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Perhaps better described as an assembly rather than a build in deference to the many luthiers at work......... maybe one day I'll have the necessary tools or at least access to them to be able to embark on a personal design/build........

Lockdown (although fortunately in full time employment) seemed to present itself as a time for being creative is a new way. I had thought of putting together a "Bitsa" but never quite committed to it.

I began by ordering a "Precision Type" natural alder body off of the Bay, which looked great, was reasonably priced, as seemed like it would fit the bill. I could see myself learning to spray a nitrocellulose lacquer over it at some point. But alas the body was "Precision shaped" but in no way standard and it would have meant purchasing custom parts to make them fit and, I suspect, would have given me all sorts of other issues. Seemed like an expensive option. I managed to send the body back and obtain a refund, the builder saying that there had been a mistake....... I wasn't entirely convinced!

So I thought I'd play safe and source a Fender stock Precision body. I had in the meantime sourced a roasted maple Fender Precision neck at a reduced price owing to a small crack in the headstock, which had been professionally repaired. It seemed like a way to go. When I saw the repair, it immediately filled me with a sense of concern as it was highly visible and seemed to be in a vulnerable position. However I ploughed ahead and, the task of inserting the new bushes proved too much for the repair and the spilt in the headstock represented itself........ I was horrified! The company, based in East London with a storage facility in Germany were excellent in organising return shipping and refund. I paid the difference and received a pristine roasted maple neck (albeit several weeks on). Coupled with this I had purchased a scratch plate from these very pages, which arrived cracked, for which the seller kindly refunded me. There was a time when I thought I'd give up the idea of a build and just purchase a ready made precision from these same pages!

However, the rhythm and routine of the lockdown helped me to be patient and continue in my quest. The intervening weeks gave me time to learn about the effect of capacitors and their values, showed me the need to get a digital calliper and re read my Haynes Handbook on The Fender Precision Bass.... a wonderful  and well informed tome which had been on my shelf, largely unread for many a moon. I also found time to investigate You Tube, digging out various maintenance clips including the wiring process for a precision. Whilst I had plenty of printed diagrams available on the internet, I found the video clips helpful and informative with plenty of advice and tips. That was my first job whilst awaiting the arrival of the new body and neck. I really enjoyed the soldering once I had got back into it. I did everything I could less the earth wire from the bridge and the pick up wires. They would be soldered in the last instance. As a lover of all things Aguilar (using a TH500 & 2 SL112's for the last 8 years) I decided to go for their vintage 60's pick ups and certainly haven't been disappointed with the initial sound. It's early days and I will need to experiment. Once the neck arrived I embarked on the assembly which I did over a day and a half. 

It was only as I arrived towards the completion of the assembly that I began to realise that I had quite a task ahead in setting up the bass I had built. It wasn't something I had given much, if any, thought to in the past. I used the manual to refresh my memory re procedure for neck assessment, truss rod adjustment, nut setting, intonation and action etc............ a fulfilling and satisfying learning/recalling curve.

I've included a few pics telling the story and would encourage anyone in my position with few tools and minimal bass knowledge to "go for it"  especially in these days when we can neither rehearse nor gig it can provide an equally creative outlet. All in all it took about 6-8 weeks gathering the parts and finally assembling and was, in the end, great fun, even if at times a little daunting.




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Just now, gary mac said:

That looks great, well done.

Bet you're already planning the next one? 😂

You read me like a book......... once you get the bug.......

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Posted (edited)

Having had the opportunity to play my new build through my regular amp/cab set up, (Aguilar TH500 & SL12) finding that the Aguilar pick up (AG4P - 60) is extremely pleasing and a good choice for the warm smoothness that I am after with a little bit of percussive click! (for want of a better expression)



Edited by paulmcnamara
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