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P-bass for my son

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Al Heeley, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. I want to build my son a scaled-down P-bass, he's only seven but showing a great interest in music now. I have some questions for others who have built mini basses.
    1) Can you source a suitable bridge with closer string spacing to suit the scaled down size of the bass?
    2) Pickups & string spacing - same as above
    3) 1/2 size would give a 17" scale, 3/4 size would be 25.5", ideally I reckon a 2/3 size would be cool, 22.6".
    Can you get an EADG tuning to fit with this small scale? Or do people go for something like an ADGC?
  2. orgmorg


    Jan 25, 2008
    Dismal, Tennessee
    You can get a bridge for a Fender musicmaster which I believe has about a 2" string spread. Otherwise similar to other Fender bridges in setup. I've been looking at them on ebay cause I have a few pickups with narrow spacing.
    If you get a pickup with a solid bar, rather than polepieces, you can use any spacing you like.
  3. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    Unless you really want to build the bass, you might want to consider the Samick MCR1 Corsair bass. I believe it's a 26" scale bass. I tried it at my local guitar store and was surprised that it played and sounded pretty good considering the size. Here's an online store that sells it: http://www.8thstreet.com/prod.asp?pid=40394
  4. no i really want to build it! :)
  5. i suggest getting a 19mm string spacing bridge, so if your son does continue playing bass, he'll be already adjusted to a full (34") size bass with little problems, plus it makes pickup compatability much much easier.

    and you can tune any size instrument to anything (sorta), eadg works fine on a short scale bass
  6. Jonsbasses


    Oct 21, 2006
    Fort Worth, TX
    Builder: Jon's Basses
    Single bridges can go down to 15mm spacing, that's fairly tight (my preference for basses) and would suit this project well.
    String spacing is entirely up to you. I'm pretty sure EMG's / Bartolini's use a wide magnet, so it wont matter if you use tight spacing or regular spacing. You should e-mail EMG and see, I know people have used their 6-string bass pickups for 8-string guitars without any issues.
    25.5" - 28" shouldn't be too hard on his hands. Although you'd probably be using standard B-E-A-D strings to get the right tension for standard tuning on a much shorter scale. Try a string calculator to figure the right tension for your scale of choice.
  7. uethanian


    Mar 11, 2007
    yea i wouldnt go any lower than 25.5, since thats guitar-scale and perfect for BEAD strings

    buuuuut i'd think a short scale with BEAD would be somewhat harder to play, just from a strength standpoint (bigger strings, and a shorter scale means u must pluck harder to get the same amount of oscillation).

    on the flip side, you could probly go down to about 30" with EADG standard tuning. definitely a few choices to make here.
  8. radii


    Feb 16, 2007
    A while ago, I did build my 3 1/2 year old son a 2/3 scale bass. He likes it but never playes it :crying: It fits his size perfectly though.
    The scale length is a true 2/3 of 34", so 22.666". I had to use guitar strings because of the guitar tuners that I used. Needless to say, it sounds far from a true bass. Fun to play,and it feels absolutely tiny, but getting the right string tension for a desired tuning is hard.
    If anything, make it a short scale of 30". A seven year old can easily play in that range ( 22" scale is like a toy, I really mean it ), and you will a get a much better sound.

    Attached Files:

  9. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Dare I ask for sound clips? I'm working on a travel bass right now and I thought of making it into what would essentially be a 4-string guitar.
  10. Hi.

    When drawing the plans for the P, just for the fun of it, draw a set for a scaled down Ric also ;).

    The Ric You made simply looks awesome and I'd imagine that Your son would like a bass "just like Dads".

    As for the bridge, the cheap individual pieces should work well and as said earlier, almost any blade type pickup as well, wether it's meant for a bass or a guitar.

  11. dblbass

    dblbass Commercial User

    Mar 24, 2007
    Beacon, NY
    Owner of MBJ guitars, Maker of fine sawdust for Carl Thompson Guitars
    think about a 2 peice wooden bridge. its easy to make and you can do any string spacing you want.
  12. I like the idea of a mini ricky! Maybe next time when I have some more maple. OK, here's the start of the mini P-bass for my lad: Some mahogany offcuts from the garage jigsawed to the rough shape, jointed and clamped.
    This is a scaled down 3/4 size P-bass body shape and will have a 25" scale, bolt-on mahogany neck.
    I need to find some 1/4" wood cap for the body to build the thickness up a little.
  13. Neck/head shape cut and channel routed for carbon fibre stiffening bar - no truss rod on this.
  14. Here's the zebrano cap on the body after a little countoring:
  15. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Woah, I'm lovin' it already!
  16. Bassisgreat


    Feb 23, 2008
    Dallas, Tx
    That bass/pic is ridiculously awesome. :)
  17. Here's the neck shape being roughed out, via sanding disk
  18. man...I can't believe how fast you can crank the work out....

    I love the zebrano cap...very cool...

    stop where you are with that bass! I want it as a guitar :D

    Just kidding...I already have a guitar (don't you?)...
  19. A little progress, fingerboard radiussed, slotted and dotted and glued to the neck. Frets here just being cut to size.
    Sorry we've run out of eggs, and at Easter too - how embarassing!
  20. Some progress on the Billybass.
    Frets done, neck pocket and ctrl cavity routed, just ordered some gold tuners and a black 3-ply scratchplate blank.

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