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making a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by smeaton_bass, Jan 10, 2002.


  1. i am preparing to constuct my very own bass, i know it sounds a tall order but it isn't really that hard, iv'e done a little swotting up but haven't found much of this to be of any help. so now to my question, i was just wondering if anybody could be so kind as to give me any information on materials, tools etc... much apreciated.


    smeaton
     
  2. I'm doing the same thing. I'm building a fretless 9 string. I would suggest getting a good book that tells you exactly how to build one. A good one is "Make your own electric guitar". Good luck with your project.
     
  3. get the "make your own electric guitar" by melvin hiscock, i got it when i made a bass for my tech project and it's unbelievably helpfull, he raised topics that had never crossed my mind, and without which my bass would be a wreck! in the book he makes 2 guitars and a neck through 8 string bass, going through how he does each 1 in great detail, theres also loads of info on wood's, all the tools need to make it, loads of technique hints ect ect

    all in all it's a fabulous book and if i didn't have it my bass would have been nothing like it is.

    i got the book from amazon, it shouldn't be hard to find, just do a search, and if i remember rightly it's quite a good price for such a big book
     
  4. You are definitely right that it doesn't look that hard. If you have good wood working experience and patience then it really isn't THAT hard (though some things can be difficult). I would also endorse Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvyn Hiscock. I own a number of repair/construction books, and for someone going at it for the first time, this is an excellent book.

    Also, you should check out www.mimf.com, there is a ton of information, and if you sign up as a user you get access to the library, which has info on almost anything you can think of.

    And a recommendation...try to keep the first one simple. My first one was a very simple bolt on fretless 4 with an alder body and maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. I am very happy that I kept it that simple, because there were enough difficulties on that one that if had added some exotic features it would have quickly become a nightmare. Just remember the term "hindsight is 20/20" and what you learn from the first one will greatly improve the second..and third..and...

    Oh, and do a massive amount of planning. Never think that you will deal with it when you come to it. There were a number of times when I wished I had waited to perform a certain construction step, as it would have made the next step incredibly easier, there are always tradeoffs on steps, and if you pick the right order you will save a lot of hassle.

    Hope this helps

    Geoff
     
  5. punkfunkfreak

    punkfunkfreak

    Dec 16, 2001
    Kraig: A nine string fretless? wow, major undertaking, i really admire all you guys that can actaully be bothered/have the skills to do this, concidering all the sad excuses for homemade basses you often see on e-bay...thats enough to put me off!
    Put up some pics when u can!

    :D :eek: :D
     
  6. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Read up first!
    Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvyn Hiscock is OK, except on woods. At least I have different experiances, but then, I'm swedish. Trees grow differently here then in Britain or lower Europe.

    I also recommend Martin Koch's book, see http://www.buildyourguitar.com/.

    Edit: found it! At laast! This guys work is also very inspiring and instructing, look at http://www.basses.fsbusiness.co.uk/GMCBasses/ !!
     
  7. i'd just like to say thanks for everyone's help and the books by melvyn hiscock and martin koch are on their way. cheers.
     
  8. When I was designing my bass, I got very useful info from www.mimf.com . I recommend the forum.
     
  9. cordova

    cordova

    Oct 24, 2001
    Edmonton
    Would building a bass cost more than just buying one?

    I know it depends on a lot of factors, like woods, pups, etc. but generally, how much would I be looking at to build my own?

    It sounds like a fun project.
     
  10. It all depends. If u build one well, it can cost far less than a bass of equal quality materials. The one I'm building should (hopefully!) be in the neighbourhood of $500 Canadian, which is about $1 US. (actually the exchange rate isn't quite that bad yet, it's more like $350!) For this amount, I will be able to buy good quality woods and pickups, similar to ones found on more expensive models. The bass will be nine string fretless, with a 5 piece bloodwood(or padauk, I haven't decided) and purpleheart neck. It will have an ebony fretboard and a zebrawood body, with neck-through design. I think it will be a fun project as long as I don't screw it up.
     
  11. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    what i can say from my own experience is that if you want to build a bass you'll enter in a long spiral. it's not easy, it's not cheap. it's a matter of passion and not a matter of saving money. and to be honest to build a bass that sound GOOD you need to know a lot of things and you need to make experience from your mistakes. to build a good bass you need to build more than one bass! and this is not so cheap....
     
  12. Kraig99,
    9 String?? What are you using for pickups? I am building a 7 String and am having a hard time finding pickups that are wide enough, hopefully, though, I will be able to get a 6 String set wide enough and I won't have to special order.

    Also, are you using individual bridge pieces, or are you machining your own bridge, or are you custom ordering the bridge from hipshot, or something?

    That shoould be a behemoth, and I should like to see it when it is finished.

    Geoff
     
  13. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    barroso raises some good points, and so does dingz2... take both of them to heart. By keeping the design of your first bass simple, you greatly increase the chances that it will sound good. If possible, stick with a time-tested formula for your first outing. dingz2's Ash/Maple/Rosewood bolt-on fits the bill... My first was a bookmatched curly-maple topped alder body, (I learned the cool technique from the Hiscock book whic is excellent), with a bolt-on maple/maple fretless neck. Simple P-type electronics... sounded surprisingly good for a first outing, and most of all, encouraged me to continue building. There is an online course at the mimf, http://www.mimf.com that is building a neck-through electric bass. You may wanna look into it. Good luck, and post pics!!!

    -robert
     
  14. For pickups I'm putting two soapbars, one for a 5 string one for a 4, arranged in a P bass style. Individual bridge pieces are WAY to expensive (about $45 US per string, and that's a lot for 9 strings!) so I'm, using two bridges that can go side by side. It'll work.

    Craig:D
     
  15. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    TWO bridges? Even King Kong would find that a bit too wide... :confused: