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Unfinished Bodies

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by BartoliniBoss, May 12, 2011.


  1. I just had an elongated conversation with my old shop teacher, now a successful cabinet maker.

    After seeing a 'cheap' Warmoth body for $175, my questions started with "Do you have a ban saw and a router I can use?"

    But what I'd like to talk about here is solid stock vs lamination?

    As far as long term stability and anti-warping, he recommended extensive laminating. Solid stock he said would almost always tend to warp or bend much more so that glued boards.

    Would you rather have a solid stock body, or one glued together from several pieces?

    Is there a place you guys know of that you can buy patterns to properly locate places to rotor out for the electronics?
     
  2. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Google "Guitar Templates" or search it on Ebay, there are 3 people that are readilly making templates for routing. One, I believe is guitartemplates. Com or net. Ron Kirn sells on Ebay(actually his son in law now). If there is something specific you are looking for, I might be able to help you find it. Many people will chime in.

    As for bodies, I am parti to showy tops with common solid core, I don't like plywood type laminate bodies, but 2 or 3 layer to achieve matching front and back are very common.
     
  3. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Those ar usually good templated, exactly the people I was thinking about. I can't comment on the actual quality, as I have custom made templates I did 20+ years ago. As for this site, the jazz and P bass are the most common.
     
  4. So, if you were designing a perfect middle of the road, which wood (Alembic - Premium Woods) would you use in a laminated body?

    What would a body sound like with a mahogany core and red oak laminated on the top and bottom.

    I mean if you glued 3 pieces, one middle piece that would hold the neck, pups, and bridge, and two outer pieces- themselves made up of glued together red oak strips.
     
  5. SlingBass4

    SlingBass4

    Feb 28, 2009
    Kansas City
    While laminates of top/body and top/body/back are increasingly becoming more commonplace...*I* like the sound and feel of a solid body build. Wood tones vs. resonance tones is (of course) in the eye of the beholder. Bridge, pups, neck, nut, electronics all contribute to the end product. IF we were all the same - it would be a tad boring, wouldn't it? BTW: I don't consider Warmoth bodies to be of "cheap" quality, and there are quite a few others here who also might take issue with such comment :eyebrow:
     
  6. MarkL

    MarkL

    Feb 17, 2011
    Tacoma, WA
    I dont think BBoss meant that the Warmoth bodies were cheap in quality, but that the less expensive one's were in the $175 range and was hoping to find something less costly.
     
  7. What I meant by that was that $175 was 'cheap' among Warmoths...

    My mahogany and oak body would be 'solid', it just wouldn't be one piece.
     
  8. What's the most desired wood, in a bass body, 'generally' speaking?
     
  9. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I think the body would sound like a mahogany and red oak body. I can't make a judgement on supposed tone, but I can tell you Red Oak lends a bitter taste component to smoking meats if you use it that way...this may translate to bass bodies, but I am sure someone else will be able to comment more fully ;):bag:
     
  10. Did you check out that alembic woods link?

    What woods would you ideally choose to use in a P-Bass or a Jazz bass?
     
  11. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I like Walnut, Bubinga, Makore, Padauk, African and Genuine Mahoganies, figured woods for tops(maples and such) Swamp Ash and Alder are the most common choices. poplar is a great choice if you want different and economical. I like woods more for their working properties and appearence, and those listed above fit my eye well. They may not be as cool to you.
     
  12. I don't play...so I am really just looking for information.

    I am considering making a series of Jazz & P-Bass bodies, and I'd like to know which would be the most popular/desirable wood to employ.
     
  13. The Jazz Bass I am about to refinish is made of 3 pieces, what looks like a maple middle board, and two outer ash ones.
     
  14. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    3 piece bodies are sometimes done out of economics rather than look, and are generally painted to avoid showing that they are 3 piece. the most desireable "common" bodies are done with Swamp Ash and Alder. There are also Mahogany and Walnut which were done in limited runs.

    Everything is dependant on the pricepoint you are going after. If you are going for the common replacement market, you need to look at websites from AllParts, Warmoth, Mighty Mite, USACG, and WD. These guys all sell replacement Licensed Fender parts, so you can get an idea of the range you are looking at and what you will have to compete against.
     
  15. Oh, dear...I never even considered the 'licensed' nature of things. How closely can I make it look like a Fender, and not infringe on licensing?

    Well, I figure if I am gonna make one, I should go ahead and make 5...that way I can perform some decent finish tests and various setups, without having to take everything apart 10 times...but then I was like...why not 'release' 50, each one for $200 non-finished, sanded to 220.

    I have access to a LOT of scrap Red & White Oak, and was hoping to come up with a glued together body including oak and something less dense. I am looking for a total body weight under 6 lbs...but a middle of the road sound is the most important attribute I am seeking.

    If you were going to make a 'great' Jazz and P-Bass body, how many pieces of what kind of wood would you want to use?
     
  16. I just spoke with a licensed Fender parts dealer. While he didn't answer all of my questions, he was helpful in answering some general questions about building bodies and necks.

    Bodies, he said, are public domain, so you can build any replica you'd like and sell it as a "Fender Style" Jazz or P-Bass body.

    Necks on the other hand are still patent protected, and if you are indeed replicating them, Fender will seek legal recourses.

    He also seemed to think that the margin for profit in a $175 body was VERY slim...
     
  17. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Profit margin is determined by what the market will bear. You can get Mighty Mite bodies in alder from $75 to $159 generally, so that is something to consider. I already make bodies, and "perfect" is subjective to the player. Swamp ash is more popular than any other common wood. Using red and white oak will be heavier so that is something to consider.
     
  18. $75 sounds like a bottom dollar price. I don't think there's very much profit to be made at that price.

    The guy I am going into this project with has LOTS of scrap oak, and I was hoping to turn some of his trash into treasure.

    My idea was to use a popular or traditional bass wood for the 'heart' of the body, then use oak for the outer sides.
     
  19. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    With Alder, depending on time and set-up, $75 can make you enough to buy lunch for a week off the value menu...LMAO But yeah, the parts market is kind of flooded so you need to have a niche. I developed one for myself with doing specific "non traditional" replacement bodies for a few specific builders. Maybe the oak thing will be yours, you just never know what people will want. I wish you luck with it.
     

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