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Time To Build A Bass Guitar

Discussion in 'Bass Guitars' started by Toepfer, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I was allway interested in tuning and repairing guitars and basses. So I decided to try and build my own guitar as a first try (after watching every youtube video I could find).

    Naturally I had to exaggerate and the one guitar I wanted to build became four (and another three unfinished bodys and wood for three more and some more wood for necks ...).

    Now it's time to start the real thing :)

    Yesterday I got the last piece of wood to start the Bass project.
    BassWood.jpg

    As I don't own a Jazz Bass, the plan is to build a fretless (with lines) 5 String Jazz Bass.

    The body will be mahogany,
    BodyWood.jpg

    a wenge neck with ebony fretboard.
    NeckWood.jpg

    I plan to not rush the build. If you are interested, I will post pictures of the progress.
     
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  2. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    And one more picture of the top.

    TopWood.jpg
     
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  3. Stainless

    Stainless

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    Sounds nice :) What kind of pickups, bridge, tuners and electronics did you planned for it?
     
  4. Hoggles

    Hoggles Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Sweet! Looking forward to this!
     
  5. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Nice! I play my fretless jazz 5 in passive mode most of the time so I suggest if you do go active allow a passive mode.

    Also, check out ABM for hardware. They are located in Berlin.

    ABM Bass-Brücken
     
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  6. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I don't know yet 100%, what hardware I'm going to use. What I know is, I don't like crome hardware, so I guess the hardware will be black.

    The first idea was to use parts I already have. I have a set of Bartolinis, one set of active EMG JJ and a set of active EMG PJs.
    I also have the left over electronics from a Fortress and one from an 86 Streamer (with the older EMG Board) and a Glockenklang 2 way. So I guess it will be a 4 pot setup.
    I also have two Warwick bridges left, but I'am not shure if these would fit. Otherwise I would tend to use a Schaller 3-D5 Bridge.
    Tuner I was thinking Schaller BM 4BC. Or use the set of black Wick tuners I have, but I thing the smaler tuners would look stupid on the f type headstock.

    At the moment I'm thinking about whether to use a conventional two way trus rod or an MM style and the MM sounds like the better option (it is what I used on two of the guitars and it really convenient).
    The other question is, whether to build a one peace wenge neck or make it a three piece wenge with maple stipes in between or something else ( I have a left over black limba top that warped on one side, that I could use two stripes of that for in between the wenge pieces or some mahogany). Or go two piece wenge with thee stripes of something else in the middle, or ...
     
  7. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    ABM would be a good idea for a bridge as well, I have to look into them
     
  8. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    One more thing - no pickguard. Electronics cavity will be routed from the back
     
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  9. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Found some time over the weekend and went a big step forward.

    First rough cut the mahogany.
    Body_rough.jpg
    Then the Top wood
    Top_rough.jpg
    The it's time to glue the top
    Body_glue.jpg
     
  10. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    After gluing the top to the body I routed the final body contour.
    Body_withoutRadius.jpg

    Then I routed a radius (1/2") around the whole body - and added one coat of oil, as the golden Phoebe is very soft and I want to protect it a little bit.
    Body_done.jpg

    This is as far as I got. Now it will take some time for me to saw the neck. I decided to make a three piece wenge neck with 2 stripes of maple veneer. But that wil take a couple of weeks
     
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  11. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Looking great so far!
    Be careful sawing that wengé, its dust and splinters are poisonous. I quote:

    Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, breathing Wenge wood dust has been reported to cause central nervous system effects, abdominal cramps, irritation of the skin and eyes, and is a sensitizer. Also, Wenge splinters tend to take longer to heal and are more likely to go septic (get infected) than splinters from other woods.
     
  12. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I know. I experienced this with the first guitar wenge neck I built. A friend of mine is a boat builder who told me not so cut or sand wenge without a mask. Splinters I can confirm, they almost always get infected.
     
  13. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    A little update.
    I finaly finished the preparation of the neck blank. Its going to be a three piece wenge neck with three piecec of veneer in between (maple/wenge/maple).
    This weekend is cutting and filing time. Lets see hoe that goes :)

    Here is where I am:

    Neck blank1.jpg

    Neckblank2.jpg
     
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  14. Stainless

    Stainless

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    Your wood work looks very nice :) I appreciate not using a pickguard.
    I still have a brand new Schaller 3D5 in Vintage Copper and 5 Schaller BM-Lights in Vintage Copper. If you are interested in that finish, I can sell you these, when I am next time in Munich :)
     
  15. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Definitive interested - do you know when you'll be in the south again? Do you have 3/2 or 4/1 tuners?

    This is, what happened on the weekend. Starts to look like a Bass now.

    NeckBack.jpg
    NeckFront.jpg

    NeckandBody.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
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  16. Stainless

    Stainless

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    Looks great :cool:
    I'll be in the south probably in March or April :)
    Those are 3/2 tuners, i don't know if it will fit, we can have a look at it :)
     
  17. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Unfortunately I have a lot of time at the moment, so I got on with the Bass build.

    I decided on a passive bass with black hardware.
    It is playable now (some fixes needed on the neck as there is a small bumb where the E string sits), but not set up. The electronics are in but not wired yet (have to do this today or tomorrow).

    So here it is. Mahagoni Body with a golden phoebe top, a wenge neck with maple stripes (3 piece wenge with two stipes that are maple/wenge/maple) and an ebony fretbord with maple lines.
    Fully passive - I decided against an active electronics (and I ran out of money for parts)
    Lollar Jazz Bass pickups and a Sandberg Bridge (only black one I fond with 19mm string spacing that was not to expensive) and black fender style tuners.

    I have not played it over an amp - that will happen, as soon as I wired the electronics (so today or tomorrow). I'm still waiting on two of the knobs and a set of flatwounds. I put an set of old strings on it to see how the action will be and whether there are any bumbs left on the fretbors - yes there are). Another thing I have to finish is the radius on corners on the back, I'm not finished sanding there. And i'ts not shiny in the back yet.

    When played without an amp - it sounds like a fretless :)

    So far I'm really happy with how it came out. Especially the neck, I'm really really happy. Nice and flat, nice to play.

    PepeBass.jpg BassBack.jpg

    One more thing - it's heavy - 5kg

    More info after the electronics are done.
     
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  18. J.Grim

    J.Grim

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    That's beautiful!!
     
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  19. Stainless

    Stainless

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    Absolutely gorgeous :)
    Don't worry about the weight, the balancing is more important ;)
     
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  20. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I finished it last night.

    Put on a set of Flatwoulds and wired the electroncs (Volume, Balance and Tone).
    I am very happy with the way it souds. I can really recommend the Lollar Pickups.

    I was astonished with how much output the pickups have. As this is the only passive bass I have I expected them to not be this powerfull.

    So all in all a ver sucessful experiment.
    Bass-finished.jpg
     
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