Bass of pieces (four string bolt on)

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

  1. Harry Cahyadi

    Harry Cahyadi Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2013
    Clayton, VIC, Australia
    C Basses Owner & Builder
    IMHO, with natural finish, more time needs to be spent on sanding. Especially on hand rubbed finish, because you can feel the scratches.
    Jisch likes this.
  2. I just put the final coat on, it looks pretty awesome. I see a few minor issues, but it's probably the best finish I've done so far. It's good to make progress even if it's not perfection yet.
    Will_White and Harry Cahyadi like this.
  3. Scratch the final coat comment above, I need to do a few more.
    Will_White and GKon like this.
  4. I got a really nice coat on this morning, so I went with it from there.

    Bridge and pickups installed:

    Starting to get wiry:

    Everything installed - I usually stand the battery (which is now covered in non-conductive tape) on edge in the cavity, losing that extra 1/4" and having a thicker cover meant there wasn't room. I panicked for a second but by switching the location of the preamp and the battery I got it all in there. I really need to have a better plan for the control cavity though, I could have made extra room in there no problem:

    Everything installed from the front. On my last build I scratched the top when I was installing stuff, I was super careful and used blue tape to protect everything this time around, it worked well.

    And here it is with the neck on. I have most of the set up done. I have one tall fret (I think, need to rock it) and the E string needs to be lower in the nut, but it plays and sounds really nice. I am used to playing flatwounds on a fretless, so it's insanely bright to me. I put medium gauge strings on this one, the last one got light gauge strings, I like these much better, I think the preamp is better as well. On this one I used a Belcat Preamp, I assumed it was exactly the same as the no-name one I got for the other four string because they were both $14, it's definitely not the same. I guess between different pickups, preamp and strings it would be hard to say what exactly is making the difference, but this one has a deeper tone without getting muddy.

    I'll take some glamour shots if the sun every comes out and I follow up with a "lessons learned" post as well. While I've learned something with all eight builds I've done, I'm trying to be more aware of what that learning is so I can remember it for the next one. I have all the lumber for the next one stacked in the living room, bringing it over the to the shop tomorrow (hopefully).
    Frederiek, kkaarrll, zeegler and 5 others like this.
  5. Jonny5bass


    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I had a moment of sheer panic when I saw your signature in the neck pocket. All I could think was, "no, it's not 3015, it's only 2015! Right? Or is it? How did I get here?"

    Bass turned out great!
    Jisch likes this.
  6. It's supposed to be sunny this afternoon, so I'll get some pictures. It looks like I have a buyer, which is nice and sad at the same time (have to build another one!). I really need a headstock logo design.

    Here are my lessons learned:
    1) Always use soap or other lubricant on screws, you may not need it, but if you do you'll find out too late
    2) Good enough is not good enough, aim for perfect, if you see something wrong fix it
    3) When doing a tung oil finish don't use direct light, stand 10' away from a single source and use the reflection of the light to see your finish. I was trying to use a headlamp and was frustrated by how I would miss spots or miss drips. It's really easy to see any issues with a single light source like this.
    4) When you're tired, stop working. In the past when I've made instruments I've had limited time so when I had free time that was when I worked on things, tired or not which led to bad work or choices. This time around I had more time (vacation), I realized a few times that it was time to walk away even though I could have spent more time working on things
    5) When assembling keep track of everything metal. I've left a drill bit or screwdriver on the towel where I'm working then put the body down on top of it, putting a nice ding in the body, don't do that.
    6) More doing, less thinking. This is more a matter of becoming comfortable with the process and following a proven flow (which means you have to have done it a few times!). Making 2 four string bolt ons in a row has really helped with this. I will be interested to see how that works on the fiver through neck build I'm about to embark upon.
    7) Measure your screws (stupidity on this build)
    b3e and kkaarrll like this.
  7. Ok, so this closes out the Firewood Bass build, thanks for watching and I truly appreciate the inspiration and guidance I find on this forum. The negative of this place is it just keeps feeding the desire to build more!

    I have built 8 instruments overall and four of those in the last 12 months, I'm making progress with my skills on every build which is the only thing I'm really looking for right now (well that and the finances to start the next one!).

    All told this instrument cost me about $120 to construct. The wood was essentially free as it was a combination of scraps and firewood, I used China direct stuff for all hardware and electronics. While I don't think anyone would mistake it for a Wyn, it sounds pretty good - a recorded a quick sample last night, before the final set up was complete. I don't think Garageband is a particularly good place to hear how it sounds since all of the amp emulators color the sound pretty significantly. I plugged it into my big rig this morning and it rocks pretty hard, very nice low end, plenty of articulation, maybe a bit bright, but new strings and a guy who is used to playing flatwounds on a fretless, that's expected.

    I thought this would be an appropriate backdrop for the glamor shots:



    This is probably the best nut I've made (not saying much, but...):


    The thing I like about this bass is that when you look at it from different angles you see different things - shapes, coloring, wood grain, all kinds of things pop up:







    As an aside here are the three other builds I did this year:
    The "Palmer Bass" made for a friend of mine:

    Four string natural hole Acoustic/Electric fretless (really just an electric):

    Five string fretless with whammy bar:
    b3e, kkaarrll, zeegler and 5 others like this.
  8. I really dig the vibe of the natural hole a/e bass.
    JayVek-72 likes this.
  9. Thanks, I did a build thread on that one, it was time consuming and full of things I've never done before - a real challenge.
    GKon likes this.
  10. Jonny5bass


    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    How did I miss the 5'er with the whammy?
  11. While I joined Talk Bass many years ago, I just found the Luthier's Corner forum at the beginning of this year, after I had already completed the whammy bass and was preparing to start the A/E. I did a "post mortem" build thread on it here.

    After the honeymoon wears off with any new bass I build this is my go to bass. I'll admit the whammy bar hasn't even been in the bridge for a long time, but the bridge doesn't take anything away from the tone or sustain that I can hear. It plays and sounds the best out of any bass I've built.

    I just re-read that build post, brought back some good memories - and I can see mistakes that I wouldn't make if I was to re-do that bass today :-D
    Jonny5bass likes this.
  12. Photobassist


    Dec 18, 2010
    This build, and your acoustic are my two favorites :thumbsup: Looking forward to what's next!
  13. Thanks. I don't think I'll ever sell that acoustic, it plays nice and when I want to lay down a lead it's my go to instrument - lots of mwah. This bass is interesting, but I don't think I'll hang on to it. It sounds and plays great, but it was a means to an end (my next build).
    Photobassist likes this.
  14. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    @Jisch what did you to finish wise to the neck? Have you come up with a headstock decal yet?
  15. I don't have a headstock logo, still need to work on that, I have ideas, but I haven't executed on them.

    On the neck I do a Tru Oil finish, knock the shine down a bit with 0000 steel wool, then put two coats of butchers wax over it. It leaves a very slick finish that never gets sticky.
    kkaarrll likes this.
  16. b3e


    Sep 5, 2017
    Warsaw, Poland
    Congrats on finishing the project and thanks for sharing you lessons learned! :) That natural hole bass is some nice piece of art! Cheers :)
  17. Thanks, this is a bit of a zombie thread, the natural hole bass was burned in a fire at my house in August of '16. I was only able to salvage the neck and use it on this bass: A/E piezo four string - the last of the Phoenix basses
  18. b3e


    Sep 5, 2017
    Warsaw, Poland
    Oh, thats terrible.. I'm so sorry for waking up bad memories by accident..
  19. No bad memories, it was shocking and emotional, but now that we're in the new house all is good! I'm having a blast building new basses.
    b3e and kkaarrll like this.
  20. Primary

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    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.

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