Thinking of going Warmoth. BUT NO EXPERIENCE!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by heavyJams, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. Ok, so I have to say that I spend TONS of time on this website. I have owned up to the fact that I'm more interested in bass gear than I am in actually playing bass. Well... I'm more interested in being amazing at bass than I am about gear. But I'm more interested in gear than I am about practicing.

    Anyway... I've seen all of these custom basses and all of these great luthiers. It makes me want to become one myself. I, however, know nothing about it. I can't work with wood (yet, as in I haven't tried) and I've never wired a bass or changed pickups or any of that stuff. So I figure that making a Warmoth bass would be the first step in going that direction. Is it do-able? I mean I literally have no experience outside of changing strings. I can't intonate or change the action. I've read about tons of this stuff, but now I want to do it. CAN IT BE DONE? WILL IT BE WORTH THE INVESTMENT?

    Any suggestions, advice, encouragements, and discouragements are welcome. I hope lots of people respond. Thanks ahead of time.
  2. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    1) There are instructions on how to intonate and set action in the setup forum.

    2) It can certainly be done.

  3. Yes it can be done with patience. Suggestion before investing in a new project, get a hold of a low budget bass and take it apart and put it back together. When you can do that blindfolded buy a nice project to build.

    I had warmoth work with me on a modifed Gecko bass and we both liked it so much that they ended up offering the changes I did (to types of pickups and placement) on their production line stuff.

    they are great people to work with.
  4. ganttbos

    ganttbos The Professor Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Orleans area
    I've built three Warmoths - a gecko 5, and two J-bass fivers, one of which has morphed into a fretless with a new neck. The following is my personal opinion.
    The basses are very good. All the parts are of good quality, finishes are good, and the customer service is great. One criticism - it's tough to build a light Warmoth bass.
    As a strictly financial investment, it's difficult to justify. Resale is not good. You probably will lose more upon resale than with a "name" bass bought already assembled.
    As an investment in fun, satisfaction, and learning about the instrument, it's invaluable. So if you can fight off your "little ego voice" that tells you how you lost your butt each time you build a bass, you'll have a great time and you won't regret it. If you're like me, the first one teaches you enough that you wanna build another one (Warning!).
    I just bought a Sadowsky 24F fiver new from Roger, and I'm astounded, blown away, and in awe of what he does. I would never have appreciated it that much if I hadn't built my Warmoths.
    If you have the bucks, I think building a parts bass is a worthwhile project.
  5. This is great advice! Thanks guys. Keep it coming. How hard is wiring the pickups? Is all of this stuff in the setup forum?
  6. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    You're not alone! I order the parts for my warmoth project last week. I also have little experience with this type of project, however I can intonate (not hard) and set the action on my basses. I even shielded my MM5 last year, and had to remove the electronics in the process. My problem will be with the wood working skills area of the project. While the bass is finished, there will still be some things that you have to do. For example, the neck is not drilled for the screws that hold it on to the body. There are also no pilot holes for the pickguard or tuners. I guess I have to go buy a drill press :)

    My warmoth project is a P bass body in inca silver, maple/rosewood J neck with blocks and binding and matching headstock, white/black/white pickguard, hipshot d-tuner, BAII bridge, Sadowsky p/j pickups. I'm a little scared of the inca silver w/ rosewood combo, but I think it will look OK. The body and neck came from the thirft shop, although it turned out the neck binding was flawed so I ordered a brand new neck.
  7. ganttbos

    ganttbos The Professor Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Orleans area
    For your first one, I'd suggest choosing PUs that have a pre-wired harness available. A harness means that the pots (and switches if there are any) are already wired up to the jack and an internal preamp. You'll have to connect the PU wires and the bridge ground to the harness (via instructions). There'll be a pre-wired connector for the battery if it's an active setup. This is all tough enough to tackle with no experience. I wouldn't think of wiring up the pots and all from scratch for your first time. If you've never soldered before, you would do well to practise a bit on stuff you can screw up and not worry about. Do a search and learn about heat shrink tubing. And cavity shielding.
    There are lots of details to consider. For example, different output jacks require different diameter routs into the control cavity. Take your time and ask all the "stupid questions". The Warmoth guys are ready to answer them. And the forums here provide a lot of support. The setup forum though is probably not the place. I think Basses is OK - check with the mods.
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    If you want to minimize your investment, try using parts from cheaper suppliers such as mighty-mite or stu-mac. Get some experience with assembly then save the upscale (Warmonth) for your second project.
  9. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I built my first Warmoth some 5-6 months ago. I spent month planning, so that saved me from headaches later. It is quite an easy job, and there is no real 'woodworking' involved, only some drilling - pickguard, neck attachment and tuner screws. As always, measure 3 times, drill once and go slooooooowly.

    Re. wiring, if you go for a passive setup, it's basically idiot-proof. If you buy a matched set of new pups, they will come with a very easy to understand wiring diagram. I bought Fender Custom Shop 60s pups, and just followed the diagram that came with them - was dead easy ( and this was my first project).

    Is it worth it? As ganttbos said, YEAH, if price and resale are not your main concern. Since I don't plan to ever sell any of my basses, I don't care about that.

    As a matter of fact, my fretless Warmoth Jazz is now my main gigging bass, not because I put it together myself, but because it is pefect for the job at hand.

    Little note re. weight. If you want to build a light Warmoth bass, it is possible, but you would have to use a non-Warmoth neck. This should work out just fine. I recently put together a Telecaster for a friend, where every single part came from a different source, and it all fit together perfectly.

    PS. You can see how my Warmoh Jazz turned out if you follow the link in my signature below.
  10. Brooks -- Good point. Warmoths necks have steel renforcement bars (instead of Graphite). They add a bit to the weight.
  11. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I am alomost finished my warmoth bass project. the funn7 thing is is that i am in the middle of building a neck thru bass and got a hankering for a jazz bass.

    it started as a stock jazz and now it is this...

    Jazz body (solid canary)
    fretless p neck (macassar ebony board)5 string

    tk5 bridge
    gotoh tuners
    SD ASB5 pups
    Aguilar OPB

    I swear i just wanted a jazz bass, but now i'll have this monster !

    should be done this week...
  12. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Hey Brooks, how do you like you Turner Electroline?
    Do you think a fretted version would be as good sounding? What other bass would you compare it to tonally? Do you use the piezo or magnetic pups alone or both pups on most of the time, which do you prefer? Thanks.
  13. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I love that Electroline! With the pup combo that I have, it is a very versatile bass. Diamond pup sounds pretty close to a P, but a bit more 'refined' and hi-fi (not by much). I installed a Bart 9J in the bridge position. When soloed, it gives me that typical Jaco sound. Piezo on this bass is really good and very useful, especially if you want to get reasonably close to a double bass sound. Once you start blending (I have two blend controls. One between the magnetic pups, and then between that and the Piezo), you got tons more options.

    All in all, it's an amazing bass with fantastic workmanship and setup. I don't gig with it much only because I play it with roundwounds and want to preserve the fingerboard (pau fero) as the nearest luthier is few thousand miles away. When I do use it, I usually turn blend to favor the Diamond pup, with a bit of J thrown in. For blues/classic rock'n'roll, and some jazz numbers, I solo the piezo pup and engage the mute. For some funky numbers, I solo the J pup with a bit of Diamond thrown in.

    As for a fretted version, listen to Fleetwood Mac..their bass player uses it a lot. He played it on the Tonight Show just a couple of nights back. I thought that it sounded pretty darn good, though his has Turner soapbar pups instead of Diamond/J pup combo.
  14. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    hey Brooks...How's that DP holdin' up for you ?
  15. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Well, the fretboard shrunk a bit due to very dry weather here, so I need to trim the fret ends (something I have never done before), and I've been too busy to refinish it yet. Otherwise, still sounds great, but I am thinking of moving the Bart MM to a bass that I am planning to build (another Warmoth, but with AllParts maple neck with black binding/blocks), and install Basslines MM for a more agressive sound. I'll probably do that this summer, ater the rest of the family leaves for extended summer vacation.
  16. j3b3r


    Aug 19, 2000
    Stu-mac Is not a cheaper suppliers. I just compared stu-mac and warmoth, Warmoth has many cheaper items then Stu-mac.:D
  17. LizzyD

    LizzyD Chocoholic

    Oct 15, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Sadowsky Artist
    You could also try starting with one of Carvin's bass kits. I put one together a couple years ago and it came out great. Everything is pre-drilled and so easy to throw together. You do need to solder the pickups, but it isn't that hard. It comes with all the hardware and electronics, you just do a little sanding and finishing.

    Great little bass for under $500.

    I've got a hankering to do a Warmoth project myself!
  18. Mike A

    Mike A Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    Another option to consider:

    I'm about halfway through (I think.. but who knows) a P/J pickup setup built on a P body and Jazz neck. Everything so far has come from Ebay. There are definitely deals to be had for a serious project builder.

    The body is a late 70's Fender copy (could be Fender - the neck matches perfectly.. but P pickup route look a little too close to the neck for Fender) Anyway.. it's a very well worn original body from late 70's or early 80's, as the guy's had it since '84. In the process of stripping the finish now, which has revealed a very nice ash grain.. hmm... natural finish? Maybe, gotta see the rest of it first. This cost me roughly $50.00 including shipping.
    The neck is a '97 Squier Jazz neck w/ rosewood FB... and a very nice one I might add... cost me $60 off ebay.
    Tuners - no name vintage Fender copies - $10.
    Bridge - no name high mass looks a bit like a Badass design - $15.

    So at the moment, I've got a cool bass for $135, sans electronics & wiring. I'm pretty happy so far.
  19. um...I have the same problem, except I don't want to ruin such a beuty! do you guys think I could just take it to a luthier and have it done for me?

    thanks:bag: :bassist:
  20. giantjerk


    Jan 18, 2003
    Allen, TX
    Last march I got bit by the Warmoth bug. I believed and now know their products are first rate. When I finished making my selection and added everything up the price tag was in excess of $1200. Price, worth and value are all relative terms. As much as I wanted to move forward with the project I decided to wait a little longer.

    I'm glad I did. I searched the classified ads here and found a fellow TB'er that had damn near the exact bass I had planned on building. The bonus was the price tag was about a third of what I had planned on paying.

    The bass is the best I have ever owned or played. I can't say enough good things about Warmoths products.