Bass with cut outs pic.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by 70'sRockChild, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. upload_2015-1-3_21-56-49.png

    Has anyone tried this or bought one like it? How was it? I guess we can get neck dive out of the way to start. Sorry about the white out, had to get rid of ad.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  2. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Aside from the neck dive issues, if that is made from conventional wood, the first moderate rap to the bass side would shatter it.
    70'sRockChild likes this.
  3. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    When I see basses or guitars like that I always get the feeling they would break easily--but the ones I've seen in person seem well made like they wouldn't break--but I haven't seen one like that one in person.
    70'sRockChild likes this.
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I played this Stambaugh at the New England TB GTG a few years ago:



    Balanced pretty well, sounded excellent.
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  5. I always thought that design of body would fit in nicely with a headless design. Perhaps even have a hollow outline of the head stock.

    Would solve neck dive issues too.
    70'sRockChild likes this.
  6. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    A friend of mine (who died in 2010, sadly) modified this P-bass some years back, when he was going through some painful shoulder surgery. I had it here in my shop for some work. It was definitely neck heavy.

    IMG_0105B.jpg IMG_0106B.jpg

    With some thoughtful design work, you can make a bass like this that will balance and be strong enough. You need to be careful with the placement of the upper horn/strap button, and probably add some reinforcements in some of the thin areas. And be careful with the orientation of the wood's growth rings. A hollowed out body like this can twist up like a pretzel as it dries out.

    My own Scroll Basses are heavily cut away in the bodies, and I can tell you that I put a lot of extra effort into keeping them from twisting up.
    70'sRockChild likes this.
  7. Very nice looking, especially with the contrasting wood cap and smooth curves. I suppose that second layer of wood (and glue) could act to reinforce the main body. Thanks for the pics.
  8. Agree on both. Headless seems like a natural fit some would call a radical design anyway. Like the headstock outline as well.
  9. Sorry about your friend, however I think he would be happy to see his bass on TB helping people. Was that bass made from a dried out blank, or a factory body, either way, when you cut out sections, is there still more drying going on? Sorry, I'm not a luthier, just thinking about future projects.
  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    That bass belonged to Drew Daniels; some of you may have known him. He was one of the top Audio Engineers in the business, as well as a veteran bassist and an opera-trained baritone singer. He was at JBL for a long time, then at Aura, and other companies. In his later years he ran a wonderful small specialized recording studio out of his home in North Hills, CA. I met him when we were both working at Disney Imagineering's R & D department back in the early 1990's. We stayed friends and helped each other with various crazy projects over the years. It was a big loss to me when he died in 2010. He was one of my top technical brainstorming buddies.

    That bass was a '70's (I think) P-bass that Drew had owned for a long time. I don't remember whether he did the cutaway work himself, or had someone else do it. It was done before I knew him. He was recovering from some kind of shoulder surgery, and still needed to play regular band gigs. So this was a quick patch. It was neck heavy, but he was willing to hold it up in exchange for relieving shoulder pressure from the strap. It got him through.

    It was around 2008 that he had me convert it to fretless, putting on a new ebony fingerboard. Drew was excellent on upright bass, but he really didn't play much fretless electric. He figured that converting this cutaway Fender to fretless would make it more useful to him. I don't know what's happened to it. His wife Jane may still own it.

    Yes, a thick board can take years to fully dry out and stop moving. When you cut it into a thin section, curving back and forth across the grain, you are just asking for it to twist. It's a tough problem to fight, as a builder. A thin cutaway body should be built as a laminate, with the top and back oriented carefully to position the growth rings symmetrical and opposing. That's worked for me.
  11. These look amazing! I have to admit it's not my cup of tea, but hats off to the builders: this is luthierie at its most artistic and innovative. Do you have to modify your technique to play one of these, or is it similar to a normal bass?

    I'm glad Flea didn't play one of these at Woodstock in 1999! Forgive me: I've been playing a lot of RHCP recently.
  12. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    You have to learn to be careful not to allow clothing and body parts to fall out through the holes while playing.
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  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
  14. xaxxat


    Oct 31, 2008
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  15. lukylutte


    Oct 14, 2004
    I'll be doing my next build with such cuts. I guess gotta create a subject about it now... so far neck through 6 strings (ebony) fretless with fanned fret lines, headless and wenge sapele body. Should be strong enough. At least the neck blank is heavier than my 5 strings with swamp ash body...