I am interested in making my own bass guitar (solid body), although I
don't know much about it. I know I have the woodworking skills and I
know the feel I like in a bass, but of much of fine detail of what would
make a good intrument (internal cuts and mechanisms, etc.), I am quite
ignorant. I started in two of my local libraries - and nothing. I
googled for books to order on the topic, but got a huge list, but I
don't know if any of them are worth a damn.
I know from past discussions that there are a few guitar makers here,
could one of you suggest a good book on the topic that I can either
order or get through inter-library loan?
I looked in Chapter s and typed in Guitar Making
Amazon has lots too..
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
I think the term you should be looking for is luthier, which is the making
of string instruments.
Try Luthiers Mercantile Exchange web site to start:
they have kits of many skill levels.
What ever your skill level, you could always try a complete kit just
to give away in order check to see if you need any (extra?) special
clamps, mini-planes, additional scrapers, practice with French polish
technique, and so forth.
Then go for the bass guitar of your dreams. Enjoy and good luck.
Making a guitar from watching it being made doesn't look too hard other that
much attention to detail. The hardest part is getting the correct woods
thicknessed and sized right and the tone bars inside have complex shapes.
Anything less than perfect will effect sound. Doesn't look like a beginners
project at all.
If you get DIY check out 'Handmade Music', it is an excellent show that
shows the construction of music instruments. Also look at the web site as
it might give you some info so you can decide if your up to it.
I also hear that you can buy kits. This might be your best solution as
instruction will have all the measurements for you and I know some have
pre-cut necks so you don't have to go cutting precise fret slots. I really
suggest you look to make sure those tone bars are measured and well
documented before buying as in my opinion from watching these episodes this
Good luck on your way to becoming a Luthier.
On Sat, 02 Apr 2005 11:43:12 GMT, the inscrutable Glen
Google for "luthiery book". It might cut the list down.
Grizzly sells luthier's tools and instrument wood, so check their
catalog. www.lmii.com is another source for both those and kits.
You can (or could) also buy kits to build one from Ebay.
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There's tons of good info at http://www.mimf.com . If you register with
them (free, and free of spam) you'll get access to their library of archived
discussions, and there's just a wealth of info there. Read the New Builders
mini-faq, too. It's a really helpful group over there, but make sure you're
questions haven't already been asked and answered.
I've also heard good things about Melvyn Hiscock's "Make Your Own Electric
Guitar," which I think includes details on making a bass. I don't own that
one since I build acoustic.
I can't help much with book recommendations, but I have built several
electric solid body guitars and basses for my own amusement. I started with
the "kit" concept, and later learned to build my own necks. I would suggest
you buy a pre-built bass neck from "Stew-Mac" or one of the other kit
sellers, and do the rest yourself. Laying your own neck is tedious, but can
be done with the right tools and knowledge, and it could be something to
work towards if you want a second or third project. You'll learn a lot from
the first one about what not to do on the second! Good luck.
From my experience (I've probably read most of those books), the book to
read to build a solidbody electric is "Make Your Own Electric Guitar" by
Melvyn Hiscock. Well presented, sense of humor, and no assumptions.
A supplier to try is Stewart MacDonalds Guitar Shop Supply, you'll find
everything you need books, wood, electronics, etc.. Their catalogs are
kinda cool too because each one has different tips and techniques woven in
to the product listings. I've been using them for years ( I build acoustics
when time allows) and have never had a problem. They also have kits that
include everything you need, that's what I suggest for first timers
(minimizes problems and builds confidence)
Links is http://www.stewmac.com /
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