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First Build - Cigar Box Bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ffutterman, Aug 23, 2012.


  1. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    I now present my Cigar Box Bass. It's made from Ashbory and ukulele parts, and I've been cobbling it together for several months (maybe even a year...I don't remember).

    The thread is mostly for entertainment purposes. I've got NO idea what I'm doing, and don't really expect this to be a quality instrument when it's done. I mean, I did some Googling and YouTubing for it, but saying I'm inexperienced would be an understatement. The holes I had to drill for this are literally the first I've ever drilled.

    In any case, here are the pictures:

    01-Parts.
    Initial set of parts

    02-Workspace.
    Additional parts and supplies as I did more research on what I would need.

    03-Box.
    The box I bought at a local cigar shop.
     
  2. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    04-Sandedandfilledneck.
    Initially, I was going to just forgo a fretboard and use the neck itself. I filled in the guide holes with filler and sanded it down.


    05-Tunercloseup.
    The Ashbory tuning pegs were a little too long for the headstock, so I needed some spacers...


    06-Sawedfrets.
    ...so I knocked off the first few frets of the fretboard and decided to use those as spacers. I work from the MacGuyver school of thought, and I always try to use what I have first before I go out and get something new. Just look at that masterful handsaw work!
     
  3. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    07-FretboardFilled.
    I ended up choosing to actually use the fretboard. I want to go with fretless so that I won't have to worry as much about tuning issues. On a fretless, after all, you can just correct things manually. I defretted the board and filled it in, but will flip it over when I glue it on. That way, the lines and dots won't be confusing.

    08-SawedNeckBlock.
    Needed some wooden parts for screwing in the bridge and the neck, so I took the neck block from the uke neck kit and sawed it up.

    09-Mockup.
    Here's a mockup of the final product.
     
  4. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    10-NeckGluing.
    Gluing the fingerboard on. The white board is a piece of countertop that's been sitting in a closet at the office for a few years. They didn't mind me taking it.

    11-GluedNeck.
    Fingerboard glued on. Don't worry; the camera adds 10 pounds of crooked.

    12-TrussRodHolesSpacerGluing.
    After a long wait, I finally got my hands on a power tool and was able to drill holes for the neck and the support rod (a hanger bolt).
     
  5. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    13-SpacersGluedAndDrilled.
    The spacer pieces glued on and drilled. There are only 3, and I'll get to that in a moment.

    14-SpacerInAction.
    Looking much better than it did before.

    15-NeckFittedToBody.
    Much to my surprise, the neck actually slid right onto the body! How cool is that!
     
  6. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    17-GluingNeckBlock.
    Gluing one of the support blocks inside the body.

    18-NutTooBig.
    An Ashbory nut on a ukulele neck...

    18b-JWalterWeatherman.

    3 strings it is!
     
  7. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    16-FinishingNeck.
    Finishing the neck. It's hanging from a light in my hallway on a paperclip hooked onto a wallet chain. Nothing but the best for my little bass. You may also notice the Sabotage poster in the background. It's hard to see, but that's my brother and me running the Warrior Dash dressed as 70's cops and jumping over fire. He put together the poster as a gift.

    19-TwoBridges.
    When I first ordered the bridge, I got one that didn't have the pickup. Long story short, I had to wait until the version with a pickup was back in stock and order that one as well. The original still came in handy, though, when it came time to drill holes for the bridge and the pickup wire.

    20-DrilledBridgeHoles.
    I'm holding the bridge to the body on the other side. Another swell drilling job!
     
  8. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    21-GluingBridgeBase.
    Gluing the other support block.

    22-AttachingNeck.
    Well, it's looking good so far. Here the neck's getting glued on with the bolt inside the body securing it into place.

    23-StringHolesNutGluing.
    I had to grind out some slots behind the bridge to give the strings some more room. In the background, the nut's getting glued on. I also drilled some holes for the strings so that they can be tied inside the body. The holes aren't perfect, but they don't really need to be.
     
  9. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    24-TunersAttachedRegluingNut.
    The nut popped off, so I had to reglue it using a clamp.

    25-JackInstalled.
    Drilled a hole for the jack and installed it. I went with a barrel jack to make life simpler. Also showing the wires from the pickup. Some of you may recognize the picture from a thread asking about which wire was hot and which was the ground. Again, I've got to reiterate that I really have no idea what I'm doing.

    26-StringedUp.
    All strung up. You may notice that I gave up on the nut entirely and went with a large bolt. Also, the process of putting on the tuners was...disappointing.

    Some of the screws broke in half while getting drilled, and there's too much pressure and friction on the tuners for them to actually turn. I ended up just leaving them as-is and "tuning" it by adjusting the knots on the strings. It's one of those things where adjusting the tension on one knot puts the other strings out of tune, which makes it a tedious process. After a while, I finally got it to an approximate B-E-A tuning.
     
  10. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    27-InternalFinal.
    A final shot of the interior of the body. You can see the strings tied inside and going out the holes I drilled earlier. There's also the support blocks for both the neck and the bridge. The bar is something I put together to counteract the tension of the strings. It's a long bolt with a nut and a coupler. I have the coupler attached to the end of the hanger bolt that's in the neck, and unscrewed the large bolt until it was putting some good pressure on the bridge support block. I then secured it with a nut to ensure it doesn't slip or screw/unscrew itself.

    28-FinishingTouch.
    The finishing touch. I'll try to have a video up in the next few days.
     
  11. Check out cigarboxnation.com, great work for a first build, love the empty tuner hole, you could use it as a hanger! Nice box too, what you using as strings? You could try poly cable (like weedwhacker stuff)
     
  12. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    The strings are Ashbory strings. They're really friggin' weird to get used to.
     
  13. SallyGrowler

    SallyGrowler

    May 17, 2010
    Do you find the Olivia cedar box to be better for metal than the paper wrapped Partagas box?
    <jk>
    I like it!
     
  14. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    Lol

    The story of the box is kind of funny. I walk by this cigar shop on the way home from work everyday, and they always have a display of boxes out front. When I got the bug to make the bass, I walked by and saw the box. It was one of those things where it stood out from the rest and I immediately thought "Yep, that's the one!". Went in and they only wanted a buck for it. I thought that was a sweet deal, but what was even sweeter was finding a buck on the sidewalk about 10 feet from the entrance of the shop. Fate gave me a free box!
     
  15. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned SUSPENDED

    When you get tired of the s****y Ashbory strings, get a set of Aquila Thunderguts. Interesting project, that was something I considered doing at one point. Maybe I still will...
     
  16. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    As promised here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLaWRjXgj8Y&feature=player_embedded

    This was my second time actually playing the thing, so obviously I'm still not used to it and play it completely out of tune. But you can at least get a sense for the type of sound it has. The camera I'm borrowing has trouble charging, so I can only do a take or two with it before I have to charge it overnight again.

    The one thing I found really surprising with this bass is how much sound the pickup can detect. You have to be pretty still with it, because it'll pickup any noise from sliding the box around or just about any other sound generated on the bass. That could be an interesting advantage, were I a better player.

    Anyways, I now officially nominate this bass as having the best googly eyes for metal.
     
  17. :D
     
  18. SallyGrowler

    SallyGrowler

    May 17, 2010
    Sounds better than I thought - very good sir!
     
  19. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Philadelphia
    It occurred to me that I never did post a nice final picture of this thing. Here it is in its full glory:

    29-FinalProduct_zps1144a293.
     

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