converting from solid to semi hollow?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by poomwah, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    anyone ever done it? did it work? was it worth it? how did it sound?
    would it be as simple as some careful routing on the back, then gluing a new "back" on it? then maybe cutting an F-hole on the top?
  2. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    or should I just get a used thunderbird and try it :p
  3. Not that I'm a huge fan of T-Birds or Gibson basses in general, but at least do it to an Epi first.
    I don't think it would be all that difficult if you have decent woodworking skills/experience. I'd actually like to do something like this: adding chambered mahogany wings to a Hohner Steinie.
    I have a semi-hollow 6; the upper register has a bit of extra guitar-like midrange & depth, & the low end gets juuust a bir blurry below the low D.
  4. Yvarg

    Yvarg Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Lake Forest, CA
    I did it when I made a guitar into a short scale bass. What I did was plane the face of the guitar down, route out the cavities I wanted, then glue a new top onto the guitar and sand it even with the body's edge. The bass had a 30" scale length with a precision pick up in the "fret" position it would be on a standard P bass and was strung with labella tape wounds. It actually sounded a lot like the bass tone from I Am One by Smashing Pumpkins. Was it worth it? Definitely, it was a fun experience, had a nice result, and was complete within one week's worth of work outside of school.
  5. depending on the types of tools you have....

    1. plane the face down, add new top wood after routing out chambers

    2. bandsaw the face off, route, reglue.
  6. jordan_frerichs


    Jan 20, 2008
    you mean taking an already finished solid body, and making cavities in the back? i think with the finish and everything, i would route out the areas, and just make cover plates, instead of an entire new back. my first one is getting wraped u. it is a solid black walnut 2 piece body. there is no pickguard, but i decided to back the control cavity on the front, with a bloodwood cover. the pieces of walnut is light as far as walnut is concerned. if when it is all put together, it is a little heavy, i will route it where the control area is, but on the back. this way, i can make it even more lighter, have more electronics space (planing to add a pre amp later. current cavity seems to small for one anyways), still keep the solid body sound, and not have to change the control plate/cavity on the front. make the back cavities way larger than needed :smug:
  7. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    I was thinking of getting a hold of a used epi bird for this project, but for some reason I'm seeing used ones selling for as much as if not more than the new ones, crazy.
    Is the planing down just to compensate for the thickness of the new front? If that's the only reason, I wouldn't mind it being a little thicker actually. I've got one now and the body is kinda thin.
    If I just made cover plates out of pickguard or control plate material, I wouldn't get nearly the same sound as gluing wood on would I?
  8. Yvarg

    Yvarg Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Lake Forest, CA
    I planed down the guitar I did it to for two reasons, although the compensating for the new top was the main one. It also removed the paint faster than any stripping agent could have :D (the whole reason I planed the back as well).
  9. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    For the amount of work this will end up being, I think it would make more sense to make your own semi-hollow body from scratch :)
  10. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    I was actually wondering that myself. unfortunately, it would probably cost more to build one, than to use a 300 dollar bass as the "donor"
  11. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    i made a solid poplar body and was not happy w/the weight or tone so i ran it through a thickness planer then chambered it and glued a figured top and back on. it is much lighter and plays much better. i say give it a try