Diagonal cutaway for acoustic

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fretlessman71, Jul 12, 2020.


  1. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
    I have one of the cheaper Ibanez Parlor Basses that I absolutely love playing. But I do miss the upper register. I am considering the following mod (see pic)... thoughts? Screen Shot 2020-07-12 at 1.50.59 PM.png Screen Shot 2020-07-12 at 1.50.59 PM.png
     
    sissy kathy likes this.
  2. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Wow. My head hurts now. Use birch and get rid of the grain lines
     
  3. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
    I was considering using black PVC pipe, if the inside polishes well. It's a very dark-stained instrument.
     
  4. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Before I retired I sometimes installed central vacuum systems. That pipe was black highly polished and not very thick. Alas it was only 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Maybe a shop vac wand would do you, or a leaf blower.
     
  5. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    one big thing to consider if you weren't aware, is that the upper traverse graft brace passes through that area and the neck block is partially in the upper shoulder as well. if you cut the utg or weaken the area significantly, the neck will move and the top will fold from string tension. when we make an acoustic cutaway, we arrange the bracing around the cutaway to maintain top integrity and neck support.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  6. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    You will gain upper register mobility at the expense of decreased bass response. You may also foul up the bracing or the neck block, causing the instrument to collapse.

    Better way: save your $$$ for another acoustic bass that already has the cutaway. There are several models out there.
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  7. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    these is potential to recover some bass response by porting, but on the whole i agree. imo it's a bunch of effort and risk to throw into this instrument when others can be had ready to go.
     
    iiipopes likes this.
  8. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    The likelihood of ending up with a bass you would like playing is low. Even if the neck block and braces can be worked with, this is an extremely precision type job.
     
  9. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
    I should clarify: I wouldn't be doing the mod myself...
     
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    That's a lot more than just a mod.
     
  11. There's probably enough money in shop time for the mod that could knock a chunk out of a new instrument with it built in as a feature. As a bonus, a new instrument will be designed to have the cutaway!
     
  12. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
    They don't make this bass with a cutaway. It's a 25" scale.
     
  13. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    Looks like the Ibanez parlor basses retail around $250? I'd guess the mod you're describing would cost at least that, probably more. You could always ask a local builder.

    25" scale is approaching uke bass territory. Hadean, Kala, and probably a few others make cheap uke basses with cutaways. Maybe that's an option? Gold Tone makes the mbass 25 which is 25" scale length and has a cutaway but I've never really been happy with it just trying it in guitar stores, the body shape is really awkward to me and I don't like the wood choices.

    There are also a few other makers who sell short scale acoustic basses with cutaways (Luna and Spector both make 30" acoustic basses with cutaways). I don't know of any in the same 25" scale length.

    Another option would be to find a cheap acoustic guitar with a cutaway and convert it to a bass. You could get pretty close to your 25" scale and it would probably cost less since it's basically swapping the bridge and nut and dealing with the tuners versus major structural surgery to the body.

    Whatever you do, please report back and let us know how it went - I'm really interested in basses in this size too but there aren't many options on the market. I'll probably end up building something from scratch.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  14. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    fwiw, i actually design and build acoustic guitars. things you need to do involve plugging the bridge, top, and bridge plate holes, re-drilling and tapering them provided there is room for the string length compensation required for bass strings (doing math), a new nut, and saddle, dealing with the headstock, replacing tuners, and a complete set-up.

    there are people who have done a shade tree acoustic 6 into a bass 4 conversion who scoff at reality and crow "it works great!" until a month later the thing sprouts 2 inches of action and folds up. the issue is that the top bracing and neck block and the headstock on an acoustic isn't designed for the stress of a bass.

    otoh, cheap laminated acoustics have the advantage of thick tops, thick bridge plates, and caveman-craft bracing so one might have a chance of success with one of these. and if things didn't work out, at least the cost would be low.

    can you go to a 32" scale like this?:

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez...MI_MWTre_P6gIV8wl9Ch3ELw7uEAQYAiABEgJT7_D_BwE
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  15. Sounds like you're talking about turning a 6 string into a bass, which is not what the OP is asking about. He has an Ibanez parlour bass.
     
  16. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
    For edification's sake, here is the bass in question:

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez/PNB14E-Parlor-Acoustic-Electric-Bass-Guitar.gc

    I like the scale because it's easier to teach with in the era of online lessons. I also have issues with my left wrist, so a smaller scale for longer sessions is helpful. When I got this bass, I had no idea I would be playing up the neck as high as I have been, and when a friend showed me his guitar with the scoop, I thought it would work on this bass. Sounds like nobody thinks this is a worthy idea...
     
  17. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    i was referring to Dwizum's post. I forgot to quote his text.
     
    BioWeapon likes this.
  18. Whoops! I didn't read that post - my bad.
     
    fretlessman71 likes this.
  19. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    so now that we've had some clarity, it's doable as long as you don't cut into the utg and/or take too big of a hunk out of the neck block. to find out where the utg is, just reach in there with your finger or use a mirror and check it out. on these it would be a flat strip of spruce in what Martin calls a "Popsicle" shape laid out across the top from treble to bass and about an inch north of the sound hole.

    In the pic below here's one of my earlier size 2-1/2 parlors:

    https://www.talkbass.com/attachments/20180520_175521_resized-jpg.3906009/

    I make my utg's differently than most but I think you can see the area of interest.

    the mod might not be cosmetically awesome, but it would function.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
    fretlessman71 likes this.
  20. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    ugh... trying to insert a picture is a nightmare. this looked like it worked:
     

    Attached Files:

    fretlessman71 likes this.
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