Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

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Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Alan Block » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:03 pm

I have been asked to build a bass for my son. All my experience is in accoutstic instruments and he wants a solid body 5 string fretless bass. Has anyone used a Pitbull kit or know whether a decent instrument can be made from their product.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Freeman Keller » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:59 pm

I have no experience with that brand (that I know of) but when I see a guitar or bass kit for 125 or 150 or 200 dollars I really start to wonder. I have been asked to work on a couple of no name PacRim guitar kits that customers have bought off the internet - I've been singularly unimpressed.

Why don't you consider making your own from scratch. Melvyn Hiscock has a good description of building a thru body bass as one of his three electric guitars (the others are a set neck and bolted neck). If you pay attention to the geometry a solid body instrument is about 500 percent easier than an acoustic guitar (I've built four solid bodies, a bunch of acoustic and hollow bodies). You can order a nice neck from Warmoth or StewMac if you don't want to make your own (again, my experience with PacRim necks like I see in the Pitbull kits has been pretty dismal).
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Bob Gramann » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:55 pm

I second Freeman’s statement. Making a solid body instrument from scratch is not difficult. And, you will end up with a much higher quality instrument than from one of those kits. Your biggest problem will be figuring out what you want and designing it. Following Freeman’s statement on geometry, build it on paper completely before you cut any wood. I love fretless basses.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:15 am

I have no experience with their products but I found this review by a set up guy on you tube:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_46haeB64S0

A kit can save some work, but most use lower quality components (pickups, tuners, etc.) so depending on your skills, time investment, and expectations of the finished product, may or may not be the way to go.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:55 am

If you have access to a bass, use it to get some measurements. Perhaps trace the body shape, also.
If you have acoustic building experience, it will be a simple step to build a solid body.

If you need measurements PM me, I would be more than happy to give mine to you.

The hardest part of building a solid body is building the templates. Good quality, exact templates are a necessity in my opinion.
You will probably have to make or buy, pickup routing templates, and neck pocket routing templates anyway.
Happily this will make you want to build more than one!

Knowledge of scale lengths, bridge and pickup placements, and tuner placement of the headstock are all important, as I'm sure you know already from your acoustic background.
As a bonus. a fretless saves you the step of fretting. :D

This bass started wit h a hand done drawing. All the measurements came from that full scale drawing.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby David King » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:50 pm

The single most common mistake I see in first time basses is that they weigh a ton and as a result no one ever picks them up.
Meanwhile every bass player wants a fretless bass until they have one and then maybe 3% of them take the time to master the instrument. It helps a lot if they come from a violin family background and have good intonation or at least can hear when they are playing out of tune. Fretless is hard and the folks who are really good at it aren't switching back and forth between fretted and fretless. With that said (and I apologize for the explicit negativity), there probably are good kits out there but it is luck of the draw that you should find one with a light weight body. If you really want to build a bass from parts I'd get a neck and most of the parts from Carvin (now Kiesel) https://www.kieselguitars.com/necks/nec ... bass_necks
You'll want tuners that have a larger post, at least 12mm, 1/2" would be even better or you will be breaking a lot of expensive B strings along the way. Bass bridges matter a lot less than people think and a simple bent plate bridge with threaded barrel saddles will do 99.9% of what you need. Where I'd splurge is finding a light weight plank for the 2 piece body. Go to the local exotic wood store and start digging through the piles for a resonant piece of wood that weighs in the 1.9-2.2 pounds per board foot. Look at "swamp" ash, black (aka white) limba, khaya mahogany, pine, yellow cedar, sassafras, basically whatever you can find that's feather light and has some semblance of a tap tone.
Remember that whatever you build will probably have 0 resale value so keep that in mind when coming up with a budget. If your son has any doubts about the longevity of his interest in fretless bass I'd strongly recommend getting him a used Made in Mexico Fender 5 string Jazz bass from which you can recoup your investment pretty easily and will provide hours of training in reworking the frets, reworking the pickups and electronics etc. The fretted version will be much easier to find and you can pull the frets out and fill the slots with veneer as you first project. When it comes time to sell it you can easily put the frets back in if a fretless proves hard to sell. Once he's mastered the J bass you can use it as a starting place for locating the touch points on your new design.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Bob Gramann » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:48 pm

Confirming David’s comments, I built my first acoustic fretless bass guitar after I had been an upright bass player for a couple of decades. I put the standard guitar side markers on it (at the exact intonation points) and nothing on the face of the fretboard. It was wonderful to play requiring only a couple of minutes to calibrate. The bass player who bought it had never played fretless and adapted within minutes. (I’m sure that the tips I gave her helped a lot.) The second one I built went to a seasoned bass player who played it and loved it instantly. I don’t know his background. Most of the bass players that I know are upright players. For me, at least, a fretted bass is a totally different instrument requiring concentration to play.

A couple of years ago, I bought a Fender fretless jazz bass because I had one gig a year where the upright caused too many feedback issues. The Fender bass came with markers instead of frets. At first, I loved the markers, and the next bass I built had them. But, I think they’re holding me back. It’s too easy to look when I should be letting my ears do the work. I have to concentrate on not looking when I play that bass.

And I second everything David says about weight. Even the MIM Jazz bass that I have is way too heavy.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Peter Wilcox » Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:03 am

I solved the weight problem by making the bodies thinner ( 1 1/2") and cutting out some superfluous wood. They're still well balanced without neck dive.
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OP here again

Postby Alan Block » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:22 pm

We have decided to go with a Warmoth custom neck and I will make the body from scratch. I found a really nice piece of African Mahogany 15" wide and 24' long and 1.75" thick. He has decided on MusicMan style pickups from Aguilar, a preamp and 34" scale. I can cut out the body and route some of the pockets while waiting for the neck but I will wait on the neck before routing the pickups. The access to the switches and pots will be from the back. I welcome any comments and opinions on this configuration.

My son is a fairly accomplished bass player who has 2 fretless basses already. He came from a cello background and he seems pretty certain what he wants. My job is to make sure I can translate his needs into a design. Placement of the pickups is my main concern at this point. I do not how critical this is or what the different positions have on the sound.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Barry Daniels » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:58 pm

Placement of pickups is not that critical. Place one near the bridge and the other one next to the end of the fretboard.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby David King » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:38 am

I'd recommend putting at least one coil of each pickup at the Fender Jazz bass locations. Those are at approximately 2.6" and 6.2" from the G string saddle location. I'd also recommend waiting until you get the neck pocket routed and the neck bolted on before locating the bridge and then routing the pickups in. Doing it in any other order is courting maybe not disaster but some inconvenient misalignments that could be irksome for a long time.
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Re: Opinions please. Pitbull Bass Kit

Postby Matthew Lau » Wed May 23, 2018 6:49 pm

Just a shameless plug for the MIMF bass plans.

I have them, and they are great.
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