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Project Clueless: My Experience with a DIY Bass Kit

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AngusHasMoxie, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    No experience and no tools. What could go wrong? :roflmao:

    On a serious note, I recently built a Frenkenstein bass and earned even more respect than I already had for those who can make a bass from scratch. You will learn a lot from this project. I did and my parts were already finished. When all was said and done I still took it to a luthier buddy to get it to settle in nicely.

    Regardless of how it turns out it will be educational and rewarding.
    Spidey2112 and JRA like this.
  2. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    Measure twice, cut once.

    What order you do that in is completely up to you.
  3. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I love the thread title, and we're pretty much in the same boat, so pass the oar, and I'll row for awhile...

    ... the oar, not the neck-paddle... as I have both learned, and passed on, patience is a virtue. Good luck with your project... I will be updating my thread here, soon, as the weather is allowing 'paint time'...
  4. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    That looks a little small to my eye ;).
  5. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    It's less scary than it seems - I've moved a bridge (twice on the same bass - long story, but both times where on purpose) and am no luthier - just remember that the of holes will be hidden under the bridge (if they're not TOO far off) so they only have to be plugged well enough that the new holes don't pop out.
  6. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I have little to less than zero woodworking skills, and I was able to take a stock Saga headstock paddle...


    ... and cut, file, sand it into this...


    ... as someone said, 'measure 25 times, then measure another 25 times, then cut, then, and only then, have a beer'... if you're good at chess, you'll do fine with this... thinking ahead of your next step in the process of putting a build together is a definite plus! Good luck!
    GKon, Duder, kopio and 5 others like this.
  7. RobertFL


    Mar 9, 2017
    I use a 6" oscillating spindle sander for shaping recurve and longbow risers in my shop..I have only built cigar box guitars and a Whamola so far... You might be able to buy a hand saw to cut near the lines then use a drill with a drum sander to sand to the lines..
  8. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I think this is an excellent way of starting in bass building. I build my own instruments using Warmoth wood, but....if you don't know what you're doing, limiting your risk to $100 or so is a good thing on teh first go around. the stuff I build, I've usually got about 10 times that on the line.

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want to get. I predict there will be some of that here. Good luck!
    Gaolee and bholder like this.
  9. Take your time & you will end up with a nice bass!
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    There are kits and there are kits. Kits from places like Precision Guitar Kits use high quality wood and good quality components and their kits go together like a dream. Kits from companies with constantly changing names and addresses in Asia…um…less so.

    A couple of things when working with wood: safety, tools, and pilot holes.

    Mangle your hands and you won't be playing bass. Easy to do with anything that'll work wood.

    Use the right tools for the task. Screwdrivers come in sizes. Different saws are for different purposes. And try to use or buy the best quality you can afford. Trust me in this one. Accept it on face - or learn about it the hard way.


    And do some research on drilling and pilot holes. You actually should drill different sized pilot holes depending on the type of wood you're putting a screw into. So go look up what you need. There's a bit more to woodworking technique than first meets the eye. And be sure to check out some woodwoking 101 videos or books before you wade in. Like the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

    Have fun, keep us updated, and good luck! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  11. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    so the details must be in Georgia, 'cause thanks to Mr. Daniels, we all know that's where the devil went down to. ;)
    kopio, Spidey2112 and 40Hz like this.
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Must be. A lot of wood products seem to originate there. :laugh:
  13. AngusHasMoxie


    Mar 11, 2013
    Easthampton, MA
    Formerly endorsed by Carvin, Basson and Dimarzio
    ...In the picture they are, but not on the actual body I received :eek:
  14. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    I went down to the store today but I didn't stay there.

    Something to think about.
    bholder and 40Hz like this.
  15. Novarocker


    Oct 12, 2015
    Right on dude! I'm pumped to see where ya take it.
  16. This is the number one "dicey" problem you are going to face. That and drilling the tuner holes. I'd recommend a forstener style bit for those holes and clamp a piece of scrap wood on the back of the headstock so you don't get tear out when the bit goes through.
    When you have the tuners in place you can clamp the neck in place in the pocket and drill one of the holes for the neck screws. Make sure your clamp is not crushing the frets into the neck. You can then run a piece of yarn from the e and g string tuners down to the bridge and adjust the bridge back and forth to get the two yarns where you want the strings to situate over the neck. The distance from the neck side of the nut to the saddle witness point (with saddles adjusted mid way) should be about 34 1/16 to 34 1/8". You add a little extra for compensation.
  17. Your best bet is to make sure the neck is attached correctly first. Once that's done you can safely plot where the bridge should go. When you shape the headstock remember to factor in the tuners. Don't cut it too small or you'll have part of the tuner plate floating in mid air instead of screwed into the wood. Good luck on your project.
    DrummerwStrings likes this.
  18. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Great minds... I just sent him a PM stating the exact same thing... Rics unite, in the form of a solution!
    jamro217 likes this.
  19. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    Very cool! I just recently retrieved all of my old wood working tools from 8 years of a hostage/storage crisis (long story that ended well) and converted my basement (bass-ment ?) into a wood shop. I haven't built a guitar or bass for almost 30 years, and even then I was much more observer than actual luthier. I probably forgot more than I learned back then, so I'm looking for an easy way to ease back into it and learn as I go. The kit idea the OP posted might be the perfect starting point for me.

    Here's the shop... still getting it set up. I have about 20 hand planes to sharpen now too :meh:
    shop1. shop2. shop3.
  20. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Nice tool collection you got there! The only two things I see missing are a drillpress and a router, off camera maybe? You could use the Mortiser as a drill press, but the vertical capacity is pretty limited. With the addition of a drill press or one of the hand-drill attachments, you have everything you need to build just about any bass. A lot of people on TB have produced amazing work with far less, just hand tools in some cases, working off a kitchen table or corner of their apartment. The ROSS spindle-sanders come in very handy for fairing curved templates, but you can use a drill-press sanding drum instead. The most important thing is the DESIRE to build something, which is what gets you through the inevitable eff-ups. Again, if you really want some great advice, check out Luthier's Corner.

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