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ESDictor

First Build Imminent - A Couple Questions

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With the weather finally warming up, I'm getting ready to start building my first (bass) guitar. I have a Jazz Bass template from www.guitarbuildingtemplates.com, and have purchased a few tools for the job (workbench with router insert, router with template following bits & jigsaw). I have some wood ordered, but it still hasn't shipped (that's another story, but I'm not giving up on the guy yet).

Most of my concerns have to do with the neck. While I feel like I can build a body with the tools I have (maybe add a reasonably priced spindle sander), I feel like I have almost nothing I'd need to build a neck. I have nothing to shape the neck or fretboard, slot the frets ... I don't even own a drill press!

I guess my first question is ... to build a neck myself, what is the minimum tools I'd need to buy?

Assuming that the first answer is "more than I can afford" ... where can I buy a neck (I saw the one at StewMac, but the tuner holes are too big for the BML tuners I wanted)?

Thanks,

Evan

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Check the necks at Warmoth or All Parts - definitely cheaper than a drill press, spoke shave, rasps, truss rod, fret saw, fret wire, fret nippers, fret wire bender, radius sanding blocks, fret leveling files, fret side files, nut files and inlay material :D

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The first question Might be "more than you can afford." I'd check out a guitar-building book from your local library and see what they suggest for tools/methods. It doesn't necessarily even have to be about basses or electric guitars; the build process is pretty similar for almost every fretted instrument.

If you decide to purchase a neck, here are two non-StewMac sources that I can think of off the top of my head.

http://www.carvinguitars.com/necks/bassbolton.php

http://www.warmoth.com/Bass/Necks/Necks.aspx

Edit: kpcrash beat me. Didn't mean to repeat much of what he said.

Edited by B. Aaron

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Necks are retardedly easy to build. I think there is just a stigma about them, but really, they are a breeze to do.

I agree that carving the neck is really easy, but it can be hard to get the top of the neck flat & straight for the fingerboard if you don't have the right tools. Same deal for getting your laminates trued up and ready for gluing if you're making a laminated deal.

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I'm about halfway through building a 5-string bass neck with a jigsaw, rasps, tenon saw, power sander, and a router table. I'll let you know how it goes. But you can definitely buy a pre-built neck for less than the tools to build your own.

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Pre-built necks are absolutely cheaper than buying all of the tools. Unless you want to be able to build highly customized necks, it's not worth buying the tools. Or at least not until you are going to build enough guitars to make them worth while. Look at Drak, he still uses pre-made necks on his work. eBay is a good place as well if you want to find a neck from another guitar, but it is a crap shoot if the neck is in good condition. I've been lucky with the 3 I bought off of there, but they were all from guitars that were being parted out and all parts were listed as new.

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Thanks for the advice/information. Guessing I'll just get a retail neck for now .. probably This One. After the bass is done I can consider adding some tools before I decide to do another build.

Evan

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Wood for body finally showed up, and it's exactly 14"x20" .. which is very tight for the template. Even at an angle there would be a few spots where I wouldn't be removing any wood.

Will having the body at an angle that doesn't match the joint between the boards be a problem?

photo6.jpg

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it wont be the end of the world - especially not with a solid finish. i wouldnt use it for that shape though - maybe save it for something that does fit

you do have options - such as aligning the body with the centre line and using the offcuts to add the extra width needed (ok for extra width, not length), splitting it down the join and adding a stripe of something interesting or just buying a body blank the right size

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While talking to a co-worker about my wood-woes on Friday, he said there's a local lumberyard that should be able to hook me up. My previous searches had come up with nothing, so this was good news. This morning I went there and the guy who helped me happened to be a bass player, so he went above-and-beyond to help me get what I needed.

I got 4 Poplar boards, each one 24"x9-3/4"x1-3/4", and 2 Mahogany boards, one 36"x3-1/2"x1" and one 48"x3-1/2"x1"

He was nice enough to plane down all the boards to the above size, and give me one very nice square edge. I can't say enough how pleased I was with the help (for people in Long Island, NY, it's Pete at Kleet Lumber in Huntington).

Turned out I should have gotten wider mahogany boards for necks, since the Jazz Bass neck won't fit. That's actually ok since I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the look of a mahogany neck on this bass, so if I'm making my own neck I'll need to still buy some maple (not carried at that lumberyard).

So at the end of that trip I have wood for the 3 guitars I have templates for (Jazz Bass, ES-335, and Tele Thinline) and necks for all but the Jazz Bass.

So now I just gotta buy glue and clamps :D (the other blank I have was pre-glued).

I'm assuming that Pipe Clamps are a good choice for gluing up the 2 sides of a blank?

Another question .. if I am making a fretboard myself (no reply from the Fretboard Extravaganza guy here) what size board to I need for a 34" scale bass fretboard? I have some old cocobolo that I bought a long time ago for wood turning projects, so assuming I can find some nice sapwood-free sections I am hoping I can use that (yes, I do know the dangers of cocobolo and have the proper protective gear).

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Sorry .. I have a habit of going on and on when I'm anxious about something like this, so I'll just ask the questions from my above post:

What types of clamps should I buy to glue up a 2-piece blank (I have no clamps so all would be bought)?

I have some turning squares of Cocobolo and was curious what size I'd need for a standard bass fretboard?

Thanks,

Evan

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Check the necks at Warmoth or All Parts - definitely cheaper than a drill press, spoke shave, rasps, truss rod, fret saw, fret wire, fret nippers, fret wire bender, radius sanding blocks, fret leveling files, fret side files, nut files and inlay material :D

Pre-built necks are absolutely cheaper than buying all of the tools. Unless you want to be able to build highly customized necks, it's not worth buying the tools. Or at least not until you are going to build enough guitars to make them worth while. Look at Drak, he still uses pre-made necks on his work. eBay is a good place as well if you want to find a neck from another guitar, but it is a crap shoot if the neck is in good condition. I've been lucky with the 3 I bought off of there, but they were all from guitars that were being parted out and all parts were listed as new.

I've pretty much decided to buy a Warmoth neck for this first build. I'd say that 90% of what I hear about them is pretty positive, and while the neck will cost about $200, I think it will turn out to be a good choice.

Thanks for the advice on that.

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Warmoth makes a good neck,for the most part.I have had a mahogany warmoth neck with a Pau Ferro fretboard and SS frets for years now...it is perfect and came with a thin finish already on it..cost $400 for that one,but it is quality

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Warmoth makes a good neck,for the most part.I have had a mahogany warmoth neck with a Pau Ferro fretboard and SS frets for years now...it is perfect and came with a thin finish already on it..cost $400 for that one,but it is quality

I'm just going with a Maple neck with Indian Rosewood Fretboard and 6150 frets. Unfinished it will be $205, but I might go with a satin finish for a little more .. undecided.

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