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Ashbory bass build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Gone, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. Gone


    Mar 21, 2006
    Cape Town
    Jayda custom basses, builder
    I was looking for a realitively inexpensive and uncomplicated introduction into the world of guitar building. I had already designed a 5-string fretless but thought it wouldn't hurt to design and build an ashbory bass first before having a go with the proper bass.

    Here are the results:
    - Standard ashbory tuners and strings but homebuilt bridge, piezo transducers, electrics, etc
    - 19 inch scale
    - slotted headstock
    - maple neck and body
    - ebony fingerboard, bridge, nut and (fake) f-holes

    Quite by chance I discovered that my design works well upright as well as horizontal.

    More details:

    I snapped my last spare g-string just before these pics but have since ordered more :)



  2. love it! I've been thinking about building one of those ...great job. how's it sound?
  3. vintager


    Jan 29, 2005
    congrats and welcome !
  4. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Cool project. Need sound clips.
  5. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    That's really super stylin...

    I'm about to start a new musical project which we'd really like an upright bass for, but my upright is in storage since I live in a small apartment these days. Been thinking about an Ashbury or something, since a Rob Allen or Rick Turner would be way out of my price range. :D
    But the stock ones are so fugly looking. A custom Ashbury! Brilliant!

    What Piezos and pre-amp did you use? (I see you haven't got the pre wired yet, but still.)
  6. Gone


    Mar 21, 2006
    Cape Town
    Jayda custom basses, builder
    I used the piezo elements out of cheap piezo buzzers. 2x ~20mm piezo's under the bridge, which seems to work well enough.

    The preamp I'm working on is a "Marchesini" preamp:

    I'm busy working on some sound recordings :)
  7. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I think you need to come up with a mini-bow.
    That'd be awesome.
  8. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    I love it.
  9. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    What a great first project. Now I want to do one of these.
  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    In short: BRILLIANT!!

    How about a close-up on that self-made bridge?
  11. Gone


    Mar 21, 2006
    Cape Town
    Jayda custom basses, builder
  12. ebe9


    Feb 26, 2006
    South Africa
    That is really ingenious.

    Really nice looking little bass you have there.

    What are you using in terms of strings?
  13. Gone


    Mar 21, 2006
    Cape Town
    Jayda custom basses, builder
  14. ElBajista


    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    That would be really cool, but he'd have to "arch" the bridge like on a regular DB. I'm not sure how well the rubber strings would react to a bow.
  15. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    A while back, I started on a similar project after hearing some Ashbury soundclips. My goal was to have a bass that I could fit in my luggage when I travel (which I frequently do). It was going to be a fretted ultrashort-scale (20"). I bought some maple and mahogany (I couldn't decide which I wanted to use) for the body and neck, and sketched a few concepts, but never really started construction. Right now, it's sitting with the rest of my lumber.

    I think you've inspired me to resurect the project! :D
  16. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    so why'd you go with 19" instead of 18" as the scale? Aren't those strings pretty easy to break at 18"?
  17. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Would you be so kind as to go over a that bass with a ruler for me and check a couple dimensions? I'm wondering about the fingerboard width both at the nut and at the neck/body "joint"; the length of the peghead; the width of the body at the bridge; and the thickness of the neck and neck+fingerboard.

    I don't want to rip off your design, of course, but like you, I'm drooling over those Steinbergers; mine's going to look something like those. I'm going to order some lumber for it (hopefully soon!), and don't want to screw up on the wood size.

    Thanks! I predict that you're going to be responsible for a whole lot of these projects getting underway! :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:
  18. Gone


    Mar 21, 2006
    Cape Town
    Jayda custom basses, builder
    Width of fretboard at nut: ~42mm
    Width of fretboard at joint: ~54mm
    Length of peghead: ~150mm
    Width of the body at the bridge: 110mm
    Fretboard thickness: 5mm
    Neck thickness: ~23mm

    But if I were to redesign mine I would probably go with a wider fingerboard/neck. I guess it's a trade-off between getting the looks in preportion and making it easily playable.

    If you're going for a slotted headstock then make sure you have everything planned carefully, as there is not a lot of space for the bulky tuning pegs. Note also that the strings go round the pegs anti-clockwise and winding them the other way round results in the peg screwing off the tuners. Although you can stick a pin or something through the peg to keep it on if you wish to wind the strings on the other way.

    You may also be suprised how many winds around the pegs are neccessary to tune to pitch. The strings seem very short but stretch quite a lot. So design plenty of space around the pegs incase.

    Looking forward to seeing some more custom ashbory's in the future :)

    I went with a longer scale length as I was advised to do so. The longer scale length is easier to play (I'm sure you can imagine an 18 inch fretless can be difficult at times). I think 20 inch is quite a common scale length for custom ash's (think I've even heard of a 22 inch) but didn't want to go any longer as the slotted headstock requires more string than a conventional headstock.

    I don't think the tension is really a big cause of string breaks. The tension is generally quite low, and I've successfully used d-strings as g's and a-strings as d's without any problems. I'm finding the main causes for string breaks is actually high temperatures (I live in sunny Cape Town).

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