Introduction: Build a Half-Size Travel Bass Guitar

Picture of Build a Half-Size Travel Bass Guitar

Step 1: Get Wood for Body

Picture of 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

Picture of Make a Template

Step 3: Cut the Body

Picture of Cut the Body

This wood was pretty thick, so I used a router to cut the outline.

Step 4: Sand Body / Cut Neck Pocket

Picture of Sand Body / Cut Neck Pocket

Step 5: Plug Holes in Guitar Neck

Picture of 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

Picture of Drill Four Tuner Holes

Layout four holes in the headstock. Space them evenly to fit the bass tuners.

Step 7: Add Tuners

Picture of 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

Picture of Attach the Neck

You will need a neck plate and screws to attach the neck.

Step 9: Add Bridge and Strings

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Rout Space for Pickups and Electronics

Step 12: Wiring Pickups

Picture of 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

Picture of Final Pickguard Design

Step 14: Reassemble

Picture of Reassemble

I added knobs and changed to a tortoise shell pickguard.

Step 15: Project Complete

Picture of 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.


MJT3 (author)2015-01-03

I have seen people on YouTube make acoustic ukulele basses. I personally like the electric bass sound. The two best features of this bass is the portability and the sound. I'd like to post a video because the sound has some punch.

jakethewhite (author)MJT32017-06-26

What size wood blank did you use?

Hehelkjgjgdf (author)2016-08-15


sidney_stone (author)2016-01-14

Would you ever consider buying it??? I'd buy it!

ILikeBass (author)2016-01-10

Could I just buy this from you?

bsottek (author)2015-12-09

Roughly what were the dimensions of the round you bought? This is so cool!

ahoobler (author)2015-11-28

where would you recommend getting the neck? I have looked around but I still cannot find anything around the size I want. What was the cost of the build?

MJT3 (author)2015-01-02

I'm sure you could make an acoustic version by making a hollow cavity. Or just leave out the electronics and use it just the way it is.

zenn89 (author)MJT32015-08-06

did you ever make a video! if so where can I find it

Tiffany Deards (author)2015-05-19

what's the scale of this (preferably in cm)

kmcgrath10 (author)2015-01-01

I play six string acoustic and I've played an electric is there any way you could have it make noise without the electronics

jmacfarlane (author)kmcgrath102015-01-03

You could probably approximate this project to make an acoustic by having a separate top and bottom made of 1/4" project wood, and routing out the table blank to be completely hollow (save under the bridge and neck) and leaving only 1/4 - 1/2" wall thickness. The frequency of a bass is so low that a solid body this size is going to be near-silent to the human ear (I would think).

gregsplace (author)2015-01-02

nice work.

AMPorter (author)2014-12-29

I'm a huge bass fan, so this is right up my alley. Though a bit more detail with the measurements would be nice if you can... Besides that, it looks FANTASTIC, I love it!

MJT3 (author)2014-12-29

You could use any size guitar neck. Just make sure the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge is equal to the distance from the 12th fret to the nut.

alan0387 (author)2014-12-29

Hi could you use a half sized guitar neck or does it need to be a small scale full size?

MJT3 (author)2014-12-28

Instructables used the wrong photo and won't allow me to edit it.

mtairymd (author)MJT32014-12-29

I had the same problem one time with Instructables edit feature. Looks like you got it fixed. Nice job on the project - looks awesome.

mtairymd (author)2014-12-28

I agree with kiteman. I was wondering what round piece of wood had to do with a guitar.

loony1 (author)2014-12-28

dead-rockin dude! Nice explanations for the steps. Nice instructable.

budirahardjo (author)2014-12-28

beautiful idea, great job

fswan (author)2014-12-28

that's dead smart! there are others but none look as good as this!

Kiteman (author)fswan2014-12-28


You should use a "finished" photo as your introduction thumbnail, it would draw in more viewers.

About This Instructable




More by MJT3:Build A Half-Size Travel Bass Guitar Build A Miniature 70s Fender Bass Guitar
Add instructable to: