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mikelawrencecalleja

My first Warmoth bass build - Jazz Bass Deluxe V with a theme...and lots of pics to come.

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Hey guys!

Hope you're all keeping safe with everything that's going on at the moment. Thought I'd put back in what I've gotten from Basschat, and create a thread with some light reading...

Background

As I'm sure is the same for a lot of us, I've been using my unexpectedly higher proportion of time spent at home working on some of my latent projects...of course, I mean my bass guitar projects rather than something trivial and unneeded such as home improvements. I started out sorting my trusty old Lakland 44-01 modified with Nordstrand Big Singles that I used for years when I played bass professionally, which has gone from being in a sorry state to a new sparkly spray job and a John East Uni Pre that I bought pretty much brand new in box for a good price on eBay (for another thread). 

After I got my current basses in order, an unexpected side effect was I got a strong sense of what my current basses are really good at - and, more importantly, what the current limitations are, that mainly being a lack of a great 5 string bass. Most of my bass playing life I've played 4 strings, but not because I'm a die-hard 4 stringer...I've just never really found a 5 string I've ever bonded with, which is a pain since I play a lot of music that could do with one (heavy rock/prog, pop, electronic music etc). My usual complaints have been the following:

  • Neck dive (my biggest complaint)
  • Too heavy (a close second)
  • Too cumbersome
  • Sub-par playability

Last year, I made my biggest concerted effort to have a proper 5 string counterpart to my main bass (Custom Shop Jazz Bass 4 string) and bought a used USA Standard Jazz Bass 5 from the Bass Gallery. I loved the sound, the weight was great...but after a while, I realised the playability just wasn't there (including after fret levelling), so I made the decision to get my money back and sit on it until I worked things out.

I guess all of these thoughts came together at the same time (plus the USD to GBP exchange rate is constantly going up and down), and I realised that now would be a better time than ever to try pulling this Warmoth thing off...

The Spec

Core requirements:

  • Well balanced
  • Great playability
  • Similar in sound and feel to my 4 string Jazz Bass, e.g could use it on the same gig and not be wildly different in sound/output
  • Consistency, string-to-string and note-to-note
  • Stiff neck (always a good ingredient for a great sounding B string)

I've always really liked the look of the Warmoth Deluxe 5 Jazz Bass body shape, so I used this as a basis of the build. From that point, I played around a lot with the Warmoth configurator and tried to strike a balance between not front loading all of the cost stateside (import duties are unpredictable...) and getting the exact spec I wanted, as well as allowing for some creativity and decision making as I go rather than ordering everything pre-made Warmoth's end.

This is what I settled with:

Body:
Model: Deluxe 5 J Bass®
Orientation: Right handed
F-Holes: None
Scale: 34"
Wood: Mahogany
Rout: Top Rout
Pickup Rout: J-Bass (5 String Neck , 4"), , J-Bass (5 string Bridge, 4 1/8")
Controls: None
Bridge: Bad donkey V - Non Thru
Jack Rout: No Side Jack Hole
Neck Pocket: Standard Bass Pocket
Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bolt
Contours: Contoured Heel / Tummy Cut / Forearm Contour

I found the neck on a really great deal via 'Screamin' Deals' - the streaky ebony fingerboard also caught my eye, as I like the look of it and it's reasonably uncommon to see):

Neck:
Style: Deluxe 5 Inline
Construction: Super Bass Construction
Orientation: Right Handed
Neck Wood: Maple
Fingerboard Wood: Ebony
Nut Width: 1-3/4"
Back Shape: Asymmetric
Fret Size: 6105
Tuner Ream: GB7 (14mm)
Radius: Straight 10"
Scale: 34"
Fret #: 22
Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bolt
Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: GraphTech White TUSQ XL - Standard Nut
Inlays: White Pearloid Blocks
Side Dots: White Side Dots
Stiffening Rods: Standard Steel Rods
Finish: Clear Satin Nitro

All in all, it took around three weeks to arrive from Warmoth to 'sunny' Brighton & Hove, which I thought was very impressive considering current circumstances. It also revealed an interesting possibility...in its raw form, the mahogany seems to show some flaming on the front, and especially on the back. I'd had some thoughts about finishing the body in a solid colour (not an option I could go with in the end anyway - to be revealed!), but now I'm seriously sizing up finishing the body in some kind of clear coat.

Truth be told, I've got the project a little more off the ground since the photos were taken, but rather than ruin too much of the surprise now, I thought I'd save some of those juicy bits for part 2 😁

Cheers for reading, and I'll get the second part up shortly!

 

warmoth parts.JPG

warmoth body back.JPG

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I too thought mahogany heavy. I don’t want to put you off but I had an early Fender Jazz V (1996) with the 5 on one side tuners which I think increased neck dive ( tuner weight further out). Good luck I hope it produces what you want.

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@Grahambythesea @OliverBlackman Cheers guys for the encouragement - and yes, you both make good points around mahogany. My logic was to go with a body wood that I knew would be a little weightier than alder or ash, in order to aid the overall balance. I'd read that steel rods (what my neck has) vs graphite rods in the neck would be heavier, so I was extra conscious of not picking a body wood that would risk being too light, and then potentially create a big problem to iron out.

I need to properly weigh, but the neck + body bolted together (without any other hardware) actually feel pretty good balance and weight wise as a starting point. I'll properly get into it in my next post, but balance wise I have gone with some USA Hipshots (apparently Hipshot Licensed are a touch heavier) which, alongside a reasonably chunky bridge, should hopefully keep balance in check 🤞

Edited by mikelawrencecalleja

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Good on you  @mikelawrencecalleja - I'm just about to finish a build based around a Warmoth body today and it was a really enjoyable experience. First time I've ever attempted anything like this and I hope you have as much fun with your build as I've been having.

 

Edited to add: if an oil finish interests you, @Chienmortbb suggested Crimson's guitar finishing oil to me in another thread. I've used it to great effect on my Warmoth (which is swamp ash). I think it'd be amazing with your mahogany but of course you might be after a harder finish.

Edited by Oxnard Montalvo

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I've a Warmoth '54 mahogany body - thought it might help get towards that rounded Jah Wobble Magnum tone.  The weight isn't too bad, and the tone is thick and woody, though that may be the pickup! I really like those Warmoth bodies - yours looks a beaut!

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