SBO22 Scratch Build - Building a Bass Is Easy!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ARandGenUsrName, Jun 22, 2022.


  1. ARandGenUsrName

    ARandGenUsrName

    May 25, 2022
    Canada
    I am titling my SBO22 entry "Building a Bass Is Easy" for a simple reason - I have never build an instrument, I have next to no woodworking skills, this is all extremely new to me, I am expecting many questions, mistakes, general frustrations, plan changes, and I might not even complete it... so maybe starting out with some positivity will put me in the right mindset.

    The plan and specs:

    * Non-reverse Thunderbird-inspired Jaguar body - rear routed Jaguar shape, with t-bird inspired pickguard, with pots and jack in a horizontal line, finished in Pelham blue automotive rattle cans
    * Neck made of canarywood and padauk, finish TBD. 1.75" nut width, probably a tele-bass style headstock
    * Fretless ebony board, pre-radiused from LMII (think I went 9.5")
    * Pickups TBD, most likely these from Pegcity Pickups
    * Passive electronics, controls TBD but probably a vol/vol stack and single tone, but maybe two stacks. Output jack will probably be on the front of the bass, but if I am feeling adventurous I might try a side jack with an electrosocket plate
    * Other hardware TBD - I have a box of junk kicking around, for sure with a through body bridge and some grover machine heads that have seen better days. It'll come down to budget, but most likely I'll toss on whatever I have and replace later

    Goals/what I want to get out of this:

    Honestly, at the end of this if I have a bass that plays and makes sound, I'll be stoked. I know nothing, don't even do my own setups if I can avoid it, so this is all learning. I have done two refinishes with "good enough" results, and am just starting to learn my way around a router.

    Potential hangups and issues:

    Lack of knowledge, lack of tools. I have wanted to do this forever but lack of tools has been the big kicker for me. Last week I found out that there is a local wood shop I can use, just have to take a safety course which runs once a month, then can do drop-ins and use the full shop. That was all I needed to see! Incredibly excited, I started planning and buying wood. Then their next safety course that was supposed to be in a couple weeks got cancelled, and they are shut down for all of August, so earliest I will be able to get into the shop is mid to late September. I am still going to go ahead with the build, but it will be far less ideal than I was hoping. I found somebody about an hour drive away who has a thickness planer I can toss my neck through once its glued up, then after that it'll be a table saw, jig saw, router, random orbital sander, and some random hand tools.

    I'm sure I will have a bunch of questions along the way, and this has potential to go horribly wrong, so follow along if you enjoy being helpful or are the kind of person who can't look away from a car crash! ... or maybe if you want to watch an inspiring underdog-overcomes-all-odds-and-succeeds-despite-the-man-trying-to-keep-him-down story.

    Now that this has all been typed up, I have to run out to meet somebody at a job site, so I will edit this post with my wood pic in about an hour or so.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
  2. ARandGenUsrName

    ARandGenUsrName

    May 25, 2022
    Canada
    And we are off!
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Nice, I'm in. Sub'd :thumbsup:
     
    ARandGenUsrName likes this.
  4. So am I.
     
    ARandGenUsrName likes this.
  5. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Way to go buddy! Text me any time for moral support.
    I missed the part where this was going to be a fretless! Very cool.
    Also, not that you ever asked, but my vote is still for a reverse tele headstock. ;)

    If you can't get the Peg City pickups, I have a set of cheap Peavey jazz pickups that I'll trade you for a guest list spot at your next show or something.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
    ARandGenUsrName likes this.
  6. ARandGenUsrName

    ARandGenUsrName

    May 25, 2022
    Canada
    Ooo sold!
    Didn't message you that I did the glue-up yet because I figured you'd see it here hah

    you know what, a reverse tele headstock looks pretty awesome in my head. I'll do a quick Photoshop mockup later today to see what I think
     
    NKBassman likes this.
  7. So easy...

     
  8. ardgedee

    ardgedee

    May 13, 2018
    This will be my first build when I (hopefully) do one -- except probably without access to a woodshop with table saw, bandsaw and jigsaw. So I will be eagerly watching your progress!
     
  9. mike-matthews

    mike-matthews

    Jun 29, 2018
    I love the pickguard shape. Can't wait to see the finished product. Good luck!!
     
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  10. ARandGenUsrName

    ARandGenUsrName

    May 25, 2022
    Canada
    Thanks for the encouragement, guys! Appreciate it
     
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  11. +1

    I've been entertaining thoughts of building a bass for a while, but I also am in this boat:

    I'm pretty intimidated by the thought of building a bass completely from scratch, so chalk me up for living vicariously through you at the moment. Props to you for taking the plunge and looking forward to seeing your build progress, and learning a thing or two (or twenty :D) along the way. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    Good luck!

    5sg.
     
  12. I'll just follow this and enjoy it. I've assembled instruments before and done lots of mods. Building from scratch? - no way. I can't even make a simple bird house that looks good or comes out square. I don't have any wish to make a 'new' creation either. I'm happy to buy what I'll actually use. There's a good reason that I don't have a proper supply of woodworking tools, machines and materials. Carry on folks; I'll be watching.
     
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  13. ARandGenUsrName

    ARandGenUsrName

    May 25, 2022
    Canada
    Torn on this but I think I'm not going to go for it... we'll see. I actually really like it, but looking at a handful of basses with reverse headstocks, it really comes down to shape. I'm into the tele headstock, but I've seen some others with a regular P style, which feels clunkier (not sure why, I love the regular P headstock but upside down looks no good to me). I don't have a router template and will be making something by hand most likely, so my confidence in doing it accurately is low. If I could nail it, great, but if it ends up a bit wonky I think that will be magnified by drawing more attention to the headstock by flipping it.

    What I am definitely liking though is the look of the Hipshot Gibson bridge. Need to look at dimensions and see if I can plop on the bridge I have (or a cheap-o Wilkinson) for a while and replace it down the line, or if that will leave a bunch of exposed holes
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. ARandGenUsrName

    ARandGenUsrName

    May 25, 2022
    Canada
    I doubt any work will get done till next week - waiting on a couple shipments to arrive. One had an estimated delivery of yesterday but still hasn't been picked up by FedEx, so unless a scan was just missed or something, it'll be a slow weekend.
    Maybe I'll do some body shaping? Dropped off the body and neck blanks to be thickness planed yesterday, so assuming thats done today I could theoretically do some shaping. I see everybody recommending doing your routing first though and I'm not entirely sure why. My body blank is just big enough for the shape, so chopping a bit away shouldn't affect things all that much I wouldn't think, but obviously I don't know much here so maybe I'm missing something... The shipment that was supposed to arrive yesterday was my neck pocket and pickup templates, so routing will be on hold till they show up.

    Maybe a silly/basic question but one I'm not seeing an answer to - can any truss rod be installed at either end, or do they make different truss rods for each orientation? I think I saw Stew Mac rods specifically say that they can go either way but most rods don't specify. I'd like to go body side - more annoying for adjustments, but I prefer the look. Hopefully my neck turns out great and never needs to be adjusted (hah!)

    Continuing on truss rod installation - I'm seeing a whole lot of differing opinions on how to install them. Wrap in teflon tape first or don't wrap, put a tiny bead of silicone under each side only or put a line of epoxy under the whole thing before install or install and epoxy after... what are you guys doing? Any general consensus of the "best" way to do things?

    This is the truss rod on order. Looks to me it's already wrapped, so I assume wrapping it in teflon tape is only for rods that are bare metal, but the adhesive question remains.
     
  15. TFM94

    TFM94

    Aug 24, 2020
    Finland
    I recently changed my outlook on that. I have always installed them without any extra tape, silicone or anything. Worked great for years. This summer, however, my Les Paul Jr DC with a dual action TR developed a nasty TR rattle. It's really annoying and not an easy fix. I ended up injecting some silicone through the fretboard underneath an inlay, see here. That's when I decided to use a few small beads of silicone before gluing the fretboard on. Not to submerge the trussrod, just so that the flat steel bar doesn't rattle against the fretboard. It's not a lot of work and can keep you out of trouble a few years down the road.
     
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  16. ARandGenUsrName

    ARandGenUsrName

    May 25, 2022
    Canada
    Oh interesting - I don't think I have seen silicone between the truss rod and fretboard recommended.
    Stew Mac says to do epoxy down the sides and bottom of the channel, Project Guitar says just a small bead of silicone in two spots (maybe 1/4 way down the page, step 2), The Art of Lutherie likes Stew Macs instructions but recommends silicone in the middle of the slot as well as in between the rods. Seems the further I read into this the more opinions I find
     
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  17. TFM94

    TFM94

    Aug 24, 2020
    Finland
    Interesting. For my repair it was the only option to inject it from the top, but of course it's impossible to say where in the slot it actually went.

    Epoxy sounds like a risky choice as it could easily jam the trussrod.
     
  18. Mickey666

    Mickey666

    Apr 22, 2020
    Oklahoma city
    This is the sort of thing that stops all my build ideas before they make it off the drawing board.
    I can never seem to find 2 concurring opinions.
     
  19. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    My take on this is that something is better than nothing, and what that something is comes down to preference and experience of the builder. Pick one and run with it, and see how it works out.

    We could also page @Bruce Johnson and @Freekmagnet , who have lots of experience building necks and a good head between them for solid building practices.
     
    TFM94 likes this.
  20. ARandGenUsrName

    ARandGenUsrName

    May 25, 2022
    Canada
    Honestly, same but it's the same in almost every hobby field. I recently got back into vinyl and have been ripping my records that can't be found digitally. I needed some advice on where to spend time and money to get the most out of my rig, but try finding two self professed audiophiles who agree on damn near anything. Generally, I would prefer to find one level headed person who seems to know what they are talking about and message them privately then just take their advice and disregard the rest until I know better, but in this case I don't think that would be in the spirit of the build off, so I'll post questions publicly and try to make sense of it all if there are differing opinions.

    At a certain point, you have to just jump in or you'll be in decision paralysis forever. I'm in my early 30s and have been wanting to do this since I was maybe fifteen or so but have never got past the dreaming phase for one reason or another.

    You're probably right. So which one do you recommend for someone with zero preference or experience?
     
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