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Warmoth build - 32" walnut Precision

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sizzler33, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    I decided to take on a Warmoth build and figured I'd share my experience. I've been a P-bass (flatwounds and foam mute) guy for a while now but playing down around first position on a 34" scale has never been super comfortable for me. I've played a 30" MIJ Mustang with LaBella flats and a Nordstrand pickup on and off for years and while it sounds and feels great, part of me always misses the thump and bloom that I get from the ol' P-bass. So I've decided to try a 32" scale P-bass in the hope that it hits a sweet spot for me.

    As far as aesthetics, I've always loved the "mocha" finish Fenders from the 70's, especially the Jazz basses with black block inlays. I also love the warm rich look of real walnut, especially some of the Carl Thompsons I've seen, this one in particular:


    I decided to go with Warmoth because medium scale bass options are very limited and I could get exactly what I want minus a Fender headstock shape. The many Warmoth build threads and reviews on TB made me feel comfortable pulling the trigger. I ordered a walnut body (chambered, because walnut ain't light) and a roasted maple neck with black block inlays.

    I had planned to lightly tint both the body and neck with some "honey amber" TransTint that I had just to warm them up prior to finishing with TruOil. That plan changed as soon as I unboxed the parts. The roasted neck was already a gorgeous honey color. This photo does it no justice, but here you go:


    Also the feel of it is so amazing just as it is that I've decided to leave the neck unfinished (Warmoth actually warranties roasted maple with no finish). At the very least I expected to have to take some steel wool to it, but this was not the case. I may "burnish" it later, but I really don't see how it could improve the feel much. The fretwork is perfect also. Way to go Warmoth!

    The body was another story. Don't get me wrong, the build quality was great. All I did was go over it with a 000 pad to soften the edges and it was good to go. But the color was blah. I knew kiln-dried walnut could be pretty grey, and I didn't spring for a "unique choice" laminate top. But this was nothing like what I had pictured in my mind. This was taken outdoors and actually looks pretty good:


    But indoors, especially under certain light it was really grey, even when I wiped it with denatured alcohol to see what it would look like with a finish. This is after I hit it with a little bit of the TransTint in an attempt to warm it up:


    Warmer, but still nowhere near the dark rich color I was picturing. The TransTint is ridiculously easy to work with, so I decided to spring for a bottle of the "dark walnut" color and see if that got me closer. Sure wish they sold that stuff by the quarter ounce...

    I'm not in love with the "warhead" headstock shape, but I knew that would be an issue going in. I did a bit of trimming and I think I can live with it now. I also got crazy and glued a thin walnut veneer on the headstock last night. Today I trimmed the veneer, taped it off and hit both the body and the veneer with about a 2-to-1 ratio of the dark walnut and honey amber TransTints. This is the result, along with a very lazy pup:


    That's more like it! And this is without the oil finish. I plan to do the first coat of TruOil tomorrow. More to come.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  2. Usidore T Blue

    Usidore T Blue

    Jun 28, 2017

    How are the frets? I always worry that I will have to work on the frets.
  3. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    They seem good to go. No sharp edges or anything. I'll let you know how level they are once I get it strung up.
  4. nonohmic


    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Super cool!

    I'm in the same boat, picked up a CIJ mustang and love it but can't 'dig in'. But now the 34" P feels too big. Thinking 32 will be the sweet spot.

    What pickup is going in?
  5. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    Seymour Duncan SPB-1. Can't go too wrong with that.
    Zoobiedood, nonohmic and StevieMac like this.
  6. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    The first coat of TruOil is on. Now I'm wishing I'd tinted the veneer on the headstock a bit more. It looked really close to the body before I put the TruOil on. I wonder how tough it would be to take the first coat of TruOil off with a Scotchbrite pad enough to add some more tint... And yes, I'm only applying TruOil to the Walnut veneer, not the maple. Unorthodox I know, but this roasted maple feels too good as is. I just want the headstock to match the body. Hoping it works out...
    BassmanM likes this.
  7. I like where you are going with this.
    Odd that the headstock looked too dark before the Truoil.
    I don't know if it has sealed it too much to take more stain or not.
  8. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    I think the difference might have been that first application of amber tint on the body that I didn't do on the headstock. The body looks just like I wanted, but I think I'm going to attempt to re-tint the headstock to get some more of that nice amber color in there.
  9. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    I was able to carefully sand off the TrueOil and re-tint the headstock. I might have even overdone it with the amber this time around, but this thing is getting gold hardware and I think it will look good. Hopefully like old lacquer. The TruOil doesn't really add much color on its own. I've done 2 coats on the body now and honestly I think that might be all I do. Not going for a thick mirror gloss and I like that the pores of the wood are still visible. I'm not planning to buff it at all. Big mistake?

    fretno and AlexanderB like this.
  10. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    The only option for tuner holes on these necks is Schaller BML which they don't make with clover leafs. I bought a set of gold Fender/Schallers on ebay that were made for 2000's P-bass specials I believe. With a tiny bit of sanding inside the tuner holes they fit perfectly. All the gold hardware was really really yellow, and while I know it fades quick on its own, it just didn't look right to me. So I LIGHTLY buffed all of it with a scotchbrite pad. Not trying to relic it, per se, but rather change the color and soften the sheen a bit. The second pic is a before and after. I also ordered the neck with gold frets, and they were the perfect subtle color right out of the box. I'm not 100% sure I'm going to use the cream pickup covers, but I think it will be a nice touch against the dark wood and matte black pickguard (thin single ply with square edge). I buffed the pickup covers a little to soften the sharp edges and make them look more like dominoes or piano keys and less like legos. I personally think the cream ones look better this way. DSCN4399.JPG DSCN4410.JPG DSCN4414.JPG
    AlexanderB likes this.
  11. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    I got everything shielded and soldered up last night. The most nerve racking part of the build so far was putting the tuner holes through the veneer. It turned out fine, but I did have a mishap during final assembly. The head of one of the screws that came with my Allparts bridge snapped off as I was tightening it. The mission today is to extract the broken screw and repair the hole. DSCN4416.JPG DSCN4422.JPG
    nonohmic, knumbskull and BassmanM like this.
  12. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    Looking sharp! I periodically eye Warmoth with the idea of a similar medium-scale P build. Do you know if Warmoth's short scale P body is downsized at all from their regular P body?
    I've also come to the conclusion that 32" is the Goldilocks scale--not too long, not too short, avoiding the potential pitfalls of both 30" and 34" scales.
  13. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Looking good!
    I have always loved the look of the walnut special edition Precision that Fender offered back in the early 80's (IIRC they offered a matching Stratocaster too)
  14. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    Yes, their short scale bodies are scaled down by about 7/8ths. It's not even super noticeable until you put it next to a full sized P. See pic below. Honestly I think its perfect other than the fact that Warmoth bodies are slightly thicker than Fenders for some reason. Not really a big deal, but I can't imagine what that reason could be. DSCN4429.JPG
    fermata likes this.
  15. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    I love those too! That model was definitely part of the inspiration for this build, gold hardware and all.
    RandM and Bill Whitehurst like this.
  16. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    The broken screw is out. I used a 1/4" extractor bit which is basically a hollow tube with teeth to bore around it. A scrap piece of wood served as a guide and it came out pretty easily. I then glued a piece of 1/4" walnut dowel in the hole. Tomorrow I'll cut it off flush and drill a new pilot hole. I also picked up some good wood screws. I suspect the "gold" screws that came with the bridge are brass. I don't know, but I was shocked at how easily it sheared off. I should have waxed it, but either way I don't trust them to hold my bridge on now. The new ones aren't gold, but I'll be installing a bridge cover so it won't matter.

    The first pic also shows how I mismeasured when cutting the truss rod access slot in the pickguard. I hope I don't have to adjust it much, but I'll be darned if I'm taking the pickguard off every time it needs done. It turned out to be a happy accident because I'm not digging the thin square-edged pickguard as much as I thought I would. I ordered a standard thickness bevel edged replacement.
    DSCN4431.JPG DSCN4432.JPG
    fretno likes this.
  17. nonohmic


    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Truss rod access is at the heel on the Warmoth 32" necks? And the bodies aren't already routed for it? WTH???
  18. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    The bodies are routed for it but the pickguards aren't. I guess they wanted to give people the option, but if that's the case Warmoth should offer the slot as an option when you buy a pickguard... Anyway, the bass is complete! I absolutely love it. I'll post some pics later today.
    nonohmic likes this.
  19. sizzler33


    Dec 17, 2017
    20190116_181211. 20190116_181126. 20190116_181042. 20190116_181340.
  20. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    My kinda bass ! Great job !
    BassmanM likes this.

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