Introduction: Build a Half-Size Travel Bass Guitar
Step 1: Get Wood for Body
I wanted to build this bass for as little cost as possible. I got these solid wood table top blanks at Home Depot for $4.99.
Step 2: Make a Template
Step 3: Cut the Body
This wood was pretty thick, so I used a router to cut the outline.
Step 4: Sand Body / Cut Neck Pocket
Step 5: Plug Holes in Guitar Neck
Use a small-scale guitar neck. I had this neck from an old guitar. Plug the six holes (5/16") with maple plugs (used for plugging holes in furniture) and sand smooth. I also added an extra piece of maple and reshaped the headstock (optional).
Step 6: Drill Four Tuner Holes
Layout four holes in the headstock. Space them evenly to fit the bass tuners.
Step 7: Add Tuners
Get tuners with the smallest gear box to fit on a small headstock. These tuners were only $10.
Step 8: Attach the Neck
You will need a neck plate and screws to attach the neck.
Step 9: Add Bridge and Strings
It's a good idea to test the bass, and make sure everything plays right. I used a standard Fender P Bass bridge. When installing the bridge, center it to the neck. Just make sure the distance from the nut to the 12th fret is equal to the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge saddles. Then cut new grooves in the nut for four bass strings. You will also need a string retainer on the headstock. The action and tuning on this one was perfect.
Step 10: Design a Pickguard
I had and old pickguard from another bass. Since this bass is only half the size, I just designed a new shape around the full-size pickguard.
Step 11: Rout Space for Pickups and Electronics
Step 12: Wiring Pickups
After trimming the pickguard, the knobs and jack can be attached to the pickguard and wired to the pickups. I included the wiring diagram.
Step 13: Final Pickguard Design
Step 14: Reassemble
I added knobs and changed to a tortoise shell pickguard.
Step 15: Project Complete
Set this up with the JamUp app from the App Store, and you'll have the most portable bass setup to go anywhere.