The Ultimate Build your Own Bass?

Stevie began making this instrument on our course just after his sixtieth birthday as it was a gift from his family.

How to design your own guitar by Mark Bailey

How to design your own guitar by Mark Bailey

Respect is due – I would never say the course is easy, but Stevie set the bar very high. This was probably the hardest anybody has ever had to work to finish their guitar taking about 30 days spread over 18 months.  I’m sure Stevie thought at times that he may have bitten off more than he could chew, but I kept geeing him on, and he kept on plugging away. I always say that making a guitar is just lots of little jobs which add up to something bigger but in this case the little jobs were not so little.

As it was so big none of my regular patterns or jigs worked, so every single part had to be painstakingly made by hand, including carving the top and back plates, and bending the sides. The tail-piece, bridge, and finger-rest also had to be designed and made from scratch. The Celtic inlay on the headstock is there to represent each of his three children (who helped pay for it!).  Well done Stevie! Not bad for a first go eh?

A magnetic neck pickup combines with a piezo built in to the bridge. They are both controlled by thumb-wheel pots discreetly mounted under the finger rest, and output via a stereo jack on the side of the body. The on-board electrics are powered by a 9v battery in a spring loaded easy change battery holder. If a mono cable is used only the magnetic pickup is selected, and this works even if the battery goes flat. With a stereo cable, the signal is sent to a Headway pre-amp, From there it can be split to two separate amps or blended into a mono signal.

The good folk at Headway also made the piezo bridge pickup, pre-wired to a thumb-wheel volume control for us, as a custom one off, and the magnetic pickup was also made specially for us by Kent Armstrong. Cheers Guys!

The sound when played acoustically was not only surprisingly loud, but incredibly rich and warm too – Stevie reports it is sounding amazing plugged in during rehearsals and I am looking forward to hearing him play it live very soon (I will attempt to get some video footage of the beast in anger- and the bass too).

I almost forgot to mention the spike! This bass can be played like a standard electric bass (horizontal), or with the spike out (upright). Both ways work, sitting or standing, adding up to a total of four positions…that is practically entertainment right there!

If this is possible on a course just imagine what I could build especially for you…or check out our range of guitars and see guitars available to buy right now in the Bailey Shop.

All Bailey instruments are individually handmade in the undulating hills of South Ayrshire using only renewable energy