'Chambered' Bass Idea Kicking Around ----

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SurferJoe46, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. I got the bug to build a rather unique bass - at least on the inside of the body.

    Using the Guitar Fetish as a test bed, I think it's time to try a couple of experiments to either prove or debunk ideas that I've long believed in, and one or two that I completely dismiss as a non-truths.

    100_7905. 100_7911.

    Uh - yeah: that macho-fuchsia colored strap is just a temporary item. I got a new one but no pixs yet.

    My wondering is this: I think a hollow area or sonic void inside the body might be an interesting use of what is normally the black hole of musical tone (the wood). I'm not a believer of tone-woods at all and would like to experiment with this oddball sonic concept.

    I know there are a few 'F-hole' semi-hollow basses in the world - but what would a completely closed - or non F-hole'd body void do if nothing more than lower the weight of the body?

    Of course for me it'll have to have the classic Precision-by-Fender style body since it only has that split pair of p'ups and therefor I can have lots of real estate to open up and not destroy places for screwing down the electrical parts or pickguard.

    It'll have to LOOK nice at least and not be a hatchet job.

    I was thinking I could route the area I want to hollow-out and then just put a thin vernier'd top on the body to cover the whole thing up again.

    The placement of this proposed void might be interesting to think about too.

    1) Behind the bridge?
    2) In front of the bridge?
    3) In one or the other or BOTH bouts? ​


    FWIW: I am still messing with that Guitar Fetish bass I built and this idea just came to me during a 2AM epiphany.

    I believe that the G/F bass is decent enough in all areas but the body - which is lighter than balsa - the whole G/F bass came in under 6lbs.

    So building another body or three is prolly gonna be a good thing and I can at the same time resolve that sloppy neck pocket this way.

    I have roughed-out three more bodies for this project and am thinking of a few different directions to go in each build. I'll use the same neck and pickups and controls though to keep the playing field a little more level.

    This is gonna be my experiment to prove (at least to myself) that wood makes no great difference in what a bass sounds like.

    And further: I am still writing an article on the tone and voicing qualities of this uber-light wood/body combination that to me isn't revealing at all so far.

    This G/F bass sounds like any other P-bass by Squire and even the couple of Fenders I borrowed for testing.

    QUALITY and wood choice on the other hand is somewhat obvious in the spread of the basses - but the sounds are pretty much the same as any other P-style.

    REMEMBER: I am using the G/F Antiquities p'ups here and they really have a nice burp-y resonant sound to them! Really! Cheap too.

    I have put Fender-Squier Indonesian '7250 NPS' strings from a VM - as they are really quite nice --- to me anyway.

    So - I'm not really sure what chambers will add or subtract from the sound -----
    More/less sustain?
    More/less fundamentals?
    Change any dead spots?
    Change to a modern or less so quality?
    Be better/worse for metal? ​
  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Pretty sure a number of luthiers do this... Sadowsky comes to mind off of the top of my head.
  3. Anomalous Bass

    Anomalous Bass

    Mar 29, 2011
    I dont get what makes this different than any other chambering. Like Ray said, im pretty sure this si doen by a number of people.
  4. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
  5. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Opinions vary as to the amount of effect chambering (a fairly common process) will have on tone.

    If you hollow below the bridge (which is not common) to the extent that the top in that area had some flexibility, you could reasonably expect it to have on impact on tone. This would likely be reduced sustain (greater "punchiness", faster decay) on most frequencies, except those favored by the resonance of the mechanical bridge/top system.
  6. My Stambaugh 6 is chambered- not sure of the extent. Can't really say what this does to the tone as I have no way of A/Bing against an otherwise identical bass, but Chris said it would be the overriding tonal factor(IMO it leans ever-so-slightly toward *hollowbody*-sounding- that is to say a bit blurry below the low D & a tad more *guitar-like* on the G & c strings or most of the upper registers). The chambering is sealed, BTW.
  7. Check out Rob Allen Guitars. The mouse bass, in particular, sounds stunning. I like the concept too, my first bass build was inspired by Rob Allen's basses. I did two chambers on either side of the centerline, thinking that keeping the center intact was crucial for strength. In retrospect, I'll probably do another one that is completely hollowed out. Build alpha: Rob Allen inspired - TalkBass Forums
  8. Anomalous Bass

    Anomalous Bass

    Mar 29, 2011
    Holy edited post batman. lol
  9. Thought then goes toward it makes not much difference if they are f-holed or closed chambers?

    I've also got a tail peg mic I might be interested in trying too. --- now just 'where to put it' comes to mind. That may be down the road a-piece though.
  10. Yeah - sorry as I hit the SUBMIT when I thought I hit PREVIEW.

  11. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Eek, yeah, what was two paragraphs turned into a page :p. haha...
  12. @surferjoe46 any more news on your chambering ideas? I'm looking to lighten a bass but don't won't to change its tone too much.
  13. allexcosta

    allexcosta Banned

    Apr 7, 2004
    Boca Raton - FL
    Endorsing Artist: MLaghus Custom Basses
    A light chambering like this works just fine for that.

  14. Yeah - I've got an idea that may be somewhat radical - and I'm sure I've never seen it used in a bass or a guitar anywhere.

    Not that I want to protect or patent the idea or anything - but until I get it all sketched out and into a concise idea on paper, I'll try to keep it under my hat for a bit.

    Rather than just remove material - I will say this - I'll substitute different material into the body to lighten it and possibly add some resonance to it.

    What I'll do is to incorporate a different knowledge in a totally unique material into the body from what I learned in my days before - well, just say the rest of my life.

    If all goes well, I figure to get started on this next bass in another month or so, since I've got Tux Bass #3 on the table right now.
  15. tstone


    Nov 16, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Don't ignore the issue of neck dive. EBGs are already prone to that due to their long necks and heavy tuning machines. If I did any chambering, I'd focus on the upper half of the body. You don't want to end up with a bass that's light weight but uncomfortable to play because it's neck-heavy.
  16. Being an old surfer (accent on: old), I'm going to incorporate some surfboard foam into the body. I was sitting on a friend's house/cabin remodel job today, sketching out electrical circuits for him when it hit me about the next body.

    I'm onto the drawing board right now to sketch this out better.

  17. Sketchy


    Jul 15, 2010
    Bristol, UK
    Well, I guess playing that bass would put a new meaning to Surf-rock, eh?

    More ontopic: Interesting, I'd like to see how this pans out. I would guess that the difference in tone would be less extreme than if the chambering was left unfilled, however as foam is comprised of both gas and other (in this case solid), I wonder if the physics of reflection of waves at transmission medium boundaries could have some unexpected effects. I don't see why it would, but if it did, that'd be interesting.
  18. OK - I'll let some of the idea out of the bag now - at least the parts I have firmed up in my mind.

    Following with the 'Surf-Theme', it's going to be a surfboard design, with a big shark bite that took off the end of the board just below the bridge.

    The nose of the board will have the neck pocket, and the bridge will be mounted on a non-visible support that travels from the bottom of the neck pocket to itself, under the foam. Kinda like having a support spar running through the body and only just surfacing to support the neck and the bridge.

    Much like a 2x4 board running through the center, but completely hidden and just for support. That oughta drive 'the wood-is-the-tone' guys nuts-o.

    I'm going to kick this up a notch or two and use a pure white polyester foam - eg: a surfboard blank. I'll put some decorative stringers into the foam like a surfboard, and try my hand at a lime green burst style that is white in the center and rapidly shades to deep lime at the rails.

    The back may just be opaque lime green - I'm still up in the air on this part.

    The outer skin of the whole body will be a few layers of fiberglass cloth and 'glass resin. This should make the body a semi-resonant chamber, and although I have no idea of the final tone, what I firmly believe is that the body will have very little to do with the voice of the guitar.

    I'm working on the color and motif of the stringers and of course, there will be penguins under the glass somewhere.

    White pickup covers, white/MOP knobs, lime green head and a bleached white maple neck and fingerboard.

    Chrome bridge and tuners (as I have not seen any green hardware so far) - and MAYBE fretless with green inlaid cheater lines.

    Open to suggestions here on everything but the basic theme.