Saga bass kit build

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alanp
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Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:24 pm

Hi all,

Thought I'd share my bass kit build. Got this kit off trademe October last year. I've read online that the Saga kits are pretty good quality, so thought I'd give one a go. Have wanted a Fender P-bass for years, and can't really afford a real one, so an imitation will be near enough for me.

They come looking something like this:
Image

The kit includes everything you need to make a working bass, including strings and a lead.
Most body work is already done when you get it. Mainly you just have to cut out the headstock shape, paint, and then assemble.

Got a friend who is an auto painter to paint a custom Candy Apple Red on the body for me:

Image

Image

This was a red base, 5 coats of candy red colour, and a clear coat. Came out looking exactly how I wanted.

alanp
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:53 pm

Next step was to cut out the headstock shape. As you can see from the first pic, the headstock comes as a blank "square-ish" shape, supposedly to allow you to create your own style, but presumably also to avoid possible lawsuits...

I just went for the standard Fender shape. Boring I know, but I like that shape the most out of the ones I've seen. I took a template off a friends Fender J bass (near enough), and traced it out on the blank, then cut it out, just outside the lines, with a jigsaw. Then sanded it back, starting with about 80 grit, and moving through 100, 150, 240, then 600 grit.

Here's the nearly finished headstock:
Image

Still a bit of sanding left to do in that pic.
Unfortunately I managed to ding the face with the base of the jigsaw too, but hopefully that will sand out okay.

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john
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by john » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:03 pm

Cool!!! Looks like fun. The head stock turned out great. Looking forward to seeing progress.

alanp
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:07 pm

Next I'm going to get a logo printed for the headstock. I kicked around a few ideas for this. Originaly I thought I would just go for an exact copy of a Fender logo. Not trying to fool anyone (not for financial gain, at least...), but I just really wanted a Fender p-bass that I couldn't afford...

But eventually I thought it would be cooler to photoshop up something original, but still in the same Fender vein.. sort of:

Image

My band is called Frankencopter, so this seemed appropriate.
The red colour on the lettering is actually chopped out of a photo of the paint colour on the body of the bass.
I've sent the graphic to my friendly local printer (sax player in my band) to be printed as a suitable sized sticker, and am awaiting the result.

If it comes out looking okay, gonna slap it on the headstock, and hit it with a clear coat.
I'd like to get a satin finish clear on the neck/head, but I have no idea how to achieve that.
Any suggestions for how to get a satin clear finish on a guitar neck welcome...

Meanwhile, I'll try and post updates as they come to hand :-)

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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by Fenderfan » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:29 pm

Awesome, I think I'll have to watch your progress closely - I was thinking of getting one of these to have a play around with, and use genuine fender electronics, pickups etc. Still alot cheaper to put these in than buying an original, and easy to get hold of too.
Fender MIA Precision, Squier Jazz, Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0, Ashdown ABM 1x15, 2 x DIY Jack 112 now complete!

alanp
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:01 am

Yeah, I've been thinking about "upgrades" too, although for now money dictates that it stays more or less standard.

This guy:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fender-Precisio ... 558wt_1139
on eBay is parting out an original '71 P-bass, with auctions for neck (converted to fretless), tuners, pickups, pots, body, and pickguard.

The body has had some major surgery, so is not particularly desirable. But, was very tempted to get neck, tuners and pickups...
I have no idea what original '71 P-bass bits are worth. He's got around $150 - $200 USD per auction, which I would probably pay if I had it :-).

As regards the cost of these kits - yes they are a lot cheaper than a Fender, or even a Squier. But, of course you can get some other "no-name-brand" p-bass copy, already built, for around the same money. So I guess it's debatable as to whether they are really an economic option.
Although at least with the kit you really know what you are getting. All the parts seem to be of excellent quality to my (untrained) eye. And like you say, you can do any upgrades you like, with no real extra hassle, given you are already putting it all together nearly from scratch.

Cheers.

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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by Fenderfan » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:06 pm

thats awful! parting out an original '71! :cry: Mad. :evil:
This guy ; http://www.trademe.co.nz/music-instrume ... 640086.htm has all sorts of fender bits and pieces that come up for sale, was not long ago clearing out a Fender '51 P type pickup, for $28! For me, I think at least half the enjoyment would be from building it, then the satisfaction when finally plugging in. And the one of a kind personalisation, regardless of cost(within reason I spose).
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by pins » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:20 am

Nice job so far,love the paint and the logo,cant wait too see it all assembled.

alanp
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:00 pm

Thanks Chris. Yep, I'm keen as to get it finished now. Hoping the sticker for the logo will arrive by courier today actually.

alanp
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:14 pm

Well, the headstock sticker didn't show up on Friday. Rang the printer today, turns out *someone* forgot to email my address to him on Thursday.
So, now sticker eta is tomorrow.

Meanwhile I thought I'd start putting the body together.
The Saga kit is not too bad, but there have been a couple of hiccups.

First step was to put in the earthing wire. It runs through a pre-drilled hole which goes from directly under the center of the bridge, straight down into the control cavity.
Not sure if it was my paint job or not, but the hole was WAY to tight for the wire to get through. Even a very thin piece of craft wire only just fitted through. Spent probably about two hours attacking it (gently of course - what are we here, animals?) with various bits of wire, trying to route it out a bit bigger.
Finally got the earth wire to fit through whilst watching Top Gear last night. Not sure why that is relevant, except that Top Gear is always relevant as far as I'm concerned...

It's the blue wire on the left in this pic:
Image

The wire comes up under the bridge, but I already screwed it on before I took this pic. You'll just have to imagine it...

alanp
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:29 pm

Next was screwing on the bridge. Not much can go wrong there, right?

Actually, you're right, not much did go wrong. Except that the bridge is drilled for 7 screws, but the little packet of screws provided had exactly 2 screws. Maths is not my strong point, but I'm pretty sure that makes it 5 screws short.
I'm not putting strings on just yet, but I thought it might get bumped and damage the wood where the two screws were. Fortunately the screws for the pickguard are exactly the same, and all 12 of those were there in a different packet, so I stole 3 of those until I can get to my friendly local hardware store and (hopefully) get some identical screws.

Next was to connect the wiring:
Image

Bit hard to make out here, but there were 3 connections to be made. One is the earth wire, the other two com from the pickups to the volume pot. Amusingly the instructions chose to only mention connecting the earth wire, and nothing else. Only two others to connect, so I'm guessing the white wire goes to the white wire, and the black wire goes to, umm, yellow wire. They have little metal plugs which clip together so you don't have to do any soldering. There are 3 bits of heat shrink tubing provided to tidy it all up also. So far so good.

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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by martyforrer » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:37 pm

Warning! The bridge screws are twice as long as the pickguard screws. Do not try and string it up with short screws holding the bridge down or you'll tear the bridge out of the body. Call me and I'll send you the screws you need. Pretty sure I've got a set here. 021470205.

alanp
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:38 pm

Next, screwing in them thar pickups. There were no holes pre-drilled for this, so pedant that I am, I decided I needed to put the pick guard on first to help line the pickups up nice.

Then I moaned to the wife that the pickups sit right down below the pickguard, and there is no supplied packing or whatever to pack them up to the right height. She helpfully pointed out that perhaps I should actually look through the supplied "bits" before I started pointing an accusing finger at Saga's quality control.
Whaddya know! Four little springs, just about the right size for putting on the pickup mounting screws, and holding the pickups up. You can see them in this pic:
Image
Okay, so I never pulled a fender (or copy) apart before - you learn something new every day. In my defence, there was no mention of the springs in the instructions. Honest.

alanp
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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:40 pm

martyforrer wrote:Warning! The bridge screws are twice as long as the pickguard screws. Do not try and string it up with short screws holding the bridge down or you'll tear the bridge out of the body. Call me and I'll send you the screws you need. Pretty sure I've got a set here. 021470205.
Thanks Marty. I did think they looked a little weedy. Just thought that was why there are 7 of them. I'll give you a bell tomorrow, cheers.

- I knew there was a good reason to share all this stuff :lol:

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Re: Saga bass kit build

Post by alanp » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:45 pm

Okay, so with pickups, bridge, and pickguard on:

Image

I still love that colour, even though my crappy flash photography doesn't really show it right.
Let's have another angle - these threads are no fun without lots of pics, right?

Image

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