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Replacement Bodies


T. Alan Smith

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So a friend of mine rebuilds electric g**tars-n-basses for himself only. He'd like to do it on a more professional level, but time, money, etc, have him limited.

So I came up with a business plan for him.

Simply start with direct replacement bodies for popular basses, Fender obviously, but Gibson, etc could follow. I told him to noodle out some designs that would look good with his customer's necks(i.e. headstocks). He'd have to originally offer common pickup routing. I'm thinking laminated tops(??), carved tops(??), semi hollow(??), etc...all besides different, cool shapes.

Anyway, market this, and if successful, could provide what would be necessary to expand the business.

Depending on what he'd come up with, I can see myself ordering a Warmoth or Mighty Mite neck and one of his bodies...

 

Thoughts?

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I think that would be a killer way for someone to get started on some new and cool design ideas. I love seeing what some of the newer builder have come up with in recent years, and the more of them the better! We don't need any more jazz and P bodies, we need original and fresh new shapes. Stuff that would seperate him and his work from the rest. That's one aspect I love about LeCompte's designs, when you see one you instantly know who designed it, and they have a very unique place in the bass world. I hope your buddy decides to do it, and make sure to post some pics of his work.:thu:

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So, he wants to do what Warmoth, etc. do?
:confused:

 

He would't copy Fender designs. Rather, he'd design his own. They, of course, would have to compliment existing headstock designs(i.e. direct replacements), but the idea is to allow him to excercise his creative side...as well as his craft.

Make sense yet? :freak:

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I think that would be a killer way for someone to get started on some new and cool design ideas. I love seeing what some of the newer builder have come up with in recent years, and the more of them the better! We don't need any more jazz and P bodies, we need original and fresh new shapes. Stuff that would seperate him and his work from the rest. That's one aspect I love about LeCompte's designs, when you see one you instantly know who designed it, and they have a very unique place in the bass world. I hope your buddy decides to do it, and make sure to post some pics of his work.
:thu:

 

I KNEW you'd get what I was thinking! :thu::D

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The only thought I have is this:


There is a reason noone else is doing it, and it's not because it hasn't been tried.

 

I disagree. There are several builders, who have been silently taking bass building in new directions in recent years, that got their start exactly like this. Guys like Dingwall, Nordstrand, Benavente, Hanewinkle, LeCompte, these guys are becoming successful on their own unique designs, and had started small. This is probably a great time to be into bass, the possibilities are endless when people who have the skills, the drive to bring out new designs decide to give it a shot. Without that kind of thinking we'd all be playing Fenders! :cool:

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I disagree. There are several builders, who have been silently taking bass building in new directions in recent years, that got their start exactly like this. Guys like Dingwall, Nordstrand, Benavente, Hanewinkle, LeCompte, these guys are becoming successful on their own unique designs, and had started small. This is probably a great time to be into bass, the possibilities are endless when people who have the skills, the drive to bring out new designs decide to give it a shot. Without that kind of thinking we'd all be playing Fenders!
:cool:

Just to be clear...I'm suggesting that a highly customized body with standard pickup routing that bolts to a standard P Bass neck won't cut it IMHO.

 

It's kinda like the "Pimp My Ride" effect, all flash and no substance.

 

If you're gonna spend the money to go custom, then go custom all the way.

 

Another thought, and a possible solution:

 

Why isn't he doing necks?

 

Would he consider buying neck blanks and customizing them with inlay work or modifying the headstock shape?

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Just to be clear...I'm suggesting that a highly customized body with standard pickup routing that bolts to a standard P Bass neck won't cut it IMHO.


It's kinda like the "Pimp My Ride" effect, all flash and no substance.

 

Still disagree, and who says that this guy can't build substance into an original design? There are a TON of unique body shapes with fender/fender style headstocks out there. There is a market for new and exciting bass shapes, I know this for a fact. Half of my basses are pretty wild, and I've seen the reactions of bass player when they first see them. Even some of the most dyed in the wool fender heads have told me they find them undeniably cool. If a builder designs and builds with taste, skill, and finds his market, the sky's the limit. He doesn't need to build a thousand basses to succeed, just enough to make it worth while. And, it is very possible to have flash WITH substance, sometimes lots of substance.;)

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I'm not sure that there is any reason to actually make your own bolt on bodies. Warmoth and USAcustom will both do custom bodies if you are buying quantity (actually even if you aren't I think, but they are expensive). A number of manufacturers outsource body and neck production because it is cheaper than doing them by hand or buying your own CNC machine.

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Another thought, and a possible solution:


Why isn't he doing necks?


Would he consider buying neck blanks and customizing them with inlay work or modifying the headstock shape?

 

Like I said, limited resources. He wants to, but I was just thinking that this could be the simplest route to get to where he wants to be.

As far as starting with neck blanks...I'll run it past him. :thu:

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I'm not sure that there is any reason to actually make your own bolt on bodies.

 

 

Maybe because someone wants to excercise their artistic side. Maybe because someone wants to excercise their craft? Maybe because, like making music, you want to share that with a greater audience(no pun), and getting some sort of compensation would help furthur that immensely.

 

Otherwise, I understand where your coming from with regard to the rest of your statement.

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Why? How?

 

Personal preference, and I'm cheap. I buy and sell stuff pretty regularly.

 

Also, I'm assuming he'd like to make a profit. It seems to me that he would want to sell these bodies at a premium over what WD or Warmoth would charge. When you bolt on all the parts you'd end up with a bass that's pretty expensive and still a complete no-name with very limited resale value.

 

I owned an early Buscarino Bass http://www.buscarino.com/ (they were called Nova back then) that I bought used for cheap in a pawn shop ($200). I thought I stole it! However, when I sold it I realized it was worth only what I paid because of the limited market.

 

At least if he sources quality neck blanks he could add wings a la Rickenbacker or a veneer face and sell the complete bass as custom and branded.

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+1 on getting a run of custom shaped warmoth bodies with necks with the paddle headstock. Hell, order enough they'll probably do your shape as well.

 

I can think of a few builders who assemble warmoth basses. The difference between you and I doing it and someone with talent is night and day!

 

Good luck to him!

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