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1st build: '51 p- PICS INSIDE!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ccrnnr9, Apr 2, 2009.


  1. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    Well after much talk I decided to get down and just do it. I found a guy in a neighboring town who has been building for 30 years who has all the tools and volunteered to help me through the process for a nominal hourly rate. I bought the wood a little less than a month ago and have been slowly picking up the parts.

    The goal is a '51 style tele bass. It will be a plank body but will be a hardtail. Since this is my first build and I knew there would be some flaws, I decided to do this budget. The parts are used, found cheap, or ones I already had. Minus the cost in labor (what he is charging me) my goal was to get everything for under $250. Unless something unexpected comes up I should be at about $215. When I'm not so lazy I will post the exact build list with price and everything. Without further delay here are some of the pics.

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    I forgot to take pics of the board blanks but this is the pic of them glued and the body traced. The wood is alder btw.

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  2. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
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    Rough cut with the band saw...not bad for my first time!:p

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  3. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    ...

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    Front and back after the body had the edges cleaned up.

    I am happy with the results thus far. I have made too many mistakes to count but everything has been fixable. I just realized I forgot to take a picture of the body how it is now after rounding the edges off. Now it is time to do some sanding.

    Next step is to start the neck and do the routing for the pickup, control cavity, etc. I will post more pics as soon as we make some more progress. The build will be done next week but then I have to do the finishing. Right now I am leaning towards doing a slight vintage tint on the neck (all maple) and doing a vintage blonde finish on the body. Let me know what you think. Pickup is a single coil '51 style Curtis Novak p-bass pup.

    At this point I am awaiting my shipment of parts to be complete. I am going to finish the neck before doing much more work on the body other than routing. Since I am designing the neck to my own specs, we are going to shape the neck cutout to my neck after it is done...and don't you worry a tele headstock template is sitting at the shop awaiting use! Stay tuned for more details!

    On another note, does anyone know the approx or exact depth of the pickup cavity? I think I'll just guess it if no one knows...

    Enjoy the pics!
    ~Nick
     
  4. Nice work Nick!! Tele basses are cool :cool:.

    I think you're doing this very quick, also when you're planning to finish it next week. I'm in my 1st build too and it already took me 3 months, still just started with the neck...

    For the pickup cavities: my book (Martin Koch's that is) says 19 mm (3/4") deep. But I would double check that, 'cause I've got no experience with that part yet..
     
  5. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    Thanks for the advice. Well it makes it easier than the guy who is helping me has a full wood shop with lots of expensive tools so some jobs, such as planing the board before gluing took 10-20min instead of 1-2hours. Stuff like that really saves time. My next build will be done by hand but I wanted my first to be in his presence so I could see how a good builder does it and have a quality instrument of my own making.

    As far as the pup depth goes, I believe it is different for the tele basses but I could be wrong.
    ~Nick
     
  6. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    Also I don't plan to do the finishing until the weather here is consistently warm so I can spray with the garage door open. So it will probably be a month at least until the bass is completely done.
    ~Nick
     
  7. floydman

    floydman

    Sep 27, 2002
    southeast CT
    I'm excited to see your project progress! looks like you're off to a good start.
     
  8. Well that helps a lot indeed, it's a very nice arrangement you made and I think it's a good approach! And about the pups, doesn't it depend on which pickups you use? Instead of which bass they go in? I think they're all about the same height, but also not sure on that..

    I can't wait to see it finished :D
     
  9. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    Thanks a bunch man! It sure is fun to create something of your own. Next work day is Tuesday and there is a possibility we will get everything done if and only if we don't run into any problems. As far as the pickup height I am still researching. I only have one pup for the time being and it's a standard '51 single coil that sits right below the pickguard. I may decide to make a second guard and if I get around to it someday route for a 'bucker that sits right below the neck like an EB-0. It would give me a lot of tonal versatility.
    ~Nick
     
  10. Nice, good luck and we'll see after Tuesday :smug:
     
  11. Absentia

    Absentia

    Feb 25, 2009
    Looking good
     
  12. braz_b2

    braz_b2

    Mar 17, 2009
    I'm happy your doing this on here.. I'm planning on doing the exact same build with a $200 budget.
    Good luck on the build.
    I'm subscribed
     
  13. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    Awesome! If you have any questions or need any advice I would be happy to give it!
    ~Nick
     
  14. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    UPDATE DAY! We started on the neck today and got through all the quick work. From here on out the rest of the build is pretty tedious. We started with my piece of rock maple. We used a mill to slowly file out a slot in the back of the blank to put the truss rod in. We ended up having to make a slot at 3/8in so for those of you purists, this bass does not comply! The skunk stripe is slightly wider for that reason...makes no difference to me but I know that some of you may curse my name now. Anyways the milling went smooth and we made a groove in the bottom of channel so that the truss rod sits in there really well. This pic shows the body with the neck blank in front with the channel milled out and the walnut skunk stripe sitting next to it (not yet inserted)...did I mention I am a terrible photographer?
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    Next step was to flip her over and use the table saw to cut the fingerboard for the fret wire. This was a bit interesting since I am using a 1 piece maple neck and we cut the slots on the 6in wide board. It would have been a bear had I had to do it with a hand saw but luckily I had access to a table saw and work was easy going. Here is a bad pic of the board with the slots cut but not yet shaped into a neck:

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  15. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    A side few of the board with fret slots cut:
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    Next step was to make a tracing of the neck using specs from a p-bass my bass teacher has that I love the profile of. We got that traced on, drew a center line, and then used a tele headstock template to make the headstock cut out. I used the band saw to do a rough cut of the body. The result:

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  16. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    Here is a close up of the headstock:

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    You notice how rough it is. I will post pics tomorrow after everything is cleaned up, routed, and sanded to spec.

    A few of the neck from the heel onwards:

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  17. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    One more:

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    And lastly we drilled a hole at the heel for the truss rod nut to fit into. I just used a hand drill for this and it worked out well. As of now the truss rod is in, skunk stripe glued in, just not yet filed and sanded down.
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    I am going back tomorrow to do a lot more work. There is a possibility of finishing tomorrow but likely Thursday. I will keep you guys updated!
    ~Nick
     
  18. TimboZ

    TimboZ

    Jan 4, 2009
    South of Buffalo
    Looking good, butt.
    The hole looks off center. Is it?
     
  19. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9

    Sep 1, 2008
    It is off center in terms of that piece but remember the neck isn't cut down yet so if you see it in person its more in center. I don't know if that makes sense so take my word! Haha.
    ~Nick
     
  20. mrwink

    mrwink

    Apr 30, 2000
    Los Angeles area
    can't wait to see how this turns out!
     

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