Plywood Upright Bass Kontrabass





Introduction: Plywood Upright Bass Kontrabass


i am a 22 years old carpenter from Berlin and on the next pages i would like to show you how i made a upright bass out of plywood and beech.

I think it is not necessary to say, but i do it although: I do not know any facts about the art of building an upright bass so it is just the way i managed it and i know there are a few things you could do better. But i had chosen to do it that way and i am very confirm with the result.

So i hope you i can help someone with these instruction cause when i was looking for some help during my project their were nearly just people who said: let it. stop what you doing or do not even get startet, just buy a cheap one.

Thats just not my way.

If you like it you may vote for it in the plywood

Step 1: Building Frames for the Inner Construction


Plywood in about 12mm strength

A large piece of paper



grater or a file

The step i started with ,after spending hours in the internet to get some information about how it could work, was to create the form and to draw it on to the plywood.

So i printed an image of an upright bass and did draw a grid on it. Than i did the same with a large piece of paper and pointed the lines of the upright bass. i connected the lines and i had a good form in original size.

i did cut it out with a knife and used it as a template for the plywood.

Now i used the Jigsaw to cut the first part of my inner frames. My Plan was to take the first and than work with a milling machine to copy it, but i worked in my living room and this would have been ways to much dirt.

So i did cut them all out and used the file to get them the exact same shape. Was kind of much work but it was a lot of fun, too.

Step 2: Building the Inner Construction






Now i needed to get a hard construction in the area of the neck and where the pin would be later on.

So i took plywood and did cut it with the jigsaw in the nearly perfect shape. I glued a few of them together to get the correct distance.

I needed the pine to support the corners. i just did cut them in the right lenght and then i glued it all together.

Step 3: Shaping the Sides






hand circular saw


For the sides i took a large sheet of flexyply. It is very easy to work with but the surface is not the best.

I made a few stripes with the circular saw an then i glued it around my inner construction peace by peace.

Beacause i had not that much clapms i needed to do about 30cm wait for half an our and than make the next 30cm.

I used normal glue for wood which is not correct if you are building instruments but i did it anyway.

Normally you would use glue by bones or fish.

Afterwards i needed to remove the parts which were sticking abouve the inner frames. i made this with a normal slicer.

Step 4: Fullfilling the Body


Pine Plywood (8mm)





For the blacket and the grounding i used 8mm strong plywood by pine. i did just lay the inner construction on it and drew lines around then i did cut them out with the jigsaw.

For the F holes i needed my drwaing from the beginning again. I screw two holes and than i did cut them out with the jigsaw too.

Now i needed to glue it all together. In this i had the problem that i did not have enogh clamps and that the open time of the glue would not be enough to get it all together.

So i decided to put glue on it and then screw it together. Afterward i removed the screws and filled the holes.

Step 5: Neck, Scroll, Tailpiece, Saddle, Fretboard, Bridge







forstner drill


band saw

rotary tool

To create the missing parts of my bass i needed would. I did chose maple for the fretboard and beech for the other parts, because it is strong and much cheaper than maple.

I did cut the parts with the band and jig saw and than it took my loot of time to finish the shape by slicing, sanding and filing.

For the scroll i needed to work with a japanese saw, a chisel and a rotary tool. For the hole i used the forstner drill and chisels, too.

Then i needed to get a whole in the body where i could glue in the neck. So i made a few holes with a fornster drill and then remved the rest with the chisel. While i was working with the fornster drills i was doing the hole for the pin at the buttom, too.

Step 6: Surface



glue (PU)


sanding paper


painting roll

Before i could glue the neck and the body together i got all parts a primer.

Than i glued it together with a PU glue cause this will stay flexible and is strong enough.

Normally you could use fish or bone glue here, too.

For the glue process i just needed a strap.

After the glue dried (needs about a day) i looked all over the body an d filled holes or lacks and sanded it well. The more time you take for this step the better your result will be.

To be honest i am not good in taking time for this.

Afterwards i painted it with a roll.

I tried to spray it but this did not worked out really well in my cellar so i used the roll.

Step 7: Getting It All Together

The last step was to get all the parts together.

I ordered the mechanics the pin and the strings weeks ago.

I just needed something to get the tailpiece together with the pin, but there a wire worked out really well.

so i glued the fretboard on the neck. Stripped the tailpiece on and drilled four holes for the mechanics.

Then i fixed the mechanics and began to fix the strings and tune.

This was really exiting.

Step 8: The Result

Now One year after i began. I am finally ready and very happy about this.

It was really tough work in parts but it was quit fun and i am so glad i did it.

There are a few points i would do better next tim but i think the reslut stand for itself.

So i hope you can do anything with these instruction.

If you got any questions or ideas please write or leave a comment.



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    How did you determine the angle for the neck?


    Hey Mattis,

    i've built a simple one as well but i want to build a better on in future. Where do find the Flexiply? Did you also curve the fredboard? If so do you used a templed or did you do it freehanded? Great Work I have to say

    i was wondering if you'd be able to tell me where/how you got your pattern for making it from? I am wanting to make this very much but cannot find a suitable pattern!

    1 reply

    I made it on my own.

    Just tool a picture of an upright bass and than scaled it into the scale i wanted to have. So a 3/4 scale. Like you can see in step one i drew a grid on the picture und than copied points on a big sheet of paper. I connected these points with shaped lines and cutted it out with a knife..

    which type of paint u apply on body

    1 reply

    i think for the painting my bass is not a good example. originally its used shellac i think. but i just bought the One wich color i liked the most :D

    Thanks Mattis for your instructable with this idia I m making guitar

    1 reply

    nice. i would like to see it when its done.

    Awesome carpentry, you have my vote !

    Hi Mattis,

    Congratulations with your project & thanks for sharing it!

    Over time you may find that the top is subsiding under the pressure of the strings. (Depending on the string tension, it might even collapse.) If subsidence becomes an issue, you can consider adding a bass bar and a soundpost; I understand your instrument has neither of those yet.

    On such a flat top, the bass bar is best placed on the outside, below the E-foot of the bridge. Obviously you'd have to chop a piece off the E-leg. The soundpost is a stick placed between the top & back, normally a bit south of the G-foot; it helps carrying the G-side.

    Good luck with practising & enjoy your bass!

    2 replies

    thanks for your comment.
    and thanks for your ideas but i just forgot to list these steps. ive got a bass bar and and i have a soundpoust too ;) i will add it to my steps if i got the time. im unhappy that i do not have pictures of it.

    OK, I see - that explains. 8mm flat ply alone would probably not be strong enough to carry steel strings, and likely it wouldn't sound as good as it does without BB & SP.

    It could be useful to add this & other descriptive information, in order to allow people to follow your instructable & copy the project. (That is the idea, isn't it?) Lacking pictures, drawings would work too.

    Many thanks!

    This is so impressive! I love the finished look, and it sound pretty good too!

    If you happen to ever get a video of an experienced upright bass player really going to town with it, that would be so fun to see and hear :) Great instructable, I hope you'll share more of your projects here with us!

    1 reply

    thank you so much. maybe in a few month that experienced bass player would be me.

    But i will make a video if someone virtuous is playing it.

    Maybe you would be so nice to vote for me in the plywood contest. That would be awesome.