Senior Project

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by TheJetsFan4Eva, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. TheJetsFan4Eva


    Apr 4, 2012
    Hey guys, so i'm in my junior year and i've been thinking about what i should do for my senior project. I've come to the conclusion that i want to make a bass. I have never done anything like this before and i was wondering how you guys go about the process of making a bass. Any tips, tricks or advice will be appreciated.
  2. The first thing you need to do is make a list of what you want in a bass.
    Body style and wood.
    Pick ups active or passive.
    Hard ware.
    Color or clear coat.
    Oh, and ask questions in this forum there is a world of experience and knowledge.

    Warning: guitar building can be addictive.

  3. TheJetsFan4Eva


    Apr 4, 2012
    $1000 is my budget (and all my dunkin donuts checks for this year lol)
    Bubinga wood
    passive pickups
    not too sure on hardware
    and a clear coat of course.
    do you think i should gather all of the materials for my build first and then sketch everything out? also, should i take a bass i own and get the measurements from there? so many questions haha
  4. TheJoshinator


    Sep 23, 2012
    (WARNING: LONG POST) Well, I haven't actually built a bass myself (yet), but I can try to pull together some pointers gleaned from lurking around here and currently being in the planning stages. Those who have more experience than none at all, correct me as needed... ;-D If this is a senior project, I would assume the learning experience is every bit as important as the finished product, but it would be awesome to show up with a high-quality instrument. Good on you for getting started early!

    First and foremost, start with a solid plan. Not just a sketch of what you want it to look like, either. Do a full-scale, accurately dimensioned drawing of at least the front if not the back and/or side, color it if you like to get a sense of the aesthetics. When I do mine, I intend to carve a full-scale mockup in Styrofoam to work out the contours, neck profile, ergonomics, etc. Not necessary, but extra insurance if you're building an unproven design. I personally would get a rough plan, then buy all the parts before finalizing dimensions, but it's been done several different ways.

    Figure out ahead of time how exactly you plan to build it. What kinds of tools or outside expertise do you have at your disposal? How much will all the materials cost? Will you need to make any templates or jigs to get accurate results with the tools you have? What wood and finish will you use? Etc. etc. Do some more research to get an idea of what exactly goes into building a bass; I've seen it done with everything from hand tools to a full CNC shop, but there are certain things every bass has in common, and walking through your procedure beforehand can help to find tricky spots before you've hacked up a $100+ piece of wood.

    When you feel you're ready to get started, get started. Know that all that preparation and research does not mean everything will follow your plan, but that you know where you're headed and are prepared to work with the inevitable changes in it. Lutherie is called an art for a reason... :p

    And for goodness' sake, have fun! This should be an enjoyable project, not a monumental task you have to slog through. If it becomes that, hopefully you can recognize it sooner rather than later. I don't claim to know everything (or even many things) about building basses, but I do know that when you want to make a high-quality project of any kind the planning stages and overall attitude are absolutely critical to success. And with that, I bid you good luck and happy building!

    Edit: Gotta love simultaneous typing...
  5. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    Measure your bass, every measurement you can think of, write it down, draw out your design to full scale (you can get big paper rolls from places like Office Depot), draw a center line, measure what scale you want your bass to be at, mark each end, one at the fretboard end of the nut, and one where the other end of the string will end at your highest string on the bridge saddle. Then measure out in each direction from the center line using the width of a nut and some room outside of the outer strings of a bridge you're thinking about using and connect the dots to draw your fretboard (obviously not all the way to the bridge, but using the string spacing of the bridge as a guide for the width) and go on from there.

    I think you should definitely plan it out BEFORE buying the materials. It's easy to discover that you need the wood to be 1" longer or wider or change your mind about something and wish you had thought of this other thing before you bought your stuff. You'll probably keep thinking about it and coming up with better things along the way.
  6. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
  7. Spend a lot of time reading build threads on this site.
    The DIY channel at TDPRI is a great site also. Even if they are gui****s over there, there's a lot of good general info on building.

    I recommend buying and reading this book also:

    How to Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvin Hiscock

    It's a great book to get started with, my only peeve about it is that there way too few pictures and there are no pics of the finished instruments...