Acoustic-electric fretless cheapo project

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Baron Von Vik, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    I was recently given a Dean Playmate acoustic-electric bass as a gift. Although it's a cheap bass, it seems to be constructed solidly, and has weathered a ton of abuse with very little damage. A friend of mine bought it a long time ago to practice on in the dorms, and it sat around our old office for years, being banged and finger-fudged (er...) and dropped by people who were not players. Yet it survived, and still plays well. If you're not familiar with the things, here's a pic-


    Now that i have it, it must be modified. It's high time the frets went away, a better pickup system installed, and at least the soundboard refinished.

    I'm in the research stage right now, but I'm leaning toward:
    1. Pau Ferro
    2. Macassar ebony, or
    3. Satine (Bloodwood)

    for the fretboard.

    For starters, does anyone have a preference between the three, or tips for working with them? Thanks-
  2. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    I've decided to go with Bloodwood, having researched the properties of all three pretty extensively, and talked to a couple luthiers. Durability and grain were important to me, but the color (and resistance to fading) is what decided it for me.
    I think a red fretboard looks so freaking RAD.
    I'm also planning to re-finish the body darker to set the red off more.

    I've also located a source (on recommendation) for the wood: Luthier's Mercantile International;

    Luthiers Mercantile International, Inc. Guitar Builder Wood and Supplies

    Of course, if anyone has other recommendations, I'm all ears.
  3. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    I've decided the weird-ass bridge has to go as well. I'm designing a new one at the moment, and considering mounting a Shadow piezo saddle on it through a Fishman preamp. I might even leave the passive pickup it already has and blend the two, even though the stock one is way too trebly. Nothing a few well-placed resistors cant cure though. So many options!
    Also, tapewounds are a must.

    I'll post pics when I get all my duckies in a row. I can already tell removing the binding and the rosewood fretboard will be a major PIA, but that's the price I'm willing to pay for my eventual happiness.:)
  4. Thumpin_P


    Nov 26, 2006
    Limestone, TN
    Interesting project, good luck to you sir! Whatever makes you happy and helps you learn! Subbed!!!
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Um, isn't the original pickup an under-saddle piezo? And I'll betcha seven dollars that the reason the stock one is trebly is because it is passive - piezos without an active buffer have lots of high end and not much low end. You may have better luck just putting a good quality preamp after the stock pickup.
  6. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    Well, I have yet to go elbow-deep into the thing... but a search shows you're right about the bridge piezo. The saddle itself is so crappy I assumed there was a contact transducer inside somewhere, but oh well. The current bridge absolutely has to go, and since I'm fixated on the blend idea now, maybe I'll experiment with finding a sweet spot for some Gollihurs inside as well. Thanks for the feedback-
  7. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 25, 2021

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