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I want to build my own bass, but not sure I can pull it off... Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 16th April 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 

I want to build my own bass, but not sure I can pull it off...

One of my heroes is Steven R Smith and in one of his Instagram videos, he's playing this custom bass he built out of parts and bowing it, which is exactly what I want to do:

steven r. smith on Instagram: “Fidgeting and waiting...”

I msg'd him a little bit and he doesn't have time to build one but pointed me to online shops like GuitarFetish to just buy parts.

One problem is I live in Brooklyn in a tiny apartment and I have no room for tools or any stuff like that, so building something myself that requires any kind of workshop or space or tools is gonna be tough.

Anyone ever built a bass like this one or can recommend someone who'd sell one?
Old 16th April 2019
  #2
If you're buying ready made parts, and aren't carving/sanding/painting/polishing the wood yourself, then you don't need lots of tools to assemble a bass.

I have put together a couple of basses from collecting scavenged parts second-hand. All I needed was a soldering station, wirecutters, screwdrivers, and standard tools a guitarist should already own.

What kind of bass are you looking to make? What are your soldering skills like? Can you follow a guitar wiring diagram?
Old 16th April 2019
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K View Post
If you're buying ready made parts, and aren't carving/sanding/painting/polishing the wood yourself, then you don't need lots of tools to assemble a bass.

I have put together a couple of basses from collecting scavenged parts second-hand. All I needed was a soldering station, wirecutters, screwdrivers, and standard tools a guitarist should already own.

What kind of bass are you looking to make? What are your soldering skills like? Can you follow a guitar wiring diagram?
Unfortunately no soldering experience or technical knowledge.

What I really want is something with bass strings I can bow, second only to learning cello Which I might have to do. But I prefer something like in the video, if I can do it...
Old 16th April 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by deern View Post
Unfortunately no soldering experience or technical knowledge.

What I really want is something with bass strings I can bow, second only to learning cello Which I might have to do. But I prefer something like in the video, if I can do it...
They're skills worth taking the time to learn. I recently built a P bass from parts that cost just over 100 pounds, including strings.

If you want a bass you can bow (and bows themselves can be pricey), you could get an upright electric bass like the stagg EUB range. I used to have one. You should be able to get them at a reasonable price secondhand.

Thing is, if it's just for bowing you could put something together using a a neck, a piece of wood, a pickup, an arch bridge and some strings.
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Old 17th April 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K View Post
Thing is, if it's just for bowing you could put something together using a a neck, a piece of wood, a pickup, an arch bridge and some strings.
Honestly yes - it doesn't need to be very professional because the music I make is already somewhat dissonant. What you're describing would be awesome, I'm just at the very very beginning of knowing where to start in the process, I guess...
Old 17th April 2019
  #6
Maybe look for a cheap second-hand bass - solidbody, electroacoustic, or semihollow. Something cheap at least, preferably with as curved a fretboard/string radius as possible - a flat fretboard is no good unless you're only using two strings. Then raise the action until the strings are individually bowable.

Or just get an electric upright and a bow.

As an aside, it's quite easy to destroy a violin bow by using it on steel guitar strings. So watch out.
Old 17th April 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
EvilRoy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deern View Post
Unfortunately no soldering experience or technical knowledge.
Learn. It's not rocket science. Worst case scenario = the solder joints will look like s***. Big deal, they're inside the bass. Best case scenario = You now have a bass you've built yourself and you've learned something.
Old 17th April 2019
  #8
Gear Nut
I've built a bass from parts and it wasn't too difficult. A used squier would have costed the same and played just as good so not sure if it's worth it.
One tip I have is if you're finishing an instrument indoors use tung oil.
Old 17th April 2019
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
Learn. It's not rocket science. Worst case scenario = the solder joints will look like s***. Big deal, they're inside the bass. Best case scenario = You' now have a bass you've built yourself and you've learned something.
Mmm yes and no.

I agree with the general utility of learning how to solder. You can fry the insides of your gear and destroy pots or pickups if you're really careless or clumsy. Or burn yourself.

It could always be worse.
Old 17th April 2019
  #10
Gear Nut
 

If you don't have the space/desire to learn how to solder, you could always go with a Kwikplug pickup from Guitar Fetish and prewired harness. I used them on a Squier Tele and haven't had any issues.
Old 17th April 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
EvilRoy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K View Post
Mmm yes and no.

I agree with the general utility of learning how to solder. You can fry the insides of your gear and destroy pots or pickups if you're really careless or clumsy. Or burn yourself.

It could always be worse.
Assuming it's wired correctly, he likely won't fry any gear. If it's incorrect then that's mistake anyone can make. Ruining pots? Yeah maybe, they're cheap. Ruining pickups? Much harder since they have wires sticking outta them. Burning yourself? Count on it. It's all part of the learning process.
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