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First Build: 51' Depot-Caster

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Gabeja15, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Gabeja15

    Gabeja15 Supporting Member

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    Here goes nothing...

    After lurking around the luthier's section for far too long, I felt it was time to embark upon a build of my own. I wanted something simple that would nicely complement my Marcus Miller Jazz, so it's no surprise that I settled on a P-bass.

    This is going to be a verrrry thrifty build, mostly through the help of some local NYC TB'ers, DrewFolkadelics and Papalampraina, from whom I managed to grab a very nice neck and pickup, and my uncle, who kindly lent me most of the tools. I've currently assembled 95% of the components and materials and am still holding below my initial $200 budget for the whole build.

    The inspiration (pretty set on this color combo, but feel free to give suggestions): http://crestonguitars.com/guitars/bass/kevin_whites_british_racing_green_bass

    And specs (so far):

    -Maple/Rosewood Jazz profile SX neck (headstock in the process of being reshaped to a more Tele-ish profile)
    -4-piece poplar body glued up from Home Depot dimensional lumber
    -standard bent steel bridge (4-saddle) with threaded saddles and chrome GFS hardware
    -cream pickguard
    -Seymour Duncan SCPB quarter pounder

    The body is going to be just slightly smaller/thinner than the original Fender, more like a dinky/sadowsky J, while still remaining a slab. As pretty as the early Fenders are, baseball-bat necks and thick slab bodies are a pain to play.

    I'm also pretty set on a rattle can spray paint finish with a poly-acrylic clear coat. Properly prime and sanded, it should be super durable and look quite nice. I know, people will start howling that I should just use reranch nitro, but I live in an apartment in NYC and letting it cure for a month is not an option.

    Pics to follow
  2. Gabeja15

    Gabeja15 Supporting Member

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    Body blank all glued up, and template cut out

    [​IMG]


    Routing

    [​IMG]
  3. Mktrat

    Mktrat Huh? Supporting Member

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  4. Ronbeast

    Ronbeast

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    I've always been interested in doing a build with Home depot wood. I'm not in the "tonewood" camp, so it seems like a perfectly viable alternative to me. I'm interested in seeing how this one goes.

    Any choice on the color yet? I think seafoam green or sonic blue would look amazing with a cream pickguard.
  5. Neek

    Neek Supporting Member

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    I like the color. There is a club on this forum for rattle-can refinishes and a lot of those instruments look great, you should check those out. Also, the people who would howl at not using nitro are usually the people who have never had to spray nitro (usually :bag:)

    Looking good so far!
  6. Rooster009

    Rooster009

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  7. Gabeja15

    Gabeja15 Supporting Member

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    Starting to take shape.

    [​IMG]

    The handheld jigsaw was really struggling with the 1.5 inch poplar, so switched to the router (which has maybe 10 times the torque). After 2 passes with the router, the jig was able to slice through the rest. Once the body was roughly cut out, a neighbor with a band saw finally came home and we could clean up the edges
  8. IvanMunoz

    IvanMunoz

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    Seems really cool. And I love the colour you chose.
    Subscribed!
  9. Pills Are Yummy

    Pills Are Yummy

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  10. Gabeja15

    Gabeja15 Supporting Member

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    So I've settled on a color: Montana Gold-brand "Petrol." A little more blue-y than the forest green I had originally intended, but it was too pretty to leave there. Plus, I've never seen a bass this color before.

    [​IMG]

    Picked up a can of this today, and will pick up a can of either deft or duplicolor clear lacquer this weekend. Apparently, the Minwax Polycrylic I had planned on using doesn't buff particularly well and leaves witness lines.

    I honestly don't know why more people don't go for the spray paint route. This stuff comes in colors I didn't even know existed and with a higher quality nozzle than anything else I've seen on the market.

    Next up, sanding for the next [DEL]few days[/DEL] rest of my life
  11. Gabeja15

    Gabeja15 Supporting Member

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    Overdue update time: Finally managed to get out to the island to get some work done.

    [​IMG]
    jpg images

    Neck and bridge are all mounted up, rounded the edges, pickup and control cavities are now a proper depth and I managed to drill that very tricky hole under the bridge for the ground wire.

    [​IMG]
    online photo storage

    Next up I need to find a 3/4" fostner bit to widen the input jack hole and then I can begin filling all of the dings and router tear-outs.
  12. Beej

    Beej

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    Couple of thoughts: one of the reasons that rattle can paint (other than nitro) is not used widely is that it's not nearly as durable as the same paint when sourced in cans and used through a spray set up. Combine that with poplar, and you're likely to have lots of dings, dents and scratches over time. Not necessarily a problem, but you should be aware.

    The second thought is that you should probably do a test piece with your green paint and then clearcoat. Using two different brands of unknown compatibility could be a heart-breaker if the clear destroys the fine green you've sprayed beneath it. If Montana makes a compatible clearcoat, that is probably a better choice.

    Looks like a fun project, enjoy! :)
  13. Precision345

    Precision345 Supporting Member

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    Wow, this is looking pretty sexy already. Can't wait to see the finished product! Well done.
  14. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Sevenstring.org's luthier subforum currently has a home depot challenge running. There's some interesting stuff there. I'm building an acoustic from oak, "select" pine, and poplar. Seems like it'll be fun.
  15. Gabeja15

    Gabeja15 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the tips with the paint. I definitely plan on doing a test piece before laying down the color.

    As for dings/wear, I'm not too worried as I kind of like the relic look. As long as it doesn't flake or peel, it should do fine.
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    I dont use rattle cans because I spent a good deal of money on my guns and compressor, and the durability and quality of the product is compromised to get it to spray out of a can.
  17. Gabeja15

    Gabeja15 Supporting Member

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    Long overdue update.

    Color and clear-coat are down and the body is currently hanging in my basement curing until I can begin wet-sanding around Christmas.

    There have been some ups and down with the whole rattlecan finishing process, but all in all, I'm a fan. It is miles from a thick smooth factory finish, mostly due to skipping some sort of grain filling and lacking a proper booth (painted in an unheated garage).

    Despite the shortcomings, the finish is even, everything adhered like it was supposed to, and the color is an absolute knockout in person.

    [​IMG]

    The Deft Perfect Match Clear I used was surprisingly thin. I would guess that I would need at least 3 cans total to get a heavy gloss finish, but I think I prefer the semi gloss look with some of the grain visible. Surprisingly, the Deft nozzle sprayed wayyyyyyyy better then the Montana one, which gummed up and spattered a few times. The Montana paint itself was great though.
  18. Gabeja15

    Gabeja15 Supporting Member

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    Well, I finally managed to get it all together and wired up and it absolutely SCREAMS!

    Without further ado:

    [​IMG]

    There is still quite a bit of work to do, namely wetsanding down all of the orange-peel in the clear-coat, beveling the pickguard edges and clearing the headstock. Also if you look closely, I managed to misplace my control plate and had to make a cardboard stand in.

    I'm floored with how good it sounds. Fully shielded and the single coil SD quarter pounder is a whole new beast from my typical Jazz bass. The poplar body feels lighter then I expected now that it's all together, and while the neck hangs a bit lower than my Marcus Miller, it balances nicely.
  19. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse

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    Nice work ! I've made several instruments from "found" or "bargain" lumber, and there's a real sense of accomplishment making something cool from something other people would ignore.

    This is one I made from scrap cedar fence posts...and has a pickguard made from linoleum floor tile !

    Attached Files:

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