Well, I'll start out by wearing my heart on my sleeve. Carl Thompson has been an inspiration to me for many many years and it was he that inspired me to start building instruments nine years ago. This is more of a tribute build (well, two actually but we'll get to that later) incorporating techniques and materials from my own arsenal which I know Carl does not use in his own. As much as I would love to commission Carl make me a bass, this is not going to be a reality anytime soon.
As mentioned, this is actually two builds. The first is a fully-fledged build, however it is a practice model for the "actual" instrument. I am using a fair number of templates, jigs and techniques which are being practiced on the first instrument and applied to the second. So, without further ado the specs of the eventual build:
- 35"-36" light compound scale set neck
- 30mm thick chambered Black Alder body (!)
- Birch neck with Wenge laminations
- Wenge fingerboard laminated with carbon fibre veneer
- Seymour Duncan SMB-5a Music Man pickup
- Homebrewed "70s" MM pre-amp
- Custom milled and powder coated brass bridge
- Carbon fibre neck reinforcement
- Carbon fibre laminated cavity covers
- Side mounted Neutrik jack
- Black Gotoh Ultralights or Schaller BM Lights
- LED sidemarkers and diffused pinstripe headstock logoplate
More on this spec later on as there are many details I will be tweaking. Any input on the choice of these two tuners types would be welcomed.
The first build is the same design but obviating the compound scale for a single 35" scale, a Hipshot D style bridge and no carbon fibre accents around the instrument. We're talking Sapele, Wenge and Ebony to go under a nice oil finish. Pretty straightforward, and it should be since it is a "practice" instrument.
Firstly, the CAD plan. These always start with a simple flattened top-down sketch. None of the horizontal lengths take into account perspective of course so geometric distortions exist. I usually use this to produce cross-sections from the side. A real top-down view would be of no practical use, however this method is perfect for producing printable templates (until I start making CNC cut templates).
As can be seen, the instrument is a derivative of Carl's scroll basses incorporating the string-through "fishtail". The scroll itself will be the 3D-type scroll which curls up from the inner point towards the front. This of itself will be most of the learning work!
A shopped mockup of the basses final appearance:
Okay, so the build is currently a couple of weeks in already so I'll recap.
The template for the body was printed onto 4x sheets of A4 with alignment reference marks before bonding them onto a sheet of 18mm thick plywood. In hindsight I should have used 5-8mm thick MDF as this material is more forgiving for adjustment and finessing and THEN transferring that to plywood. But hey.