Old School Bass Build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jeff Mills, Dec 3, 2012.


  1. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Specifications
    Body Type -Semi-Hollow (chambered) flat top with dual bound shark fin accent holes
    Overall Width - 13 1/4"
    No. Frets - 20 Jumbo
    Overall Depth - 1 1/4"
    Scale Length - 33 1/4"
    Binding - Ivory colored ABS - Fully bond and blocked
    Neck Width at Nut - 1 11/16"
    Fret Marker Style - Classic round white clay
    Neck Width at 12th Fret - 2 1/16"
    Head Stock - Mills Custom Guitars unique design
    Fretboard Radius -10"
    Bridge - Pre-1980’s Rickenbacker® Style with adjustable mute
    Body Wood - American Black Walnut
    Neck Type - Through body
    Neck Wood - American Black Walnut
    No. of Pickups - 2
    Fingerboard Wood - American Black Walnut
    Type of Pickups - Mini Humbucker Chrome Tribar
    Weight - Appox 8.0 lbs
    Output Type - Mono and Stereo
    Overall Length - 45 1/4"
    Machine Heads - High Quality Shamrock Style Deluxe Open Faced
    Nameplate - Personalized with owners name or digital signature
    Truss Rod - Dual Action (Two-Way)

    Thanks
  2. reverendrally

    reverendrally

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
  3. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    I was asked to post some work in progress pics so here's some pics of the build in various stages - I actually build two but the maple/walnut one is not 100% done yet.

    Both roughed out on the band saw after laminating the necks

    Maple / Steamed Walnut
    [​IMG]

    Air dried Walnut
    [​IMG]

    A little further along

    The first one is a 1 5/8" thick solid body maple and steamed walnut, the neck will be bound in black. The second one is 1 1/4" thick semi hollow body air dried black walnut, the neck on it will be bound in ivory.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    A few mile stones reached on the maple/walnut one The neck is now bound and shaved, the wings are glued on, nut fitted, bridge routed in - I got to string it and it intonates fine. I still have some cleaning up at the heel where the wings join the neck (last picture) and of course there's lots of block sanding... but she'll be ready to have the fretboard radiused, fret markers and frets pretty soon.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here I finally got the Maple/Walnut one cleaned up and scraped enough for a seal coat, which means major wood working is over on that one I also radiused the fretboard to match the bridge (10 degrees) installed the fret markers and medium jumbo frets. I think it's starting to look more like a guitar now...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Couple more pics of the all walnut one - Bound all the way around, the back of the neck is hand drawn to a thin profile, neck tilt set, wings glued on and leveled, 1st seal coat. Really wild colors in this walnut... The bridge is on back order :rollno: There is a little clean up work to do around the heal area and the end needs to be trimmed, but other than that this one will be ready to have the fret board marked, radius and frets installed soon.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More WIP pics... Are you sick of me yet? Heal is cleaned up, tail is trimmed, clay fretboard markers installed, fretboard radius-ed. Next comes routing in the bridge (which was shipped today) and installing the frets. Then I can string it for the first time.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Installed, leveled and dressed the medium jumbo frets

    [​IMG]

    Routed in the bridge, installed the tuners, strung, adjusted truss rod - plays really nice not much black walnut heartwood showing on the face side, but I like it. Still a ways to go till complete but I think it's starting to look more like a guitar now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My back ordered bridge came in finally, So I installed it and set it up. Here's a few pics of them together... Still a lot more to do till they are both completed, but it's nice to have the both strung.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A few profile pics

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Getting there - installed 2 mini-humbuckers pickups, independent volume/tone for each pickup, 3way pickup selector switch, mono or stereo output. Plays nice, sounds nice - I'm happy with this one so far... just the truss rod and electronics covers left to make. Then it will be disassembled, block sanded and finished.

    [​IMG]

    Spaghetti - Seems like I always cut my wires to long - I guess longer is better than shorter ... Anyways sounds really good and everything is working like I knew what I was doing or something.

    [​IMG]

    Truss rod covers printed with logo / model numbers and Made in USA

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Installed 2 mini-humbuckers pickups, independent volume/tone for each pickup, 3way pickup selector switch, mono or stereo output. Plays nice, it growls. Different woods sure make different sounds that's for sure. I have some sharp edges to round over and side dots left to install - then it disassembled, block sanded and finished.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pic of first the owners nameplate design, it sits between the end of the fretboard and the bass pickup

    [​IMG]

    Last pictures on the all walnut one before disassemble, block sand, finish and buff.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks
  4. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Huntington WV
    Very nice work! The binding on the headstock is super trick, IMO.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. Luke19Boarder

    Luke19Boarder

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2001
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    the grain on the fretboard is fantastic.
  7. gnarlyopossum

    gnarlyopossum

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Mason City, IA
    That's so beautiful, it's dumb. How the heck am I supposed to play any other bass ever again? Guess I'll just have to close my eyes. Great work!
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Location:
    US-NY-NYC
    That steamed walnut is great. Do you do that yourself, or do you get it from somewhere? And are there greens in it, or is that that just the photos?
  9. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    That's a good one :D
  10. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Everyone who sees it in person also comments on the binding.
  11. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Just finished - comments / criticisms - are always welcome.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Specifications
    Body Type Solid flat top
    Overall Width 13 1/4"
    No. Frets 20 Jumbo
    Overall Depth 1 1/2"
    Scale Length 33 1/4"
    Binding Black colored ABS
    Neck Width at Nut 1 11/16"
    Fret Marker Style Round Ivory colored ABS
    Neck Width at 12th Fret 2 1/16"
    Head Stock Mills Custom Guitars unique design
    Fretboard Radius 10"
    Bridge Pre-1980’s Rickenbacker® Style with adjustable mute
    Body Wood Hard Maple
    Neck Type Through body
    Neck Wood American Black Walnut & Hard Maple Laminate
    No. of Pickups 2
    Fingerboard Wood American Black Walnut
    Type of Pickups Mini Humbucker Chrome Tribar
    Weight Appox 8.0 lbs
    Output Type Mono and Stereo
    Overall Length 44 1/2" Machine Heads
    High Quality Shamrock Style Deluxe
    Nameplate Personalized with owners name or signature
    Truss Rod Dual Action (Two-Way)

    Thanks
  12. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    northern CA
    Disclosures:
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Having just gone through being schooled by the legal team at Rickenbacker USA, I am curious how you are dealing w/that. Not that your basses are copies - direct or otherwise, but I discovered RIC/USA is very protective of their copyrights once something similar is sold/marketed.

    Very nice work non-the-less!
  13. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Thanks for the reply... What do you see in these two builds that sparks copyright concerns?

    Thanks
  14. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    northern CA
    Disclosures:
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Seems like an odd question - trust me, I only brought it up because I created a one-off/project build headless bass in which the shape of the body alluded to a RIC 4000 and found out about their copyright policies through that. Personally I hope you have no issues w/them whatsoever. I was just curious to know if you had any insights at what point they consider something a copyright threat. Apparently it's not a problem so sorry to bring it up.
  15. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    These are absolutely beautiful instruments, but ...

    ... is that a serious question?
  16. Beej

    Beej

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Canadia
    Jeff, it may not be a problem for you yet, but I would guess it's just a matter of time before you are contacted by John Hall and crew.

    Regarding what things might potentially cause copyright questions, the general shape of both basses, the use of the binding, the sound hole shape, the headstock shape, truss rod access cover shape (and even Made in USA fine print in same location), stereo output and other smaller details, plus the fact that you mention the use of the Rickenbacker bridge style.

    None of this is critical of your work, which is fine and a nice addition to this forum, I for one hope you continue to contribute here. This is just a question that is inevitably floating around in the minds of us who are aware of the actions that Ric has taken in the past regarding their work and defense of what they consider copyright or trademark. We have observed several actions over several years and even one off builders have been contacted by John Hall or others from Ric to inquire as to their intentions for building. It's something that if you don't have to experience is great, but you'd be in the minority...
  17. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    Westchester County NY
    Umm... agreed. So many aspects of this design tread on Ric copyrights. I won't bother listing them, they're obvious.

    P.S.: it's one thing to build a copy (or something close "inspired" by Ric) for personal use, but the OP clearly has a commercial intention. This thread is probably a violation of TB's Commercial User Policy.
  18. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Everything about them.

    The work is just fine. But...Practically every design element is lifted from Rickenbacker. Surely you are aware of that?
  19. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Hey guys thanks for the replies...

    However, if my intentions were to copy a Rickenbacker® I would have done a much better job. The fact of the matter is I drew out my full sized sketches on grid paper using various straightedges, a French Curve Set, Ship Curve Set and a Radiusing Set. I then used my sketches to make rough and finished router templates. I only used the Rickenbacker® style bridge because I like the string spacing and mute. I could have went with another bridge but the choices are limited for my desired string spacing and most do not have a built in mute.

    So what am I trying to say here exactly? Although I had no intentions on copying Rickenbacker®, I guess some of my design elements are "close enough" to raise concerns by some... I would never intentionally tread on anyone's copyright or trademark. I mean if you stop and think about it every guitar company started the same way I am starting. That's with the ability to build a fine instrument and a dream. I can understand completely, why guitar companies protect their product lines the way they do... and they are completely justified in doing so.

    So what's the next step for Mills Custom Guitars? Well... building more guitars of course. But before that happens it's back to the drawing board to change some design elements and applying for patents and copyrights and a trademark. No biggie really... it's all part of the evolution process. If we do it, we do it right, I've never been they type of a guy to do anything half assed.

    As far as the two basses I have posted in this thread... I now consider them Mills Custom Guitars Prototypes and I'll keep them for my own personal use. The plus side is I now have two fantastic basses to add to my collection.

    2 of my sons and one of my daughters. I though it would be fun to show them playing on Mills Custom Guitars...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Follow your heart and keep your dreams alive, no matter how the deck is stacked against you. You guys keep rockin and thanks again for the input, it was greatly appreciated.
  20. slappa_dat_bass

    slappa_dat_bass

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    All other comments aside, you build an awesome looking axe my man! I love that hollowbody!
  21. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    If you played it you would love it even more. Stay turned my friend, I've got plans for both models ;)

Share This Page