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First build - Six string bass w/single coils

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassisgreat, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Bassisgreat


    Feb 23, 2008
    Dallas, Tx
    Hey everybody, I'm FINALLY getting around to building my first bass after years of collecting parts, starting, messing up, going on hiatus with the project, then starting up again...

    The specs are as follows:

    TOP: Macassar Ebony with Ziricote center strip bound by 2 thin strips of flamed maple. If things go to plan, there will be a cool inlay between the pickups in the center of the body.
    BODY CORE: Hard Ash
    BACK: Figured Sapele
    NECK: I purchased the neck for this bass. I will build the next one, but this time, I'm flaking out on that task it was made by the people at Musikraft. The details are : 35 " scale - 7 pc Paduak with flamed maple strips - macassar ebony fretboard 2" at nut 3.25 at 24th - 17mm string spacing

    Pickups: Custom Aero JB6AE single coil (he built them for the first attempt, which had a myrtle top and I had myrtle covers made...now I'm thinking I may try to make my own flamed maple covers because I don't want the myrtle to look out of place, I'm kinda picky about that)
    Wiring: Passive J bass wiring Volume/Blend/Tone

    The body design has been through many variations and tweaks, and I'm almost there. I don't have a photo of my most recent drawing, but it is not much different from the one shown. There are lines everywhere showing some ideas I had on one of them. I am open to input on the body.

    Here are some pics of what's up so far (not much)

    here are the boards that will make up the body (minus the thin maple strips...


    Here's the rough body design, when I get pics of the "more finished, and I mean really close" version, I'll post em.


    and some more pics of woods used, etc.





    Also, anyone know who could make some flame maple single coil pickup covers for me without a huge cost? I'm po' :help: Jonsbasses made a generous offer of the use of his shop on another site, so I may well take him up on that. Hopefully he'll have some guiding advice too! :smug: Gotta love the fellow musicians!

    Any comments, suggestions, etc would be appreciated!!
  2. dblbass

    dblbass Commercial User

    Mar 24, 2007
    Beacon, NY
    Owner of MBJ guitars, Maker of fine sawdust for Carl Thompson Guitars
    looks cool man. one thing i would suggest is maybe extend the bottom line a little more. putting the peak of the thigh cutaway at the 24th fret really helps out the balance of an instrument while your sitting. other than that it looks cool.

    joey k
  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Interesting design. That bass horn looks kind of fragile at the tip.
  4. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    That's what I thought. I love the design but You're going to have to reinforce that somehow if you hope to keep if for a while.
  5. Bassisgreat


    Feb 23, 2008
    Dallas, Tx
    Yeah, I agree on all points so far. I am going to play with the body design some more and see if I can come up with a way to keep the "feeling" but make it more practical. I had considered the part about the bass horn, but haven't completely found a solution yet. I really want to keep that accent there, but need a way to make it more stable. I am also going to work on getting the peak of the thigh cutaway to line up, more or less, with the 24th fret for playing comfort. I may compromise a little here and there if it doesn't please me aesthetically. I am trying my best to plan this thing into oblivion before I do anything that can't be undone, but it sure requires patience... :crying: :) Not that I actually have a problem with that, I'm just anxious to get going!

    On a side note, I'm going to try to find a way to use the Mac ebony as a top by itself. It's a beautiful top and I don't want to muck it up with a bunch of laminates. :rollno: Not that there's anything wrong with laminated bodies, but I like this one left natural. Besides, there is going to be a somewhat flashy inlay in the middle of the body.

    I'm going to make my own pickup covers out of some birdseye maple I have. I'd like to get flamed maple to keep everything completely in theme, but birdseye is as close as I can get without spending more money I don't have... I think it will work out fine.

    I'll post an updated drawingas soon as I have a photo.

    Thanks alot for the advice and comments, guys. I hope this turns out as nice as it is in my head. Time will tell, I suppose... Any ideas on the body shape? :help:
  6. orgmorg


    Jan 25, 2008
    Dismal, Tennessee
    I've been thinking about that pointy bit myself. It does look a bit worrisome, but as I think about it more, it does look as if it runs more or less with the grain, so it should be OK.
    I would start out leaving it a bit larger, and as you get into the carving stage, work it down until it looks right.
    It's really hard to tell how things like that will look until you actually see them in 3d.
    It's a really nice design, I think it's going to look great!

    I think your rethinking of the top is correct, and also I think the birdseye will look great as p/u covers with the ebony top.

    I am guessing this is a bolt on neck?
    How long is the neck pocket you have planned?
  7. Bassisgreat


    Feb 23, 2008
    Dallas, Tx
    Hey org, I've said it already, but great job on the butternut bass!!

    I need to take some pics of the neck. I'll be at my sis' place tonight and I'll try to do it then. It's a bolt on (7 pc paduak with 3 1/4" flame maple lams) I'm still working on the neck pocket depth, trying to find a happy medium between a smooth neck heel shape and the bridge placement I want (not right at the edge of the cutouts...at least 3/8" up)

    How much contact area do you think will be necessary for a neck that is 3 1/4" at the heel. I plan on using 5 bolts total. 3 on the bass side and 2 on the treble side.

    Where can I find gold bolts with beveled tops to fit the ferrules from stewmac??:confused:

    Thanks for your thoughts on the "pointy bit." :p I think I'll do just that; plan/cut it thicker and if it needs to be trimmed down, I'll do so to a point of maintaining stability. I was also a little concerned about the points at the bottom, but I imagine they'll be ok as theres going to be plenty of meat there. I just have to be careful placing it on/removing it from a stand.
  8. Bassisgreat


    Feb 23, 2008
    Dallas, Tx
    I have a final drawing and will be making 1/2" clear acrylic templates (and taking a few pics ) tomorrow. I left the thigh cutaway the way it was. I just like it there, and I really don't think it will have any negative impact on sitting playability. I'll have my thick template to give me a better idea tomorrow. I also added a bit of girth to the point.

    I've been considering finishes. I want a hard clear finish on this one, and I'm thinking a brush on epoxy finish. I've seen some users of this and other forums have success with them and it seems easy enough... Any experience or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated, since I know basically nothing about finishing (experience wise - I've done lots of reading)

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