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Thinking of building my own bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by attackbass, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. attackbass


    Jul 16, 2007
    Endorsing Artist:Orange Amps, EBS FX, Ernie Ball, Fender Bass Guitars
    So i'm thinking of building my own bass. not totally from scratch but from warmouth type replacement bodies and necks etc...

    I guess i'm wondering about two things about it, so if any of you guys have done this before i would appreciate any insight into it

    If the parts that you buy high quality and you really spend a lot of time , care and attention to putting together will you get a great sounding, playing bass?

    I'm also interested in learning about how everything works and fits together (im a touring musician so i can only see it as another skill if something falls apart on tour). I'm pretty sure my dad will help me with the electronics and over see it, but what about setting it up to play great... I can usually set up a bass intonation and playability wise no problem, and i've fitted a badass bridge before to my jazz, but no expereince with truss rod adjustment and cutting a nut..... is this something I can read up and research and learn from my mistakes, or take it slowly and get it right eventualy?

    By the way im thinking of doing a CAR jazz, with bound neck and nordstrand big singles....
  2. OldogNewTrick


    Dec 28, 2004
    Germany, EU
    start reading here ;)
  3. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I did it once. Was fun. Bass turned out to cost me quite a bit of cash and sounded ok. Better off buying a preowned quality jazz. Lots of brands to choose from. Also, resale on anything you put together yourself will be next to nothing.

  4. attackbass


    Jul 16, 2007
    Endorsing Artist:Orange Amps, EBS FX, Ernie Ball, Fender Bass Guitars
    thanks - stupidly i didnt notice the luthiers corner until 5 seconds after I posted!

    I'm not really worried about re-sale value, im more in it for the experience of building it. I already have a really nice jazz... I just want something a little unusual in its set up and looks.

    Maybe I should ebay for a knackered jazz or various replacement parts and make a frankenstein bass...
  5. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    I dont think Luthiers Corner is the place to chill for a parts bass. They get enough of that daily. Keep it with us.

    Unless it gets moved.
  6. I was considering doing a simliar bass from Warmoth two years ago.
    When I started looking at prices, I was looking at $200,
    but when I brought in the cost of the p'up, bridge, electronics, finish, tuners, etc. (I wasn't think when I first though of the price LOL) it came to around $800.
    I abandoned that project as I was happy with my current bass and wasn't ready to dish out that kinda cash.
    Now, i'm building a bass with a Kramer Fender knock off neck, scratch body and so far it's cost me around $30...
    still need tuners, string tree and electronics... shouldn't be any more than $100.
    You should try and do what I'm going for...
    either find a cheap bass to tinker with to figure out how to set up the neck's truss rod, etc. then if you feel confident, move onto Warmoth.
    Hope I have helped in my rambling! lol
  7. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Im pretty sure attackbass is past learning how on a Kramer.
  8. NYCBass

    NYCBass Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2006
    Queens NY
    I just did this Bass. Warmoth chambered ash body with a flame maple top. Oil finished body and neck. Canary wood neck with a zircote fingerboard. 1 1/2 at the nut with medium jumbo frets, 6130 size and Hipshot String Retainer. Nordstrand Big Split pickups and J Retro Deluxe preamp. Hipshot Ultralight Tuners with a Detuners/Extender. Badass II bridge. Modern J Bass headstock logo.I cost me over a thousand but it's what I wanted so... You could do a Bass for a lot less with lower priced parts.
  9. attackbass


    Jul 16, 2007
    Endorsing Artist:Orange Amps, EBS FX, Ernie Ball, Fender Bass Guitars
    Bass looks awesome!

    Yeah I would probably not opt for such interesting wood as I would get it sprayed CAR. I would go for a badass bridge tho, and hipshot standard tuners

    Do you have any sound clips of your bass?

    I can see the logic in trying it out on cheap parts first, but then i'll end up with a bass i would be unlikely to use lol! All tho i guess i could give it away as a prize in a competition for my band.... lol
  10. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida


    I did this one a while back:

    MIM Fender body - $190
    Moses neck - $310
    SD Basslines pickups/preamp (found used, the top pic is after I installed the preamp) - $140
    Schaller tuners - $50
    Schaller straplocks - $15
    Badass II - $50
    Warmoth pickguard - $35
    Fender knobs/controle plate/neckplate - $50

    Wow, $840. Well, it kills my friend's MIA Jazz deluxe, and he paid close to double what I paid for mine.
  11. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    As a veteran assembler of over 20 years I have to say there are no guarantees. I never know exactly how an instrument is going to sound before it's assembled. So, you can take all those "wood tone" tone descriptions with a grain of salt. It's the combination of all the woods, hardware, strings, pickups and finish that determine the final outcome.

    Trussrod adjustment is not big deal but the important thing to remember is to always loosen a rod first before trying to tighten it and to take the pressure off the rod when tightening it.

    IMO, cutting a functional nut isn't all that difficult but cutting a really good nut takes practice.

    Warmoth necks come with a very serviceable nut as an option.
  12. stiles72


    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    It might cost you more to build in time and money than a brand name bass of equal quality level, but building your own isnt always about saving costs. It's fun, and it's a good learning experience. I'd say go for it!!! Besides, with Warmoth bodies and necks, you're really just assembling the bass - it's not like you are actually doing the woodworking. For a first project, you may consider letting them do the finishing (body paint or stain and clear) for you. Save that step of the process for your next build.
  13. You're doing it for the right reasons! If you want to hear some Warmoth sound clips, PM me with your email and I will send you some.

    Warmoth does a good job cutting the nut, or you could buy a pre-slotted one like Tusq makes. Badass is a good bridge but you have to cut slots for the strings. Another option is the Gotoh 201.
  14. NYCBass

    NYCBass Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2006
    Queens NY
    Thanks for the kind words on my build. No sound clips yet but I'll work on that.

    You could get a Badass II Slotted
    Just keep in mind that you will not get your money back on a parts Bass. So my feeling is make the bass the way you want it. It's kind of like an experiment. I look at it as I want to make something that is not around to buy. Because if a company made this, then I would have just picked this Bass up from a dealer. :smug:

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