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Hazza590

DIY jaguar bass build looking for any help I can get

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Hi I’m a 14 year old boy who’s just started learning to play bass and I’m building a jaguar bass from scratch, please track my progress. I’m trying to build a jaguar bass with a maple neck. I’m thinking of making this out of birch ply, any reasons not to? I’d like to put some Emg gzr p bass pickups in, is this a good idea? Has any body got any reasonably cheap maple necks or pickups that they’re willing to sell? Anything would be helpful as I’m building my bass out of my pocket money. I’ll be taking pictures along the way so please stick around. I’ve inserted an image of my template so you can see what shape I’m thinking of.  Looking for any help I can get.

Cheers, Harry.

image.jpg

Edited by Hazza590
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You very brave to take on a scratch build at the age of 14 (I take my hat off to you!!)

I probably wouldn’t make the body out of ply as I had a ply bodied p bass and it was really heavy and the sustain wasn’t very good (but that’s just my opinion...) some of the seasoned luthiers on here have probably got more experience on the subject so hopefully they will give some advice 

As for a the neck some people have had some good luck with the necks on eBay but it depends how much you want to spend??

Check out the for sale part on this forum for pickups you might be able to pick yourself up a bargain

It might be an idea to consider starting off with a kit build ie a Jazz bass kit and reshape the body to the Jaguar shape and reconfigure the pickups and make a custom pickguard....... just a thought??

Edited by Jimothey
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As above. Ply basses sound a bit...dead. Ply can also splinter and be a pain in the backside to sand.

The EMGs are meant to be ace, but expensive if you’re doing the body and neck on a budget.

good luck though, fair play to you.

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Welcome to the build diaries!!

If you're trying to do this on a budget, I'd concentrate your funds on making it as playable as possible and get the best neck you can (I'm assuming you're buying a neck rather thanking one). You can always upgrade the pickup later. If the bass doesn't play right, you won't pick it up. 

I made a bass from wood from an old front door for the body I picked up from Freecycle (the build diary is on here) which kept costs down. That bass uses a second hand p pickup off eBay that was from a MIM Fender (the ad said...) for £10 and it sounds really good! 

Good luck and keep posting your progress!

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1 hour ago, Jimothey said:

You very brave to take on a scratch build at the age of 14 (I take my hat off to you!!)

I probably wouldn’t make the body out of ply as I had a ply bodied p bass and it was really heavy and the sustain wasn’t very good (but that’s just my opinion...) some of the seasoned luthiers on here have probably got more experience on the subject so hopefully they will give some advice 

As for a the neck some people have had some good luck with the necks on eBay but it depends how much you want to spend??

Check out the for sale part on this forum for pickups you might be able to pick yourself up a bargain

It might be an idea to consider starting off with a kit build ie a Jazz bass kit and reshape the body to the Jaguar shape and reconfigure the pickups and make a custom pickguard....... just a thought??

I’m looking to spend a maximum of around £350 and getting all the wood needed shouldn’t be a problem. Me and my dad have been doing various woodwork projects in the past so shaping it shouldn’t be a problem but thanks for the suggestion of the diy kit.

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No worries, you should be able to make a good bass with that budget!!

Keep posting the pictures of your progress 

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Welcome Hazza,

I'd recommend you look at @Jabba_the_gut's build.  I saw it at a Bass Bash last year and it's a beaut!

Old Front Door and a Shelf...

Your budget should allow you get a decent starter kit though.  I echo the suggestion that you modify a kit body rather than make one from ply.  I spent about £350 building my Ibanez tribute bass.  The link is in my signature.  I liked it so much I had to buy the real thing after so beware.

Well done for jumping right in though.  Respect.

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Best wishes with your build and congratulations for taking it on!

When I was 14, with 3 mates we all started playing - with cheap acoustic guitars. Luckily my Dad was a carpenter/cabinet maker and he helped me  ^_^ made a bass for me. He knew which woods to use and ''we' made a pear shaped, copied from what I had seen the Rolling Stones using :D that was 1965 and I'm still playing today, just about, but the bass is long gone.

When you're ready for the electrics, give me a shout and I'll help you out with a wiring kit to suit you, your bass and your budget.

Good luck and keep us informed of progress.

 

Cheerz, John

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Just a thought- depending on the aim of the project, and that if you're on a budget then a Chinese copy of a jaguar bass and spending the time learning to setup and refinish and putting fancy pickups and hardware on it

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7 hours ago, paul_5 said:

What pickup configuration are you going for?

I’ve just bought an Emg GZR PJ pickup set and 2 sets of Ernie ball strings on eBay for £125

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Making a solid body from scratch isn't particularly difficult - the first time I did a project like this, I asked around the local shops to find a cheap donor that was uneconomical to repair (got a full yamaha guitar with massive crack in the body but everything else present for £20) and then used the neck, pups and hardware, and made my own solid body from timber sourced from a local timber merchant.

The big question is what scale length  and nut width do you want?

At 34" there should be plenty of potential donor basses with the right shaped headstock and choice of P or J width available cheaply, at 30" your choices are a bit limited.

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Nitro can be a pain in the backside with properly ventilating and drying or so I've heard.

Anything I've ever made from wood (albeit money boxes and a small set of drawers in woodwork at school) have all been dyed and oiled - piece of proverbial piddle.

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4 hours ago, SubsonicSimpleton said:

Making a solid body from scratch isn't particularly difficult - the first time I did a project like this, I asked around the local shops to find a cheap donor that was uneconomical to repair (got a full yamaha guitar with massive crack in the body but everything else present for £20) and then used the neck, pups and hardware, and made my own solid body from timber sourced from a local timber merchant.

The big question is what scale length  and nut width do you want?

At 34" there should be plenty of potential donor basses with the right shaped headstock and choice of P or J width available cheaply, at 30" your choices are a bit limited.

I’m going for a 34” scale and have got everything I need on the way so watch this space

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Hi all

Firstly, thanks for the responses.....

Hazza is a great lad (I would say that tho) and unlike Kiogon I won't be building this for him! - although I will help him where he needs to be safe!

Haz has been saving for ages to get the bits he wants so I want try and avoid ending up with a lemon!

I don't play guitar (so I literally have no idea what he's talking about but he has spent hours researching and reading on this) and although We have made a couple of woodwork projects (cajon and bowls etc)  I always encourage him to learn and do for himself - so we genuinely appreciate your views/advice/help!! 

The one bit I will help with is that I have presumed that using a router is the best option For the pick up bits and pieces And presumably for a neck 'hole/pocket' does anyone supply templates for these or do you have to make it from scratch?

Cheers all.... And I'm sure Haz will post pictures or YouTube or whatever they do these days

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, HazzasDad said:

The one bit I will help with is that I have presumed that using a router is the best option For the pick up bits and pieces And presumably for a neck 'hole/pocket' does anyone supply templates for these or do you have to make it from scratch?

I find it’s best to build your template from scratch as heel widths can vary slightly depending on what neck you use, I understand that Harry is buying the neck? When he’s got it just draw round the heel (making sure to mark the centre line) to the length of the neck pocket he needs then cut it out carefully then hey presto you’ve got your template then transfer it on to you body and drill out the bulk of the pocket with a forstner but then finish off with a trim flush router bit 

You can also do that for the pickup cavities 

35 minutes ago, Hazza590 said:

I’m going for a 34” scale and have got everything I need on the way so watch this space

Great news!! With the 34” scale make sure that you take into consideration the balance issue you may have due to the shorter top horn on the body 

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And welcome HazzasDad!

You can buy templates from places like StewMac for pockets and pickups. You can find small differences in dimensions in different brands of pickups (in my experience mainly around P pickup mounting lugs) and always watch out with J pickups as there are two lengths (one for bridge and one for neck).

I've always made my own templates from MDF (6 or 9mm) for most things. MDF is pretty good for running the bearing on a router cutter against. I did take some pictures once of a making a neck pocket template - I'll dig them out and post them on here. Usual story is to make sure you have some scrap to practice on before you commit to the actual job!!

Out of interest, where are you located? You might find that one of us is local which might be useful.

Cheers

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Jabba_the_gut said:

And welcome HazzasDad!

You can buy templates from places like StewMac for pockets and pickups. You can find small differences in dimensions in different brands of pickups (in my experience mainly around P pickup mounting lugs) and always watch out with J pickups as there are two lengths (one for bridge and one for neck).

I've always made my own templates from MDF (6 or 9mm) for most things. MDF is pretty good for running the bearing on a router cutter against. I did take some pictures once of a making a neck pocket template - I'll dig them out and post them on here. Usual story is to make sure you have some scrap to practice on before you commit to the actual job!!

Out of interest, where are you located? You might find that one of us is local which might be useful.

Cheers

 

 

Bury st Edmunds in Suffolk

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Here's a few pictures of a neck template I made:

First, I used a couple of straight strips of wood running tight down the side of the neck. These could be checked against the centre line of the bass. These bits of wood are typically about 6mm thick then pinned to the mdf with panel pins

nLJDZAa.jpg

A second row of wood was added but just to keep the router bass level when cutting the pocket in the template.

MEBpPrF.jpg

Another piece of wood pinned in place to mark the end of the pocket (and a second short piece again to keep the router level)

BTRLQ0O.jpg?2

Then use the router with a bit like this one below to cut out the neck pocket from the template.

0yWFgfH.jpg

This will give you a template a bit like this for cutting the actual pocket on the bass.

OvGHEQM.jpg

 

Hope this makes sense! If not, drop me a message and I'll explain further.

Cheers

 

 

Edited by Jabba_the_gut

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1 hour ago, Jabba_the_gut said:

Here's a few pictures of a neck template I made:

First, I used a couple of straight strips of wood running tight down the side of the neck. These could be checked against the centre line of the bass. These bits of wood are typically about 6mm thick then pinned to the mdf with panel pins

nLJDZAa.jpg

A second row of wood was added but just to keep the router bass level when cutting the pocket in the template.

MEBpPrF.jpg

Another piece of wood pinned in place to mark the end of the pocket (and a second short piece again to keep the router level)

BTRLQ0O.jpg?2

Then use the router with a bit like this one below to cut out the neck pocket from the template.

0yWFgfH.jpg

This will give you a template a bit like this for cutting the actual pocket on the bass.

OvGHEQM.jpg

 

Hope this makes sense! If not, drop me a message and I'll explain further.

Cheers

 

 

Thanks alot 

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5 hours ago, Hazza590 said:

I’m going for a 34” scale and have got everything I need on the way so watch this space

I was just thinking I and some others might have some bits hanging about we can contribute. I've probably got knobs and might have a bridge.

What I do have is all the tools for leveling and crowning the frets. I'm down the road in Bishops Stortford. So if you and Dad fancy a drive over, when the time's right, I can help you out with a go with my tools. That will save you needing to buy them.

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This forum really is full of the best people. I can't help at all I'm afraid, I just don't have the skills, but I'll be cheering from the sidelines. All you offering your time, experience and practical support, I take my hat off to you.

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