Handcrafted basses


I've had a number of e-mails asking me about dimensions/measures, sometimes of one my basses, sometimes general dimensions. I have no detailed plans of my own basses. I usually start with a drawing, more or less scaled. The body is drawn life-size on a piece of hardboard en sawed out.I get a better impression of the body that way, and i can use that as a mold during the glueing of the various pieces. I often alter the shape a bit on the hardboard a bit, a little sharper edge here, a little rounder there. That sort of thing. Some measures depend of the chosen hardware, for instance the width of the neck near the body depends on the string spacing on the bridge. ( That is NOT standard on all bridges, so buy it before you start and measure it!).

Sometimes it happens that after cutting out the final shape the appearance is different then i thought, because of the thickness of the body. In that case, i go to work again with saw and powerfile for some final adjusments. That's why there's little point in making too detailed drawings.

So for the people who aks me about plans and blueprints: I can't help you there. But still, i have some general dimensions below. So that you'll know how much wood you need to buy, and some measures are pretty standard when using the most common scale. 34 inch/86cm for a bass, 25 inch/64 cm for a guitar. I'm assuming 24 frets for the fretboard (= 2 octaves). The fretboard is a little longer than the distance between nut and fret no. 24.
(note: fret no. 12 is located exactly on 1/2 on the scale, and no.24 on 3/4 on the scale)

On the picture above you can see how the bass is built up from different pieces
Piece 1 is about 60cm long and 12cm wide (L 24" and W 5")
The pieces in the middle (2) are 120cm long and together 10cm wide (L 48" and W 4")
Piece 3 measures about 45cm long and 12cm wide (L 18" and W 4")
Another body shape provides you with different dimensions, obviously.

Instr.ScaleFretboarda-Ab-B c-Cd-De-Ef-Fg-Gh-H
BASS 86 cm ca.66 cm 41 mm 60 mm 40 mm 7-8 mm 27 mm 23 mm 10 mm 5 mm
GUITAR 64 cm ca.50 cm 44 mm 60 mm 40 mm 10 mm 27 mm 23 mm 7 mm 4 mm

Measure b-B depends on the string spacing on the bridge
Measure d-D depends on the minimum heigth of the brudge (see below)
Measure h-H can be a little more towards the body, compensation for a greater string amplitude, and more room for playing techniques like hammer-on, pull-off and pushing the strings up.

You are free to use other dimensions of course, even the well known brands have different dimensions for their models. For a 5-string bass, the string spacing is usually the same as for a 4-string, only the neck is wider. There are exceptions on this rule, beacuse there are "narrow" and "wide" 5-string basses. The height of the neck related to the body (in the table d-D: 7-8 mm) assumes a flat bridge (Fender PB/JB, Telecaster), The Gibson Les Paul style bridges are a little higher above the body. Gibson compensates this by tilting the neck a little backwards. Anyway, keep that in mind, maybe you should take a little more for d-D, or the strings will be too far above the fingerboard. If you lost track of all these dimensions, and wich to use best, measure a guitar or bass you know it plays comfortably. Better well copied then bad invented.

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