I've built a handful of 3 string CBGs and a few handfuls of CB diddley bows and want to make a 2 string fretless bass as a gift for my cousin. I know nothing about basses and need some guidance.

On my 3 stringers I used a neck through design. Is that sufficient for a 2 string bass or do I need more strength added somehow?

What scale lengths are there, what is recommended?

Do I need special tuning pegs?

What strings would be recommended for it?

Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

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Replies to This Discussion

Neck thru is good for this build. Depending on what the strings will be tuned to and gauge, I would make the neck with some renforcement. You could hide it under the fingerboard. Pegs that are light in weight would be good also so it would not be neck heavy. I play Bass myself and I use mostly flat wound strings. Personal prefrence I guess. Good Luck with the build. Blue Max Stringed Instrument Repair

I built a 2-string bass with a 20" scale (similar to the Kala U-Bass) using Aquila Thundergut strings and parts from Gitty (preamp, piezo rod, tuning machines). I don't have plans, but I put a video online at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-2oyDjZCPA

I can tell you it's small, stays in tune and everyone wants to play it at my ukulele club. 


28 - 36" would be the standard scale length range

Bass tuners can accomodate thickers strings, but regular tuning pegs can e drilled out, Danelectro uses the same tuners on bass and guitar.

Rype of string depends on type of pickups, if ,  steel ,steel strings work with magnetic pickups.

Sorry for the late reply. I got very busy at work and then was away for vacation.

For the neck reinforcement, what would you use?

For the strings, are there 2 bass strings that are the recommended when only doing 2? What would be best to tune them to?

For the scale, are there calculators to use or something? I had purchased scale charts for the CBGs I did from cbgitty but for bass not sure what to do. I don't know anything about a bass, this is just something I would like to do for my cousin.

Thank you!
Hi Mike,

I'm a compelte rookie at building, but have built a rough bass that I am proud of. Here's what I did, maybe my experience will help.

I built a 2 stringer. Tuned E and A for my preference, I think most bass players would prefer this too. I used a 2x2 pine, 6 feet tall with a 43" scale. It is a stand up bass. Currently my profile pic is my dad playing it. I did not reinforce the neck at all, the pine has a slight bow after a few months, but still plays fine. I'm not too concerned about it. In the future I would recommend coughing up a few more $'s and using a hard wood that won't bend, but pine should work at 2 inches thick. As my first bass build, I kept my expenses super low, in case I created a pile of junk. So I used 2 old piano strings, they are rough on the fingers, and do not allow any type of sliding. They will also wear away at the soft pine wood over time. I would recommend using flatwound bass strings if you're using pine, or anything else. The are easy on the hands, great for sliding on a fretless, and will make the bass feel more "playable" They also offer some nice low end. I was lucky enough to have an old electric pickup to slap on there for now.

I use the scale calculator at stewmac.com. You can adjust to any size you want. The 43" scale is the same as a stand up double bass, it was fun for my experiment, but it will be difficult and expensive to find strings this size. I believe most standard basses are a 34" scale

Hi Mike,

I'm in the same boat—found a nice cedar bible box (9.5" x 6.5" x 2.75") at a swap meet and bought an ash shovel handle thats 46.5" long. I'm thinking a 36" scale length—no real reason other than I want low. I'm aiming for a a Morphine-esque type sound, so it will be fretless and played with a slide. It will be played badly, I'm sure, as I've only dinked around with a bass on a few occasions. 

I'm just not sure how to go about making the neck.

Are you buying a neck or making your own?


Mike, did you ever build that bass?

Oops sorry, I missed a bunch of replies. No I never did but someday will take it on. Things went a little sideways here mid summer and things did not go as planned with this or any other projects I had been planning. Hoping this is a better year and I can get back to normal (or at least what it was before) :-)


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