Hey guys im new to so not sure how everything works so i do apologise if this has been answered before.

Anyway i am planning on building a through neck bass (i have intermediate woodwork skills and plenty of patience) and yes i do understand there is a million different complicated steps to building a bass.

I have researched into how i am going to build the main sections of the bass and i am confident with the basic shape of the body, neck length and head position.

The problem i will be having is to do with the truss rod and the fret board as i am unsure on how to get the correct arc running the whole length of the fret board and what type of truss rod to use I.e single or dual and also how to house it?

As this is my first build i am not expecting it to go perfectly before i am bombarded with people saying start basic and work to it, any and all advice would be helpful even if it is not to do with these stages i've queried

Thanks, ryan

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Hi Ryan,

 I'm not the one to give you advice on this but I'm going to start thing off anyway by asking if you have plans and/or an instruction book of some sort? 

I guess the question really boils down to asking how much instruction you are expecting from the forum as opposed to how much instructional material you already have available.

thanks for the reply and i have rough sketches and dimensions that i will be using.

i am doing a rickenbacker STYLE not copy with a 34" scale and 24 frets.

As for books.. no.. but i have done a lot of internet research and watched a lot of professional tutorials.

I am planning on getting 3 boards of maple, 1 for the neck and head, and 2 for either side of the body, i am planning on using Indian rosewood for the fretboard but this is undecided yet as im not sure if i can get it.

rough stages i have planned for:

1. measure out neck and body lengths on wood and cut accordingly. (this will include head angle)

2. cut down neck to desired width

2a. route out truss rod housing 

3. glue fretboard to neck

3. round neck to desired arc and round fretboard (this stage i am not 100% on how to do)

4. glue and clamp body pieces to the neck piece.

5. draw on body shape/design

6. cut out body

7. route out pick-up housing, bridge position and dials

8. paint/ lacquer

9. install machines, frets and nut

i think this is all, when it comes to it i will have a much more detailed plan.


Good on you for having the motivation to jump in and make an instrument, but I think Ned is giving you a nudge in a really important direction. Things will go much better if you work from a plan.  It doesn't mean that you can't depart from the plan or customize, but there will be a thousand points in the build where it will be helpful to be able to refer to the dimensions, angles, curves, routing, wiring of an established plan so that you can work out what you want to do.

There are lots of plans available on line for free.  If you want a Ric-style bass have a look at this German site with numerous Ric 4000 series plans (about 80% of the way down this very long page):

There is a good list of plans sites here if you want to go surfing for others:

And getting an introductory book will also help you make informed decisions rather than trial and error decisions.

By all means come to luthier forums for advice too - but you will find it easier and smoother if you arm yourself with the basic information before you start.  And then you will be using the forum to ask "value adding" questions, not the 101 stuff.

Welcome to the fun of DIY luthiery


thanks for your replies and yeah im not going to rush into this so when ive decided on all things im going to sit down and draw a design out with all dimensions on so i have it for reference.

i am also going to stick some pieces of a3 paper together or get an a1 piece so i can make a full scale drawing on for when i actually start the build.

thanks for the links and

what sort of books would you advise as well please?


My first suggestion would be to NOT build a neck through for your first build. Necks require a lot of feel only acquired through experience, and if the neck turns out poorly you can end up with at the least a seriously difficult repair, if not a sub par instrument or even a wall hanger. Not to mention working the angles is a bitch with limited experience and tools, so much better to learn on a bolt on where you can replace or repairthe neck without a great deal of trouble, or at least much less trouble.

Also, if you plan on cutting the headstock angle into the neck blank (i.e. No scarf joint), I highly suggest making a laminated neck to overcome the weakness of grain runout that would occur on a one piece neck built this way. This means you also need to understand wood movement and and how to laminate wood re grain orientation in order to end up with a stable neck. This is not an absolute must however.


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