Comments: First of all, thank you to Sam and ˜the Fret Wire ' for their personal customer service and willingness to accommodate special requests. I started this build in April 2017 and completed it December 21st ¦ my goal was to be able to play it for our Christmas Eve services at church, I reached my goal! The basic kit would be good by itself for any beginner or novice bass player, having played for number of years I decided to upgrade.. considerably. I read a number of online articles about people that have purchased kits and warned against spending a lot of money on upgrades ¦ likened it to polishing something that can't be polished. Well, I found the Fret Wire kit to be a viable starting point to a fantastic finish. I did make numerous upgrades, in fact I only ended up using the wood and knobs from the kit. I knew what my desired result was, and did a considerable amount of research to achieve that result. Anyone reading this has many options; based on skill, budget, resources, and patience ¦ you can create your own masterpiece or work of art.
- I started by recessing the edge of the electronics pocket so the cap would be flush in the back of the body
- next step was to sand the body, I worked my way from 200 up to 1500
- I decided to add a little extra to the head stock by trimming the top and engraving my monogram to the face
- going a step further I created a fill out of the rosewood fretboard filings to do inlay into the engraved monogram
- the fretboard filings came from the end that connected to the body, I decided to do a wave finish to meet the body instead of a 90* joint
- I filed down the inlay fill, and the monogram came to life ¦ !
- the neck was much easier to sand because of the maple, I worked it up to 1500 as well
- after getting the finish pretty much complete I did a dry set up to see how everything would line up with the neck and the body. It did not line up well so I had to shim the neck (in the body pocket) before bolting it on.
- I mounted the bridge, machine heads, strung it ¦ and did a partial set up. A little disappointed in the neck and fretboard, it appears the fretboard was attached to the neck before the wood had a chance to cure and was not flat.
- I did what I could to true up the frets ¦ but to no avail
- knowing I would end up with an undesired result I took the neck to Roberto Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, AZ. I met with one their instructors, John Reuter, who introduced me to Steve Eisenberg (a soon to be graduating student ¦ on Instagram @eisenberginstruments). Steve was starting his own company and eager to help solve my problem
- Steve ended up stripping out the frets and leveling the fretboard. After the fretboard was leveled he re-fretted the board. Before delivering it back to his first official customer, he polished out the frets and board ¦ and it turned out amazing! A big thank you to Roberto Venn, John Reuter, and Steve Eisenberg (eisenberginstruments.com).
- I was able to work on the body while the neck was in the shop, my choice for body finish ended up being a medium walnut stain and Tru-Oil (Birchwood Casey TM) for the finish. The body accumulated 30 coats of oil and wet sanding with 2000 between each coat.
- when I got the neck back I decided to go with nitrocellulose lacquer to complete the contrast look I was going for ¦ 25 coats.
- After completing the finish I polished out the body and neck with fine and extra fine polishing compound from Stew-Mac
- The time involved, (and the re-do's) on the body and neck, was considerable. Some of that time just for the curing process ¦ after polishing was complete the finish line was near.
- capping off the finish I decided to go with an African Mahogany cap for the truss rod nut, and a maple cover (to match the neck) for the wiring pocket. The black plastic didn't seem to go with the look ¦ ;)
- time for electronics, I opted for CTS pots, and Bartolini Deep Tone Split Coil pickups. I changed the wiring diagram from two volume and two tone, to 1 volume, neck tone, bridge tone, and blend with center detent.
- Hardware; I went with a Hipshot 5-String B Brass Bridge, and Hipshot Ultralite machine heads.
- I went with a tusq nut instead of the plastic nut provided in the kit ¦ very happy I did.
- set-up was a dream; truss rod adjusted quickly, saddle height action is nearly perfect, fitting the nut was a little work but came out very nice, and intonation perfect across the entire fretboard.
- pickup height was easy as well, the Bartolini dual coil deep tones are amazing!!!
Link: Find the 5 string bass guitar kit here