Ratajczyk's Revenge

Posted by The Fretwire on

Builder: Chris

Comments: A Fender Jaguar donated all of its parts: one pair of Precision bass pickups and one Jazz bass pickup; volume control for each plus tone and the three-position switch is wired P, J, OFF. I've never owned a bass with a Jazz bass pickup before and I must say I like it. Not as full sounding as the precision bass pickup but it doesn't get muddy at all either. It plays well and sounds great, however:

  1. The bridge mounting holes were drilled off center, I corrected that without much trouble.
  2. It's SUPER neck heavy; let go of the neck and it dives right to the floor. Haven't corrected that yet.
  3. It comes pre-drilled for a pick guard and I didn't want a pick guard; I hid the holes with that funky paint job.
  4. The frets needed to be leveled and crowned; they turned out OK though.
  5. The nut was glued in before I received it and whoever did it made a mess with the glue, so the area around the nut wouldn't take the green dye properly.
  6. I could probably have been more aggressive with wet sanding the tung oil finish on the body, maybe I'll go back some day and do that.
  7. I'd finish the neck differently with what I learned working on the body; more black accents, more coats of tung oil finish.
What I like about it:
  1. Good price, $150.00 for the kit plus $35.00 for a set of used Fender Jaguar pickups and controls on Reverb.com.
  2. It's nice and light.
  3. It was fun to do and I learned a lot in the process. I met a local luthier and he routed the pickup cavities for me, also taught me a lot and gave me loads of advice.
  4. The tuners and other hardware are smooth with just a little oil.
  5. There are a few spots on the body where the wood catches the light really nicely and fortunately the neck blends pretty well into the body.
I'm curious to see how close I can adjust the action after it's had string tension on it for a month or so. These things change over time. New, high quality strings will make a significant improvement in the sound. I might end up replacing the chrome hardware with black hardware someday if I find something cheap. I'd like to build another one, probably a five string Thunderbird style or even a nice big hollow body bass. That would be sweet.

Link: Find the TL style bass kit here