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(potentially) Dumb Question: Buy a cheap bass for the body?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Moley13, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. Hi there,

    I'm thinking about putting together a fretless, around a Mighty Mite neck.

    Simple question: I can buy a no-name (well, they have names, but not ones I recognise) bass with the pickup configuration I want for $50 - $80 second hand. What advantage would there be to buying a more expensive "parts" body, when I could just tear apart a cheapy for one?

    Let's assume, for argument's sake, that the actual wood is the same species (although that's another argument/question). Unless of course that is the answer - no cheapies are made of proper wood.
  2. jonathanhughes

    jonathanhughes Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I'm no expert, but I'd think the neck joint could be an issue. Assuming the Mighty Mite neck is Fender style, if the neck joint on the body is some other size or configuration, it could be more trouble that it's worth.
    SanDiegoHarry likes this.
  3. The bodies I'd be looking at are Fender rip-offs, and I'd eyeball the bolts to see if they're roughly the same. Beyond that, I guess I'd just have to see!
  4. neckdive


    Oct 11, 2013
    You may not find a giant difference in the bodies, particularly if the species and weight is the same, but the hardware on a cheapo might not give you the sound and feel you're after.

    The fretless neck will likely feel and sound great but the pups, bridge, controls and even the cap value might sound and feel cheap or thin. So then you may find the urge to upgrade these parts in the future which will effectively negate buying the cheapo in the first place.
  5. I've already got parts hanging around :) Just need a body and a neck!
  6. mike77rios


    Oct 28, 2012
    You have to be careful of the neck socket. If it's bigger than your neck then you'll have problems. You'll have to check the width and the depth of the heel of the neck against the width and the depth of the neck socket on the body.
  7. Andii Syckz

    Andii Syckz

    Jan 2, 2011
    I'd say go for it if you're on a tight budget. I know i was, i bought a loaded precision body from a friend with tuners and string tree for 20$, bought a maple neck jazz profile 21 fret, rosewood board for 65$. All i did to the body was add a small block of wood to ther end of the pocket (which goes unnoticed under the extended board) also used popsicle stick on one side to make it more snug.
    Moley13 likes this.
  8. That's what I like to hear! I'm actually quite keen to see how cheap/dirty/hacked a bass I can make.

    I expect this is the wrong forum, but I've got some spare (nice) 5 string Jazz pickups lying around... Is is ok to install them in a 4 with the B string side just poking out? Obviously I've have to rout out extra space if I bought a 4 string to gut for its body.......
  9. If you are doing a total low-budget/use what you got build, I don't see why not. you'll have all the strings and pole pieces lined up, AND get a thumb rest for free!
  10. Aislinn


    Feb 14, 2014
    Chicago Area
    Anything can be fixed, altered, fudged. Maybe it will be time consuming or tax your patience, but think of the cost savings. And you'll learn along the way. :thumbsup:
  11. Yep, it's entirely about the learning for me. That way I'll have more confidence setting up my expensive basses!
  12. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    The neck is already drilled/holes?
  13. shorty4life


    Dec 22, 2013
    might be better to let it hang out past the G - string... ok now that you've all stopped snickering, because your plucking hand's reach will suffer if using the pickup as a thumbrest...
  14. Aislinn


    Feb 14, 2014
    Chicago Area
    The first guitar I made was out of construction pine. The headstock was for a lefty, the body a righty. It sits on the stairs into the basement and I pass it every time I go into the workshop. It's now taken a very special place in my heart. :)
  15. I think so.....

    Yep, had a good snicker at that :p Fair enough. The pole piece/string relationship doesn't matter? To complicate matters further, I think they're split coil (Fender Noiseless Vintage).

    There's just something really special about making an instrument yourself, isn't there!
  16. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    This right here.

    Were I doing this, I'd keep my eyes open for a Warmoth bass here or on ebay - those go for pretty cheap but are VERY well made. Get your neck and wait for a warmoth bass with body you like to appear - buy it and then sell the Warmoth neck on line.
  17. Hmmmm I like your thinking.
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Depends on what you are looking to do. If it for practicce, go for it, but if you are gonna keep it and play it, for a few dollars more you can get better wood, better fit, and better finish.
  19. shorty4life


    Dec 22, 2013
    True, it would be a 3+2 humbucker inside the case. But I can't imagine that the tone would be affected to any perceptible amount. Same magnets, same wire guage, same number of windings. You're already building a frankenbass. How much worse can it sound? :p
  20. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I have walked this path before you, Grasshopper.

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