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pondering how many parts can be hand made

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by dingfelder, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. dingfelder


    Feb 27, 2008
    Along with the idea of building an clear bass I am pondering how many parts can be hand made.

    Keeping in mind that I want the quality of the parts to be at least as good if not better than a generic bass, has anyone else made all the insides? Any good links for plans?

    What I am getting at here is that while I would prefer to do it myself, if there are any parts that will make the sound suffer (if homemade), I dont mind buying some specialized parts.

    I work with a bunch of electronic techs so I may be able to do the internal electronics myself, f I can find good electronic diagrams.

    I assume I can make the pickups myself using acrylic or epoxy, for the enclosing material, and the bulk of the bridge as well.

    I assume I would most likely buy the internal mechanisms for the bridge (not sure what the inside parts are called) as well as the winding pegs.


  2. dingfelder


    Feb 27, 2008
  3. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    You can make bridges, pickups, pickguards (if you choose to use one), bodies, necks, fretboards, truss rods, cavity covers, knobs, etc.

    You will have to buy tuning keys, pots, wires, jacks, various screws, fretwire, and neck bolts/screws.
  4. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    You would be surprised what all you can do by hand. I've built 2 almost completely hand built basses. The only parts not hand built were the frets, output jacks, pots and on the six string I used ABM style saddles.
    Here they are they're not my most coveted body shapes but I love em none the less (shame less plug!:p)

  5. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I am rather fond of that singlecut shape... I'm no headless fan, but I can still see that it is a thing of beauty, and (headless or not) I'd sure play it proudly.

    Maybe if I made a mock-headstock I could tape/velcro on... :bag:
  6. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Pots seem to be the hardest to hand build, i suppose. A good machine shop should be able to build bridge and tuner key parts. (assuming "hand made" means "made in small batches with shop tools" instead of "made by eschewing all power tools").
  7. Gone


    Mar 21, 2006
    Cape Town
    Jayda custom basses, builder
    An interesting project I'm planning on starting in the near future is a hand made vibrato.
    Certainly requires a bit of thought but I think it's an interesting challange.
    My design is going to be based loosely on the Bigsby...
  8. Cool, you going to make the capacitors and variable resistors by hand too?
  9. Nelson Guitars

    Nelson Guitars

    Aug 14, 2006
    Novato California
    Custom builder
    Isn't a variable resistor the same thing as a pot(entiomiter), or is that just another term for the same thing?

    Interesting concept. I would be curious about what short of heat might be generated by the pot that could potentially soften what ever clear plastic it is enclosed in. You may need to include ventilation of some sort. Even the small amount of sheet metal around the pot may be functioning as a heat sink and radiator. At any rate, you may want to cast or otherwise embed a bushing in the body of the pot for the center pin to turn in.

    Am I over thinking this?

    Greg N
  10. asad137


    Jan 18, 2007
    Well, depends how technical you want to be. A potentiometer is a type of variable resistor -- namely, one that the user can control. But there are other types of variable resistors as well. In fact, the name 'varistor' comes from "variable resistor", and that's typically used to refer to a voltage-dependent resistor. Other types of variable resistors are things like thermistors (temperature-dependent variable resistance) or LDR's (light-dependent resistors).

    Of course, in the bass building world, pretty much the only type of variable resistor anyone cares about is a potentiometer, so you can probably use the terms interchangeably without confusion. But in other contexts, you might not be so lucky...

    The dissipated power is going to be totally negligible. With a signal level of ~1V and a 250K pot, that's about 4 microwatts.


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