Bass of pieces (four string bolt on)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jisch, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. I have all the parts to build my next fiver, but I'm considering building another cheap four string. I suppose I should just get going on the fiver already, but that last one came together so quickly (and left so quickly) that I can't stop thinking about having a four fretted around.

    I spent the day at the shop making this wood into bass wood. It turns out taking a piece of split wood into a squared up piece of wood is quite difficult. I finally took some advice from my father and screwed a piece of wood onto the firewood and used that as my first flat surface and worked my way around until I got it square - much easier than the manual labor involved in getting the first couple done. The coloring of that wood is pretty cool, but it is short, so I'll have to mix in some other wood to make it all work.

    So here's my first layout, I imagine this will change dramatically as it goes.

    Will_White likes this.
  2. After squaring up the edges I lost enough width that I needed to add some wood. I found some more scraps of walnut. I'll let things sit for a week or so before I glue them up, just to make sure nothing twists or whatever.
    Frederiek, kkaarrll and Will_White like this.
  3. The necks came in, I'll decide which one to use once I get everything a bit further along. I realized this is the first maple fretboard I've worked with. I presume I have to put a finish on it, normally I'd just put lemon oil on the fretboard. The maple neck is not finished as well as the rosewood one, but it doesn't have any voids. The rosewood fretboard appears to have had a few tear outs while being worked (just like the last one) but the gaps have been filled. Perfectly fine for this level, but I wouldn't use one of these necks for a nice instrument.

    kkaarrll likes this.
  4. I glued up the body today. I decided to move the weirdness to the back and leave the front with just some figuring, my wife helped me make that decision. The pieces moved a bit, not a big deal on this instrument, but I'm going to need to figure out a way to prevent that on my fiver build. I suppose I can drill and dowel. On the fiver I will have way more laminates than the eight here.

    I used a lot of glue!

  5. Jonny5bass


    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Mmmm.... Ambrosia maple....
    Jisch likes this.
  6. I pulled it out of the clamps and ran it through the sanding planer.

    I made two mistakes:
    1) I forgot to stagger the strips, I meant to have the outside strips up higher than the middle - it wasn't that important (which is what I remembered) except that there is a knot in the piece of wood on the lower side that would have been right in the knee indent if I did this correctly. Now it's right on the edge and I can't imagine rounding over a knot will end well. I will cut that piece so the knot is no longer in play and glue on an additional piece of mahogany or black walnut (I need to see what I have "in stock").

    2) As previously mentioned the pieces weren't perfectly flat when I clamped them, I should have paid closer attention to this, as I'm sure I could have made it pretty flat, it was already barely 1 3/4" thick. After getting everything flat with the sanding planer I'm at 1.5" thick, so slightly less than "normal". I can't think of a reason this will be a problem, but I was aiming for 1.75. Let's just say it's the new lighter "thin body" model (it's not a mistake, it's a feature!).

    It's going to look pretty good though!
    kkaarrll likes this.
  7. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    Don't worry about it being thinner. I build all mine to around 1.5" when I get a choice :)
    Jisch likes this.
  8. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Looking good!
    Jisch likes this.
  9. Nice!
    Jisch likes this.
  10. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Geez who'd want that, it's 8 pieces, I've got a squire made of fewer pieces then that rubbish ;) I jest, that looks cool, what are you planning on doing for the top? that will get you a little bit thicker too, if the 1.5" thick body bothers you
  11. I actually added two more to it this morning to get rid of that knot. I don't think I'll be putting anything on top, although I do have a couple of tops I could use hmmm. I'll have to take a look once I get it ready for routing. I want this to be another cheap build though. I'm building it to have a fretted four in the house and to learn about about how to put a body together like this. I think my soon to be built fiver through neck will be built like this, but with many more thinner laminations (sort of like Les Claypool's Rainbow bass).
    Why Nautilus‽ likes this.
  12. Final laminations done, ready for neck pocket routing:

    Neck pocket routed using a StewMac template (double stick taped on with a clamp on the back to hold the slab and for good measure):

    And neck pocket done, I'll get the rest of the layout done and hopefully get the rest of the routing done today:
  13. I was going to wait to post this, but I think it's far enough along for the poll: rosewood or maple fretboard? I'll probably finish them both when I get to that stage so I can make the decision later.

    kkaarrll likes this.
  14. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    I like the rosewood. Most of the wood laminate for the body is light colored, so the maple gets a bit "lost".
    The rosewood helps accent the 2 dark strips that are on just either side of the bridge and p'ups.
    gsnad2000 and lbridenstine like this.
  15. I want to say maple because I typically think that's a prettier fretboard wood. But I think I agree with GKon about matching with those stringers.
  16. I just realized that unless I develop a template for the neck mounting screws I need to pick a neck pretty much now. I'm leaning toward the rosewood as well.
  17. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    I vote rosewood too.
  18. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Another for rosewood
  19. I got more routing done this afternoon.

    Pickup cavities. Those stupid plexiglas templates are sharp (there is signs of the sharpness in the picture if you look closely).

    Control cavity, I did this one "backwards" from how I usually do it - I routed the cover hole first, then used the forstener bit to pull out the rest of the material, this worked great and I'll do it that way from now on. I also got the insert holes done - I forgot to grab screws at the hardware store, so I'll drill the holes and mark the spot for the inserts tomorrow.

    I could still switch, but I'm probably going to go with the rosewood neck, both here and on FB it was an almost unanimous favorite. I ran it through the sanding planer one more time to get my blood off.

    I'll sit down with a pencil tonight and finalize the shape and see what time I can get over at the shop tomorrow.
  20. BoogieZK


    Sep 28, 2008
    Toulouse, France
    Very nice! I'll look for what it sounds like!

    For my taste, the upper wing is a little too big, i'll go for something a bit thinner or rounder.
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