Custom Jazz Bass Build
South Austin Guitar Repair
This project was special, it was a personal project, resurrected from one of the first basses I ever built! This particular project had changed appearances a few times through it’s life. Originally, it was a Jazz bass, then I experimented with a series of different pickup combinations, all of which required routing to the body. Eventually, this bass was set aside and scraped for parts. After using some of the spalted maple for a repair on another build, I sanded the top wood of the bass entirely and set it aside as a future project.
Finally, I had an objective. Build a bass with a sharp attack, broad tonal range, sleek look, light-weighted and elegant aesthetic. Having never built a bass with a graphite neck, I knew that was a necessary component. I had this bookmatched AAAA quilted maple top sitting around for years. Originally, I was planning to build a guitar with it, but things got in the way and the farthest I ever got was gluing the two pieces together until it sat for years. Something funny about working with this this maple top: I don’t currently own a band saw, which is how I typically would cut out wood when building. SO when working with this piece of maple, I cut it by hand, scoring the wood with a straight-edge ruler and a razor. When the top wood was close to shape, I glued it onto the walnut body and rasped the rest of it to fit the shape. Lastly, I beveled the top with a hand router.
For electronics, I was on a mission for a versatile, sharp-attacking growling bass tone. I hadn’t had a jazz bass for a long time. I am always experimenting with different pickup combinations and manufacturers to see what is best, but you can’t the simplicity of the almighty jazz bass. Gritty, tight, balanced; there’s good reason why they are the winning combination for musicians and manufacturers. I am a firm supporter of the Aguliar OBP preamps. I have them installed on each of my 6 basses. This one was an OBP-2, which offers a bass/treble boost and cut. I wired those with a stacked pot to save space. I prefer my pickups to be wired through a 3-way mini toggle switch into to a single volume. I’m all or nothing when it comes to pickup volume and combinations. Now, comes is my ace in the hole. The middle knob on this bass is actually a 5-way rotary switch. It’s a distortion circuit that moves from true bypass and though 4 switchable distortion models that get progressively grittier as you go up. Personally, I prefer the 3rd position for my stylings. Just enough break-up for each note to pierce through the mix while still maintaining clarity and the role of the low end of my band.
For all your guitar repair needs, contact Andrew of South Austin Guitar Repair – 512-590-1225