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My first bass build is complete (pics!)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by No Coast Rider, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Hey everyone. A few months ago I began ordering parts to build myself a bass for fun. I picked up parts here and there, and eventually I had everything l needed and put it all together. I wanted a single coil P bass with the 72 style telecaster bass pickguard.

    I found a pretty much new neck from a VM Squire P bass with the tele style headstock on Ebay for $80 and snatched it up. Now I had every intention of bolting it up to a Warmoth body, but after I bought the neck I found out Fender makes their tele style necks with a square heel and Warmoth does not offer bodies with square neck heels, so I needed to find an alternative body supplier. I stumbled upon B. Hefner Co online and found they could make me the body I wanted at a great price ($150 unfinished delivered.). The company has bad reviews online from several sources, but I decided to give them a try anyway. I ordered a swamp ash T Bass body with forearm and tummy contours and they estimated 6 to 8 weeks. They had it done in 6 and I had it a few days later, the body was flawless and the swamp ash has beautiful figuring. It's a 2 piece body and it came sanded and ready for finishing.

    I wanted a butterscotch blonde look, I found Sherwin Williams stain called Galley Gold that is a good match. I stained the body then hit it with 7 coats of Minwax polyurethane. I hung the body from my basement rafters with a rope attached to some screws in the neck pocket, so I got some drip marks. I wet sanded from 320 grit all way down to 2000 grit, then used automotive polishing compound on a buffer, followed by carnauba wax. This gave me a pretty good shine, however 7 coats was not enough as I wore down through the poly on some of the edges during my finishing process, but it actually looks kind of cool so I left it that way.

    The neck did not slot right into the neck pocket as it was a little too wide, turns out Squire does not follow exact Fender specs which is what the body and pickguard were made to. I used calipers and some 180 grit sandpaper to sand identical amounts off the sides of the neck until it fit snugly in the neck pocket. I also had to drill new holes in the neck which meant filling in the old ones with a dowel rod and wood glue.

    Next up was the pickguard. I ordered a 72 style black pickguard from WD Music and requested they omit the pickup route. They did this for about $35 and I had it in about 2 weeks. I used a Dremel tool on very low speed to shave off enough plastic for my SCPB pickup. This took a long time because I constantly had to let the plastic cool off or it would start melting, but the end result was really good. I also had to trim a little around the neck pocket to fit the wider Squire neck.

    As for the rest, I ordered all black hardware including Schaller BML tuners and a Gotoh 201 bridge, a Duncan quarter pound pickup, and copper shielding tape from Warmoth. I had never soldered before, but a YouTube video solved that problem. I shielded all of the cavities and dropped my freshly soldered electronics in. Drilled for all my hardware, strung it up with Chrome flats and plugged it in... Worked on the first try!

    I did need to drop it off at my tech to have the neck shimmer and setup as I had the bridge saddles bottomed out and he action was still too high. But other than that, I did it all myself. This thing plays beautifully and the tone is amazing. My Lakland 44-02 hasn't seen any action in a month since I've had this thing working. Now, for the pics...





  2. More pics:



  3. The last 3 photos are a more accurate representation of what the color looks like in person. The others look weird from my cell phone flash.

    Also, that shielding tape really works. Even with the single coil, I get almost no him through the amp.
  4. Spiffmeister

    Spiffmeister Meister of the Spiffs

    Apr 26, 2012
    I'm not a huge fan of Fender style basses, but this is a beauty! Very light and slender looking! Good job!
  5. Classy!
    Love the finish.
    Good job!
  6. Gotta say I'm not a fan of Fender body styles, but this one really looks nice.
  7. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK

    I'd use the chrome domes though... I hate strat types on a bass.

    I am a miserable old git though.
  8. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Very nice, subtle difference with a trad 51 style. Congrats!
  9. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    I have 1972 Telecaster bass with the similar pick guard and a 60th Anniversary P with the modern contoured body. This is a mix of both with a single coil twist.

    I like it a lot!
  10. Goatrope

    Goatrope Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Nice job! Classic lines.
  11. Like_1.
  12. Thanks guys. This was a really fun project for me and I learned a lot of skills. I hadn't done any real woodworking since a middle school shop class back in the 90's, and I had never done much soldering beyond repairing my old Nintendo 64 when I was a kid. I'll probably do another build in the future, but for now I'm really happy with how this bass looks and sounds and plays.
  13. bassgod76

    bassgod76 bass turd burglar

    Mar 13, 2003
    South Florida
    First, welcome to an all new type of GAS; modding/parts builds!

    Me personally, I like the Strat knobs and black hardware. It gives it a fresh, new feel, with a nod to the old.

    Kudos on the 72 Tele pickguard.

    What's cool about parts builds is that you can slowly acquire parts over time for great prices, if you keep your eyes peeled.

    Plus, it's so much more fun to construct your own instrument over just buying one off the rack.
  14. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Good call on what looks like a more authentic early '50's Fender translucent colour match. I had an '06 '51 P RI with an intense opaque mustard yellow that was supposed to emulate a time aged patina (?) It looked a bit closer to your assembled pic, but it was way too high chroma. What is interesting is how different your 2 pics look. I assume it slides between the two somewhat depending on light source. The assembled one looks more like what Fender should have done on the RI. (if they did I would have never stripped that mustard off!)