Hi All - Been a long time since I posted as I've been busy just building CBGs and having a good time. These are all your basic 3/4 x 1 1/2 oak neck with a quarter inch fretboard and scarf joint. A few weeks back my son mentioned he would be interested in a bass so I've been thinking about that. So thats been rattling around my head for awhile and I've googled a few things, but basically I don't know doodley about basses. Sounds like my choices in scale length are 30" short scale - 32" - or 35" standard. I also believe the neck is going to have to be beefier than what I've been dealing with. Will a standard single-coil pickup work just fine on a bass ?   Any words of wisdom would be appreciated before I start my journey.

Views: 471

Replies to This Discussion

John sawyer is thinking about a bass just now too. Bump heads, two brains are better than one.

The thing about basses that I discovered was that neck dip had to be well planned out. My 28" crossover has a bass string and the bottom 3 for a normal guitar so I simply struck lucky through a lot of planning. And a lot of unplanned luck.

If I were to do it again I would not attempt it without an adjustable truss rod for neck dip set up. Bass strings have quite a large vibrational circumference that must be taken into account or you will get fret buzz or have to compensate with very high action.

When you take into account neck length, string tension and fret leveling it gets into the twilight zone.
What I learned was a great respect for bass builders. The best advice I can give is research research research.

Yes the neck needs to be beefier, four thick strings pulling on the neck vs a cbg with 3 guitar strings. The good thing is a little thicker goes a long way, a 1" neck is nearly twice the strength of a 3/4" one. 

You could consider easing in a bit, make a 2 string bass.  I did a fretless 2 string with a narrow but deeper neck, and I used a 32" scale, as there are jazz bass strings for a 32" scale, they are somewhat thinner than standard bass strings.  I used the lowest two tuned to E A.  I used a piezo for the pickup, it sounds like a bass even unplugged, and plays what seems to be ok to me, although I really don't know how to play a bass beyond Louie Louie.

Also worth mentioning is that if you use bass strings, you will need bass tuners as the diameter of the strings is too big for regular tuners.  The strings I used were able to work ok with standard tuners.

Never built one, but I play a bit. Kigar's advice sounds good to me. There are jokes about bass players only using 2 or 3 of their strings. Maybe not entirely true, but I'd rather have a reliable instrument with 2 or 3 strings than a warped neck. Also, have you considered a fretless fingerboard? They're not that much harder to play and you remove the buzz hazard. If you do fret, you're gonna' need big, honking frets to stand up to the bass strings.

I just completed my first CBB using a neck that was an inch thick and 1.5" wide (no taper). Three strings on that one and 30" scale. I did not install a truss rod and it seems to hold (though I just sent it across the country to my son - hoping it holds up in his whiskey band :). You can see pictures and a video of it on my profile page.

I just started a new bass project - this time it'll be 4 strings, and somewhere between 30" and 32" scale (since it's fretless, I don't need to finalize that until I lay out the bridge/tailpiece). I'm taking some risk by rounding out the back of the neck a bit, and still no truss rod. But I'm also topping the neck with a 1/4" fingerboard on this one (didn't do that on the other). We'll see if that's enough mass to ward off warpage.

I'll post some pictures of the current project when I finish this comment. Feel free to ask questions, but I'm definitely no expert.


Standard is 34" for Fender Jazz and Precision basses.

I've built a bass and a double neck 4/bass CBG, both used 34" scale and were set up with 1x2 necks (.75" x 1.5") and used only two strings. With a 1/4" fretboard glued to the top of the 1x2, it didn't need a truss rod.

CBGitty sells P-bass style pickups, I just used one section of the two and it works fine.

I've also built my own "Fenderbird" custom bass using a Chinese made Fender Jazz neck mated to a custom body. I paid about $90 for a remade neck on eBay and focused my carpentry efforts on the rest of the project. On my own I'd never have been able to build near as nice a neck.

If you decide to go the two-string route, why not a small scale (20") CB Bass that uses bass ukulele strings and a piezo? If you already have a box of Gitty parts, the only "extra" things you'd need are 2 tuners ($6 ea) and a set of Aquila Thunderguts or Kala U-bass strings ($20-$25).  I have a video on my profile of mine, and I'm still pretty happy with it. Good luck!

Tried a U-Bass in the store and it sounded great. I've been afraid that a CGB version wouldn't live up to the standard--maybe because there are "secrets" to getting such a great sound. If it will work, a U-Bass size would be ideal for what we're all trying to do.

I think the "secret ingredient" was the $21 CB Gitty pre-amp/EQ kit. It really boosts the signal and warms up the sound. I was going for an organic "upright" sound as opposed to a metallic bass guitar sound, so the U-Bass strings helped achieve that. Also, very little tension on the neck so a regular 1x2 poplar was sufficient. 

Thanks. I'll spring for the $21 and try it. I actually encountered one studio guy who was sneaking his U-bass in because he preferred the rich sound to a Fender. I would love to have a "homemade junker" that I could play on stage with bluegrassers.

Hilo Greg, Which tuners did you use? I got a set of cheap bass tuners but the heavier two strings are too big to fit the slot.

TN, it probably will sound different but our cbg's sound different too. I expect mine will sound great! There are a few discussion's in the bass group on the strings for more info.

I used the basic CB Gitty bass tuning machines (4 for $20.99). I stretched the end of the U-bass string with 2 pliers (1 in each hand) until it flattened out a little, then shoved it into the slot. Be careful not to stretch the part of the string you will be playing, or it will affect the tuning and intonation. 


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building Basics

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources

Discussion Forum

Cigar box a little different

Started by Phil Farabough. Last reply by Phil Farabough Nov 10, 2018. 10 Replies

first bass build

Started by Patrick. Last reply by BrianQ. Nov 8, 2018. 6 Replies

looking for alternate tunings-

Started by Daniel Walter. Last reply by Ken Hutchinson Oct 14, 2017. 16 Replies

Bass build help

Started by Ro'Nique Staley Mar 22, 2017. 0 Replies

My first bass build

Started by Bryan Putnam. Last reply by Richard Haas Dec 2, 2016. 15 Replies

Building my first bass

Started by Henry S. Last reply by TN Twang Nov 30, 2016. 11 Replies

fingerboard question(s)

Started by Euraquilo. Last reply by Fomhorach Nov 1, 2016. 6 Replies

3 string bass questions

Started by Euraquilo. Last reply by Euraquilo Oct 31, 2016. 18 Replies

3 String Cigar Box Bass Guitar Parts

Started by Will T. Last reply by Murdoc_420 Jul 16, 2016. 3 Replies

Bass strings??

Started by jeffrey ross. Last reply by jeffrey ross Mar 25, 2016. 13 Replies

Magnetic vs Piezo pickup

Started by PhilUSAFRet. Last reply by Murdoc_420 Mar 25, 2016. 8 Replies

Weed eater strings and tuning.

Started by Poppy. Last reply by Murdoc_420 Feb 29, 2016. 7 Replies

Bass Uke string question(s)

Started by Lane Martin. Last reply by Where's Uranus? Jan 7, 2016. 6 Replies

Looking for 2 string bass plans

Started by Mike. Last reply by Mike Jan 6, 2016. 8 Replies

UBass strings

Started by Bobby Fields. Last reply by Bobby Fields Dec 11, 2015. 3 Replies

First bass build got a few questions .

Started by Piht Bull (Delta Dawg Guitars). Last reply by Scott aka Farmer Ted Apr 23, 2015. 23 Replies

bass frets...

Started by john mackay. Last reply by john mackay Feb 4, 2015. 4 Replies

Blog Posts

Spammer Alert, Beware!!!

Posted by BrianQ. on September 11, 2023 at 6:30am 0 Comments

Montana Mandoline

Posted by CaptnCatfish on August 27, 2023 at 6:26am 3 Comments

Banjo 2

Posted by Ian Boyd on August 26, 2023 at 10:58pm 1 Comment

Latest Activity

Doug Thorsvik left a comment for Pieter Albertyn
"Sounds like a great opportunity Pieter! I’m spoiled having a separate small workshop and my…"
4 hours ago
A.D.EKER commented on A.D.EKER's video

Baby Please don't Go BCB A.D. Eker 2023

"Thanks Keith appreciate Your Like !!"
4 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Doug Thorsvik's video

Stand By Me: 2-String Chugger License Plate Cigar Box Guitar

"Thanks for the heads-up BrianQ! You are right, I need to fix it."
4 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Doug Thorsvik's video

Stand By Me: 2-String Chugger License Plate Cigar Box Guitar

"Thanks Kale! It’s one of those groove classics where the the chord progression repeats for…"
5 hours ago
Alan Bluesboxguitars replied to William Bannier's discussion I Am Blaming All of You with YouTube Channels. in the group Introduce Yourself!
5 hours ago
Profile IconAlan Bluesboxguitars and William Bannier joined Cigar Box Nation's group

Introduce Yourself!

We wanna know who you are! Where ya from? What'cha buildin'? This is a place for new members to…See More
5 hours ago
BrianQ. commented on Doug Thorsvik's video

Stand By Me: 2-String Chugger License Plate Cigar Box Guitar

"Hey Doug, that link goes to your site, but comes up a 404 error? Just thought you’d wanna…"
5 hours ago
BrianQ. left a comment for William Bannier
"William, here’s the Slinger’s One-finger songbook, everything is played with one…"
5 hours ago
Keith Rearick liked Doug Thorsvik's video
9 hours ago
Keith Rearick liked A.D.EKER's video
9 hours ago
A.D.EKER commented on A.D.EKER's video

Baby Please don't Go BCB A.D. Eker 2023

"Thanks Kale ! Glad you appreciated it ! there are some classics out there that are so imbedded in…"
10 hours ago
BrianQ. liked Doug Thorsvik's video
11 hours ago



© 2023   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->