Making A Jazz Bass
I tried a number of Jazz Basses in shops around Manchester, including some expensive Elite models. I really liked them but I could not bear to part with that much cash so, I decided to make one.This series of articles describes the process along with some cock-ups along the way
I started with a full-size plan from JAG Guitars. I planned to make the pickups so I bought pickup kits containing magnets flat-work and covers. I also bought all the other hardware: bridge; scratch plate; control plate; machine heads. Some of these turned out to be not such good buys.
The methods I describe use some machinery, jigs and templates, much of it home made or adapted. It was not always thus, my early builds were produced entirely with hand tools (not even an electric drill) and without the aid of computers and drawing packages. Fret positions were worked out using graphical methods and pickups were hand-wound with wire salvaged from old transformers. Here, hand-wound means holding the bobbin in one hand and winding with the other; truly scatter winding and limited to about 2000 turns. Nevertheless, the guitars did work and were playable if not too refined. My first was from a design in Woodworker Magazine in 1964 if my memory serves me well.