Although 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 is the range of body styles available. Some of these include:EXP style bass MM style bass JM style bassW style bass Violin 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.EXP style Bass KitThe 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.Modeled on the Fender/Gibson Explorer Bird bass played by the late John Entwhistle of the ‘Who’. The original ‘Explorer bird’ bass was a combination of Gibson Explorer body, coupled with Fender Precision bass neck and machine heads with gold hardware. MM Bass KitBased on the iconic Musicman Stingray first introduced in 1976 and played by the likes of Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) 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 (available in imitation Rosewood). JM Bass KitBased 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. W Bass KitThe 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. Violin Bass KitArguably 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. R Style Bass KitsWhile 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. Played by legendary bass players such as Cliff Burton (Metallica) and Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) the R Style bass is one to keep an eye out for when available.
A list of luthier tools that can help DIY Guitar manufacturers assemble and finish kit guitars to a high standard.The right tool for the job.Luthiers Tools for DIY Guitar KitsChances are, most of us have heard the saying, along with other gems such as measure twice, cut once repeated more than once. And, while repetition tends to dull the impact, when it comes to building kit guitars, having the right tools , along with a knowledge of how to use them correctly are important.Not just for the success of the task at hand, although it certainly helps, using the correct tool is the safest way to work and helps maintain the other tools in your arsenal, saving you from using them for jobs they’re not designed for.Essential Luthier Tools for DIY Guitar Kits1.The WorkbenchPerhaps, it’s a stretch to call a workbench a tool but your first consideration should always be your work space.A workbench with luthiers vice (e.g. with soft faced jaws) is ideal, but if you don’t have this option look for a large well lit and well ventilated area that you can safely work on your electric guitar without increasing the chances of scratches and dents occurring. Finishing products have the capacity to cause serious health issues unless you take the necessary precautions. And, while a well ventilated area is important, using a dedicated mask is essential - learn more about Guitar Finishing Safety Tips.2.Cramps If you are assembling a kit with a bolt-on-neck, you can probably get away without using a cramp.But if you are assembling a set neck guitar, you’re going to need at least one cramp (ideally two) to maintain pressure on the neck joint as the glue dries. If using a cramp, be sure to use padding to protect the guitar and prevent compression dents.3.Screwdriver or Powered DrillWhile you can use a screwdriver and it’s actually preferable when installing smaller screws, using a powered drill will allow you to work much faster and allow you to drill pilot holes for the screws of smaller components such as tuners, strap knobs, and string guides without risking cracks developing. If you are planning on using a powered drill and have the option, choose a cordless drill, they’re just a lot easier to work with for jobs of this nature. You should also reduce the torque if possible so you don’t inadvertently countersink your screws or risk the components damaging the paint which can happen if over tightening strap knobs and pickup surrounds for example - Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building an Electric Guitar Kit.You can reduce the torque by adjusting the clutch settings (the numbered section on the drill’s collar). Use a medium or slightly higher setting.4.Lightweight HammerA small hammer, or ideally a builder’s malette is required if you are working on a guitar that features a Tune-o-Matic bridge as the bridge and tailpiece pins need to be tapped into place. Note, you should never hit the pins directly if using a standard hammer. Always use a cushion (plywood works well for this purpose) of timber to cushion the impact and avoid scratching the hardware. This is also useful if your aim is off, as it will prevent denting your guitar. If using a timber malette, consider drilling a hole in a section of play wide enough for the pins as this can serve as a collar and prevent dents.5.Soldering IronIf you are doing the wiring yourself, you are going to need a soldering iron. This is the case for even some of the easier kits to assemble (e.g. the ST guitar kit which features a pre-wired pickguard) as the ground wire will need to be connected to the bridge. Soldering is best done, once you understand the basics. You can read more about how to correctly and safely use a soldering iron here. Also, keep in mind a soldering iron can be useful for repairing dents. A combination of heat and a damp rag can reduce the impact of a dent if held over the dent until the timber swells. 6.Coping Saw or JigsawIf you plan on shaping your guitar’s headstock, a coping saw (or electric jigsaw) is required. Coping saws feature thin, flexible blades (similar to a jigsaw) which allows more precise cuts and curves to be made when shaping your headstock.
First of all, you will need to assess whether your guitar is suited to this type of finish. As the name implies, the highlighted grain/stain finish is a tinted transparent finish that accentuates the grain pattern of your guitar and is sealed with a clear oil finish.In the majority of cases, you should base your choice of finish on the characteristics of the timber your best electric guitar is constructed from or choose the finish you are most interested in beforehand and order your guitar with this in mind.For example, if the timber is unevenly matched, has an uninteresting grain pattern or just doesn’t look great for any number of reasons it’s best not to showcase the timber, in which case a solid color finish will be best suited.Alternatively, if you have a beautiful section of timber with a distinct grain pattern that is well matched it is often a good choice to showcase the timber of your guitar by applying a transparent finish.The highlighted grain/stain finish is best suited to guitars with a distinct grain pattern as those found on timbers such as Mahogany and Ash or guitars that include a figured maple cap or veneer such as Flamed, Quilted or Spalted Maple.If your custom electric guitars has been crafted from Basswood, for instance, this method can still look great but is more dependent on the grain pattern of the specific section of timber your guitar has been constructed from. As a general rule, the grain pattern will be lighter and generally more uniform for Basswood bodies than other timbers.Keep in mind timber (blanks) used for guitar construction are sold in grades, determined by the characteristics and perceived quality of the timber. If the timber of your guitar differs in pattern and color from the examples above chances are you have a different grade of timber than that shown.Guitar Finishing MaterialsIf you have assessed your guitar and believe that showcasing the grain is likely to produce a good result your next step is to source the materials you will require to complete the job.
It can be a real source of frustration to find a dent or chip on your guitar kit’s body or neck. And, while it may seem impossible to fix all is definitely not lost. Dents and chips, what’s the difference?Before we can begin the repair process we first need to identify the problem as we will use different methods for dealing with dents as opposed to chips.DentsThe image below shows a dent on this otherwise beautiful rosewood fretboard. Dents for those unaware are indentations in the timber of the guitar. The wood grains are not broken which means the timber has been compressed rather than a section removed.ChipsChip in guitar finishA chip occurs when a section has been completely removed. You can identify chips in unfinished timber as the grains of the timber will be broken and look torn.In finished guitars, a chip is easier to identify and will usually only have affected the finish leaving the timber beneath unaffected, as per the image above. This is one of the main purposes of a guitar’s finish, to protect the timber of the best electric guitar along with being pleasing to the eye.What causes chips and what causes dents?Dents and chips are typically the results of force e.g. an impact on the guitar e.g. something is dropped on the guitar’s body or neck or the guitar itself has been dropped onto something hard e.g. an edge of a workbench. The amount of force or hardness of the object the guitar has come into contact with usually determines if the guitar has a dent or has been chipped. Dents are usually much easier to fix and are more common than dents in unfinished timber, while chips are more likely to occur after the guitar has been finished.Repairing Dents in Guitar KitsAs dents are caused by compression, ultimately we need to decompress the dented area to return the guitar to its previous state. This is best done using a combination of moisture and heat which can be applied using a clean rag and soldering iron. This method is effective on unsealed timber e.g. unfinished guitar body or a fretboard. However, a sealed guitar body is less likely to suffer a dent in the first place due to the protection the seal coat offers. If you are working with a guitar that has a sealer coat applied lightly sand the sealer coat away in that specific area and apply again once completed. MaterialsSoldering ironClean RagMoistureMethodSwitch on your soldering iron and allow it to heat upDampen a clean rag. It shouldn’t be dripping wet but should be damp.Fold the rag over itself 2-3 times to ensure the direct heat from the soldering iron will not be in contact with the timber and cover the dent with the damp rag. Apply heat to the affected area until the rag is mostly dry. Don’t hold the soldering iron in one place for too long. Think more about applying heat to the area rather than pressing hard against the dent itself.Check your work, and reapply if necessary.The dent has now been completely removed. This only took around 1 minute of applying heat to the damp rag. Deeper dents will take longer.In some instances dents can be much deeper than the example above. If this is the case try the method above first but if unsuccessful consider filling the dent using a tinted filler.