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tips on building my own bass(getting started

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tyburn, Feb 20, 2001.

  1. i'm very interested in building a 5 string bass 36" scale

    mahogany body, exotic facing perhaps,, 5 piece laminate neck etc,,, it's starting this minute in my head,,, it'll take a while,, especially to get the funds goin ,, but what i really need is the advice of you guys here,, the ones who have done it,, what would u recommend regarding combinations of wood,, not too bothered about weight as i'm a big guy

    but as i'm only 18 i'll take my time so that i can get the money,, i'll try and get my dad to help me build it he's very good at woodworking and has made guitars in the past,, i just need advice about the best book to get me reading

    i'll come back and ask about construction later on( money permitting

    i'm and art and design student(mainly graphics) but good at design so i'll do some designs and post em at a later date

    but what about a good book on building a bass

    and tips to get started??
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I bought 2 books about the subject from stewmac.com . I wouldn't even attempt building one. I can't even handle a tape measure with skill. But I am going to have a custom built so I want to know something about spec'ing it out.

    The books are "Understanding Wood" by Bruce Hoadley, $30US, and "Make Your Own Electric Guitar" Melvyn Hitchcock, $21US.
  3. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I have the "Make Your Own Electric Guitar" book that rickbass1 mentions. Totally comprehensive, covers everything from selecting the proper planks to buffing the finish. I've made several, and will make several more, using methods that I learned reading this book. I can't recommend it highly enough!

  4. TT


    Feb 14, 2001
    cardboard and elastic bands work wonders in playing and soloing for me :_
  5. and you are looking to give that up for a stingray :D

    i would do a search on this site for info tyburn
    the topic has come up before and there are a couple of people that have already acomplished it. :)
  6. cheers gruff,, but i'm already worried about the neck,, i'll mayby do what rickbass1 did and get one made,,,, nahh,, it won't be as much fun,,, even if i end up with some maple and purplehart door stops,, mum wouldn't like thatt

    seriously,, i understand how the wings of the body are made,, cut em out shape and sand also how the neck will join to the sides,, what i am unclear about is

    once i've made the neck,, 5 piece maple and somit else,, the sandwhich,, and it's dried how the hell do i get the thing shaped and an even profile

    would it be worth e local builder to build the neck to my specs so that i can concentrat on the body and not worry about fecking the neck up,, i know the neck is important,, i'm more interested in the proportions of the neck,, i'm more of a sculpter,, i know i'd get a very good neck built which i could then join to my wings ??
  7. oddentity

    oddentity Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    I also suggest Melvyn Hiscock's book -- it really is quite excellent and comprehensive.

    I have been working on building an electric guitar for a couple of years now (just can't find the time to finish it!).

    If you want to do some of the building yourself, but skip the REALLY difficult parts, I suggest buying a pre-made neck from Carvin or Warmoth and making the body yourself. I bought a through-neck from Carvin and made the body wings for my guitar myself-- it was loads of fun!!

    Good luck!! :D
  8. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    This is about where I stopped building my bass 8 years ago...I still have an unfinished 5-piece through-neck made up of 3 pieces of wenge and 2 pieces of Bubinga (at the time I was a big Warwick fan, if you couldn't tell).

    I bought the book "Make your own Electric Guitar" and I found it's pretty descriptive. You can rough shape it with a band-saw or coping saw and get it closer to shape with an instrument called a spoke-shave (I think that's what it's called, anyway). The book should give you some good pointers...go buy it and thumb through it (no pun intended).

    One tip I'd pass on, though, is that when you glue the neck pieces together, you cannot use too many clamps! I think the book says to use at least 1 every foot or 18 inches...I worked with a guy who told me to clamp every 3 to 6 inches. That may be overkill, but because necks are so sensitive, it's better to overkill than underkill;)

    Enjoy the project! Keep us posted as to your progress and post pictures!
  9. eswartz


    Feb 12, 2001
    I have built a couple of basses (2) and I am currently working on my first guitar (for a friend). The first thing that I would stress is to not put TOO much money into your first bass. I know my first bass sure didn't turn out the way that I intended it. I would use some cheaper, solid wood for the body and use maple (quartersawn) for the neck. Wenge is great in the neck, but it is quite expensive now because of a short supply. Don't do anything too exotic or you might regret the wasted money. Research all your hardware before you buy. It gets quite expensive quite fast.

    As for shaping the neck, a spoke shaver works pretty well for getting it close to the shape you want, but you will have to do a whole lot of sanding. If you find a better way, please let me know.

    As far as funding goes...are you waiting for money to buy materials or waiting for money to buy wood? If it is the latter, I would suggest looking into some classes at a community college. I paid $60 for a woodworking class where they let you work on any project you want. The advantages were that you had an instructor to help you with basic techniques and you had free range of industrial sized tools (very beneficial when planing the neck & body). Plus, when you ruin a tools, which does happen occasionally (and my dad got plenty upset a couple of times), you don't have to replace it. Disadvantages...you had to follow their schedule.

    If you have more questions that I might be able to help you with, email me at eswartzendruber@austin.rr.com.
  10. I like the idea of buying the neck and just making the wings, hmm, sounds like a cool summer project for me! :D

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