Building a bass from parts

As if I haven’t got enough on at the moment, despite living a temporary life of leisure, I’m also helping my son, Calum, to build a bass. The bass is going to be a hybrid between a Jazz Bass body with a 1951 style Precision Bass neck and headstock (not dissimilar to a Telecaster headstock shape).

The neck we bought had a fairly non-descript modern-ish shape which we decided to make more “Fender-ish”. We marked up the shape, leaving the G tuner in place to make sure we didn’t cut too deep.

Calum trimmed it close to the line with the jigsaw.

And after finishing on the spindle sander in the drill press, this is what he’s got.

The body we bought on eBay was not exactly perfect and needs a few areas corrected, particularly the neck pocket rout. You can see the gap here.

To correct this I first made a template of the current neck pocket shape using a cutter with a bottom bearing.

Calum corrected the template with files and sandpaper and it was reattached to the body.

A quick skim round with the top bearing cutter and we’ve got a neck pocket that fits perfectly.

Calum then got on with sanding the body.

Next step was to “fettle” the pickguard which was cut too narrow for the neck. It was attached to the body with double sided tape, making sure the it aligned correctly with the neck pickup and control plate.

A pass with the bottom bearing cutter and we’ve got a neck, neck pocket and pickguard that all fit together neatly.

And this as as far as we got yesterday.

Next jobs are to correct the bridge pickup rout (the mounting lobe bulges on the pickup and body don’t exactly match), reshape the neck heel and back edge of the lower horn, glue the neck in and then get weaving on finishing the body and headstock face in white overlaid with a red “rising sun” motif. The neck will be getting a Danish Oil finish.

4 thoughts on “Building a bass from parts

  1. nice, like father like son.. Calum’s done a great job.. love that headstock!!!!

  2. I am desperate for a Head profile of the 51 Fender P Bass. I wasted 2 necks already totaly screwed up trying to guess the profile. Can anyone help pl,ease?

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