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Making my own bass, I need some help

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by daniel, Aug 26, 2000.


  1. daniel

    daniel

    Mar 20, 2000
    Greetings again! I need your help again,
    I am making a bass guitar together with my dad, he is the one who is very handy with his hands, well I am too... on a bass... :) Anyway, I would like to know:
    - We already have a body, made from awesome wood, and it isnt heavy at all, but I would like to know, how can I use the pickups and plug out etc?? Do you know a technical drawing so we can check that out?
    Do we have to make a hole in the body under the pickguard?
    - I have made my guitar on paper, but hasnt been made on wood yet, do you have any tips in painting it?? Use of color/wax etc??

    thanks very much again, any help and tips are great!
    p/s I hope this guitar will be the best, that would be my 3rd guitar. But I am sure with your help it WILL be the best, lol.

    greetings from Rotterdam,
    daniel and dad :)

     
  2. Al Steen

    Al Steen

    Feb 1, 2000
    If it were me I'd go here http://www.stewmac.com and snoop around. They've got books, videos and all the materials you'll need.

    Good Luck and have fun!!! .. Al badart.tv
     
  3. Daniel,

    Congratulations on convincing your dad to help with the new project. It should be rewarding experience.

    To complete your design, you will need to answer a simple question. Do you want a bass with a pickguard, or one that has a full wood face with just the pickups and knobs passing through? To do the first, you will have to rout a channel for the wires and pots that will later be covered with the pickguard. For the latter, all of the component cavities are in the back of the body and you'll have to design them to match their location on the front of the bass. A front routed bass is fairly easy to do and has the benefit of allowing all of the electronic components to be mounted to the pickguard. This is also a good route to take if your wood has some imperfections or is going to be painted. A back routed bass is a little more complex because there have to be small drilled channels between the compartments for the electronics on the back, and the pups and bridge on the front. This type of design works well if you want the beauty of the wood to be the focal point of the design.

    As for wiring diagrams, there are several available on the web. If you are using a traditional Fender circuit style, you can get the schematics from the Fender web site for the Jazz and Precision. Other more complicated circuits might take some searching but theres lots out there.

    If your wood is "awesome" don't paint it! Just sand, sand, sand until it is smooth then use a natural oil finish or, if it is one of the "oily" woods just leave it alone. And you probably can't go wrong if you make this decision after you've seen what the wood finishes like. There is lots of interesting "figuring" that can be discovered only after a blank is sanded.

    Good Luck!

     
  4. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
  5. daniel

    daniel

    Mar 20, 2000
    Hi Al, Hambone, and Brooks,
    thank you very very much for the info. I am very happy with the result on paper, so now its my aim to have it completly done :) When I am ready with the body and finishing, I will post an image of it on my website.
    I think the most easy way is to have a pickguard that covers the wires and technical elements, isnt it?
    But Hambone, can you please tell what you mean by SAND SAND SAND?

    thanks again :)
    daniel and dad
     
  6. Sand, Sand, Sand...

    Means that since you are hand routing your wood the only way to get a superior finish is to give that finish a superior surface on which to lay. Some woods are even sanded, then polished (a form of sanding using extemely fine rouges) so that they shine like lacquer without a coating. Even if you aren't going to coat it with anything, then the surface must be absolutely free of imperfections because you aren't able to hide or smooth over them with a finish. I think of some of the natural finishes that I have handled and I could run my hands over every inch of the body and not feel a nick, dip, or radical change in plane. That is what will seperate your bass from one that is simple "carved" out of a hunk of wood.
     
  7. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    daniel, sounds like fun! I'm in the process of building The Green Lantern bass for my son, but mine is out of spare parts. Make sure you post pics as you go along. If you look for the Topic of "Behold the Green Lantern Bass", I started a similar thread, and posted some of my learning experiences. Hambone is a big help; listen to him. :cool:
     
  8. daniel

    daniel

    Mar 20, 2000
    haha, yes I will.. hey thats great that you are also making a bass, maybe you can email me? I cant click on email by you, My connection is a bit bad at this moment :)

    greetings
    daniel
     
  9. Speaking of the "Green Lantern" bass, how is that project going? I was under the impression that it was mostly complete save for some cosmetic fluorishes.

    Nope, I just remembered that you were going to have the neck steamed to take some set out of it. How did that go? That would be a good story to tell since we will all probably run into a good deal somewhere that has a less than perfect neck. It would be good to know how to save the investment.
     
  10. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    The Green Lantern bass has shifted into low gear for the moment. I've talked to a local luthier, who comes well recommended, and he's discouraged me from trying to heat press the neck. He won't do it, in general, because he states that it's only a temporary solution. He suggested that the truss rod could be adjusted. Here's where I need some clarification - actually, he put me on a list of people that he's going to do a week-end truss rod seminar for.
    Question - when the neck bows FORWARD as in towards the bridge, then I need to TIGHTEN the truss rod - correct?
    I had thought that the truss rod was maxed out, but this guy tells me that I've been wrong all along. However, after giving it a few nudges (and almost a full turn around, in the end), I don't notice much difference. Anyone got any ideas?
    As far as the decals and final finish, we did one template of decals, but they were too small, so back to the (computer) drawing board.
     
  11. Gosh, I would think that if you didn't get any resistance in the full turn you probably have a broken truss rod. You are correct in the direction of turn but usually you will feel it get extremely tight in as little as 1/4 of a turn. It is at that point that the rod begins to do it's thing in staightening.
     
  12. Hey man, I know what you've got your self into. I am currently trying to make a bass. I was out walking and found a large chunk of clear Lucite lying in a ditch. It had obviously fell off a truck or something. So I picked it up and took it home. It laid around for about two weeks, when I noticed that it was slightly larger than the body on my bass. So I drew up plans for the body of a bass, from my own design.

    I went out and bought a Fender J-bass neck (I have always liked those necks) and a couple of J-pickups from Guitar Center. I measuered everything out, and had a very nice design in AutoCADD. I went to the Industrial Technologies teacher, who has access to CNC and industrial milling tools. I told him what I wanted, and how I wanted it done. He said, sure, no problem.

    Two days later school got out.

    I have been stupid and not tried to contact him, but when school starts next week I shall get a hold of him and see if the offer still stands. The Lucite is taking up a lot of space in my room. I wish that it was taking up space as a bass instead of a large chunk of clear stuff.

    Rock on
    Eric
     
  13. ashers27

    ashers27

    Aug 24, 2000
    But havent a clue where to start, what good tutorial style books are there?
     
  14. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Hambone, I'm getting plenty of resistance! I just don't see any real changes. I'm going to wait overnight before I do anything else. I think I'm at the nervous stage of this truss rod thing! :eek: Maybe I'll notice some results when I get home from work.
     
  15. Eric, I'd get prepared for neck cramps! That is going to be one extremely heavy bass especially if you are using a Jazz design to model it from. I remember way back, when a buddy of mine bought a Dan Armstrong guitar. It was an acrylic body but only about an inch thick and the size of a Cort Curbow bass body (for a modern reference) It weighed a freakin' ton - more than any bass I've owned. The acrylic bodies are neat and quite a conversation starter but I wouldn't look to one to play a 4 hour gig with. :)

    By the way, was the acrylic scratched at all from the fall from the truck? If it was, you can get quite a bit of the flaws smoothed out with a technique called "flame polishing" If you want I'll tell you about it.