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Yet Another Bitsa P-Bass Build


Velarian
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I’m sure that the true luthiers amongst you with time-served and well-honed skills will yawn at an imposter pretending to ‘build’ a bass by throwing a few ready made parts together, so apologies in advance to you fine craftsmen.

 

Like many before me, I started off learning some basic set-up stuff and then swapped a few bits out here and there. As a result I ended up with some machine heads a bridge, some pickups, a pick guard and a couple of other bits and thought, all I need is a neck and body and I could put another bass together.

 

I decided to go for a vintage P-Bass look and started to look for a cheap body and neck. I found a used P-style body on eBay which looked OK from the pictures, but when it arrived it was immediately obvious why it was cheap! It was so light I could swear it was made of balsa wood, the pick up routing and the holes for the bridge didn’t line up particularly well with the neck pocket. Never mind I thought, with a bit of filling and fettling I could probably make it work. Getting a cheap neck was less easy and, given that it’s such a key piece of the jigsaw, I thought it was probably worth spending a little more on that. I eventually got a used Fender licensed Might Mite neck which looks pretty good. However the neck wasn’t going to play nicely with the neck pocket on the body and yet more fettling with the body would be needed.

 

As the body was going to be the weak link in this build I decided to abandon it and ended up buying a new Northwest Guitars P-bass body which arrived today. It’s like chalk and cheese and the new body is way better, a real quality piece. The neck fits in the pocket like a hand in a glove. One challenge is that it doesn’t have holes drilled for the bridge so I’ll have to figure out the best way to do that. I’m sure I’ll have many questions when I start to piece things together but for now, here’s all the bits: -

 

0C4935F6-994B-4802-BFC6-549B686C7E68.jpeg

Edited by Velarian
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Ah, you can't beat building, sorry putting together, your own bass. It's a great feeling when you've finished and realised that you have the bass of your dreams at a fraction of the cost you enjoyed building it so much that you are going to sell it and do another bitsa ad infinitum. Some nice bits there mate, it'll be a cracker :) 

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Ha! “a fraction of the cost” indeed 😂 what started out as budget project has definitely grown legs. I’m in for a fair bit more than I’d intended. There’s some nice basses in the marketplace which I could have bought and still had change but never mind, the journey will be interesting and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot in the process. I’ve started reading up on bridge placement and measuring scale length etc., so I’ve already improved my knowledge a bit. 

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Watching with interest... also undertaking a Bitsa Build... albeit on more of a budget...

Your bits look branded, mine more name-a-likes... Know what ya mean about cost, I could if got a Harley B or Squier Affinity for the money... and it isn't finished yet, and you prolly a new Squier CV.

As for the picknguard? I dont do Tort,It looks to 'Busy' for my eyes, so I'd go Black... I won't have such a dilema as mine is a rear rout.

Good luck with the build.

Edited by PaulThePlug
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15 minutes ago, PaulThePlug said:

Watching with interest... also undertaking a Bitsa Build... albeit on more of a budget...

Your bits look branded, mine more name-a-likes... Know what ya mean about cost, I could if got a Harley B or Squier Affinity for the money... and it isn't finished yet, and you prolly a new Squier CV.

As for the picknguard? I dont do Tort,It looks to 'Busy' for my eyes, so I'd go Black... I won't have such a dilema as mine is a rear rout.

Good luck with the build.

Thanks, I’ve just reviewed your thread. I like the idea of using string to get the bridge alignment with the edges of the neck and the pickups. 

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43 minutes ago, Hellzero said:

Measure twice twice (it's not a repetition) and drill once. 😉

 

Agreed. I line it all up, drill the centre hole (assuming Fender fit 5 screw hole bridge), then get strings on and check alignment with PUPs and neck before drilling all of the bridge holes. Sometimes no amount of accurate measurement and maths can make up for a bit of trial and error :) 

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The top pick guard it is then. 👍

 

 My decision to go with tort was two-fold. First, the vintage look and second @Stub Mandrel suggested in the basses on the settee thread that I should have some tort in my line-up. So there you go 😄

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I’ve not done any more with this yet other than think about my plan of attack. The next steps are: -

1. Mount the neck

2. Test fit the pickups

3. Sort out the bridge placement to get the alignment with the pickups and neck and the scale length right.

 

So the first challenge with the neck is that existing holes in the heel are just a couple of millimetres different to the holes in the body (the red dot in the picture shows the centre of where the new hole would be).

 

As the new holes would overlap with the existing ones I’m guessing I’ll have to plug them first.

 

Can any one advise on the best way to do this please?

 

3A9C2D61-F221-48C3-96B3-B7D4F14CCBAE.jpeg

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With a bigger hole, obvs 😜

 

I would use a small forstner bit or wood drill with a point rather than a normal twist drill. A twist drill is likely to wander into the hole you already have.

Choose a bit just slightly larger to cover the radius between your new centre and the edge of the existing hole and a standard dowel dimension if you can.

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What are they, 5mm ish? 3/16" dowl fit? or drill em slightly... get em nice n round n fresh... either metric or imperial for some 1/4" or 6mm wood dowl to plug... Cut, glue n sand...

Then re-drill.

Edited by PaulThePlug
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Thanks. The holes are around 4mm.

 

It almost seems counter-intuitive to make the existing holes bigger but it does make sense to end up a clean hole of a known size to work with. 🙂

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Another problem with the neck is the nut which seems to be excessively filed on the E string. Unless there’s any way to salvage this I’m thinking I need a new nut too?

 

 

BDCA36E0-8306-491C-B391-18D4E43DF6C2.jpeg

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Or Super Glue with accelerator. It will be harder than the original material. You'll then have to file it to the correct height and width.

 

A new bone nut is certainly a better idea, that said.

 

PS : I wouldn't say it has been filed too much, but rather slaughtered with a cutter or even maybe a screwdriver or a kitchen knife or a ... herring. 😆

 

 

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On 16/08/2021 at 22:15, pst62 said:

Just like PaulThePlug I'd go with a Black Pickguard (NorthWest's are quality) but if it has to be one of the ones in your post, I'd go for the top one.

 

On 16/08/2021 at 22:19, Pea Turgh said:

Top one!

 

On 16/08/2021 at 22:22, Beedster said:

 

Not the bottom one :) 

 

Ditto!

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4 hours ago, Velarian said:

Thanks. The holes are around 4mm.

 

It almost seems counter-intuitive to make the existing holes bigger but it does make sense to end up a clean hole of a known size to work with. 🙂

Try 1/8" dowl... If a nice fit then all good... the thread area cut in the neck will help 'carry' the PVA wood glue along the dowl length... possibly better than a round/round fit that might wipe most of the glue off.

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30 minutes ago, Si600 said:

Maybe it's a creation of He Who Shall Not Be Named?

 

Can't be, the tuners aren't on the skew. ;)

Isn't even saying "He who shall not be named" illegal? xD

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4 hours ago, Velarian said:

Thanks. The holes are around 4mm.

 

It almost seems counter-intuitive to make the existing holes bigger but it does make sense to end up a clean hole of a known size to work with. 🙂

Try 1/8" dowl... If a nice fit then all good... the thread area cut in the neck will help 'carry' the PVA wood glue along the dowl length... possibly better than a round/round fit that might wipe most of the glue off.

 

Nut... I'd Fill 'n File to get it all up and running... Neck relief, poss neck shim, action, prefered strings, then new nut in the future to suit neck set up and prefered strings...

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