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Electric Upright sketch

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Nick Gann, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    This is the first time I've ever sketched a bass that I actually thought looked kinda cool, like I might want to actually have one some day!

    Four string electric upright bass, 41.5" (3/4 double bass) scale. For the body shape I took inspiration from the Zeta Crossover basses and the flow and curves of Ritter Basses. The headstock is sort of an inverted Conklin headstock. The bottom bout on the treble side is made to emulate the bout of an actual upright; a small tribute to the beast this bass descends from.

    For actual size comparison, on the sketch I lightly outlined the shape of an actual double bass if it had the same neck length and bridge location.

  2. But that upper bass-side bout/horn woul go right through where my chest would be (if I had a chest). No, wait- I've been standing behind the bass lately- nevermind. Please continue!
  3. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Any ideas, (constructive) criticism, or possible problems you see, please speak up!

    With the upper horn, I am having the same concern. When you look at the sketch of the upright bass behind it though, it looks to me like it will only be a little bigger than the upper bout of an actual upright, so I don't know if it will be a problem or not. One day I will get around to making a full size mock up, and that will tell me if the horn will get in the way or not for sure. Thanks for the comments and concern :)
  4. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    My first thought mirrors the upper bout concern. It would be kinda pokey instead of a smooth area to lean into. Other than that, I really like the way the butt-end sags to the side. Kinda sexy ... ;) What would you use for a stand/spike?

    And one other thought: How big is your sketch? Is it full-sized? If so, how did you get it into the computer?
  5. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I was thinking of either using a strap of sorts to hold it to the body, or a tripod type stand (possibly bastardize a cymbal stand). An endpin would be really long and look kinda... not good. Of course, at this point, I really hadn't put much thought into it.

    The sketch is just on a regular 8.5" by 11" piece of printer paper. I took a picture of it with my digital camera, edited it for internet friendliness, and voila!
  6. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I'm set on the lower half and the treble side. I like those parts of the shape a lot. The headstock is set as well; I think it works well with the vibe of the body. The upper bass side bout is what is giving me problems, so I am still thinking about ideas for that part.

    A few more sketches for your consideration:


  7. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    I like these better than the first one. I wasn't crazy about the idea of an upright with an upper horn, for ergonomic reasons. Now these second sketches are kind of approaching singlecut territory, like with bass guitars - I like that idea. My favorite is sketch number three; it would be the most comfortable for me to play, and it's also my favorite visually. I would really like the design if you incorporated the idea of F-holes (even fake ones), maybe a single one on one side. I think EUB's with bodies need them.
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Good luck with your project. What scale? Looks similar to one I tried. This has a brass insert in the bottom that mates with a "peg" so it could be played upright. It is only a 36" scale though. It is the second bass I built and I broke the truss rod trying to adjust it :bawl: It has many other problems as well but it is fun to pull out once in a while. I just can't bear to take the parts off of it and toss it. It is also my only attempt at a neck through. I don't know how you people do neck throughs they scare me.....t
  9. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    To be honest, I'm starting to like the second and third one more too!

    A few other features I am interested in incorperating into the design are the F-hole(s), and inlaid purfling like on a real double bass.

    The scale I want to use is a full 41.5", which is the full scale length of a double bass, so it will be easily playable for double bassists (which I am as well). I would prefer that this bass be neck through. I was considering possibly having the neck made by someone else, since the neck has so much less margin of error in its construction.
  10. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    I really like the second and third ones, too. It fixes the upper bout concern without affecting the integrity of the nice design. BTW, my wife said she would pick the third one. Seems like you are well on your way to a nice bass. Keep us updated! :D
  11. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Thoughts on construction materials:


    7 piece wenge/flame maple/purplehart laid out as a 5 piece flame maple/purplehart neck with thin wenge veneers on the outside for contrast and definition. Ebony fingerboard, radiused slightly less than a double bass' radius, no bevel. Headstock will be made from the neck blank, with inlaid ebony purfling.


    Flame (fiddleback) maple with amber stain over mahogany(?) body. I want a body wood that will give the bass a dark and heavy, yet defined tone. I think the definition will come from the maple and purplehart in the neck and the ebony fingerboard, and the mahogany will give the bass the darkness and depth. Ebony inlaid purfling around the body edge.


    Ebony bridge, radiused to the same specs as the fingerboard. Through body string ferrules behind the bridge.


    Piezo under the bridge, possibly having someone make a custom radiused humbucking pickup. VVT electronics, knobs on the upper horn. I guess I'll need a piezo buffer in there too.
  12. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    I have been thinking about this all day and have a few things for you to consider before you move forward (that is, if you haven't thought about these already).

    What type of fingerboard are you going to use? Will it be an upright one or a BG one? I agree with the ebony choice. It should help with that upright tone.

    With your fingerboard selection in mind, will you be angling the neck back any to simulate the feel of an upright? Will the fingerboard "float" above the body like an upright?

    An ebony bridge? Will it be tall? If so, then string-through might put too much pressure on it and create a problem. Also, will the bridge be adjustable?

    With the headstock designed like it is, do you think the tuning machines will interfere with your shoulder or neck or face? With them sticking out on the side, I just wonder ...

    And finally, I think Moses had a prototype radiused EUB pickup in the works sometime back. It may have found its way into production by now(?). Not sure, but worth a look. And I like your selection of woods. It should be real purty!

    Anyway, just some rambling thoughts of a hack ... :D
  13. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    That moses pickup was in production for a while, but not anymore. And there very hard to find, I've always got my eye out for them. You can check out the DB amps and pickups forum for more ideas on mags for upright.

    I've got a Eub in the works too, maybe tomorrow i'll start a thread on it, even though it's almost done.
  14. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Hey, your ramblings are a big part of helping me move along in my thoughts about this project. Everything looks different through a fresh set of eyes, and that helps me see things that I might not have seen on my own! Thanks :)

    And paintandsk8, thanks for the tip; I'll ask around down there a little bit and see what I can dig up.
  15. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    the only thing i can recommend (doesn't have much to do with the body style) is that, like my www.messengerbass.com, i have the detachable metal thingy to mimick the side of a real bass so i can lean into it.