Bass Bodies

USA Custom Guitars bass bodies are made from the finest hand selected tonewoods with attention paid to every detail. Vintage and modern shapes, hollow body, and carved top designs are available to suit all players’ needs and preferences. Our standard bodies are made of 2 pieces of premium tone tapped wood, meticulously joined with special attention paid to grain matching. Premium one piece and lightweight bodies can also be supplied.

Body Options

Lam Top Bodies

LamTop Pea

Almost any guitar or bass body style can be had as a LamTop.

Tops with a thickness of 1/8″ can be bent over a forearm contour using a vacuum suction system. When choosing a 1/4″ top, a forearm contour is not available.

We grade our 2 piece bookmatched Flame and Quilted Maple tops as either ‘Choice’ (nice, but not mind-blowing) or ‘Prime’ (the killer stuff!).


While the varieties of Maple are most popular for LamTops, from time to time other interesting woods find their way into the shop. Please contact us for alternate top pricing and availability.

Neck Pocket Routing

Bass bodies: Neck pockets on 4 string bass bodies measure 2-1/2″ wide. 5 string bass bodies have a 2-7/8″ wide neck pocket.

Either square or rounded pockets are interchangeable on any body style at no additional cost.

Control Cavity Routing

The standard rear routed control cavity is sized so that there is enough room to fit an assortment of pots and switches without removing too much wood. All rear rout bodies include a black plastic control plate cover. We also offer a rout for a battery box, if you need to have easy access to swap out a battery. Rear rout bodies cost an additional $15.

We have 2 different rear rout cavity styles for basses:

Standard Rear Rout As found on S, T, Wolfpack, Dinky S
Standard Rear Rout
As found on Pea, Big T
Offset Rear Rout As found on Jazzymaster, Shagwire, Jay, Jay Jr.
Offset Rear Rout
As found on Jay, Jay Jr.

Bridge and Pickup Routs

Bass Bridges

  • Standard Fender
  • Gotoh 206
  • Schaller 496
  • Hipshot 4-19mm
  • Hipshot 4-20mm
  • 51 P – Vintage
  • Schaller 463
  • Allparts BB 357
  • Badass Bass II
  • Badass Bass V
  • Hipshot 5-18mm
  • Hipshot 5-19mm
  • Hipshot 5-21mm
  • Allparts BB 3460 (Gotoh Quik Release)

Bass Pickups

  • Split P
  • Jazz (front and rear positions)
  • Vintage 51-P Single coil
  • Musicman Humbucker (4/5 str)
  • EMG 35 Series (89mm wide)
  • EMG 40 Series (102mm wide)
  • EMG 45 Series (115mm wide)
  • Fralin 5

There are some other custom bass pickups we have programmed.
Let us know what you want – we may just have it.

Body Contours and Edge Radius Options

Certain body shapes have a classic design to which we have all become accustomed. S bodies are rounded on the edges and have super comfortable rib and forearm contours. T bodies are sharp and dig into your arm and ribs (but it’s a good pain!). We know that not every player likes to stick to these traditional designs, so we offer contours and custom edge radii on most of our body styles.

On bodies that do not normally have forearm contour or rib cut, we can add them at no additional cost.

Contoured heel is optional for easier access to the higher frets. Requires shortened neck mounting screws to keep them from exiting through the face of the fingerboard. Don’t laugh. We’ve seen it happen. It ain’t pretty! Contoured heel upcharge is $25

Binding

Binding on a flat surface – $72 per side

Binding on a carved top – $90 per side

Drop top binding = binding on a forearm contour. A labor intensive process will cost an additional $120

All binding on bodies is approximately .080″ thickness. Available in Ivoroid, Cream, Black, or White plastic.

Edge Radius Options

Edge radius measures the “roundness” of the body edge.

We offer the following custom options on most bodies (in order of roundest to sharpest):

  • 1/2″
  • 3/8″
  • 1/4″
  • 3/16″

Standard edge radii

  • S Bodies – 1/2″ edge radius
  • T Bodies – 3/16″ edge radius
  • Dinky S (top rout w/pickguard) – 3/16″ edge radius
  • Jazzymaster and similar bodies – 1/2″ edge radius
  • Pea and Jay Bass bodies – 1/2″ edge radius
T Body with 1/2 inch edge radius and rib cut
T Body with 1/2 inch edge radius and rib cut
T Body with Standard 3/16 inch edge radius and rib cut
T Body with Standard 3/16 inch edge radius and rib cut

Bass Body Shapes

jay2JAY
This is our take on the classic offset waist bass body. It is available as either a 4 or 5 string for maximum versatility.

Base price includes: Top rout, choice of bridge rout, fully contoured body, 2pc center joined Alder

Options: Custom edge radius

Extras ($): Contoured heel, rear rout, binding, lamtop, other wood choices, 1 pc body


jayjrJAY JR
This is our scaled down take on the classic offset waist bass body. The horns have been thinned out a bit, giving it a sleeker look. The standard Jay bass pickguard fits perfectly on these. It is available as a 4 or 5 string.

Base price includes: Top rout, choice of bridge rout, fully contoured body, 2pc center joined Alder

Options: Custom edge radius

Extras ($): Contoured heel, rear rout, binding, lamtop, other wood choices, 1 pc body


peaPEA
This is our take on the classic bass body.

Base price includes: Top rout, choice of bridge rout, fully contoured body, 2pc center joined Alder

Options: Custom edge radius

Extras ($): Contoured heel, rear rout, binding, lamtop, other wood choices, 1 pc body


jayhollowJAY HOLLOW
We took our standard Jay bass, routed hollow “wings” and left the center solid. It has a bit more of an open sound than the solid version. Tommy recommends a medium weight Swamp Ash to really bring out the best in this hollow beast!

Base price includes: Top rout, choice of bridge rout, choice of pickup routs, fully contoured body, 2pc center joined Alder

Options: Custom edge radius, f-hole

Extras ($): Contoured heel, rear rout, binding, lamtop, other wood choices, 1 pc body


baritoneVIBARITONE VI
Also affectionately known as the “Bass Sicks”. This vintage style body requires our 30″ scale 6 string neck. This is not compatible with our Baritone Conversion neck. Available with top rout only – with bridge and trem routs as seen here.

Base price includes: Top rout, fully contoured body, 2pc center joined Alder

Options: Custom edge radius

Extras ($): Contoured heel, binding, lamtop, other wood choices, 1 pc body


51peabassbody51 PEA
This is our take on the classic top routed slab bass body. Add contours to make it more Sting-like.

Base price includes: Top rout, choice of bridge rout, 2pc center joined Alder

Options: Custom edge radius, contours

Extras ($): Contoured heel, binding, lamtop, other wood choices, 1 pc body


tellybass1BIG T
The Big T bass is for those who love the look of a Standard T body, but play the bass guitar. The single cutaway shares the silhouette of it’s six string cousin. Finish yours in butterscotch blonde and be the envy of your T playing friends! Rear rout only

Base price includes: Rear rout, choice of bridge rout, choice of pickups, 2pc center joined Alder

Options: Custom edge radius, contours

Extras ($): Contoured heel, binding, lamtop, other wood choices, 1 pc body


Body Woods

Quality tonewoods are available here at USA Custom Guitars. Alder, Swamp Ash, Mahogany and the many flavors of Maple are our preferred body woods.

We don’t normally stock “exotic” woods such as bubinga, wenge, goncalo, limba (korina), etc., but we will custom craft a body or neck made of these woods supplied by you. Pricing for bodies made from your wood is the same as a comparably styled Alder body. Please contact us for more information regarding body blank or board ft dimensions.

Here are some subjective descriptions of the woods we use for our bodies based on years of building, playing and listening.

woods-swampashSwamp Ash
Has a tight bottom end (which we all like), scooped mids and a bright top end. It has a very quick attack when striking the strings – which is great for some players and bad for others. It has very open grain, which makes it a pain in the backside to finish. It is a very resonant wood, so it sounds phenomenal played clean. Great for Funk, Surf Music, Blues with a bite, Country twang, vintage Rock, and clean smooth Jazz.


woods-alderAlder
The “tastes like chicken” of wood. It has a nice even response all the way around the tone spectrum! Mostly known for its great Blues and Rock tones. It’s the one body wood you can go play a Death Metal Gig one night, country the next night, Blues the next night and it’s sounds fine for all of them. It is normally lightweight and has a closed grain which is a finishers dream. We carry hand selected Alder that is suitable for clear finishes as well as bursts and solid colors.


woods-mahoganyMahogany
Our favorite wood for different varieties of Rock and Jazz! Normally pretty non-back friendly in a solid body, especially after years of gigging! Mahogany tends to filter out some of the shrill highs, has nice mids, and a fat bottom end. Can’t be beaten for chunky rock in a solid body, or chunky Jazz in a hollow body. You can add a 1/4″ Maple top to get back some articulation if used with a Mahogany neck. We offer African and other types of equatorial mahogany – truly killer tonewoods. Honduran has gotten awfully scarce and very expensive, and there is an upcharge when available.


woods-basswoodBasswood
A nice resonant wood. Normally associated with Metal and Hard Rock guitars. Has a fat bottom and can sometimes (depending on pickups) have a mushy bottom end. But overall sounds pretty darn good. But if you look at it to hard it may dent because it is quite soft!


woods-eastmapleEastern Hard Rock Maple

Durable, bright, and articulate. We can build entire bodies out of it for that 80’s shrill screaming Metal tone. Rock maple can be used as a top wood too, if you so desire.


woods-westernmapleWestern Maple

Softer than rock maple, we carry all of the varieties for top woods (quilt, flame, and wild). Tommy really loves the look of wild “angel step” maple tops.


woods-poplarPoplar

Doesn’t sound too bad, but we refer to it as “the poor mans Alder” and normally use it for prototypes. Not something we normally sell, but if you want it, contact us.