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first build, take 2......

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by slappa_dat_bass, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    Ok so I started a build a couple of weeks ago, which turned out horrendous from the time I cut the template til I threw it in my dads woodpile disgusted. Everything was wrong, so I gave up. After a week or so of sitting at my kitchen table with graphing paper and scouring every corner of the net for info, I've decided to try again, and this time not ruining 3 perfect pieces of birdseye maple and a beautiful buckeye burl in the process. So now begins my second attempt at building mney first bass. Here's the specs:

    34" scale, 4 string, 1 1/2 inch nut, neck thru construction, fretless. Spruce body with a pine top stained red cedar, red oak and poplar neck, ebony stained red oak fingerboard (hereby referred to as the slappity plank lol). Truss rod will be a hot rod from stewmac.
    Everything will be finished in satin clear, probably polyurethane since my body woods are soft, and the slappity plank will receive a clear epoxy finish. Pickup is a simple, single jazz pickup installed at the mid position. All black hardware (since its what I have).

    Oook. I purchased everything from Lowes last night after I spent 3 hours scouring for the straightes, clearest spruce 2x6 I could find, as well as comparing grains and cuts in the oak and poplar 1x3s and picking out the pine topwoods which had the boldest grains. I know that nay sayers will disapprove of my wood choices, but in the end I spent a total of 75 bucks on the wood, a gallon of titebond premium and the red cedar and ebony stains, so I believe its gonna work out good lol.

    Now for the good stuff. What mainly made me trash my last attempt was poor designing. I just jumped in head first with paper and pencil and sketched up this design I thought was uber cool. However, once I had my templates cut it all changed. I really didn't like the full size template, but I figured that it may change once I actually cut the wood and rounded it over. I was wrong. The body in relation to the neck was all wrong. The horns were way too wide. It looked like one of those generic cartoon guitars. So I tried to fix it. All I did was make it worse. It wound up looking like a cast off BC Rich design, with bad glue joints everywhere and gaps places where the clamps dug into the wood everywhere. I realized it was over when my 11 year old came into the room and was like "dad, I realize you are building that for me, but you don't really expect me to play that ugly thing do you?". So, I chucked it. Then I sat down and started researching. I bought some graphing paper and began drawing. And after a few days and more than a few trys THIS is what I came up with:

    Attached Files:

  2. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    I did steal some design inspiration from a couple of bass models that I like, but just a couple lol. It will have a relatively small body, so I'm expecting neck dive, but that's never bothered me too much before. The longest part of the slappity plank is 27 1/2 inches, so high notes will be very easy to accomplish. And I know that in my design I have a double jazz set up, but I changed my mind to simplify the electronics. I have one more pice of poplar to buy then I will be gluing the neck, hopefully tomorrow. Pics soon!
  3. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    I really like that design , and there's nothing wrong with your wood choices. They are deliciously practical.

    Also, if you intend to go with just the one pickup, please do yourself a favor and get a split-coil humbucking J pup, like a Bartolini 9J. (http://www.bestbassgear.com/bartolini-4-string-j-pickups.htm)

    And....A...gallon...of glue?
  4. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    Ill check out the pickup you linked, thanx :) and yea a gallon of glue lol. I was gonna get a squeeze bottle of elmers, but my Lowes was sold out of both elmers and tite bond squeeze bottles. The quart bottles were 11 dollars, while the gallon jugs were on sale for 15, so a gallon it was lol. Ill never use it all lol
  5. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    This sounds great - you should be glad your son is honest with you - good feature to have when he becomes a teen! :)

    My only other comment is that sometimes softwoods, esp pine and spruce can be a pain to stain due to blotchiness. I'd recommend doing some test pieces, and if you haven't already pickup some wood conditioner and treat the body before you stain it. If it's minwax (my guess since it's Lowe's), they make a conditioner that is compatible with their stains...
  6. vroumo


    Jul 8, 2010
    I hope you post pictures. I have built 6 bass bodies, wired and finished them, and bolted on 3rd party necks (working up the courage to build my own necks). Every time I work on one, I learn something new, and each one is better than the last one. We also learn from the experience of others, and I am looking forward to learning from you. Good luck.
  7. ZoldosCustom


    Nov 27, 2007
    Definitely agree with conditioning the soft woods prior to staining, blotchiness will drive you nuts. No problem with the wood choices, you have to use what works for you. I wish I did what you are doing for your first build. I ended up buying exotics for my first, and about a year later I ended up stripping it bare, pulled the truss rod, and started over. A big waste of money on my part. Full size templates are key for that big picture approval. If you don't like the templates than you probably won't like the final product...but it seems you figured that out the hard way. Best of luck, and never stop researching.
  8. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    I will definately be conditioning my pine topwood before staining, thank y'all for the heads up :) I just picked up the wood conditioner, the 4th and final piece to my neck, and a wider piece of red oak for my fingerboard. I forgot to take into account that 1 inch thick boards at lowes are actually 3/4 inch thick, so 3 1 inch pieces only gave me a final neck blank width of 2 1/4 inches when my design calls for 3 inches o_O also the width of my first piece for my fingerboard was supposed to be 3 inches, and it turned out to be 2 1/2, which would throw the whole body/fingerboard dynamic off. So it is now a 3 1/2 inch board :)
  9. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    So my rough template is cut. I used graphed poster board this time, instead of just sketching my design on some plywood. I'm really digging it! Now my question is do I go with....

    A) reverse position precision pickup
    B) single jazz in the mid position

    I have always owned a dual pickup bass, and I really like the simplicity of a single pickup, especially on the small body of my build. I did try the traditional p configuration, but for some reason it just looked too........nice lol. I like an aggressive look ;) so I'm torn between these two set ups. Also these are just mock-up pickups, not the final product lol.

    Attached Files:

  10. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I'm a reverse P guy
  11. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    I've decided on the reverse p, just because my wife likes it lol. And finally my build is more than a pile of wood and a drawing! I glued the neck today, pics coming this afternoon after I clean all the mess lol
  12. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    Here's a pic of my neck all glued up and ready to be rough shaped. The layers are poplar/red oak/red oak/poplar. It comes out to be right at 3 inches wide. I have a small gap at either end of the glue seam on just one poplar board, but it will be gut out with the waste. All in all it turned out real good :) I'm hoping that once its got some poly on it you will be able to tell the difference in the woods. Also, can anyone direct me to a link that will tell me how to locate my scarf joint for my headstock? I've searched it but I only find links on how to do a scarf joint not how to locate it on the neck.

    Attached Files:

  13. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    Ok so its been forever, but if anyone is still following this thread there will be plenty of pics and progress this weekend as I am invading my father in laws workshop and commandeering his planer, band saw and table saw. I hope to have the neck roughed out and bodywings glued up before monday
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