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A 5 String Bass Guitar

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Forum topic by TheJoineryGallery posted 10-26-2010 07:36 PM 2258 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TheJoineryGallery

30 posts in 2264 days


10-26-2010 07:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

This seems like the best place to begin. Has anyone ever built, or found resourceful links to building a bass guitar?
Thanks!

-- www.thejoinerygallery.com


8 replies so far

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dbhost

5604 posts in 2692 days


#1 posted 10-26-2010 08:06 PM

There is a Search button just to the left of “My LumberJocks” shows some interesting results…

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/3776 (4 string)
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/22312 (6 string, to quote Fez from that 70s show… It “Gives me needs…”)
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/25841 (4 string)
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/11840 (4 string)

Mind you, if you are wanting to build one to play it, try out a 5 string first. I had one, and sold it. I always ended up thumping the B string when reaching for the E…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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TheJoineryGallery

30 posts in 2264 days


#2 posted 10-26-2010 08:21 PM

Excellent Thank You. Yeah its been years since I had the low B to contend with, Ive got a 4 string now, but have always wanted to make one since there are so many options to really make it my own. Other than the fact I would totally rip off that curl on the top of the basses Les Claypool uses!

-- www.thejoinerygallery.com

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knotscott

7207 posts in 2835 days


#3 posted 10-26-2010 08:47 PM

I’ve never researched basses, but there some really good luthier sites in general….MIMF.com, Harmonycentral.com, projectguitar.com, stewmac.com to name a few.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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dbhost

5604 posts in 2692 days


#4 posted 10-26-2010 08:58 PM

Funny thing is, I love the playability of my Ibanez… If I built a bass, it would have to be a fretless 4 stringer…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

#5 posted 10-26-2010 09:15 PM

dbhost, thanks for the props!!

Buy the book: Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvyn Hiscock. I have the first release, in which he covers two electric guitars and a bass, but there’s a revised edition out now. It’s the book I used, and you can see the result in my projects. Message me with any questions.

I’ve also seen some videos on YouTube that were quite informational. Just search “build bass guitar”. Here's the first result I got, which is basically a quick slideshow of the process along with the awesome song Jamaica Funk by Tom Browne. The bassline in that song is some serious business!!

Other than that, visit lots of guitar/bass sellers’ websites and study the specs until you can memorize terms like: Scale length, string spacing at bridge and nut, dual-coil, active/passive, ramp, and neck-through. I’m sure if you’re contemplating building a bass, you’re already familiar with most of those terms. Also research bass hardware brands like ABM, Schaller, Hipshot, Kahler, and Babicz. Look for quality parts, and don’t go too cheap especially with pickups and electronics. Try to use pickups by Bartolini, EMG, Nordstrand, Fralin, Lollar, Barden, Duncan, Delano, or Q-Tuner. Or find someone to custom-wind a pickup for you. I hope to get into custom winding in the future. But that can be expensive for a first bass.

If you’re absolutely intent on saving as much cash as possible on parts for your first bass (I only spent $140 total on all hardware and electronics), check out Subway Guitars. That’s where I got the pickups for my bass, but sometimes they have a noisy buzz that’s annoying. I’ll change them for a better brand one day. But they do work! Give those guys a call, and they’ll help you make some choices.

Find a body/neck/headstock design you really like and start shopping for parts. Don’t feel bad if you end up with four bass bridges and 3 sets of tuners before you start building. Just make the excuse that the extra parts are for future basses…LOL. Luthier's Mercantile , Warmoth , and Stewart MacDonald are fantastic sources for tools and supplies, and although pricey, once you’ve made the investment in tools, you shouldn’t have to buy again for many years!!

And I highly recommend GHS strings (try the red-colored Infinity Steel 5-string set). I use black tape-wound strings on my first custom bass, and Pressure-wound strings on my fretted electric bass. They sound crystal clear and have lots of punch and sustain, as well as plenty of longevity.

Below is a crude list of the bass manufacturers I examined (and still do) for ideas on design. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED BY THESE MASTERPIECES before you even begin. Just be inspired!!!
Stuart Spector
Carvin (the body style I emulated, and their website teaches a lot about hardware and wood selection)
F-Bass (George Furlanetto)
Roger Sadowsky
Conklin
Roscoe
Fodera
Modulus
Peter Skjold
and even some electric guitar makers like:
Roger Giffin Guitars
John Suhr Guitars

Also check out www.luthiersforum.com/ and luth.org for a couple of luthiers’ online communities. Not that LJ is a bad place… I’ve never joined either luthier forum because most are tailored toward acoustic guitar making. That’s something I may be bold enough to try…one day…

If you need to find some special wood for your bass, let me know because I have a private stock of premium billets. I sell wood on the side, so let me know. I can get you a great deal. I also supply exhibition grade veneers that would work fantastically for a guitar.

I’ll let your eyes rest for now, if you haven’t already gotten sick of reading this post and quit reading halfway through…LOL! I love this subject, but at the moment, I’m tired of typing. ;-D

By the way, Welcome to LJ!! Your talent shines brightly in your posted projects, and you have excellent taste in figured wood.

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

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TheJoineryGallery

30 posts in 2264 days


#6 posted 10-27-2010 03:59 PM

Lane-
wow thank you so much for that info!

-- www.thejoinerygallery.com

#7 posted 10-27-2010 04:16 PM

You’re more than welcome!
and pssssst…edit your above response and remove your email. That way you don’t leave yourself open to spammers. Next time, send a message through LJ. Cool! I’ll get some pics to you ASAP.

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2716 posts in 2746 days


#8 posted 10-27-2010 04:17 PM

Here is a 5-Sring bass I built. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/17467
I play this one all the time in church. I used Carvin parts for it. I’m building 2 more, but life seems to get in the way. Maybe someday I’ll actually finish them

The sources have been covered well already.

Good luck with your project. It will be very rewarding, I’m sure. If I can help, let me know.

Kent

-- http://shepherdtoolandsupply.com/

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