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Username: jubeas3eyes

Post Number: 40
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 6:23 am:   Edit Post

I was just curious if theres anywhere in michigan that could offer a bass building class/apprenticship or something of the sorts(anything in michigan would be ideal) . I work with wood often (I build custom shelves with carvings and some woodburning)and I would really like to undertake the project of building my own bass. I've thought about just finding a guide online and going for it, but the idea of me hacking away at chunks of expensive wood in my garage doesn't sound like a good idea.
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 865
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 7:59 am:   Edit Post


I've built a couple of basses by, er, "hacking away at chunks of (not very) expensive wood in my garage..." and they both turned out very well given my questionable attention to detail. They have both long since been decomissioned, btw. I basically (no pun intended) wanted to prove to myself (and a couple of nay-sayers) that it could be done relatively easily and successfully by following an existing good design (such as my Alembic Series I).

I built a 5-string fretless out of Maple/Walnut (neck), Rosewood (fingerboard) and Oak (body). Geez, was that thing heavy! But it played and sounded great. It was ugly, too, because I did a lousy job trying to stain the oak a darker shade. That bass had dual truss rods fabricated of 1/8" mild steel rod I got from the local Rural King Supply. The bridge was a Wilkinson and I used Schaller tuners. The single PU was something I wound myself on magnets from (gasp) an old Jazz Bass body I had laying around. When my brother in law (a master woodworker) saw the through-body neck glued-up and in the clamps, he looked at me like I was nuts. Of course, I must have been. I used that bass on stage a handfull of times, and did some recording with it as well as played it at a friend's church once or twice.

The second bass I built was much more artfully executed, and was my main instrument for more than a year. Walnut body with a Spalted Maple top, Maple/Maple/Rosewood/Maple/Maple neck (cone headstock), with a Pau Ferro fingerboard from Luthier's Mercantile, pre-fretted. Shaped much like a Rogue, though I had never seen a Rogue before (great minds think alike?). 6-string, Wilkinson bridge and Carvin tuners. The PU was hand-wound using magnets I got from a hamfest I think, and used a simple on-board preamp I built. This bass had a single truss rod from Stew-Mac, and one of the tightest sounding low B's I've ever played. I decomissioned it with plans to replace it with more nicelier executed version with 5 strings instead of 6. Then I built a house and haven't gotten around to building another bass. Yet. It's somewhere in the basement or goat shed.

I want to build a bass steel guitar at some point, and a 3/4 size electric upright bass. The next one I build, should I get around to it, will take advantage of pre-built (by me, of course) templates for the body, headstock and routings.

So, I say go for it and don't look back. It will be fun and will present you with a multitude of mental puzzles to work out while you sleep. And you will forever forward be a luthier.

Intermediate Member
Username: trekster

Post Number: 130
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 4:43 pm:   Edit Post

There are several good books on the subject.. I recommend "Make your own Electric Guitar" by Melvyn Hiscock.. I don't have the latest edition, so some of the stuff is a little dated... but it goes thru the three types of construction -- bolt-on, set-neck, and neck-thru. Good basic stuff.

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