Saturday, July 11, 2020

My Custom Precision Bass


  • Kit from BYO
    • The tuners and bridge are of better quality than expected (They are better than the one found on a Fender Squire PJ Bass Affinity).
    • Inserting the neck in the body was not a problem but required multiple tries, though one of the pre-drilled holes was not perfectly aligned, the mounting plate is not straight.
    • 3 frets needed correction as they were too high
    • The pickup is also surprisingly good. It does not sound like a Seymour  Duncan '60s Pride. But it is clear. See below for my evaluation of affordable P Bass pickups.
    • So far I was able to set up the action to a low level
    • The bass is very enjoyable to play
    • Intonation was an issue at first. I had to drill new holes 15 cm further and I used a $60 Omega bridge that I already bought.
  • Things I missed
    • I should have given more attention to sanding the body, I am not sure how I missed it, but in the end, there were more scratch and some holes on the body.
    • Applying a stain before painting may have been better for the coloring. In the back  the coloring is uneven, it seems part of the wood absorbed more or less the paint. I did not spend has many coats of paint in the back than in the front and it shows.
    • Building a painting stand for the body like in this Video would have avoided some bumps when applying the Vernis?
    • Bridge positioning. But how can you know in advance the length of the strings from the 12 fret to the bridge will be 17.5 inches, instead of 17 inches to reach acceptable intonation.
      So I had to drill holes twice and re-position the bridges, this is not a big issue except for the fact that there are 2 marks trying to conceal 2 previous holes.
  • Most Challenging
    • I probably mounted and un-mounted the neck 6 times, before I found the perfect position (these things require practice). But I could tell right away that it was a perfect feat and the not so perfect drilled holes created some issues.
    • Mounting the bridge was challenging because it has to be positioned perfectly in a 90-degree angle, and I am not sure what I could have used as a reference point.
      Watch some video on youtube about that.
      I found that one person was applying some painting tape around the bridge areas and then draw some line with a ruler using as reference the right and left side of the neck.
      The distance is not a problem we know it is  17 ". The problem is the Angle.
      Once I drew the lines I centered the 4 main holes from the bridges on the lines.
    • Since I positioned the pickups after the bridge there was a little miss alignment between the strings and the pickups. This can be corrected by moving the saddle, but it may affect intonation. It may be better to mount the pickup before the bridge and use some light write to verify the alignment


Audio Test

This is with the BYO Kit + Omega Bridge + G.M. Thumpers! 60's Style P-Bass Alnico 5 Pickups 
I used Guitar Rig 5, Bass Amp, Precise Bottom
  • Bass + 2 Guitars + Drums - Audio
  • Bass + Drums - Audio


The oil paint used took at least 5 full days to dry. So it took 2 weeks to finish the painting.
Using the Vernis spraymax (see above link), is relatively easy

Painting days

First coat on Saturday 1 and second coat Sunday 1.
Took up to Friday to dry.

Third coat on Saturday 2
Took up to Friday to dry.

Vernis on Saturday 3
Take 24 hours to dry

The Vernis looks better in these pictures taken 1 hour after applying than in the end.

Assembling Week End 3

On Sunday 3, I was able to assemble the P Bass.
  • There are issues with fret 12 and 13 on the D string
  • I did not even try to finalize the intonation
  • Action is low
  • Tuning is stable

This is not the Nut from the kit, I bought this one
Graph Tech Black TUSQ XL 42mm Flat Bottom P Bass N PT-1205-00

Assembling Week End 3

Fix the fret 12 and 13 on the D string.

As almost visible on the picture and in real life, the fret 12 and 13 on the D string are higher.

Using a general all-purpose file. and 600 and 1500 grits sandpaper, I was able to remove the bump.

Intonation and bridge placement issue.

Having set up the saddle in the bridge at mid-distance, when I placed the bridge for the first time.
I could not complete the intonation, as I needed more distance to lengthen the strings.

My Omega Bridge, positioned exactly in the same holes gave me more distance to work with.
But this was not enough, I had to moved the bridge15 cm further, which mean more holes

In the final result, I can complete the intonation. But there are 2 holes.
To fix the intonation, the distance between the 12 fret and the bridge/saddle string connection point is almost 17.5 inch, instead of 17 inch. I do not know what this mean and is this wrong or expected.

Evaluating PickUp 

References - YouTube Video

I found these 2 videos on YouTube that demonstrate what a P Bass should sound.
For now I am going to evaluate cheap P Bass pickup between $12 and $30 dollars, all from China (I guess). I have 3 Pickups

More Fret Fixing

After 2 weeks playing with the bass, I tackled fixing 2 other frets that were too high

Reference Videos

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