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Moonshine DC Bass build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by moonshinegtrs, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    This is a bass that I've been building for awhile now. I love the double cutaway body style. I used to own a 1960 Gibson EB0 bass that was the traditional L.P. Jr. double cutaway shape with banjo tuners and that is what I made my original template off of. I have built different versions of this (bass & guitar) over the years; from set neck, slab body models made from mahogany & korina to multi- laminated neck & body (bolt on & set neck) carved instruments built from mahogany, walnut, purpleheart & figured maple. It's been a couple of years since I made one of these.

    This bass is strictly a build for me. The swamp ash body blank is made up from 4 pieces, the wood is from cut offs of other builds; personally I don’t have a problem with knots or other cosmetic imperfections and while this wood may not up to some customer's specs cosmetically (really, it depends upon the customer), it is very light and resonant. It will make for a great sounding bass.

    The neck is out of a batch of my 31" scale production necks. I build my necks in batches of 6-12 pieces (depending on the model). This allows me to make the most of having to set up jigs & equipment (just as easy to make 6+ necks as it is to make one while you are set up for it). The neck is quarter sawn maple, with an Indian rosewood fretboard (no inlays, just side dots). It has 24 frets & is 1 5/8" at the nut.

    I am using a Peavey T40 pickup in this one; These are really great pickups. Controls will be simple; volume & tone (the volume is a push/pull to split the coils on the p/u). Also using an original Tobias brass bridge that I've had forever & a couple of old vintage knobs that I've also been saving as well as a used set of Grover tuners; I have been saving all of this stuff for a future build... The future is finally here.

    Here is the rough cut blank:
    [​IMG]
    The grain matched up pretty well, but a couple of the seams became visible as I sanded the blank to thickness & there was some slight color variations that became apparent when the blank was viewed from different angles. At the same time, the blank was light & very resonant when tapped... Good enough for me.

    Here is a mock up of the body with the neck, pickup & bridge; sizing everything up...
    [​IMG]

    The stock pickup ring was shot so I decided to make one from a piece of rosewood left over from an acoustic guitar build. The original ring was .125" tall, the rosewood that I have is just over .100" tall, which will work fine:
    [​IMG]

    Drilling out the screw holes as well as the corners for the pickup cut-out (I used a scroll saw to cut out the ring):
    [​IMG]

    The completed ring:
    [​IMG]

    Taking measurements for neck, pickup & rear cavity routes:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Routing for the pickup first; I always use a forstner bit first to remove as much wood as possible to make it easier on the router:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So far, so good...
    [​IMG]
  2. xaxxat

    xaxxat Supporting Member

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    Sweeeet.
  3. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

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    That's awesome. Subbed.
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    Lookin good man. There sure is alot of T40 pickup action going on in the LC right now.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    No kidding! I'm gonna have to see for myself what all the fuss is about.

    I love the LPDC shape! This should be a great bass. BUT - if you don't mind my saying so, I would much rather see you use a Tune-O-Matic with a stop tailpiece instead...
  6. abarson

    abarson

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    Subbed for a T40 pickup build.
  7. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars

    I have some Tune-O-Matics/Stop Tailpieces & have used them on a more traditional (mahogany/set-neck) build; in fact, I have some flamed white limba that is slated for such a build later this year.

    I really want to try one of Hipshot's two-point bridges. I really love the way they look.

    This build is all about parts that I have gathered over the years. The Tobias bridge looks like an early version of a Hipshot. It is brass & I felt it would be perfect to add some weight so that the bass will balance better. That & I think it looks really cool.

    Moonshine :bassist:
  8. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    Time to route the rear control cavity. I use a large cavity so that I have plenty of room for whatever electronics I decide to use, plus it lightens the bass even more (this bass will be shaped pretty heavily, which will also remove weight).

    Here are the templates; one for the backplate and another for the actual cavity.
    [​IMG]

    The piece of rosewood that I used to make the pickup ring is large enough that I will be able to make a backplate as well.
    [​IMG]

    Again, drilling out the mass with a forstner bit:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Routing the cavity:
    [​IMG]

    I had to get creative to route the backplate (really, just being lazy. I have a shorter bit... somewhere); I raised the template up and carefully aligned it with the cavity.
    [​IMG]

    Cavity completed.
    [​IMG]

    Next, the neck pocket, same process:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    neck pocket done. Good fit.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's where I'm at so far.
    [​IMG]

    Next, I'll start shaping the body.

    Moonshine :bassist:
  9. StreetScenes

    StreetScenes Gold Supporting Member

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    Nice...Subbed
  10. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    Roundover of body edges:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    First, I used my (stationary) belt sander to remove material from the front arm bevel, then cleaned it up with a half round rasp:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next I started on the rear contour (belly cut); again started by roughing it out with a belt sander:
    [​IMG]

    Progress...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Moonshine :bassist:
  11. Splods

    Splods

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    Awesome, head stock has a nice flair to it as well.
  12. reverendrally

    reverendrally

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  13. Vincent P

    Vincent P Supporting Member

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    Simply Stunning Work!!!
  14. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Thank you.

    Reverend; I'm subbed on your build(s)... Very nice. I am a big T-Bird fan.


    Moonshine :bassist:
  15. darren1970

    darren1970

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    I love the shape of the headstock. Very flowing lines.
  16. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Thanks again.

    I have been working on the headstock shape for awhile now. It's interesting to look back and see how it has evolved over time.

    It's hard to find a headstock shape that is pleasing to the eye (that is totally subjective... everybody's different) and remotely original...

    [​IMG]

    Moonshine :bassist:
  17. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Here is where I tried to get creative & almost screwed up...

    I have seen builders carve violin (guitar/mandolin) arch-tops & backs using a drill press; drilling around the outer edge, then progressively raising (lowering on the inside) the bit to remove material & therefore make it easier to rough carve the arch-top (back). I thought it would be cool to try this to remove material from the heel. I have previously used this method to remove material from the inside of a body that is going to have a carved back (belly-cut/contour).

    The neck heel area is to be carved out, but I want it to be shaped, not just "dished" out; I made some rough measurements & thankfully made some allowances (I didn't drill down to the finished depth):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Works good in theory, but as I used a small curved carving tool to remove the drilled out material, I started to worry that I had drilled too deep in a few places...
    [​IMG]

    I used a rasp to finish the roughing out; final shaping still needs to be done, but I am happy with the results so far.
    [​IMG]

    Here's how it looks with more shaping; you can see how the shaping around the heel is starting to form:
    [​IMG]

    Another body/neck shot. Next is drilling the holes for the neck ferrules & screws.
    [​IMG]

    First, I drill the holes for the ferrules. I believe these came from Stew-Mac. These type are good for shallow neck heels. for thicker heels, I prefer using bass string ferrules (normally used for string-through bridges); They have a smaller footprint & you have to slightly grind the screw heads down, but I have found that I get a better fit with them. With as much shaping as I'm doing with this heel, the shallower, ferrules make more sense. I used a standard neck plate to initially mark the screw holes, then moved the two holes closest to the end of the heel inward slightly. I drilled out the larger ferrule holes first with a forstner bit. The I drilled the actual screw holes:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here is how it looks with the neck attached:
    [​IMG]
    I still have more shaping to do at the heel, but I wanted to get these ferrules installed first to make sure that everything looks right visually.
  18. Splods

    Splods

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    Your dog is such a stalker, peering in through a window.
  19. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Wow...

    You had me going on that one. I do have four pups; dogs actually; they're pups to me... four pretty good size, spoiled rotten pups (as it should be :)) . And they do like to photo bomb...

    However, there was no dog stalkers (or is it stalking dogs?) in these pics. What appears to be a peeping tom pooch is actually a table with a chop saw...

    I figured I would be getting comments about the crap scattered about in the background in some of my pics (I'll never forget being called out for having a less than perfect wood floor in my old shop... :rollno:)

    Damn sure does look like a dog though... :D

    Moonshine :bassist:
  20. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Supporting Member

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    Here is where I left off... Neck mounted.
    [​IMG]

    Scooping out cutaway:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    With neck mounted:
    [​IMG]

    Ready for final sanding:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Mounting bridge:
    [​IMG]

    Bridge, pickup & electronics installed for a test fit:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Final sanding;
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For finishing, I first applied a couple of coats of sanding sealer (no filler):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    while the body was drying, I finished up the neck; shaped the end of the fingerboard, then after taping off the fingerboard, I sprayed the neck with satin lacquer (four coats, sanding between coats 3 & 4, 0000 steel wool on back of neck):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I sanded the body with 320 grit sandpaper, then sprayed 3 light coats of satin lacquer, sanded again, then applied a final coat of satin lacquer. Once the body had fully cured, I went over it with 0000 steel wool:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Body before assembly:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

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