzly Adams DID have a beard.

    Oct 3, 2004
    The Psychiatric Ward
    Honestly, I've never seen a book that offered nearly as much useful information as this talkbass forum. If your father is an excellent woodworker, he'll probably be your best source of education on the project, and if you two run across a snag in the project, I would just recommend asking the folks here at talkbass. If you are looking for just some general info to read, you might check out http://www.kingbass.com/build-a-bass.html its got some good general bass building info.
    Sorry I don't have a book recommendation :scowl:
    Good luck with the project though. :D
  3. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvyn Hiscock
    Animal Magnetism for Musicians by Erno Zwaan

    Those seem to be the most popular. I've got both. Hiscock's book is longer and more detailed. Zwaan's is geared towards pickup building but has a good section on bass building with a different style than most luthiers.

    There was a thread just like this not long ago, try a search. Isn't this info in a sticky or something anyway?
  4. If you haven't yet, you MUST go to the MIMF - Musical Instrument Makers Forum - and register. It's free and it allows you to access the archives. That's where you will find the most incredible repository of categorized information on building you can imagine. The forum is interesting and very helpful but it's value is limited to it's timeliness. The archives hold discussions from 6-8 years back and are the best of the best.

    Here's the link: www.mimf.com

    This is not to dis this site in any way. The Guitargeek is right on. We do what we do here and we do it very well, but this is sort of the "lite" version of what the MIMF is. However, we DO get the biggies dropping by here occasionally - yep, those names you see on the top of the forum have all contributed here. Now, this forum has evolved into the smaller builders offering their help and showing off more than the big dogs. That's understandable given the demands the pros have on them when actually making a living with a real business.

    I'm going to let you in on a little secret and this is the first time I've actually said it out loud and certainly the first time on a forum:

    I've received nearly 100% of my Luthiery education from the Internet.

    There, I've said it and now I've got to live with it. I started my self directed apprenticeship nearly 5 years ago and by being discriminating and thorough about my research, I've been well served by using my computer as my main learning tool. This is not to say that books aren't helpful. They are, but they have the limitation of being a single view or opinion that can't be questioned or explored any more than the text allows. With interactive study, a lot of the time, one can contact a well known name by email and ask questions directly. That's valuable! And as easy as it is to get the scoop on one approach, with a couple more keystrokes, you can see another, totally different approach in seconds!

    At any rate, have fun, wear eye and hearing protection, and try not to let the building addiction ruin your life! :D
  5. BTW, that guy up there...French...he builds a mean instrument. You should look up his work and leave the Hiscock in the bathroom for later reading.

    I kid you not! :bassist:
  6. Moonchild


    Sep 29, 2003
    Thank you very much to all of you, for the constructive answers!

    And hambone, I am all for the interactive way of learning through the internet. It's just that I like to have some of the numbers and facts on paper, especially for my father, who is a little too old-school I'm afraid for total cyberspace tuition :smug:
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Hey, Melv's a friend of mine. I'll tell him to look in on TB and see who's busting on him. :cool:

    PS: I'm afraid to buy the book from him, 'cause I know he'll write something rude in it. He'll get a kick out of your comment, I'm sure.
  8. All humor has to have a basis in fact and that's the case here...

    Some of my best reading gets done on the john. :eek:
  9. Say no more Son of Moon! My old man is the same way. ;)
  10. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I agree with a lot of the above I find Mel's book helpful as well as the MIMF. although they can be a little snippy, unlike this place ;) There are also a couple of good builders over on the fender forum that have been helpful to me. The easiest thing to try for a first bass is touse one that you have for an example and take lots of measurements off of it.


  11. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    Thanks for the compliment (I think?!), Hambone! I agree a book can be limiting in the way that it can only show so many ways to do something and it is a static medium, but at the same time I think a lot of people (myself included) like to have an easy to access step by step plan on how to do something. You might not have to follow every step down to the letter (that's where the internet can help fill out your technique and provide options for certain tasks) but an outline can help keep things in check. Anyway... I think I was about 5 when that book came out so the odds are Melvin's been building as long as I have been alive!

    I'm with Tom as far as MIMF goes... it can seems a little stiff there at times. My suggestion is to collect as much info from thier great faqs and archives before posting anything over there.
  12. Both of you are right about the atmosphere over there on the MIMF. It is run with an iron fist and you had better have your ducks in a row when it comes to grammar, spelling, and general knowledge when posting. It's certainly OK to be dumb and ask what sounds like a dumb question - you'll get a complete answer but sometimes it doesn't sound very friendly.

    Most folks that come over there lurk for quite awhile. In fact, I've seen more that one builder post his or her first build for the forum to see and state that they built it while lurking and getting info just by listening. Happens all the time.

    Scott is right about the extensive faq's and archives. Simply one of the best sources you'll ever find for luthier related topics. If that site ever goes away, it will be a shame if someone doesn't download and save all of that information. It would be terrible to lose it in the ether.

    Don't get me wrong, I certainly understand and appreciate the value of book learned technique. I just find that the way I learn is to read in a quiet relaxed setting, memorize the text, then use the info in the shop without getting the book out there in the way. Besides, I do most of my process cogitation in my head anyway.

    And yes Scott, it absolutely was a compliment. How could you think otherwise? :confused:
  13. Moonchild


    Sep 29, 2003
    Many thanks again for the comments!
    I decided to buy the book, and maybe do some reading on the MIMF forum!

    thanks again, this has been a great help!!
  14. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I dunno... I'm one of those self-loathing people so I just assume everyone else feels the same way most of the time. Thanks though, it does mean a lot to me.