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My father and I are about to start our first bass build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Sgroh87, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I played bass a long time ago, but I haven't picked up the instrument in over six years. Now I'm looking at picking the instrument back up, and with my father being a woodworker in his free time, we've been discussing building a bass.

    The Instrument
    We are going to be building a 34" scale fretless 4-string bass with a solid body and a passive P-Bass pickup. I want to use it for old-school jazz tunes, emulating an upright bass as closely as I can.

    The Design
    I want to build this as an homage to the roots of the bass guitar; that is, the body is going to be like a larger, solid-body version of the pickguard-less Hofner violin bass, with rosewood inlays instead of authentic f-holes. Fretless ebony fingerboard and a bolt-on neck for ease of construction.

    Sourcing the Parts
    Seeing as how this is our first build, I'm going to order the neck from Carvin. Probably going to run me about $240. The body blank will also come from Carvin.

    What sort of wood would be best for a project like this? Mahogany? I was thinking spruce because it's used as a top wood for most orchestral instruments, but I haven't heard of many solid body instruments made from spruce. Should I make the body out of one wood and use spruce for a top?

    What kind of clear coat holds up to human skin oils the best?

    What other parts will I need to order? So far my parts list includes the neck, body blank, bridge, pickup, wiring kit (the one from stewmac.com includes the input jack as well), dome knobs, neck bolts, strap buttons, tuners, and flatwound strings. Oh, and some rosewood for creating the f-hole inlays.

    Thanks for your advice! I plan on keeping this thread updated with information as this project progresses.
  2. Good luck!!! Excited to see how it goes....
  3. Max Pratt

    Max Pratt

    Mar 10, 2011