#1
I am building a fully custom bass guitar and was wondering if my choice of wood will be sufficient. I have a neck made of maple, which shouldn't be too much of an issue, but I am low on money, and all I really have is some standard 2x6 boards. I am not sure what it is composed of, they are fairly heavy. I am making a through neck design, so the width is no issue, but would those boards be good enough for the body? I can buy better wood for it, but I really would rather not. Also, do I absolutely need a rounded fretboard, or could I have one that is flat and just sanded on the edges to round it into the neck?
#2
You can make the body out of almost anything and it'll most likely be fine when it comes to neck through guitars.

You don't necessarily need a fretboard radius to make a guitar, no. But I personally would rather spend the money on getting the right tools to create one. If I don't have the money to afford the right tools, I'd save up enough so that I can.
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#3
If it's construction lumber from the hardware store, it's probably pine. I built a bass body from it. It's easy to work with but it's relatively soft and prone to dents.

A fretboard radius is not completely necessary, especially on a bass. The reason guitars have a radiused fretboard, at least to my understanding, is to make it easier to play bar chords. On bass that's less of a concern.
You can make a radiused sanding block using a router, but a flat fretboard is fine too.
#5
Quote by buych778
I am building a fully custom bass guitar and was wondering if my choice of wood will be sufficient. I have a neck made of maple, which shouldn't be too much of an issue, but I am low on money, and all I really have is some standard 2x6 boards. I am not sure what it is composed of, they are fairly heavy. I am making a through neck design, so the width is no issue, but would those boards be good enough for the body? I can buy better wood for it, but I really would rather not. Also, do I absolutely need a rounded fretboard, or could I have one that is flat and just sanded on the edges to round it into the neck?


hard to say because i don't know what those boards are either. why don't you google a color wood chart and try to figure it out?

otoh, lots of people craft instruments from whatever wood so give it a try. what have you got to loose?

flat fretboard. -i've never seen a flat fretboard on a bass and i don't think you have either. so i suspect that you don't want to take the time to make a raduised board or don't know how? either way, try it out and see what happens.
Last edited by ad_works at Jul 21, 2015,
#6
I never built a bass (only 6-string electrics), but I expect the main thing is to have the body wood 'crisp' enough such that it does not absorb the fundamental frequencies in the range of a bass guitar (starting at 40Hz, the low E, which is pretty low). If you use pine, or something similarly soft like cherry, it seems to me it would absorb lower frequencies due to its own lower resonance compared to maple or ash and that has been reported to create dead notes that have poor sustain.

For the sake of the difference in cost, I would go with a harder wood like ash, maple, many mahoganies (not all), and probably avoid even basswood. The effort is worth more than the material cost and it is a shame to get disappointing results.

One thing I did as a kid that worked out well initially was to use a softer body wood but to inset a large maple block glued into the body where the bridge was installed. That seemed to create the stiffness and higher natural frequencies for the strings to sustain, but when turned up loud it would feed back notes beautifully (I figured it more easily coupled the acoustic energy from the amp in the room back into the pickups and strings). It sounded amazing with its original polyurethane finish, but a lot less resonant when I refinished it with lacquer and did not seal the wood first. That was a disappointing end to a preliminary good result.