Hi everyone at LC,
I've been on a bit of a hiatus again from bass building. It started with working on a few archtop guitars and now I'm away from home for the rest of the year for work in far off lands. I'm on a two week break in Spain and have been doing some thinking about upcoming bass projects. I have a couple of solid bodies that I have all of the woods and parts for to get started on when I get home, but what I'm quite a bit more interested in (from a design standpoint) is an archtop bass. I have two archtop guitars in the final stages of work and one completed and I'd like to build a bass using similar design principles. Here are the guitars:
My thoughts on the bass are something like this:
-obviously a bass should require a larger body owing to the lower frequency tuning
-all acoustic basses I've played have been lacking in both acoustic volume and bass response
-upright basses attain the volume, projection and bass response that is desired, but have a body size and volume that prohibit them being played in the way a bass guitar is played
The massive body of an upright bass is realistically out of the question. IME with the 17" acoustic guitar I've built, a 17 or 18" body is about as large as is reasonable to be played in a comfortable manner seated. A deeper body is, of course, possible, but even that starts moving away from being ergonomic at some point.
Obviously some sort of hybrid acoustic/electric function such as magnetic and/or piezo pickups may offer some amount of offset to the problem of body size.
The other issue I have come across is the bridge placement on the body; generally to maintain an aesthetic and ergonomic quality, the bridge on an acoustic bass guitar is moved closed to the tail end of the body relative to where it is on an acoustic guitar.
Since LC Has a wealth of knowledge and experience, not to mention the new ideas that anyone may have on the topic.
My ideas so far for such an instrument are something like this:
-17 or 18" lower bout with a cutaway
-4.5" sides, possibly tapered between the heel and tail and possibly between the bass and treble side as well possible tapering between the bass and treble sides of the body
-arm bevel to improve ergonomics of the instrument
-16 fret neck, which moves the bridge about 1.25" toward the tail of the body
-fanned frets, with the treble scale length going as short as 32"
The issue becomes that many of the changes massively increase the complexity of building the instrument.
If anyone has any ideas to share, I'd greatly appreciate them.