How to Make a Ramp for a Bass

Written by christian mullen
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How to Make a Ramp for a Bass
Bass ramps help you better your technique. (bass guitar player image by gajatz from Fotolia.com)

Playing ramps for bass guitars are blocks of wood that are placed in between pickups in order to train the fingers to pluck the strings in a particular way that can increase speed and consistency while playing. Since the ramp is very close to the strings, economy of motion is reached after some time of using them, as your recovery time from the action of plucking is greatly reduced. Many people use ramps to train the plucking fingers and eventually remove them, resulting in the same desired action without the ramp itself.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wood
  • Belt sander
  • Stain or paint
  • Radius gauge
  • Radius block
  • Vice
  • Double-sided tape

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the distance between the pickups on your bass and cut a block of wood just a bit larger than this size, about .5 inch in thickness and about .25 inches on all sides for sanding. Also consider making the ramp the same width of your pickups as it will be cosmetically pleasing in this case. Pick a complimentary type of wood or plan on staining it to match the bass's finish.

  2. 2

    Finish all four sides of the ramp to the exact distance between your pickups using a belt or orbital sander. Score the finished dimension and carefully sand each side up to the score straight. Slide it between them carefully when you start to get close to make sure you do not over sand it, which would result in some unsightly gaps. Although this is acceptable functionally, it may not be desirable cosmetically, so check it in the spot often towards the end of the sanding process.

  3. 3

    Radius the four corners of the ramp using a belt or orbital sander. This will prevent you from cutting your fingers on the wood when you are playing. Use a radius gauge to match them up, or eyeball the corners and try your best to match the radius on each.

  4. 4

    Radius the top of the ramp in order to match the radius of the fingerboard of your bass. Place the block in a vice and carefully radius the top using a radius block that matches the finger board. You can purchase these at some hardware stores or guitar parts stores online. This will allow for the same distance between each string along the ramp's surface.

  5. 5

    Stain or paint your ramp to match your bass. Apply a complimentary stain with a dry, clean cloth and wipe off any excess stain to give it an even finish. If painting, allow to dry as per the instructions on the paint can before attempting to use on your bass.

  6. 6

    Apply double stick tape to the back of the ramp. This will allow you top remove the ramp if you plan to sell your bass or you do not want to enhance your ramp technique. Double stick tape will hold the ramp in place while playing your bass.

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