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Converting a 5 string into a 6 string...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Sundogue, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    Wasn't sure which forum to put this in, but this is a new thread from this one in the luthier forum...

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/converting-5-string-into-6-string-833556/

    Decided to go all out and turn my 5 string Yamaha into a 6 string.

    Found the perfect bridge (Kahler 7460 Black...thanks for the tip ctmullins) to give me perfect string spacing, a new black nut and 4+2 all black Gotoh tuning pegs. The whole bass will be black.

    I needed that Kahler bridge as it is most adjustable giving me the ability to make the string spacing fit on my neck (which by the way, I happen to LOVE tight string spacing on the fretboard and towards the bridge it will be exactly the spacing I like for fingerstyle).

    The tuning pegs on the Yamaha are open and big clunky Fender style. The back are too wide to allow one more tuner on there, but the new ones will accommodate the sixth tuning peg. Plus the new tuning pegs will be lighter and in combination with the bigger, heavier bridge the Yammy will be better balanced.

    I'll post pics of the the new "Black Bastard". This is how it looks now (although the pickup rings are now all black)...

    The Yamaha logo on the headstock is already wet-sanded off. Need to buff it up after I drill the hole for the extra tuning peg.

    [​IMG]
  2. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    While I'm waiting on parts to arrive, I routed out a place for my wireless (and battery) next to the control cavity. Wires to the input jack will go from the wireless cavity into the control cavity and a switch on the body face next to the Volume and Tone Pots will turn my "onboard" wireless on and off.

    Yup, as I've done in the past...I'm putting my wireless right into the bass. :D

    Pic added...my wireless and battery for it fit into this newly routed out cavity. The hole deep in the cavity is for the wireless switch. There is a hole for wires to run to the control cavity to directly wire it to the input jack.

    Not a great routing job but it's on the back, and not too shabby for free handing it without a template/jig. The wireless cavity cover pretty much hides the flaws. It will just be velcroed on for easy battery changes. You can see at one time someone put "string-through" ferrules in the back of the bass even though it didn't work with the bridge that was on it when I bought it. So I'm not too concerned about modding this bass.

    [​IMG]
  3. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    Headstock with old nut, tuning pegs and the Yamaha logo wet sanded out. It can easily be buffed back up to a nice shine.

    [​IMG]

    And the body as it sits now...

    [​IMG]
  4. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    Wireless installed and works beautifully!!!

    All I have to do to plug in and play, is simply flipping the wireless "on". :hyper:

    I'm just waiting for the clear-coat on the wireless cavity cover to dry and then I can put the velcro on.

    In the pic below the green colored wire wrap goes from the wireless to the input jack's + and -. You can just barely make out the wireless antenna running right along the bottom edge of the wireless cavity.

    [​IMG]

    And the switch on the front...

    [​IMG]
  5. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    This bass was a Yamaha BB415.

    Now with the conversion and mods, and going all BLACK, it will now be known as the Yahamod BB416 Black Bastard.
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    Sweet! You will also need some of these:

    [​IMG] :ninja: :D
  7. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    :D

    Yes...another stealth bass. Wear all black, keep the lights off me and stand in the shadows. Where's the bass? I hear it but where's it coming from? LOL.

    Interesting as I use DR Sunbeams now. How's the tone of the Black Beauties?

    Tuners came in today...just waiting on the nut and bridge now. Should be here tomorrow. :hyper:
  8. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    OK, so I'm still awaiting delivery of the bridge and nut, but I'm working on replacing the tuners...

    I took off the monster Fender style tuners and the new Gotoh style ones from Carvin are much lighter and smaller. The benefits are two fold...easier to fit in my gig bag and the headstock will now be lighter. The Yammy was always a bit neck heavy and unbalanced so this should help. I'll be shedding a little more than a 1/2 lb. off the headstock going from 5 of the old, heavy tuners to 6 of the new lighter ones.

    [​IMG]

    In taking off the tuners I found the holes for the old ones were 11/16" hole size and the new ones are 9/16". No worries.

    [​IMG]

    So what does the plumbing department in the hardware store have to do with bass guitars?

    Turns out a 1/2" section of grey PVC (when cut to size) makes the perfect shim around the new tuners shaft.

    [​IMG]

    When cut to size with a split, they fit tightly around the new tuner shaft, as well as the new tuner then fitting tightly in the headstock peg hole. Nice tight fit, no wobble and it can't move. So tight I can barely budge them at all and that's without even the top lug installed or putting in the holding screw on the back! And honestly, this fix makes the tuners fit tighter than even the stock ones were. Best 65 cents I ever spent.

    [​IMG]

    Now on to cutting the new tuning peg hole for the 6th string addition (this will be cut to size)...
  9. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    The new tuners are installed.

    I made sure that the strings would not bind or come in contact with one another. Using the smaller tuners helped with that which allowed me to position them for the best stringing location.

    Because the old holes were 11/16" and the tuners are 9/16" I added a thin washer over the old holes under the new tuner washers.

    The four along the top are all in line and the tuner shafts are perpendicular to the top line of the headstock. The two on the bottom are turned to be perpendicular to follow the curve of the headstock.

    I buffed out the headstock and got rid of the area where I wetsanded the Yamaha logo out. It would have looked horrible to put the tuner right through the logo. Besides, now it is a BB416 Black Bastard so the old logo is moot.

    OLD...

    [​IMG]

    NEW

    [​IMG]

    They nice and tight with the PVC bushings I made. Perfect! Now when in the hell is my bridge and nut going to get here? Said it should have been delivered today, but should come tomorrow.

    [​IMG]
  10. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    Nice and bright. They're a little sticky at first, but then a lot of the coated strings are. The coating is also wearing off of mine in the picking area, but again, that's to be expected, right? When something beautiful gets used a lot and develops wear patterns, they call that patina, and everyone loves patina. ;)

    Tuners look great, BTW - good job! I've never been a fan of those monster open-backed Fender-style machines. Way overkill for the job, and heavy too. Those Gotoh-style units are just the ticket for a project like this. Neat trick using the PVC spacers, too!
  11. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    I just bought a new set of DR Sunbeams that are patiently waiting to be put on, but I will check into the Black Beauties next time around.

    Thanks on the tuner install. It was a bitch and about two hours in a hardware store trying to find the right thing to use for a bushing to fill in the space. It had to fit tight and only the grey PVC (kind of flexible and cuttable with a sharp knife) worked.

    Now if only the bridge and nut would get here. With Christmas eve looming, I'm not going to have any time from Saturday on through early next week to work on it. :( Both my tuners and the bridge/nut were shipped priority mail from CA and my tuners got here Tuesday already!!!
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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  13. davidAaronCarte

    davidAaronCarte

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  14. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Gravity Picks
    I'm thinking of doing this to a Squier 5 String Precision. Awesome thread.
  15. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    Your conversions were very inspiring. :cool:

    Neck width and room for an extra tuner has everything to do with it being possible. And of course the requisite courage to actually forge ahead with it. ;)
  16. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    Check out this conversion then, it might be helpful...

    Squier Deluxe Jazz Conversion
  17. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    I know a lot of bass players do not like close string spacing, but I am very comfortable fingerpicking on an acoustic guitar and if anything, (even though I've played bass for over 30 years) I've always felt bass strings are spaced too far apart.

    I'm getting anxious to get back to playing a 6 string again.
  18. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    and that is awesome! (not the conversion, i find the idea horrifying :eek: ;), but a great solution to the tuner holes issue.)
  19. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

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    I'm all for tight spacing, but 13-14mm is insane! I could see how it'd be nice for pick playing, though.

    Also, in case you decide to do a future tuner swap, they do make metal ferrules for 11/16" to 9/16" tuner hole conversion.
  20. Sundogue

    Sundogue

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    Thanks. Due to tolerances, I've found that the PVC (not the hard PVC, but the gray stuff) actually makes for a tighter fit, because the old ones had the metal ferrules and they were loose until screwed in on the back. These are tight even without being bolted in with the top lug or using the holding screw on the back.

    But it's good to know they make that for future reference. Got any links to who sells them?

    With regards to tight string spacing, fingerstyle is where I'm at. I don't slap and I'm very comfortable finger picking on an acoustic guitar with even tighter spacing. This will be a dream for me. It also will be much tighter towards the nut for fretting faster and open enough for picking fingerstyle towards the bridge end.

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