Bass Project: semi-hollow body woods? f holes?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SRSiegel, Feb 28, 2003.

  1. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    hello everyone,

    I'm thinking about building a bass this summer. This would be my first one, but I'm pretty confident I can do it. So far the plan is to buy a fretted 5 string neck blank from Carvin with a paddle headstock, and attach wings to it. After playing some different basses in my local stores to see what electronic setup would work best for this project I've decided on a J+J setup with an active volume and a balance control between the two pickups for tonal variation. Going for simplicity.

    Anyways, my question is about the body. I want a warm "organic" sound, big and open. I was thinking of a center laminate with chambers cut into it, and then solid back and top laminates, creating a semi hollow body. I am debating cutting two F holes in the top as well.

    Any reccomendations for body woods and also your opinion on the effect of F holes on the sound of the bass? Please keep in mind that Although I'm comfortable working with wood I'm by no means a professional, so workability would be an added bonus. I intend on finishing the bass with a hand rubbed oil type finish.

    Heres a rough idea of he design, pre F holes:
  2. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I'm certainly no expert, but I built a semi-hollow without f-holes, then changed the top and put an f-hole in it. I didn't notice any difference in the tone. F-holes can look cool, though...
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    There's a point at which it doesn't matter if you're an expert or not. If you didn't hear a difference in tone, that's the bottom line.
  4. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    I agree,

    I've built different hollowbodies basses and guitars and didn't noticed a great deal about F holes. If you want tehm for looks then go for it but dn't expect the F hole to give you a huge amount of acoistic sound projection.

    About woods an construction: Going with a central core and top and back plates is cool and allows to use a jigsaw/bandsaw to hollow the core rather than a router.

    I have a bass with this type of construction right now in the works.

    I would recommend to go for a soft and workable wood for the core section (alder, cherry or limba for example) and a dense exotic hardwood for top and back...

    Peace, JP
  5. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    FBB Custom, you are absolutely right. I always feel I have to put that qualifier in there when I post in this forum, since I am certainly nowhere near the skill and experience of many of you pros. I've only built five instruments. But I'm working on it!