First Bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Monk, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. Monk


    Jun 15, 2004
    Hello all. I have always been interested in making my own bass, and this forum has given me just the push i need to get me started. Since I will soon be devoting most ofl my free time to presuing the classical bass I thought my first electric bass should be a tibute to the double bass.

    So I have started with designing the body and neck/headstock and have already encountered some problems (mostly aesthetic) :crying: . I have come up with 3 body designs but none seem to give the 'double bass' feel and I feel the broblem is with the lower horn.

    Attached are two of my three designs for the body(they are very minor changes to the horn but this is driving me nuts!)

    Any imput on which body is best or how to change the body would be greatly appreciated.


    Attached Files:

  2. Monk


    Jun 15, 2004
    Heres the last design.

    Thanks again.

    Attached Files:

  3. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Just to try something different, see what happens when you close the lower cutaway. In my mind I see a bass where the lower horn connects back to the neck, but much lower on the fretboard than the upper bout. It'll be asymmetric, but it might keep that fullness that you're looking for. Just a thought.

  4. Monk


    Jun 15, 2004
    The only problem with that suggestion, and I hope I'm understanding this right. You mean to make the horn extend to connect with the neck forming a loop?

    Well the only problem I see with that is aquwardness in playing. One would have to remove one's hand from the nect and fit it into the 'loop' to be able to reach the upper frets.
  5. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    How about having the contour of the lower horn follow the outside contour of the upper bout, only don't connect it to the neck, but leave the space open for access? Keep the horn fairly thick as well, so that it gives more of an impression of what the upper bout would look like on that side.

    Nice ideas! :D

  6. +1 that is what i was thinking as well
  7. Monk


    Jun 15, 2004
    sounds good, only how much space should I leave for the hand? I dont want to be playin my heart out and slid my hand up only to bang it on the horn! So 4 inches between horn and neck? 5? 6?

    Thanks for the idea.
  8. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    Perhaps leave enough room so that you can get your hand in there sideways (i.e., enough so that you can get your open hand in there with it flat, palm facing the tailstock... say around 4 inches.)?

    You might also consider leaving a radius on the end of the horn, in case you hit it it won't hurt so much.
  9. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    I really like that first design. I must ask, though, what program are all of you guys using to get an outline of your design like that? Are there any freeware programs that can do the same thing?
  10. Monk


    Jun 15, 2004
    Thanks man. The program is TurboCAD v4. Any CAD program would do just about the same thing I believe. However prepare yourself for a verticle learning curve as CAD programs are very hard to learn.
  11. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    I figured it was CAD. I'm actually in the process of learning a 3d modelling program called Blender. The thing is kicking my butt.
  12. You could forget about the horn, and go for a smaller body. (so the fretboard begins where the body ends)
    You could add some extension at the back to counter the neckdive. I've seen these on Steinbergers or a G&L Asat for example. (it's like an upper horn that can fold away behind the body)

    Since you're going for the double bass anyway, why not build an electric upright ?
  13. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    Illustrator is not too hard to learn, but it costs some money. Look around for freeware Illutration or drawing programs. Anything with vector lines should work.
  14. Monk


    Jun 15, 2004
    Thank you to everybody who replied but I think I've solved the problem (see attached image). I added the little spikes associated with the double bass to the first design, that minor change plus the addition of an f hole on the top side will, I believe, give the 'double bass' look I want.

    On to the rest of the project. The woods I am thinking of using for the bass are: Maple for the neck, ebony for the fingerboard, and Maple (hopefully tiger maple) fronted with quarter sawn spruce for the body.

    I have heard some contriversial things about using Pine for the body of a bass, however I don't think it can be that bad tonally as it is what they use to front violins, violas, cellos, doubles basses, and all the classical string instruments.

    I have decided to make the bass unlined fretless and I'm looking for pickups that will be very clean, if anyone could recomend some...

    The bass is goind to be rounded on both back and front :eek: and I wonder if anyone could recomend a good bridge to use (excuse my ignorance, but this is my first bass).

    I will try to get pics up as soon as these things get smoothed out and I start production.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Attached Files:

  15. Well, if you're going for the double bass look, why are you putting pickups on it!?!?!

    Why not use a piezo system? It's completely hidden by the bridge, and will clean your bass front up a bit. I think you should consider this seeing how muchn thought you've put into designing this bass, I think two black jazz pickups, or whatever you were thinking, would look terrible, on this "double electric" bass of yours.

    Just offering some suggestions...

  16. Zebra


    Jun 26, 2005
    I agree, piezos would suit the bass much more. I'd also go for a two-piece bridge to be more consistent with the URB look.
    If you want my opinion on the body design, I'd just get rid of the scoop, move the neck up, and have it ala beatles violin bass.
  17. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I would recommend almost the same thing Zebra said. Don't have a horned cutaway. Have a Venetian cutaway. Your best examples for those are usually on guitars. Do a search on the Taylor LKSM-6 and LKSM-12. They have a really nice subtle cutaway that would look great on an otherwise violin shaped bass.
  18. Monk


    Jun 15, 2004
    I checked that out and I have to say the real prob with it is that reaching the upper 'frets' would be impossible. Since I want the fingerboard to come in quite a bit the design wouldn't work IMO, thanks though.

    I've actually never heard of this system, thanks for bringing my attention to it. I'll definately look into it. However as I said this is my first bass, so if it turns out to be a particullarily hard thing to do, I probably won't be able to pull it off.

    AlsoThis bass is supposed to be a tribute to the double bass, not an exact replica. It is supposed to make a person think, "Wow that kinda' looks like a double bass." But I will keep the piezo/2 piece bridge combo in mind.

    Thanks again all,
  19. The piezo bridge system is utilized nowhere better than Line6 IMO... The Variaz 700 modeling bass is amazing.. and I've been drooling for one ever since they have come out!

    Here's the link to their site...

    Piezo's are most common on single humbucker basses suck as the EBMM 'Rays and Sterlings.

    Good Luck, and leep us posted in info, I'm very interested to see hoe she turns out!

  20. Monk


    Jun 15, 2004
    Now you've really got my attention!

    Those guitars look really cool. I've done a quick search of the net, but havent been able to find anything with Piezo connected to guitars/basses. Could you set me up with a link to the bridge system you were talking about, maybe a place where I could learn more about the wiring/buy the system.

    Thanks again,