#1
Alright guys. In the next following weeks/months I may be building a bass completely from scratch. I don't know my ass from my elbow when it comes to actually building one, so I have a few questions.

I'm gonna be building it with help from my woodshop teacher who's going to help me cut out the body and route it for pickups/electronics and stuff. At this point, I really want a 5 string bass, though i'm not yet sure if I want it to be fretless/fretted. My questions are:

1. I want it to be lightweight. What wood should I use? He was thinking maybe using pine, but i'm not sure how that'll do as tonewood?

2. Dimensions. I'd like to go for a 35'' scale bass with 19mm spacing on the bridge, but I'm completely green when it comes to this subject. Any thing I should worry about?

3. Electronics. What should I go for? I was thinking humbuckers since i'm so used to them, but maybe a J set would work well?

I'm not yet sure if he's gonna help me build a neck or if I'm gonna have to get one from Warmoth. I want a thick neck and I want the strings spaced at 19mm. As far as finishes go, I want a natural look to the bass. In other words, im not sure how any of this will go, but it'll sure be fun to build my own bass. Any help/tips?
pinga
#4
1) Alder could be a good choice. Swamp ash can be very lightweight and looks killer with any kind of transparent finish. Basswood is another choice, but the grain is generally pretty boring if you're going to go with a natural finish.

2) What are you worried about dimension-wise? Body size, thickness, contours, etc. is all up to you, just so long as you can fit everything where it needs to be.

3) Electronics are again completely up to you. How much are you willing to spend on electronics? Do you want a preamp? If so do you want a 2 band or 3 band, do you prefer separate volumes (if you have multiple pups) or a blend or toggle switch? Do you want to throw anything else in there like an active/passive or series/parallel toggle or anything like that?

Pickup configurations abound, you could go P, P/P, J/J, MM, MM/MM, MM/J, J/P/J, you could cram one, two, three, or four pickups in soapbar shells in there if you want. It all depends on what kind of sound you'd like, how much you have to spend, and how imaginative you can be.
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
#5
1)Pine is a bright tonewood that is sits in between Ash and Basswood. Though I'd choose something like Mahogany.

2)35" scale with 19mm is wide but it's doable if you like stretching.

3)It's your build choose what you want.
Damn it! Disable can't use disable to disable Disable's disable because disable's disable has already been disabled by Disable's disable!
#6
Quote by askrere
You making that 24 fret jazz?

If I decide to go for a jazz body, then hell yes.

Quote by Tostitos
1) Alder could be a good choice. Swamp ash can be very lightweight and looks killer with any kind of transparent finish. Basswood is another choice, but the grain is generally pretty boring if you're going to go with a natural finish.

2) What are you worried about dimension-wise? Body size, thickness, contours, etc. is all up to you, just so long as you can fit everything where it needs to be.

3) Electronics are again completely up to you. How much are you willing to spend on electronics? Do you want a preamp? If so do you want a 2 band or 3 band, do you prefer separate volumes (if you have multiple pups) or a blend or toggle switch? Do you want to throw anything else in there like an active/passive or series/parallel toggle or anything like that?

Pickup configurations abound, you could go P, P/P, J/J, MM, MM/MM, MM/J, J/P/J, you could cram one, two, three, or four pickups in soapbar shells in there if you want. It all depends on what kind of sound you'd like, how much you have to spend, and how imaginative you can be.

1. Yeah, I was thinking about using swamp ash, it looks beautiful, but I think it would look even better if I used a sunburst finish. I'll have to look into that.

2. Since i don't know any measurements, i'm probably gonna have to look up a typical 5 string jazz or Ibanez bass for an idea. I'm just worried that it won't somehow translate very well?

3. I haven't thought about budget yet. This whole project will probably cost me a pretty penny, wood isn't cheap and neither is hardware and electronics. I'd like a 2 band EQ but I might go for a 3 band because the Aggie pre's are boost only and I like having some cut. A blend knob would be nice too. Nothing too fancy on the electronics, maybe a standard jazz bass set up. (volume, blend, bass boost/cut, treble boost/cut is what I want).

If I end up going for a J style, Ill probably keep it in a simple JJ set up, i'm not too worried about the pickups as I am about the preamp.

I'm thinking a wenge neck with a rosewood fretboard, but that can't be cheap :/
pinga
#7
Quote by dark Mass
1)Pine is a bright tonewood that is sits in between Ash and Basswood. Though I'd choose something like Mahogany.

2)35" scale with 19mm is wide but it's doable if you like stretching.

3)It's your build choose what you want.

I'm trying to go for a warm sound, I like the sound of my mahogony bodied Ibanez, but it's really heavy.

2. I'd be okay with 34'' scale, but 19mm is a must.
pinga
#8
On the subject of EQ, if money is no object, an East J Retro (if you want a control plate) or U Retro might be a good choice. Glockenklang pre's are also very good, and I've heard good things about the Delano Sonar preamps. Bestbassgear.com is a good resource for those, pickups as well.
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
#9
Quote by Cb4rabid
I'm trying to go for a warm sound, I like the sound of my mahogony bodied Ibanez, but it's really heavy.

Another warm wood is Korina though it has a mid spike and is lighter than mahogany.
Damn it! Disable can't use disable to disable Disable's disable because disable's disable has already been disabled by Disable's disable!
#10
Quote by Tostitos
On the subject of EQ, if money is no object, an East J Retro (if you want a control plate) or U Retro might be a good choice. Glockenklang pre's are also very good, and I've heard good things about the Delano Sonar preamps. Bestbassgear.com is a good resource for those, pickups as well.

Money is definitely an object, but I don't want to cheap out. I want this bass to be the best bass i'll ever play in my life. Ill take a look at those though, thanks.

Quote by dark Mass
Another warm wood is Korina though it has a mid spike and is lighter than mahogany.

I just have to hope that I have options. Best case scenario is for me to use Ash, I guess I don't need to worry too much about tonewood, I can probably just EQ out any issues I have, if any.
pinga
#11
So i found out today, it's gonna be a solid ash body and I have to buy the neck myself. Cool.

Anybody know where I can get good J bass dimensions? Also size of the blank ill need to cut it out of? Also, dimensions of where the knobs and pickguard and bridge go and stuff?
pinga