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Warmoth Bass Build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by apkbass, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. apkbass


    Feb 26, 2012
    As both a test of my building skills and because I want another bass, I would like to build my own bass using Warmoth parts. Any suggestions on what I should try? I want to go beyond the standard P/J basses and get into something more non-standard to make the spending around 1,000 bucks worth it. I'm thinking of making a "Fenderbird" with a Thunderbird body, a P/J pickup configuration, and a P-bass neck. I was also thinking about a Les Paul-style bass with a single Music Man humbucker and preamp. I just need a bass that will handle pick playing and has versatile tone. If you have any advice on building basses, please share it! Thanks.
  2. BullFrogJR


    May 23, 2012
    New Jersey
    I hope you get some reply's here, I'll actually be doing a Warmoth build myself and I've never done it before so I'm very curious about anything I should be aware of. I think I'm going to keep it a bit more standard than you (actually thinking P-Bass body, with Jazz bass neck and pickups).

    Keep me (us) posted on how it goes and any discoveries you make. I'll add one little lesson I learned as I began this process. I was considering a non-standard body as well, either the Les Paul or EB style, but one thing I realized is the strap lock sits closer to the body which can increase neck dive and also just makes the nut sit further away from your body. I played a few in stores and realized it's not for me.

    Good luck
  3. I've built eleven Warmoths, and I am SO NOT a "wood guy". I'm a 52 year old metalworker and electronics lunatic. So it can be done. Patience is the best attribute you can adopt. Just remember that it won't turn out any better than the effort you are willing to put into it. Just take your time, do NOT watch the clock. If it takes three weeks, it takes three weeks. Some will brag that they can toss one together in a couple/few hours. Good for them. Don't worry about how long it takes you. Just be patient and stay out of the Walt Disney Production department (no Mickey Mouse methods). If you're not sure about something .. STOP .. ask questions ... don't worry about being teased about being a dumfork ... and proceed once you have answers you're comfortable with. Don't use a kitchen knife when you should be using a router. That kind of thing. If a suggestion is outside your skill level or experience ... avoid it's use. Seek more help.

    There really isn't a magic formula or preferable sugestion to go with when building a "kit bass" like a Warmoth. They really are as simple as "tab A into slot A, tab B into slot B" construction. Just piece it together before you spend a dime. Leave yourself open to options you may wish to put to use later.

    If you go with a bass body that uses a pickguard, have them route the body for larger pickups than you intend to use. Or perhaps more pickups than you intend to use. The pickguard covers the holes and you only have to order new pickguards if you change pickups. If you went with a P-Bass shape, have them route the body for two pickups (bridge, and oversized neck). Now, when you order the pickguard if you want to use P pickups .. just order a pickguard for P-pickups. Later if you want to go PJ .. order a pickguard for PJ and the holes in the wood are already made.

    I'm in-process of building #12. This one will have an enormous "bathtub" pickup routing that will alow me to use, P - J - Music Man - Ric/neck pickup positions. A rear-routed control cavity allows me to use any type of internal goodies I wish. I'll cut out the front of the body so that the control cavity is actually completely see-through. I'm fabbing an aluminum plate to cover the control cavity in front, so if I change controls, just make a new front plate (metalworker that I am). I'm also having them add a double batt box in the event that I want to use 18 volt electricals at some point. If I only want 9 volt stuff ... just use one battery OR use two and wire them in parallel. Or go passive and just leave the batt box empty.

    If you ever sell a Warmoth, part it out. You'll lose yer butt if you try to sell it as a completed bass. You lose at least 50% of your money as a completed bass. You only lose about 24% to 30% if you part it out.

    Uh ... that's about all I got that isn't redundant. Hope it was of some help. This forum is more about actually building a bass from wood, so I wouldn't count on too many replies. I think Warmoths are considered "kid's stuff" here. I could be wrong. But it seems that the normal ethos of this forum is more about growing your own tree, cutting it down, and building a bass guitar AFTER you've constructed your own saw and axe and made your own sandpaper. Haahaa! :)

    Just joking around ... You get my point though. Warmoths aren't really "building a bass" they're more like a model kit that is ~assembled~ rather than actually ~built~ per se. So they don't have the same mojo with some folks.

    So anyhow .... just try to outsmart the available options so that you leave yourself open to changes if you want them later. I'll try to help if I can. :)
  4. +1.

    What works for guitars rarely works for basses when it comes to body shapes. On the Les Paul the scale is shifted to the player's left which will increase neck dive and make the reach to play near the nut less comfortable. Same thing with the SG. Consider a bass body that has less wood after the bridge. The farther the bridge is to the player's right the closer the nut is to you and the easier it is to reach when low grooving. It also balances better. Pretty much everything that BullFrogJR said. An upper horn helps a lot to reduce neck dive as well. The body I'm using this time is a G5. Five string "G" body. The upper horn extends nearly to fret 12. The bridge is nearly at the very end of the body. Making for a bass that hangs on a strap well, and sits in your lap well.

    Only issue with the G body is there are no pickguards for that model.

    If you are looking for a hornless body, consider the Explorer. It has that big hunk of wood hanging off the back end to help balance it when on a strap. Even though the strap button is at the neck bolts, that hunk of wood hanging off the back counterweights the neck and helps to balance it out. Considerable left-scale-shift though.
  5. SlingBass4


    Feb 28, 2009
    Kansas City
    There is a Warmoth Club on this site, and you'll find kindred souls there. The forum on the Warmoth site is absolutely chock full of useful information. I've spent a good deal of time reading posts from folks who are waaay more advanced than myself on varied topics (IF there's a question - there's an answer). Ask and you shall receive - people will come to your aid and not make you feel like a complete newb. I highly recommend you starting there. Customer Service/Sales can clarify the finer aspects of what may or may not be possible, and how to go about completing a project you'll wish to keep long term ;)
  6. And there you have it. :) Thanks for adding this. Now I know where to go, I probably should have just tried to look. Haahaa!

    Thx again.
  7. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I build one.
    I'm not completly satisfied with the finish product.

    So I will part the bass one more time and rebuilt it.
    I guess you can do that as often as you want until you are satisfied.
  8. I've changed necks, bodies, electronics, hardware so many times it's silly. They're like Legos ... tear them down, put them back together some other way.
  9. apkbass


    Feb 26, 2012
    Thanks for all the tips! I am pretty low on cash so I think I'll buy a pre-made body off of Warmoth. And I've abandoned the SG/LP/T-Bird idea. Went to guitar center, played all three body shapes, and realized how uncomfortable and impractical they are. And I can't stand neck dive. So I think I'm gonna go for a P/J hybrid. Buy a Jazz bass body, put in a P/J pickup configuration, and get the electronics and neck off of ebay. In the end, this would come out lower than the price of a MIM Fender bass. And I thought I should mention that the soonest I would possibly be doing this build is the beginning of next year.
  10. Hey man ... you totally suck. You made us waste a whole 2.67 minutes of our lives discussing this with you! And now you tell us you won't even start it for another six months? The nerve! (heheh) ... ;)

    No sweatsky, bru. You gotta do reasearch (like you have been) before you go spending money all willy nilly. Good for you! .... you went and checked out them guitars and figured out what works and what doesn't. Right on. Now you can spend time in dreamland working out minutia and deciding on details and such. At the very least you know what you DON'T want at this point which can be even more valuable than knowing what you DO want.

    The nice thing about piecing together a Warmoth is that you can do it little bits at a time, as you can afford it. The costliest part is the neck. So start off with just buying a body ... you'll then have it around to keep you inspired and to continue stoking the fires. Got a few more bucks? Hit Ebay and buy a pickup. A few more dollars and you can scrounge up more of the electronics. The slow-burn method of building is actually best, to be honest. It allows you to fully research the littlest things. You have a bass pictured in your skull right now ... I'd bet money that what you end up with won't be exactly what you have pictured right now. That picture will change.

    So have fun. Keep the project rolling by treating yourself to little bits and pieces for it as you go along. Even if all you buy at one point or another is a few knobs, or the control plate ... it's all another step in the journey. You'll appreciate it that much more simply because you did it one little bit at a time.

    Maybe you can hit up your family/friends to pool their resources and buy you the neck for X-mas .. hint hint! You have six months to decide exactly every little detail about it. Btw ... it takes them a few weeks to get stuff done ..... they ask for no money even on special orders until it's built and ready to ship. :)

    OH! And also know that since they are located in Washington state, if you order something that requires paint during the winter/wet months it takes WEEKS longer to get because it takes a few weeks for paint to cure during their wet/cold season. And if it's wet out then they have to wait for relative humidity to lower somewhat before they can even lay paint. So keep that in mind. If you order a painted neck or body from them during the winter, it might take 3 months before you actually get it. Gives you time to scare up the moneycheckified buckolas. Just sayin'.

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