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Build No.8 - Recycled multiscale "coffee table" bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by reverendrally, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Yes, I know. I've got another build on the go before I finished my much awaited headless 6 string build. I like to work on the headless bass, but I'm waiting on some custom pickups from SGD...

    Sooooo, in the meantime, I started working on this. Basically it started as a bassVI but with strings being exy and just hardwork, I changed my plan over to a regular 6 string... only shorter scale... and multiscale.

    P.s. the "coffee table" comment is a reference to what some peop's call handmade, multi-laminate basses.

    Top - scrap silky oak
    Core - old sunday school pew Kauri pine, also scrap
    Back - Mango panels from an old desk
    Neck - 3 piece vic ash and red maple stripe
    Tuners - Korean Wilkinson rotomatics
    Bridge - chinese single 'monorail' type elements
    PUs - Wilkinson MM6 or Barts, who knows...

    Thus far I've only spent money on a few bridge pieces and the tuners. Hope to have it finished by Christmas, but who knows.





















  2. xaxxat

    xaxxat Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2008
  3. IMAG0474_zps9fdf5796.

    Home made fret bender.




    Angled or straight? What do you think?


    Time to carve the neck...



  4. Day off today and back into it...


    That ain't comin' off in a hurry = sustain.

    I seriously thought about chucking a "Jens"...
    But then I realised I had plenty of screws as it was.

    Then it was time for my favorite game... "Bridge markout!". It's fun for the whole family. Werl sort off. Ok, so it's not really my fave, at all. It's painful and finicky.

    You've got to line everything up, then mark the holes...

    Then punch the centres of the holes...
    When the rails are against eachother there is a trick. You punch the very outside holes slightly off centre, towards the centre line of the body. This way, when you screw then bridge rails down tight, it pushes them hard up against each other and makes sure everything sits straight and looks good.

    Drilling with a tiny drill and a hand drill. I do this coz I've had issues with cordless drills going in at an angle.

    Then screw it all down...

    And it was time to see how the pickups go.


    To be honest, I LOVE the look of the barts, but when I measured the string spacing I knew I had an issue. The barts are made for 96-102 spacing which is nowhere near narrow enough for this bass. So I guess the next trick is to make an MM6 pickup template.
  5. IMAG0512_zpsf7d5c561.

    In the past I've had a few dramas with slight back bowing after fretting. So to avoid that issue, I'm pre-stressing the neck like I've seen another luthier do, to help the frets settle in and the neck be straighter again.
  6. I'm curious how the weight works for straightening the neck back out, I do this this with trim all the time.
  7. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    Is that a 15Kg weight? Beautiful build!!! Love the single cut-away. I don't think they get enough love.
  8. 16 pnd I think. I found it buried in the backyard of my old house. Comes in handy for a heap of different things.

    Yeah, single cuts are cool. I don't think I've got the best of them yet though.
  9. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    I have a bunch of 25, and 50 pound weights. But I guess they would be to heavy for that...
  10. Not necessarily. The 25 pnd weight would be find, just don't leave it there for a week. lol

    More progress...

    PU template.


    Then after lots of noise, sawdust and the like...


    This is pretty much the nicest PU install I've done thus far. It's nice and snug in the routed hole, even before I do any sanding of the edges. I used a half inch template bit for the main part of the rout and then did the corners using my dremel, which I think I've finally got the hang of. I imagined I'd use the dremel more than I do for other things, but after a few years, I've found out what it's actually good at, and what it's not.

    Next comes controls. My thinking thus far is as follows.
    Front coil on/off switch
    Back coil on/off switch
    Series/parallel switch

    I could go with the 3 position MM style setup, but it wouldn't allow me to use both coils individually, which I think would leave out a P sound. Besides all that, the 3PU f-bird is a heap of fun. This switch config is the same as that only with 2PUs. I also think I'll leave out the tone control. I've found in the past they just suck extra signal and I don't use them that much.
  11. Basically, the weight introduces a bending load into the neck in the same way strings would. That puts the fingerboard in compression and helps the wood surrounding the frets to be compressed against the fret tangs. Essentially, everything "snuggles up" to where it should be and the neck straightens up again.

    You can do the same with a double action trussrod, but I've found I had to put a LOT of tension on the trussrod to do this and I wanted to avoid that lest I break the trussrod. ;)
  12. IMAG0519_zpsbb754f7d.







    A friend gave me some recycled ivory from piano keys. So I thought I'd create a one off nut blank using coloured veneer...


    Then I did a little more magic to make the truss rod cover...



    I put the bass together today to test it before finishing and electronics...




    So after some adjustments, I've been having a play. Here are my initial impressions. Heck, this thing is a monster compared to the shortscale 4 strings I've been playing recently. I'm gonna be in the woodshed learning note names and positions again. Should be a while before I really get the most out of it, but that's good coz I could do with a challenge. The fanned frets are not confusing though, so that's nice. I've got a few high spots on frets, but the action is super low beyond that and pretty nice to play. The neck also is yet to settle in, but it's pretty usable as is. Does a 33" B string work? Well, of course it's never gonna compare to a 36" or 38" scale that Dingwalls have, but I'd say it's at least as good as the B on my old Stringray 5. Probably better. The 0.135" gauge string is probably helping that. The E is nice and taught and the C is pretty lovely. The guitar tuners are pretty good really. I had to drill the B string tuner out from 1.8mm to 2mm to get the B string in, but after that it was fine. Everything tuned up nicely.

    So now it's time for sanding, electronics and finishing. I was hoping to have it finished by Christmas, but I can't see that happening now.
  13. Arnie


    May 14, 2005
    Kingston, NY
    I just had a "DUH" moment, when I saw how you did the back cover panel... So easy just cut a square out of your back. I LOVE that idea..
  14. Duplo42


    Jan 23, 2007
    Holy shyte, it looks really good. I wish for more adventurous headstock (maybe just more rounded and not so spiky) and walnut color finish but hey. Awesome bass, sir.
  15. The colour of the body and headstock will be closer to walnut when finished.
  16. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    I love it rev, thanks for sharing. :)
  17. It is looking pretty good. Make sure once it is finished you use coasters.
  18. Stevas


    Dec 3, 2013
    Wow nice work
  19. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    Are you using a zero fret on this?
    Beautiful work so far!
  20. Actually I stuffed up the measurements for the first fret... :scowl:

    NOT! :p

    But seriously, yes, I'm using a zero fret.