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New Build: Chambered 4-string fretless bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by HaMMerHeD, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Greetings, LC. First I want to again thank everyone who has assisted me in my learning process. I decided about 5 years ago that I wanted to to build basses, and the Luthier's Corner has been an absolutely indispensible resource ever since.

    I am soon starting on my third build. It is based on my first build, but modified quite a bit. I started (and aborted) another build that was number 3, but wood problems have made me abandon that particular build. It just wasn't happening the way I wanted it to be, so I scrapped it.

    I've been planning it for a while, but I'm just posting it now because I finally have all the wood pieces I need for it. The last piece, a walnut top billet, arrived today.

    So here it is:

    Epoch Chambered 4-String Fretless Bass

    Specs:
    4-strings
    Fretless with lines (white plastic lines)
    Chambered Ash body with walnut top
    Ebony fingerboard, 10 radius
    5-piece bolt-on mahogany, walnut, and maple neck
    Ebony bridge
    EMG AT-125U undersaddle piezo pickup
    Graphtech TUSQ saddle
    Hipshot Ultralite Tuners
    Cafe Walter PZP-1 piezo buffer pre-amp, 9v
    Passive Tone and Volume Controls
    Grizzly Dual-Action Truss Rod
    Sadowsy style aluminum knobs

    Here's the overall design:
    [​IMG]

    I have ordered these templates from Ronny Trigo at GuitarBuildingTemplates.com.
    [​IMG]
    I used a custom template from him with my 7-string baritone project, and I was very pleased with the results.

    The bridge will be shaped from ebony, and will look like this:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the ash:
    [​IMG]

    And the walnut billet:
    [​IMG]
    This bit arrived today from Goby Walnut in Portland. Still needs to be resawn/jointed/planed into a bookmatched top.

    And here are the neck woods:
    [​IMG]
    It'll be 5 pieces: Mahogany, Maple, Walnut, Maple, Mahogany. The Mahogany bits will be roughtly 1.5" wide each before shaping. The maple strips are 1/8 thick wide, and the walnut stip is 1/2" thick.

    The plan for constructing the neck is as follows:
    [​IMG]

    And finally, here are all the parts I have so far:
    [​IMG]
    Not pictured is the EMG undersaddle pickup. It's around here somewhere, just didn't make it into the group photo. All I lack are the hipshot tuners.

    Right now, the ash is 2.0" thick. I'm thinking I will get it thicknessed down to 1.5" before chambering. The walnut billet is thick enough that it should be able to be made into a 1/2" thick top plate. That'll put the whole thing at around 2" thick when it's all put together. The templates should arrive in about 2 or 3 weeks, at which point there will be more progress.

    In the meantime, thanks for looking, and thanks again to all the experienced peeps who have helped me out.
  2. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Forgot to mention, there will be an "F-hole" of sorts. I have two designs in mind, but have not settled on one yet:

    [​IMG]

    Which do you guys like best/worst?
  3. WinstonNilesRum

    WinstonNilesRum

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    The left one.

    Awesome looking build, by the way!
  4. mazareth

    mazareth

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    Agree with Winston. The one on the left. I like the design.
  5. Nidan

    Nidan

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    Looks like a winner , and I agree with the "f hole on the left as well .

    I've been building chambered instruments for 13 years and love them . Have fun with the project!
  6. roberthabraken

    roberthabraken

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    Interesting, subscribed! :smug:
  7. burritosdaily

    burritosdaily

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    If you're going for unique I'd go with the one on the left. The one on the right is really nice... simple... clean... but they do remind of these a little -

    [​IMG]

    I love the concept of the bass.:D
  8. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Not much time to work lately, but I did get the neck woods ripped to size:

    [​IMG]

    Going to try to get this thing glued up tonight.

    BTW, I'm going with the F-hole on the left.

    EDIT: I went ahead and glued/clamped it up.

    [​IMG]
  9. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Body ash is jointed, glued, and clamped.

    [​IMG]
  10. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Got the neck billet ripped:

    [​IMG]

    Still needs to be surfaced though.
  11. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Neck blank is surfaced, scarf is cut, and trimmed. Headstock is trimmed, glued, and clamped.

    [​IMG]
  12. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Supporting Member

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    Very nice build! BTW, I like the f-hole on the right. Simple and retro-classy ;)
  13. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Thanks Maurizio. Your builds are huge inspirations to me.

    The neck has been mostly cut out. Next step is to cut out the headstock and glue on the fingerboard.

    [​IMG]

    There was some router yanking when routing the TR channel, but luckily it did not go outside the lines, so it'll be covered up by the headplate. I'm a bit annoyed by it, and I think I'm going to fill the blunder in with an epoxy+sawdust slurry before I glue the headplate on. BTW, the headplate will be walnut.

    Now I think about it, I think gluing the fingerboard on will be after I fill the error and attach the headplate.
  14. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    The oops is filled and the walnut headplate veneer is glued on.

    [​IMG]
  15. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Supporting Member

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    subbed

    BTW: I like your choice of the left sound hole.
  16. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Thanks grendel!

    I accomplished a lot with the neck in the past couple of days. I glued the walnut veneer on the headstock:
    [​IMG]

    Then cut the headstock out with a scrollsaw:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then I trimmed it up and smoothed it out with an oscillating spindle sander:
    [​IMG]

    And here it sits now:
    [​IMG]

    The fingerboard is tapered, but has about 1mm of overhang on the sides. I'll trim it up after it's glued on.

    The top edge of the headstock is chamfered to 45 degrees. I wanted the neck laminate to be able to just peek through the front. I'm happy with the effect. There is a little scorching due to my hesitation with the chamfer router bit. I'll file that away when I clean up that corner.

    I also made a little TR access cover (shown above). It's just a piece of black pickguard material with maple and walnut veneer layers glued onto it. Then trimmed on the spindle sander and "finished" with hand-sanding.

    Tomorrow I'm going to go pick up some latex tubing and get the fingerboard glued on.
  17. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    So I made a couple of truss rod access covers:

    [​IMG]

    The smaller one is walnut veneer, maple veneer, and black plastic pickguard material. The larger one is walnut veneer, maple veneer, walnut veneer, and a bit of 1/8" thick maple. They are the same color on the top...the picture sucks, I guess.

    Which do you guys like best?
  18. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    I chose the larger one, installed it today.

    [​IMG]

    I'm a little annoyed that my countersinking bit seems to be unable to cut a nice circle. A hexagon would have been cool if I had been able to align it accordingly.
  19. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    Good choice on the larger (non-plastic) TRC! And lol on the bit - I've had mine do that too...
  20. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Thanks Todd. I guess I should have stated "I am a bit annoyed that I cannot get my countersinking bit to cut a nice circle", but there it is.

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