Jay Scott Guitar

Private guitar and bass lessons, jam camps, guitar building and repairs in West Chester, PA

Bass Builders: Catalpa ’51 P-Bass Finished!

Sid and I just finished his bass, and it’s beautiful! Maple neck and Catalpa body, Gotoh reverse tuners like the old days, a Fender bridge that allows for string-through (our choice) or top-load setup, and a very cool Lindy Fralin pickup.

The pickup is noise-canceling, but you can’t tell by looking at it unless you’re right on top of it. Each coil surrounds two pole pieces. It’s very nicely made and fits in well with the other old-school-style parts. Sounded big and clear through my studio amps, but I don’t have a proper bass amp here, so I’ll have to wait for Sid to wind it up with his stage rig to get the real story.

We were a little concerned about balance because the body is pretty light and the Gotoh tuners are fairly heavy, but a little work on the position of the strap button on the horn took care of that. The bass hangs perfectly, with no tendency to neck-dive. One volume, one tone, no damn switches, nothing else needed!

I made a bone nut, installed the neck, and did most of the wiring, but Sid took on the finishing job (the toughest process in a build), installed the tuners (not easy with these), lined up the control plate, pickguard, strap buttons, bridge, and bridge cover, drilled their holes, and drove all the screws. We did a quick setup, and he’ll play it for a few days so it can get used to being a bass. Then we’ll meet again for final setup.

Thanks to Sid for taking on the project. It’s always a journey, but he’s got a cool new bass to play, and he built it!