Custom bass is finished

The Danish oil had hardened nicely so it was on to assembly, wiring and set up.

First I gave the body and neck a good wipe down with a wax-based non-silicone polish. Note the tapered candle stuck through the hole in the top left of my bench. I leave that in there so that I can quickly swipe screws across it to lubricate them as I assemble.

This is the step I usually forget. I thread the earth strap wire through from the control cavity and fan out the strands to make a good contact with the base of the bridge.

All the hardware on.

I wire up the cavity. Simple passive volume and tone. The one variant I use is rather than putting the tone control across the input to the volume I put it across the output from the volume (aka “The Fezz Parker mod”). This reduces treble loss at low volumes. The lead from the pickup is far longer than I need but, raather than cropping it to length, I prefer to roll it up and tuck it away in the cavity, because I may want to reuse the pickup somewhere else later and I may be glad of the extra length of wire on it.

I break out one of my favourite little tools for testing continuity. Its a jack plug and short length of cable from a broken guitar lead. I can use my multimeter to clip one end to the lead’s shield and then go probing about touching all of the parts that should be grounded (pickup ground, pot backs, bridge) checking connectivity.

Now the wiring is complete I can get the strings on, do a rough initial set up (I like to let it settle for a week or two before doing a final setup) and there she is… COMPLETED!

It took me eight working days. The costs break down as follows;

Item Amount
Donor bass £53.20
Sapele timber for body £18.00
Musicman style pickup £14.99
Chrome bridge £17.99
Total £104.18

That’s what I call a result!

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5 thoughts on “Custom bass is finished

  1. I like what you’ve got here in two ways. One, it’s great what you’re doing with your bass (I play on a ’72 P-Bass with a “jazz” pick up added close to the bridge).

    Second, I’m an abject “newbie” here at WordPress. Although I’ve got what I think is a pretty unique idea about guitar voicings, I see by looking around at other blogs (including yours) just how much I’m not doing (and don’t know how to do). Do you mind taking a look/listen to what I’ve done so far and see what you think?
    http://twohandguitarvoicings.wordpress.com
    Thanks,
    Steve Montgomery

    • Thanks Steve. Have had a quick look and if there’s one comment I’d make it is that you’ve done to much in one go – to the point that there is so much information there it is overwhelming. I’d suggest that you cut it up into smaller chunks. A first post with a high level overview with a one or two examples. A second post exploring one aspect more deeply, again with more examples, etc etc. Hopefully after the first few posts (and some pimping on facebook, twitter, etc) you’ll start to get feedback which will help choosing the direction of future posts.

      Unlike somebody reading an instructional book, I think something like this needs to be broken into much smaller chunks – perhaps something that can be read, tried and grasped in 10-15min. For something that requires a whole perspective shift like this – that much info just seems overwhelming.

      BTW: Thanks so much for posting it, I’m going to spend a few hours trying to get to the bottom of it

      In terms of how the blog looks and feels, I think it is great. Perhaps it could do with some spot colour to liven it up, but I like the muted feel just as it is.

      Hope this helps,

      Dave Mac

    • Steve, just thought… some audio examples would help too. I like to use soundcloud.com. You can upload audio and then, click the “share” button, and it gives you the code to embed in your wordpress post.

  2. Hey dude I come across this site somehow and saw this bass that u made and I gotta say its amazing….
    Its just perfect.
    I also building bass for myself and i need some tips and im sure that u can help me… so if u are ok with it I would like to give u my mail to talk with u about some stuff for bass.
    I hope we will make contact… keep working and live strong !!
    mail: psychedelic_spirit@hotmail.com
    Arslan (Syd).

    • Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. If you have any questions, ask them here and I’ll do what I can to help.

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