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Drill holes for chambered effect?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Modern Growl, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Hey guys - I'm not a builder, but I was wondering your thoughts on this topic.

    I have a Jazz that is a bit heavy (and sounds heavy, compressed, scooped mids). Its an Ash body and about 9.7lbs

    I want to open up the midrange a bit so its more mid present and full sounding. Usually lighter basses sound more "full" to my ears.

    So I was thinking about taking out a few ounces from the bass by drilling holes under the pickguard area only.

    Would this achieve my goal?
  2. Just another note - I know builders like Sadowsky/Nordstrand/etc.. chamber - but the weight taken out of those basses are usually in the middle, with a top put on.

    In my case, I have no top to put on, other then covering the holes via the pickguard... wondering if I'll get the same effect...
  3. There is not much wood to remove under the pickguard, unless you want to do a big swimming pool route to remove everything the pickguard covers. I wouldn't bother.

    Conversely, I suppose it only takes a couple of minutes with a drill press and forstner bit, so there is no reason not to give it a try, unless you're worried about resale values.
  4. ^ thanks... yeah, resale value is something I'm keeping in mind... so If I don't do this - it would strictly be for that reason.

    Even if I could route 4-5oz... would that help make the bass sound like a lighter piece of wood, or becuase the routing is isolated to the pickguard area - it wouldn't really impact tone.

    This is all for tone. I can handle the weight...
  5. makaspar

    makaspar Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Austin, TX
    I have a jazz bass body that was sanded past a usable thickness - as in, I can put a neck on, but I can't get the saddles high enough to play the thing. Poly is thick!

    I've been playing around with this idea for that body - drill out some chambering (garage Sadowsky style), and then throw enough of a veneer on top to bring back the neck pocket depth.

    I have the veneer, I just need the time for the work. A planer and a drill press would be nice, as well..
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    It would be a lot easier to swap pickups.
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    +1^ And even easier to try different strings, and/or adjust pickup height...
  8. I'm an rookie builder about 15 basses and guitars made. I have chambered a couple bodies. One in particular the person I built it for just wanted F holes on it, so I routed just enough so it would get the f hole effect under the top. Didn't make much difference in tone. Lightened it up by about 8 oz. that is about it. Sounded like every other ash body bass I make with the same pickups. When I do notice the difference is when you get close to a full hollow where the wood is thinner and resonates. That being said I agree with the previous poster regarding pickups. Things I'd try before cutting into your guitar
    1. Strings, try stainless or different guage
    2. Pickup change out.
    3. Convert to active
    4. Sell it and get exactly the sound you want
  9. PJSim


    Jan 16, 2011

    Drill holes like this :bag:
  10. You're signature says, "Sadowsky". You could just save up for one. Although he's kind of famous for the scooped mids sound.

    But yeah in the mean time, pickups and electronics.

    How old are your strings?
  11. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Like others have said, a string change, and maybe pickup change will be your best bet. I don't believe that making the body lighter will have any effect on your tone.

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