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more help for the hopeless newbie

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OK I have further plunged myself into bass making by buying woods (keep in mind i am a starving artist so I work as i get money)

I went to Home Depot and bought some poplar. I bought it cuz I happen to like that moldy green hue it has...and it was dirt cheap.

So I get home and I'm all like...yea I got wood and clamps and glue and junk, and then I realized that it was prolly not kiln-dried or perfectly flat. I also realized that they were only 3/4 of an inch thick but were around 2 to 3 feet long i don't remember the exact measurements.

My questions are:

~Should I worry about it not being kiln dried? If so, how do I remedy/get around this problem for little or no money?

~Should I worry about it not being perfectly flat, or will glueing clamping and lots of time remedy this?

~Given that they are only 3/4's on an inch thick, but long as hell, how many should I glue together to achieve the desired thickness? I was thinking two but maybe three would be better.

Thank you all for reading this and answering this.

Once I start building, I'll post pictrues and stuff.



go visit my bands site: www.purevolume.com/leftofcool

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This is what you might want to do:

Do several searches. On-line, local phone book, etc, for hardwood dealers in your local area.

Use key words like:






Find one, walk in, tell them what you're doing (i.e. openly ask for help) and there you will find something you can work with.

The poplar is OK to do your first experiments on, but don't hang the moon on it. :D

There are proper guitar woods that are very reasonably priced if you seek them out locally.

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Hi Eric,

To answer some of your questions more directly.

1) The question of whether or not wood is kiln dried is not the point. The point is, is it dried or green (wet)? Air dried or kiln dried does not matter for solid body electric guitars. Only for high end violins and things of that nature does it matter.

2) Gluing and clamping the pieces of wood together will not, by itself, flatten them out.

3) How many should you glue together? How thick a board do you want? That will answer the question.

I would very strongly suggest looking through the Warmoth and Stewmac web sites. You will find a lot of good information on those two sites that will answer many questions. Also, the Melvyn Hiscock book on building electric guitars will be of great help to you.

4) There are generally 2 ways to do things when building a guitar. 1) Cheap 2) Right. Very rarely does Cheap = Right. Depending on what you want to accomplish, it may actually be less expensive to buy a guitar than to build one.

5) Read through This thread. It is our "Mistakes to avoid" thread.

Take care,

Guitar Ed

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thank you guitar ed and everyone for the advice.


~I took back the poplar. cuz assoon as i woke up this morning, I saw that it had already warped and cracked.

Lesson Learned: Home Depot is not a good source for wood.

~I carefully thought about some designs and I figured I would go with this design.

Lesson learned: Google is my friend.

~I went on eBay and bought: radiused sandblocks

lesson learned: eBay will screw you with shipping

~My parents went on ebay and bought me an alder body blank that needs to be glued together and 2 maple neck blanks.

Lesson Learned: Its ok to be a leech when you are a soon to be freshman in college.

In case you were wondering, I fully intent to carve these necks out. I am a glutton for punishment.


My current tool list is:

1 plunge Router (useless as it has no bits!!!they just kind of dissappeared when i let my cousin use it)

1 hand held reciprocating saw (it works so thats fine by me)

4 chisels (possible router replacement

6 files ( you never know when you'llneed them)

Sandpaper out the wazoo


Now here are my questions:

If you look at the plans for the bass, you will realize that they arent drawn to scale. Even when printed out on the one large piece of paper. My question is, from these plans (the PDF ones cuz my turboCAD needs to be cracked) how would one go about making and using these templates? This was probably answered in another thread but I havent the time to look.

Also If you know of any good luthiers in the Northern New Jersey/Montclair New Jersey/New York area that I can pester with all these noob questions, could you please tell me? thanks.


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Ahh, much better start. Now you're moving on the right path. As for the the plans you were considering, the website says that they are drawn full size. If you need a version of turboCAD that doesn't need cracking try the one here:

Guitarbuild.com download section

I successfully used that program to print out a tiled version of a Ibanez JEM (see this tutorial for printing TurboCAD files to scale: TurboCAD Tutorial) Oh, by the way, if you view the tiled PDF file of the bass you are considering keep in mind that 100% is the view, not what gets printed. Try and print the file to see what I mean (it indicates 26 pages)! Once you print out all the pages you simply need to trim, cut and paste them together in the right order and you get a full size paper template that you can transfer directly to your alder blank (like I did) or use to create a wood template (a whole different topic). See Derek's excellent router tutorial to see how these are used:

Derek's Awesome Router Tutorial

Good luck and have fun!

Best Regards,


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I printed out the templates and everything but i am still convinced that they are a bit smaller than usual. especialy at the neck.

the width of my jazz bass neck at its widest point is 2 inches.

on the diagram however, the basses neck is only 1 3/5 inches.

I'm confuzzled...

please help?



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