1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

First build - 4 string bolt-on

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Azoore, Nov 6, 2017.


  1. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    Hey everyone. I'm finishing up my second build now, but I thought I'd post the process I went through for my first one. This forum was a great resource for helping me get started with building. I'm very thankful to everyone who posted their build threads that gave me inspiration or helped me figure things out, so hopefully I can add something of worth eventually ;)

    I started woodworking about 2 years before beginning this project. Building a bass was always a goal of mine but it always seemed out of reach. I doubted my ability to do this, which always put it off in my mind. One day I just decided I was going to do it one way or another. It took about 1 1/2 years of on and off spare time but I did eventually complete it. Anyway, thanks for looking and any comments/feedback.

    Some specs:
    34" 4 string bolt-on
    23 frets (was supposed to be 24 :laugh:)
    Single cut design
    Padauk body
    5-piece wenge/mahogany neck
    Cocobolo fretboard
    Black hardware
    EMG pickups/preamp
     
  2. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    I started by designing the bass in sketchup and printing out some templates. The prints ended up being pretty useless as I couldn't get them to print exactly 1:1 at Kinko's. I used the body print as the proportions weren't critical, but the neck print was off too much.

    design1 (Medium).png
    View attachment 2805808
    2015-06-10 15.13.59 (Medium).jpg
     
    Beej likes this.
  3. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    I made the body blank from some rough padauk lumber. I wanted something that looked different but wasn't too expensive in case I messed it up.

    2015-04-30 17.45.16 (Medium).jpg
    2015-04-30 17.45.31 (Medium).jpg 2015-04-30 18.33.20 (Medium).jpg 2015-05-14 16.58.48 (Medium).jpg
     
    lbridenstine and RBS_Johnson like this.
  4. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    Made the neck blank next. The grain patterns in the neck woods were not ideal which caused a very small amount of neck warping during the course of the build. I tried to mitigate this during the glue up by orienting the grain in opposing directions but the grain wasn't consistent enough through the length of the laminations to rely on this. It ended up not being a big deal once strung up luckily.

    2015-05-07 13.35.50 (Medium).jpg

    I was thinking of doing 7 pieces but went with 5 for this one.
    2015-05-08 05.46.55 (Medium).jpg 2015-05-12 14.30.23 (Medium).jpg

    Looking back, this is not a great way to glue up a neck blank. I didn't realize the staggered weight of the clamps would torque the neck inconsistently, which attributed to some of the neck warpage I mentioned before.
    2015-05-12 15.56.23 (Medium).jpg 2015-05-14 14.41.14 (Medium).jpg 2015-05-14 14.55.17 (Medium).jpg
     
    RBS_Johnson likes this.
  5. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    Rough shaping of the body followed. I screwed the MDF template to the body and roughed the shape on the bandsaw, then used a template bit on the router table to finish it up. I used a roundover bit to shape the edges.

    2015-06-09 12.41.49 (Medium).jpg
    2015-06-09 13.14.28 (Medium).jpg 2015-06-10 13.09.10 (Medium).jpg 2015-06-10 14.50.55 (Medium).jpg
     
    RBS_Johnson likes this.
  6. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    I glued some more mahogany to the headstock end of the neck and routed the truss rod slot. This was a mistake obviously.. the slot should be routed first as the added wings now require a spacer to be made to allow the neck to ride flat against the fence.

    2015-06-20 15.39.04 (Medium).jpg 2015-07-24 16.53.12 (Medium).jpg
     
    RBS_Johnson and bastav like this.
  7. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    I slotted the fretboard next. I bought the fretboard blank from a lumber store near me as it was fairly inexpensive. I bought the Stew Mac template and table saw blade and made a sled to index it. I had to use my old craftsman table saw as the blade is incompatible with the sawstop due to the small diameter. This was really, really annoying, but I got over it :thumbsup: I try not to buy Stew Mac tools as they're pricey, but this combo is super easy to use and I'm glad I spent the money on it.

    2015-10-01 18.08.23 (Medium).jpg 2015-10-01 18.08.47 (Medium).jpg 2015-10-01 18.36.23 (Medium).jpg
     
    Joshua and RBS_Johnson like this.
  8. rwkeating

    rwkeating

    Oct 1, 2014
    Chicago
    none
    I don't have much experience in identifying wood, but that body doesn't look like padauk to me based on color or grain. It looks more like Sapele. I got a lot to learn :(
     
  9. I was going to say the same thing, but I've never used padauk, so it's entirely possible I'm wrong.
     
  10. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Third time's the charm - I also thought it looked more like sapele than padauk, but I haven't used or handled enough padauk to know. :D What got me thinking it's sapele is not just the ribboning (common in sapele) or colour, but also the apparent chatoyancy in some of the photos.

    Regardless, nice work! I really like the shape you've come up with - thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:
     
  11. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Helluva lot better than where I'd be on my second build! Nice, Azoore!
     
  12. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    Thank you. It actually does look like sapele in the pictures now that you all mention it. It is definitely padauk though. I think my shop lighting at the time possibly washed out the color, which was bright red/orange. And padauk and sapele smell quite different to me. The end grain is clearly padauk when inspected in person.
     
  13. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    Unfortunately the fretboard blank was a tad short for 24 frets and I only had enough length for 23. I made a template for the neck from plywood. To assist in gluing the fretboard to the neck, I used some dowels for alignment. I washed the fretboard with acetone to reduce the natural oils of the cocobolo. I used titebond 3 and didn't have any issues.

    2016-02-19 22.48.10 (Medium).jpg 2016-02-19 22.48.35 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-07 15.35.26 (Medium).jpg
     
    Beej likes this.
  14. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    I taped the template to the neck and roughed the shape with the bandsaw, cut out the headstock shape, and then flush trimmed it on the router table. I used my spindle sander to make the curve where the headstock and fretboard meet. I also drilled the tuner holes.

    2016-03-18 15.44.51 (Medium).jpg
    2016-03-18 16.40.20 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-18 16.40.48 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-18 17.14.20 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-18 17.14.33 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-18 17.14.55 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-18 20.48.44 (Medium).jpg
     
    rwkeating and joseplluissans like this.
  15. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    I drilled the side dots next, then began carving the neck. I used the faceting technique someone here posted about, where you successively approximate a curve using straight cuts with a rasp/file. To save some time, I rough cut the shape on the bandsaw very carefully, then started marking and cutting the rest by hand.

    2016-03-19 16.05.58 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-19 19.57.21 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-19 20.39.20 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-20 13.35.22 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-20 13.53.37 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-20 15.03.08 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-20 17.09.47 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-20 17.10.01 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-20 17.10.19 (Medium).jpg
     
  16. I love a wenge neck. Looks great.
     
  17. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    Fretting! Forgot to mention I prefer no radius on the fretboard.

    2016-03-20 19.23.24 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-20 20.33.18 (Medium).jpg
    2016-03-21 13.24.49 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-21 13.58.26 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-21 13.59.49 (Medium).jpg 2016-03-21 14.45.51 (Medium).jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
    joselorellano and b3e like this.
  18. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    I then made a template to route out the neck pocket. I used some straight pieces of walnut to align the neck to the center line and the bridge, then cut out the pocket. Lastly I drilled the neck screw and ferrule holes to attach the neck to the body. I just eyeballed two of the screw holes and drilled them too close to the edge, but luckily figured it out before I drilled for the ferrule :roflmao:

    2016-04-03 17.38.35 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-03 19.31.06 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-03 19.51.21 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-03 19.59.34 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-08 17.46.20 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-15 11.54.52 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-15 12.35.48 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-15 12.37.41 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-15 12.47.55 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-15 13.59.31 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-15 14.07.58 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-15 14.18.48 (Medium).jpg
     
  19. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    Mounting the hipshot bridge, routing the pickup cavities, and mounting the pickups.

    2016-04-15 15.23.46 (Medium).jpg 2016-04-21 15.16.50 (Medium).jpg 2016-05-06 14.17.13 (Medium).jpg 2016-05-06 15.04.42 (Medium).jpg 2016-05-06 15.19.39 (Medium).jpg 2016-05-06 16.21.17 (Medium).jpg 2016-05-06 16.25.03 (Medium).jpg
     
    I-Am-The-Slime and Beej like this.
  20. Azoore

    Azoore

    Sep 1, 2004
    Akron, OH
    I drilled the holes for the pots first as I knew where I wanted them to be positioned on the front of the bass. Then I made a template for the control cavity and routed it out. I wanted to make a cover out of wenge and utilized an inlay set for my router to do this. I made the template, routed out the cover, then routed out the ledge on the cavity. I made the cavity a little too close to the edge so I had to sand down the cover a little. Finally I installed the side dots and sanded them flush to the neck.

    2016-05-13 15.38.53 (Medium).jpg 2016-05-13 16.29.50 (Medium).jpg 2016-05-13 17.16.06 (Medium).jpg 2016-05-13 17.19.06 (Medium).jpg 2016-07-31 16.50.39 (Medium).jpg 2016-07-31 17.30.36 (Medium).jpg 2016-08-14 13.34.28 (Medium).jpg 2016-08-14 13.52.19 (Medium).jpg 2016-08-14 17.15.19 (Medium).jpg 2016-08-14 17.39.52 (Medium).jpg
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Dec 2, 2020

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.