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what to expect

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by quantum5, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. im building a bass. im buying all differnt components and i was wondering if i could get some insight on what this whole deal might sound like.

    warmoth hollow j body in swamp ash without any finish or stain coupled with a moses graphite p style neck. emg j avtive pickups with a john east jretro preamp and a string through the body gotoh bridge.

    if someone could go into detail of what the tonal capibilities will be with this monster it would be greatly appreiciated
  2. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Wow, now that is quite an ensemble. I think it will be really hard to predict the sound until you get it together.

    I'm putting together a mutt myself: a warmoth hollow J mahogany with a flame maple top, a Karl Hoyt neck (maple with wenge stringers and a rosewood board), Seymour Duncan pups (MM bridge and hot jazz neck), and a U Retro preamp.

    My body is over at Karl's place as he finishes up the neck. I'm predicting that I'll have mine put together within 3 weeks.
  3. that sounds really hot. thats a nice combo. i dunno i stumbled onto these john east preamps and to tell u the truth the only reaosn im getting one is becuase of the way they look. haha im sure they sounds amaizing but the jazz version with the 3 stacked pots and 2 switches was just what i was lookin for. i sure hope u enjoy ure beut. just one ? though. what about the nonfinished body. my theory is that the finsh and gloss would cover up the natural capibilities of the tonewood. what are ure thoughts
  4. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I don't know. I have heard people say that a finish has an impact on the sound. Personally, I have never played an unfinished bass. I had Warmoth finish my body. You need to be careful though because moisture is an enemy to wood and a finish keeps moisture out.

    This will be my third J/U Retro. I had a J Retro in a fretless franken bass that I put together, and I have a J Retro in my Lakland Joe Osborn. I just love having good eq at my finger tips. Saves me from having to mess with my rack.
  5. well i didnt honeslty think about the moisture factor and thats a big one here in minnesota. what would u recommend for a finish that would be the most transparent so i can get the most from my wood. also, it seems like u are pretty pleased with ure john east's. how would u compare them to the aguilars and bartolinis and all those.
  6. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I'm definitely no expert on finishes. I've heard many small luthiers swear by hand rubbed oil finishes. The down side is that they need to be periodically reapplied. My suggestion is talk to a luthier and get their opinion. Jack Read, Karl Hoyt and Michael Dolan are all great guys that seem to be more than willing to answer questions.

    As for preamps, I've never use the Aguilar preamps. So, I can't comment on those. As for Barts, I have used a 3-band Bart preamp with the 3-way toggle to switch the mid frequency. It is also a nice preamp that does a good job. John East's preamps are a tad more flexible and I really appreciate the way the J Retro just drops into the J control cavity.
  7. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I would have a luthier oil-finish the bass, then apply Warwick wax every once in a while (if you live in a humid environment, then in the beginning apply it once a week, till a shiny layer builds up, then about once a month will be enough) - that looks like the easiest solution, and it would stay transparent.
  8. first off, here is a pick of my warmoth fiver-


    secondly, if your using swamp ash, I would recomend finishing it. I would actually recomend finishing most woods. Not that Im an expert, but as any bassist knows you bang your instrument into things once in a while, and better a dent in your finish than a chunk of wood missing.

    That said, an oil finish on swamp ash can be pretty unnattractive personally to me. If you like the look go for it, it will keep moisture out, but will need to be reaplied every so often and kept in good condition with wax and what not.

    For a hard thin finish, nitrocellulose is your best bet. Its what is used on older fenders and some high end basses and guitars. Its very thin and subsequent coats melt into eachother. It is without a doubt more "open" sounding than a thick poly or plastic finish. You can buy spray cans from www.stewmac.com or www.reranch.com. Application is easy and if you take your time you can end up with a nice looking job. You could also than stain the wood or leave it natural and have a nice glossy (or satin if you prefer) finish.

    if you have any other questions feel free to ask, and Im sure others will offer their experiences.
  9. doc540


    Jul 28, 2003
    Beaumont, Texas
    "I've heard many small luthiers swear by hand rubbed oil finishes. The down side is that they need to be periodically reapplied."

    The up side is you can easily repair dings: sand, reapply oil, reapply oil, reapply oil.
  10. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Hey Doc - check your PMs :)
  11. hoytbasses


    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    Tung oil or boiled linseed oil finish followed by wax is not durable enough for a regularly used bass: It'll wear off and /or look grubby after extended use

    I use the above oils as a first 1-2 coats only , to build the color. Then I use 50% gloss polyurethane/50% mineral spirits vigorously rubbed in with 0000 steel wool between coats. This allows you to control the amount of sheen and build you want on your instrument and the poly is a very durable finish without looking like a coat of plastic on the wood. More coats = more shine. This finish will last a long time and can be repaired/replenished easily if necessary

    this is the finish we use in my guitar building class with great results. If a few hundred high school kids can get great results, so can you!
  12. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Groovecenter: your warmoth looks stunning! How is it finished, dye and lacquer?

    I would finish a self made bass with this stuff:

    It gives a nice shine, is quite durable (it is used for floors), and it is very easy to apply. I haven't tried it on a bass tho...
  13. My warmoth is dye than nitro cellulose lacquer.
  14. hoytbasses


    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    I haven't used this stuff but it look promising. Can you get it in the USA?

    I would still suggest sealing the wood first with some sort of durable finish rubbed in:


    check out some of the instruments my kids built. we have done aniline dyes under rubbed poly finish with great success. no spray booth needed

    picture #8 shows a fellow holding a 4 string bass that is ash dyed blue with aniline dye and then rubbed in this fashion.......

    the most important thing you can do is keep a piece of the same wood you are using in your bass , so that you can experiment with finishing techniques BEFORE you commit to the actual bass.....