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While most of the discussion around building kit guitars tend to focus on 6 and 7 string guitars, DIY electric bass guitar kits can also be a lot of fun to work on.
But, perhaps one of the most enticing reasons you might want to consider building, as opposed to buying an unfinished bass guitar kit is the range of body styles available. Some of these include:
EXP style bass
MM style bass
JM style bass
W style bass
We also regularly offer a Rickenbacker style DIY bass guitar kit based on the Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar along with headless and fretless bass guitar kits. All models are available as unfinished left-handed guitar kits along with right-hand models.
The EXP-style bass DIY kit is one of the most interesting bass guitar kits currently on offer. It is a 5 string bass guitar kit, featuring 22 frets and a standard scale length of 34 inches with 2 x Volume and 1 x tone control.
Based on the iconic Musicman Stingray first introduced in 1976 and played by the likes of Flea and Justin Chancellor (Tool) the MM is a 24 fret bass kit with a scale length of 34 inches featuring 2 x volume, 2 x tone, and 3-way switch.
If looking to recreate the original MM Bass, select an Alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard.
Based on the Fender Jazz Bass played by the likes of John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Geddy Lee (Rush). The JB bass is one of the more famous bass guitar shapes since first released in 1960 and has since become a feature of rock and progressive rock music.
The JB Bass guitar kit features a 20 fret neck, standard 34-inch scale length and 2 X volume, 1 X tone control.
The original J Bass was available in a range of body timbers including Ash and Alder and features a maple neck with rosewood or maple fretboard.
The W Bass kit is loosely based on the Warwick ‘Rock bass’ bass guitar made famous by the signature models of players such as Rob Trujillo (Metallica and Suicidal Tendencies) and Jack Bruce (Cream).
The W Bass features a 24 fret neck with 34-inch scale length and 2 x volume, 2 x tone, and 3-way pickup switch.
Arguably one of the more iconic bass guitar shapes of all time, the violin bass guitar is most well known for being the bass guitar of Paul McCartney of the Beatles.
Based on the Höfner 500/1 violin bass, it is one of the few DIY semi-hollow bass guitar kits available.
Featuring a 24 fret neck and 34-inch scale length along with 2 x volume, 1 x bass, 1 x rhythm, and 1 x treble control.
The original violin bass utilized materials more commonly associated with acoustic guitar construction featuring a spruce top, rosewood back and sides and maple neck.
While Rickenbacker is better known for some of its iconic electric guitars, played by the likes of John Lennon and Tom Petty, the Rickenbacker 4001 is a revolutionary bass guitar shape, manufactured between 1961 and 1981 featuring a neck through body, a major deviation at the time when most bass guitars featured a bolt-on neck.
When it comes to building a new kit guitar, while many of the construction methods are similar, there is one key difference between electric bass and electric guitars that are especially important when it comes to construction.
Bass guitars must be able to handle the additional tension the thicker bass strings and longer scale length place on the guitar.
This is particularly important when it comes to the neck which must handle this additional tension and maintain intonation and tuning stability. Because of its high tensile strength Maple is often considered an ideal bass guitar neck timber.
Remember, when it comes to guitar assembly, your guitar is only as strong as its weakest link and the neck joint is the area of the guitar under the most tension. Ensure the neck joint is strong and stable by using a reliable Epoxy.
As with any completed guitar kit, the final setup is critical to the tone and playability of the instrument.
The steps outlined below should be considered essential if you want your bass guitar to play and sound as good as it possibly can:
Tune the bass to concert pitch and check the neck relief. Neck relief is the amount of concave bow in the neck of the bass guitar.
If the neck has too much (or too little) relief you will need to make adjustments to the truss rod. Be sure to make small incremental changes and check the guitar neck regularly during the process.
Also, be sure to maintain concert pitch when making adjustments. If unsure of how to make adjustments to the truss rod, this articleshould be of assistance.
While neck relief will have a bearing on the action of the guitar you should still check your action and if required make adjustments.
Keep in mind the style of music you are most likely to play before doing so. For instance, if you tend to play a lot of slap bass you will prefer a higher action than normal.
Intonation is a term used to describe the guitar being in tune with itself. For instance, playing an F on the low E string (first fret) should correspond with the same note played on the 13th fret of the same string. If there is a difference in pitch your intonation will need to be adjusted.
Intonation is adjusted by shortening or lengthening the point of contact on the bridge of the guitar by adjusting the bridge saddles to be closer or further away from the center of the guitar body.
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