Handcrafted basses

What does it cost to build...

How much does it cost to build a guitar or bass yourself? That depends on a few things. The quality and price of the hardware, what kind of wood are you going to use, do you have special wishes, like gold-plated hardware, do you want active pickups etc.. There is, however, a minimum price for wich you can build a straightforward guitar, with enough quality for a long life. No expensive brand parts, but still good stuf. 1 pickup, volume and tone controls, a simple bridge (no tremolo). Prices in Euro, for Dollars add 15 to 20%.

bridge 15,-
tuners 30,-
nut 5,-
pickup 40,-
volume- and tone controls 10,-
endpins 5,-
frets 10,-

extras 25,- :This includes things like sandpaper, glue, screws, a steel (truss)rod for the neck, a piece of plastic for pickguard and so on. Those little extra things can cost you quite a lot when you have to buy everything. Most D-I-Y fans have some of those matters already in th house, so the 25,- is an average.
Total for hardware and building cost : 150,-

You have to add something for the strings of course, there is a little difference here for solo or bass: 10,- (solo) or 25,- (bass)

Then, of course, you need the wood. With some luck, you don't have to buy that. For some of my own basses i didn't spend a cent for wood. I've used an oakwooden rafter from an old farm, a piece of a beechwooden sofa, oak chairlegs and a mahogany windowshelf. It is also worthwhile to browse for wood at junkyards. Watch out you get real wood: for furniture MDF or chipwood is often veneered to look like hardwood. You don't want to use that for your guitar of course.
If you have to buy the wood, and it has to be not too expensive, go for the non-exotic easily obtainable woods. Don't order at a suppliere of special guitarwoods, because you're going to pay a lot there. I've seen an ebony fretboard for 200,- somewhere! Better to buy at the local DIY-shop or woodshop, that's a lot cheaper. Remember to buy narrow pieces for the neck and glue them together (see also woodwork page). Anyway: for a piece of non-exotic hardwood, you pay about 50,-

With the strings and wood our cheap bass(guitar) costs about 225,-. That is a little more expensive than the cheapest beginnersmodel, but on the other hand, has more quality and you know that you've used a good piece of wood. You should sand the paint of such a cheap model, i've done that once and i found plywood under the paint! If you take a better brand pickup, or maybe even 2, plus a bridge and tuners from a good brand, the difference between building and buying becomes something else: For about 500,- you can have a bass or guitar wich can compete with a model of 1500,- or far beyond!

Next: pick your materials. Go on to the MATERIALS page.