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Gtar build, 4 string bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by shporsche, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    All the new bass builds popping up lately has made me start another build.
    Also after building 2 1/2 basses and 2 guitars now, from what Ive learnt so far I want to put it into this bass.

    It will have the following specs:

    4 string
    34" scale
    12" radius
    19mm string spacing
    Mahogany body
    QLD figured maple top.
    Aus Rosewood and Tas oak neck.
    Ebony fingerboard.

    Here is my design, the shape may change slightly throughout. I keep looking at the headstock thinking its too outlandish.

    Here is the mahogany, for the body.

    And this is the Queensland maple, I like the colours and the sap in the middle. Really need to get a new camera and learn how to take shots the photo doesn't do this justice.

    Onto building.
    I cut the rosewood neck lams and tas oak neck lams.
    I reckon the colour pattern looks good, the rosewood gets alot darker under the nitro so the light tas oak should pop out.

    Here it is all glued and cleaned up in the thicknesser.
    After every pass through the thicknesser a snake like pattern going through the centre lam appeared, you can just see it in the photos, it looks good.
  2. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    I found some good pickups for the right price, thanks to basspeople here in Aus.
    They are Nordstrand big splits, nice pickups and split coil.

    Instead of getting on with the neck, I started building the covers for the pickups, couldn't wait.

    The walls for the covers, made from iron bark.
    The walls will be full black when I'm finished with them, they have only been stained so far.


    And this is were I'm up to with the build.
    The top cap for the pickup covers will be QLD maple.
    I will be getting back to the neck later in the week.
  3. mikebpeters


    Aug 29, 2011
    NS, Canada
    I love the way your neck design compliments/mirrors your body!

    Of course I am also a sucker for wooden pickup covers

  4. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    Over the weekend I got a bit done, so there is allot of photos.
    I put the pick up covers aside, I couldn't decide on the top wood.
    Book matched the mahogany for the base of the body and routed a channel for the neck, I want the finger board to sit 7mm above the top piece, so I had to make this channel the exact depth.


    Got the scarf joint done using a jig on the band saw.
    Then cleaned up the joint and glued it up. This is after it dried.

    I then I got onto routing the channels for the truss rods.
    Made a mistake here, I wasn't watching the jig while routing the channel for the carbon rods. The jig moved off the marked line and it went very close at the nut end to the edge of the neck. I cut the taper and rounded over the thinnest part of the neck to see if it would go through, it didn't go through but I'm worried about the strength.


  5. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    I decided to put a piece of rose mahogany in between the neck and the body, so I routed the channel in the body another 5mm.

    Glued the neck to the body, turned out ok.

    While the neck and body was drying I glued a piece of QLD maple to the headstock and started on the shape.

    Ebony fingerboard.
    I get my fingerboards with the radius and fret slots pre done as I dont have a fret saw and radius jig.

    Glued the truss rod and carbon rods in. I used epoxy to fill the channels.

    On my last bass I used fibre optics for the fret markers, this time I'm going to use 3mm white LED's. I used basically the same method in the how to section on this forum for installing LED markers.
    This is the LED's all glued up in position.

    We have light!

    I got impatient and cut the rough shape of the body, I wanted so see what it would look like.


    I then needed to rout a channel for the power cables, then realised I need a place for the cables to go when I glue the top on.
    So I marked out the electronics cavity, removed most the material and then used a router to clean it up.



    I got out the dremel and made a channel for the power cables, making sure it was deep enough for when I rout the pickup holes.



    The QLD maple top body piece is being glued now, in the meantime I decided to go with QLD maple pickup covers, so it back to them.
    This is were I'm up to now.

  6. lburyczuk


    Mar 17, 2012
    This is great man, that laminate job you did on the neck looks perfect. Did you route a joint between the neck and wings, or is it just flat glued together?

    Also, what are you going to do with the LEDs, are they going to be constant when a cable is inserted or are you going to wire them to a separate power source with a DPDT switch or something? Looks beautiful though, props for the extra effort with the QM pickup covers.
  7. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    The base of the body was flat, I routed a channel for the neck then added the wings.

    The LED's will go to a push pull pot, so you can pull the knob up to turn them on and then turn the knob for desired brighteness.
  8. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    I havent updated for a little while, been busy with my day job.
    I Started on the pickup covers few days back, I wont be using the wooden pickup covers now=( I didnt spend enough time marking the holes for the pole piece post, and of course they didnt line up properly, which looked terrible once I opened up the holes.
    I will use the original Nordstrand covers for now, may build another set of pickup covers further into the build.
    Now that I have thought about it, I have a sure fire way of getting the holes to match up, of course I only think about it after.

    Will get more pics up this long weekend, got a bit of time to build.
  9. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    Top piece is on, looks good.
    Here it is with some alcohol wiped over it.

    I wanted the end of the fingerboard to look like its floating, so I cut a piece for the fingerboard to sit on.


    Glued down and cleaned up.


    Then I glued the ebony fingerboard and trimmed it down.


    Now to the edges of the body, for now I will round it over, starting with the back.


    And the front


    Then I started on the back, first the belly cut.



    Shaped the neck using a rasp, takes quite a bit of material away but still hard on the arms.


    I reckon the valute needed something different to break up the neck and headstock, so I glued a small piece of QLD maple, which now breaks it up.


    Now onto the heel, I usually changes this about 3 times.
    I'm at this stage now, but I think it will come back further and come up to the body more gradually.



    So thats it for now.
  10. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    Its been awhile since I updated this post.
    I have since finished the bass, but I didn't get many pictures of the final stages.

    I needed something else to go on the top, as I found it boring to look at.
    So I decided to go with a plectrum theme.
    I recessed a few in the top horn using different woods, and a main plectrum in the center made from rose mahogany.




    Here it is all cleaned up, then realised the centre pick didnt go in strait at all =(. I should be paying more attention to lining it up.


    Pickup holes being drilled then routed.


    And thats all the pics I have before I finished it.
    I will be taking some pics today of the finished bass, have them up soon.
  11. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    With the finish I couldn't decide what to do with the back, as the mahogany just wasnt looking any good.
    So I started to play with copper flake and black washes, and sticking with the pick theme I layed them into the finish.

    So the front kinda looks like it has a black copper burst.

    I'm not sold on the finish, something I may re-do in the near future, but for now I will see if it grows on me. Its all trial and error with finishes for me.










    It sounds great, just need to spend a bit of time setting it up.
    Problem is I get to this stage and want to start another build.

    Will try and get a vid.
  12. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Canton, GA
    Hey man, that thing looks great! Looking forward to seeing/hearing the video or sound clips.