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Extreme Makeover - Hambone Style!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hambone, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. For your approval - This is the first bass I built over 4 years ago. The old timers around here might remember it as the "CAD-CAM" bass because the body blank was cut on a high end computer controlled router system. Back then it was somewhat of a novelty - now it's pretty commonplace.

    The instrument has had a pretty hard life since it's inception. Originally designed as a simple Jazz with active electronics, they sooned crapped out and the circuit was changed to a simple passive. It sounded great and I played around with it for several months recording and having fun with it's tone. Eventually it's SD pups were pirated for another project but the replacements kept it up and making groovy noise. Then, through a series of builder brain farts and run-ins with the law (of gravity) the face of the control cavity got broken. The result you can see in the first pic. Not a pretty sight. The bass stayed like that for at least a year and a half as I contemplated just what I was going to do :confused:
  2. As part of the "getting my krap together" I do every so often, I finally decided to get this bass back up and running. It deserved at least that amount of respect.

    I had always disliked the way the 2 halves matched up in the original glue-up so I fixed it. The inlay strips are ebony/maple/makore and the center stripe is some flame maple from another source to gain some contrast in color. The repair on the front of the control cavity posed some additional problems. To begin, this shape was never meant to be seen from the front so it had to be visually minimized to avoid being a distraction to the eye. Fortunately, I had some scrap from the original boards used for the blank, so I made the repair patch from that. The half inset/topset method of mounting was required because of the way the original wood layer broke out. All the while, I'm thinking "Well, if this sort of look works for the Marcus Miller Jazz, maybe it can work here too". I was fairly pleased with the results.

    Other changes were a new set of soapbars (getting a little weary of the single coil sound on fretless) and the preamp from my DeArmond Pilot. I really liked the sound it gave in the ash body Pilot so I think it will work well in the maple. The knobs were a whim - the first I've made - and the arrangement was arrived at simply to try to utilize/hide/just make work the odd shape from the control cavity. Though it looks weird, the knob layout really works well from the players viewpoint. The original Schaller bridge was replaced with a nice Gotoh. Tuners were upgraded to Schaller and I cut and shaped up a new black phenolic nut. The original Warmoth P neck was cut down to 1 17/32" and reshaped to blend the new edges in with the back. Then, partly as an experiment and partly because I've lost some of my accuracy on fretless, I marked EVERY fret point with a dot instead of just the traditional marked frets. Boy that helps a lot! And finally, I laminated the original aluminum plate control cavity cover with a piece of flame maple veneer and attached it with magnets. I LOVE this method and will incorporate it in my subsequent builds. I recarved the headstock into the distinctive Hambone contour and it's ready for redecaling. This bass will be renumbered as serial #0001.1 :D

    The finish is simply Tru-Oil and elbow grease. Probably 12 - 15 coats on there with plenty of rubbing and buffing.

    So what'yall think?
  3. Here are the additional pics ...
  4. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I miss the hambone logo :(

    Nice work :)
  5. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    big +1 man
  6. awesome work Hambone!

    i bet that thing just sings!
  7. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Oh and those wood knobs are real purdy like.
  8. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    very very pretty. nice job.
  9. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I like it- looks real classy with the wood control cover! ...
  10. Well, er... no it actually doesn't, er...Yet!

    I'm waiting for a switching jack and a battery holder before I can fire it up. I'm itching to hear it.

    Here's a coupla more shots while we wait -

    I used neodynium magnets to hold the plate on. Got'em from ebay. These things will stick mud to air they're so powerful. I recessed them in the coverplate and the original screw towers in the cavity. The magnets grab the plate from your hand and pull it into the recess!

    The two holes you see behind the bridge are the outer holes where the strings passed through the body in it's previous life. You can see in the first pic that I'm redoing the ferrules in the back. I'm making my own stainless steel version just for fun. I'll redrill the other 2 when I'm finished and string this bridge through the body too.
  11. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    What kinda pre you runnin'?
  12. It's just the stock Fender DeArmond 3 band from the Pilot. It matches the pups. This is just a "shop bass" so it isn't necessary to squirrel away some expensive pieces in it. This preamp/pup combo was great with the ash bodied Pilot - so I expect it to work well here.

    This approach to the guts is part and parcel of my quest for "radical bass concepts for the cognizant".

  13. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Very ncie. I love the headstock & the stripes down the middle look great.
  14. Sorry for being rude...

    Thank you for the compliments guys! :bassist:
  15. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Very nice. I like the way you cleaned up the veneer matching by adding the striping at the center.

    How did you come to have a front-AND-rear-opening control cavity?

    I like the headstock. Elements of Fender, Sadowsky, and Peavey, combining to make a very nice result.
  16. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    Great work! Kinda need a little getting used to tho - I still find the front opening to the cavity is quite odd... perhaps you could do a marchewleski and make a wooden pickguard thing that serve as both pickguard and cover for the gaping hole in the front ;)
  17. Pilot and Rusty - I'm surprised that you would think that I would actually "design" something like that into a bass! I know Pilot has seen some of my work and it's a bit cleaner than that makes me out to be. As I said in the post above - I never had an intention of that shape being seen from the front :rollno:

    It also sounds like you think it has a removable face. It doesn't. The 3/16" thick repair plate was beveled and the cavity lip recessed to allow the plate to be set in and leave the nice dip line. That made a thinner repair - the bass is already my thickest at 1.5625"

    Please re-read my post describing the bass and you'll see how the unique "pass-thru" control cavity came about. It was accidental and what you see here is my approach at making a restoration look decent while working with a very tough wood to match - tiger flame maple. Given the limited amount of original stock I had from a bass I made 4 years ago, and the fact that it had to be matched in finish with the original, I think it came out pretty good.

    I guess I'll just have to build some more before I can earn some respect... :meh:
  18. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    Hey dude - didn't mean no disrespect. I have seen basses you've made before and I did realise that the opening was a result of an unfortunate event :D
    I didn't think that my post insinuated that the front cavity was an intentional design - I was just mentioning what I felt about how your bass looks like at the moment (with no reference to the design process) and suggest a different way of repairing the mishap ala Marchewleski pickguard.
    Guess I'll have to take english classes to prevent further misunderstandings... :D
  19. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Looks great, hammy! :bassist:
  20. :D

    old buddy...

    I want one :D

    well, until then i've got my fairlane!