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A Newbie's Unusual Take On A J Bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tribbinator, Jan 18, 2012.


  1. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Hello all! I see the Luthier’s Corner has a lot of first builds and such, and I would like to add to that. I am the usual quiet person here, been looking around for a year, yet not posting. I have gathered enough information and know-how here to start on some bass crafting. My official first build is on hold; well, because I like this one a little bit more. It’s a tradition 60’s Jazz Bass shape, but with some ideas and woods of my own. I started by using my AutoCAD skills to make some templates on 1/8” Eucaboard (Seems close enough to MDF for me) I salvaged from my church’s dumpster. Oh, and this thread might be a little picture heavy, because I like to take pictures to show different angles and such. Anyways, here are the templates..

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    Fast forward through Thanksgiving break, where my eager self forgot to take pictures of the process of sawing my scrap paudauk and pau amarello (Yellowheart) into strips and then gluing together said strips. Eventually I had two glued up left and right wing blanks for cutting, and that’s where the pictures start…

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    A little glimpse of the process of gluing and the blank for the back side of the body…

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    Both bodies cut out now…

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    And that’s the top basically finished, and enough for one post, next post has the neck blank cut out and then the bottom half cut out, just some more cutting basically.

    (And excuse the phone pictures, Its all I have :p )

    Alright, so here is some more progress here, some shots of the body with neck and fretboard wood (Indian Laurel). I found the Indian Laurel at my local Woodcraft, and it looked really nice, and for 8 bucks I couldn’t resist.

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    By now its around Christmas break time and I was able to get more work done, like cut the other body half out, here’s a couple pictures along with the “victims” of the cut…Yellowheart is some dense stuff.

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    Picture frame material in what’s left of the blank, and notice the smiley face that is made with the marks from my vise left and the outline of the bass.

    Moving right along, here is the body as it is now with some major thickness sanding left to do, but the neck pocket is rough cut out of there.

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    You probably noticed the lighting was different in my room, the Yellowheart looks pale and the Paudauk is a little brighter…Couldn’t fix it in Photoshop.
    And for the bass as it is now, working on the headstock idea I have planned, a crafty scarf joint that ties in with the body…

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    13 degrees…
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    And the headstock being glued up,
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    That part will get the same scarf cut, so that they glue up flat, and then Ill sandwich a ¼” piece of paudauk onto the back of the headstock to hide the joint.

    That’s all the progress Ive made so far folks, feel free to comment and suggestions or anything. As I said, I’m a newbie so Im learning as Im going, but Im chugging right along. Thanks for reading!

    P.s. I found inspiration for the idea of the contrasting pieces of wood from a thread…I believe Drake Customs made. Memory fails me, I sure hope I am not overstepping intellectual property borders or anything!
     
  2. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Edit: Double posted on accident.
     
  3. I love and hate that at the same time! Impressive to say the least, and looks very well-done.
     
  4. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010
    Looks great so far, I'm excited to see how it turns out.
     
  5. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
  6. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    Very cool... can't wait to see this one completed!
     
  7. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Hey everyone, another update! I got to working today and got a lot accomplished, I cut the other scarf and cleaned up the cut, I un-clamped the scarf joint, cut the headstock, cleaned up the headstock and slotted frets!


    Here is the headstock prepared for the scarf-ing…I cut the edge of the headstock out to glue my ‘template’ on and keep the cut as straight as possible.
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    I didn’t snap any pictures of the striped part of the headstock with the scarf cut…Probably because I was too busy sanding the cut, but here is the aftermath of the join
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    By some miracle, the joint was actually pretty darn near perfect. I was hoping and praying, but still had doubts that it might have slipped. I cleaned it up a little (I had a long way to go in this picture, cleaned it up later but didn’t take pictures.) Headstock cut out
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    Pretty sexy if you ask me, almost a flawless join
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    And here is the piece of paudauk to sandwich the back of it with, to hide the half and half look
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    Of course at this point I couldn’t help but lay the whole thing out…
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    After that I got my AutoCAD stuff all printed out and carefully glued on, and started to cut slots with my own little rig. I saw someone else using this miter box from Home Depot, it was a cheapie for 5 bucks, but I make good use of it.
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    Then I came inside for the night and did all this posting. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get the fingerboard trimmed down, and inlays routed out and headstock thicknessed.

    Thanks for looking! :bassist:
     
  8. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Another update for everyone, just fingerboard work though... The most tedious part in my opinion... Finally got all the inlay spots routed out and squared off

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    And some pictures with the neck

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    And here is a picture of the backside to show the flame in the fretboard, which is odd, but I love it.

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    Cleaning off some of the paper with assistance from Sarah Kitty

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    Here I am starting to cut out the inlays on the scroll saw. The inlays are just sheet plastic which will be sprayed on the back with some metallic "Pearl Mist" color paint. This will give them depth and that white color to match the binding I plan to do on the board.

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    And said paint

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    That's it for now folks...The next step is to sand my inlays down to the right fit, and then spray them. Thanks for looking!
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    What are you intending to do with the headstock? You did a scarf joint of sorts, but didn't do a tiltback. And it's thick now - are you planning to thin it from the front, but not enough to loose the herringbone?
     
  10. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Correct, I'm going to thickness down the top, just to the point where the first "v" of Yellowheart starts, so you still have that traditional "swoop" or curve down to the correct thickness, in all paudauk. It's hard to explain, it'll be thicknessed such that it looks like the scarf cut ends at that V of yellow past the nut. It's hard to explain, I'll post a picture tomorrow, thanks for asking though.
     
  11. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Alright, sorry for the lack of updates guys. Here's some new progress that I've made. Err, progress that I've taken the time to get onto the computer and put up here. Heh, anyways, here is the back cap being glued onto the headstock

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    Lots of clamps as you can see

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    I didn't get any pictures of the cleaning up process on that back laminate, because it just took 5 minutes on the scroll saw to fix. The next problem as PilotJones pointed out, was the thickness of the headstock. Well as with most problems comes a solution, thicknessing the old fashion way.

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    I just chopped off about .3 of an inch off the top of it, and left myself a single "V" of paudauk for a nice little swoop-down to the correct thickness.

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    I forgot to throw these last couple of pictures through my Photoshop filter I have set up...So they are rougher around the edges. The colors arent as true as can be, and they are cell phone pictures. Anyways, here is the body laid out along with two other basses I have in progress, but havent posted anything about.

    The one of the left is the one I call my "Forest Bass" Its another P/J copy, solid maple body, Indian Rosewood neck. The maple body is figured throughout, but too random to be called Birdseye. It had figuring, and couldnt be labeled as any kind of figuring, so the piece itself was cheaper :)

    The one in the middle is the first bass I started making, a Ric copy. It has some minor changes, in the headstock and arms so to say. That one is made from the Paudauk I bought originally, with the scrap from this Ric Bass being used in the Herringbone design on this bass. The back is Northern Ash, while the neck is Bubinga and the headstock wings are scrap Ash.

    And the one on the right is the one that pertains to this thread :ninja:

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    Okay, the picture of the P/J on the left isnt so good, so as to not leave it looking ugly for you all, here is a better picture of that beautiful piece of Rosewood.

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    Anyways, back on topic we go, here is the headstock smoothed out to 220 on the RO Sander. You cant see the transition down to the neck thickness very well here, but the next picture shows the completed headstock.

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    That is all the progress I have documented as of now! Currently I am radiusing the fretboard with a tri-compound radius. I ran into some complications with the inlays, but it'll turn out fine, being my own bass and all. Thanks for looking!
     
  12. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Hey guys, not sure who is still following this, but for the sake of documentation alone I've got some pictures. Its been awhile, coursework has picked up towards the end of the semester and in the same way it has picked up, my progress has slowed. Here are some progress shots I've been meaning to post.

    Here I have all the inlays in, but still not flush and the board isnt radiused.
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    I missed a couple pictures along the way of building my own radius blocks because it was a frustrating and long process, but here is the radiused fret board with inlays, and the fretting process beginning. I mentioned earlier about how I ran into a stumbling block with the inlays, due to my own impatience. I was excited to get the inlays in, and forgot one important thing: how much of a catalyst CA is. I put the superglue in the slots and glued in all my inlays, and could only watch in horror as the paint under the pieces of acrylic bubbled and melted into strange patterns. In some light it looks like some low grade of imitation mother of pearl, but in most light it looks funky. You can see it the most in the first inlay, but there is still a lot of discoloration and warping in the other inlays.
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    Here is a mockup with the binding rubber-banded in place, and the first couple of frets trimmed up. In retrospect, an 8" radius for the first 3 or 4 frets was pretty steep, and hard to work frets into.
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    This is as far as I've gotten to date, building a prototype router based thicknesser. It has two ride rails that have threaded bolts on each side keeping them the same distance apart. The piece of wood on them now is simulating the base of the router. I'll be testing this on some scrap before I plung into my body. The body is there in the picture for reference.
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    Thanks for looking! I'll be back eventually with updates!
     
  13. Stealth

    Stealth

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Slick! Keep us posted! :D
     
  14. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    This bass is going to look really good when its finished, keep up the good work.
     
  15. subd
     
  16. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Very nice :)
     
  17. scojack

    scojack

    Apr 1, 2009
    Scotland
    Impressive work !
    Just one question..
    How are you finishing the end of the frets in relation to the binding?
     
  18. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Hey Scojack, I myself wrestled with that same question for a while. I was back and forth between using the method of clipping of the tangs and leaving myself some fret overhang to lie on top of the binding, or doing something else. Well, that something else came to me at my local SamAsh music store. I was looking at the binding styles on several different Fender basses and noticed a style I really liked. The bass had binding, and frets trimmed to the edge of the wood, but the binding was scraped such that there was an 1/8" of "fret" made by the binding. I forgot to take a picture, but essentially it looked like they glued the binding up high, and scraped / sanded it down, with the exception of the frets. They left that little nib of binding sticking up so it fell in line perfectly with the fret, almost as if the fret continued an 1/8" in both directions but with plastic binding. I forgot to take a picture of course, but I hope you can conceptualize what I mean, and I might be able to find a picture for you later, as I'm on my phone at the moment.

    Thanks for asking though!
     
  19. Tribbinator

    Tribbinator

    Dec 19, 2011
    Here is a picture of what a meant, even though its a guitar. I plan on leaving little nibs of binding just like this...
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  20. scojack

    scojack

    Apr 1, 2009
    Scotland
    Gotcha!! My old Pangborn had the same thing.
     

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