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Headless Strat Bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jloftin1, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. jloftin1


    Aug 7, 2009
    Carrollton, Ga
    Today I made a dream of mine come true. I have been wanting a strat bass since I saw Fatstrings first strat build. I don't feel worthy to post in the Luithers Corner with this "assembly" but her goes...

    I took a 30 inch scale headless Synsonic Bass that I got off craigslist and a knock off strat body and ended up with a fantastic Bass. I really liked the Synsonic except for the ugly randy rhodes V body. I was measuring every thing thinking I could make a body when it hit me, This neck heel and bridge spacing are nearly dead on for a Strat. Luckily the bridge/tuners were seperate so I did not have to modify the body.

    All it took was scraping the paint from the neck pocket, enlarging the bridge cutout in the pickguard and drilling a few holes. the only thing that didn't work out perfectly was the neck plate. Turns out that this bass has a smaller neck plate than the guitar:meh: I may fix this in the future but it will put the bass side screws a little too close to the edge of the neck.

    It sounds fantastic. It has a very balanced sound with lots of lows available via the pickup switch. I was planning on eventually getting some blade type pickups for it but now, I'm just going to get some closed covers and call it a day.
    Thanks for looking.




  2. declassified

    declassified Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Owner Valkyrie PedalWorks
    definitely unique.
  3. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I think you're onto a good idea that could do with some refinement. On your next model, perhaps starting with a blank strat body, routing for bass pickups, and modifying a pickguard (to accommodate the bigger pickups), would work better.

    As it is, I would imagine it sounds similar to the Squier Bronco on middle pickup http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0310902558
  4. jloftin1


    Aug 7, 2009
    Carrollton, Ga
    It would be much better to start from scratch but lack of space and tools makes it next to impossible. It actually has 3 very distinct sounds. The bridge only is very much like a jazz bass bridge pickup, the middle three are very similar but the neck soloed is similar to a tele bass, or a hofner neck pickup. I like it alot.
  5. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Strat pickups with a blade a blade style magnet shouldn't sound no different than a bass single coil, and no modification would be required. A pickup is a pickup.
  6. great start. with a bit of a clean up it would be really slick! Those neck plate holes just need some filling and a bit of descreet paint.
  7. jloftin1


    Aug 7, 2009
    Carrollton, Ga
    thanks! I post a cleaned up pic when I get a chance
  8. jloftin1


    Aug 7, 2009
    Carrollton, Ga
    So after a few days of really dialing in the set up.. I am loving this bass even more. I almost can"t believe I pulled this off. The stock import Strat pickups actually sound really good except for one thing, the hum.

    I have shielded with the tape variety and grounded to the bridge via the former tremolo cavity. Is this just the nature of a strat? Maybe it's just the cheap pickups? My local shop has a used set of dimarzio strat sized humbuckers but I don't want to spend $75 if I don't have to.
  9. Equal parts love/*do not want* for me. Uncommon, to be sure. :D
  10. aronnes71


    Jan 4, 2010
    Alta, Norway
    I want one... Think it wil be difficult to find a used shortscale neck, I guess I have to make one. But not now...
    Can you make a video of this bass live? Or a recording?

  11. jloftin1


    Aug 7, 2009
    Carrollton, Ga
    Unfortunately I dont have any recording capabilities at the moment. To make your search more difficult, the only way this worked without filling the tremolo route or gap in the neck pocket was that it is a 24 fret neck. I got really lucky in that the hole is in the middle of the saddle plate.
  12. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    Definitely unique and would love to hear soundclips.
  13. Paul M

    Paul M

    Jul 21, 2005
    Does it intonate properly? I would have thought the bridge was too close to the neck but I just did a measurement on the photo and it looks like the bridge is actually too far from the neck.

    The camera angle might be affecting my measurement.
  14. jloftin1


    Aug 7, 2009
    Carrollton, Ga
    I was able to get perfect intonation with adjustment room either way. With this being a 24 fret neck (well 23 with a 1 fret overhang) the 30 inch was centered in the retangular tremolo route.

    One problem I am trying to find a solution to is the break angle over the saddles. It is too shallow. Im thinking of making a sort of string tree to go behind the saddle plate. Or i could just learn to play without digging in:scowl:

    It may take a couple of weeks but I will try to find a way to make a clip.
  15. Just so I understand

    1) the tuners are on the body of the guitar
    2) those are regular guitar pick ups
    3) it essentially bolted together
    4) headless, so you don't get crazy neck dive

    That's pretty awesome. Think it would work with a tele?
  16. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Westchester County NY
    +1! Love seeing something new, imaginative and funky. I would definitely rock it.
  17. That's pretty cool.

    To increase the break angle over the saddles, the classic fix for Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars (which often have the same problem) is to raise the bridge and angle the neck back. Fender even used to make angled shims to go in the neck pocket for just this purpose. You can carefully calculate exactly what angle you need, or just jam a pick or a coin in the neck pocket, screw the neck back on and see where it gets you.
  18. jloftin1


    Aug 7, 2009
    Carrollton, Ga
    Correct on all counts! All it took was a scraper on the neck pocket and on the bridge cut out of the pickguard, and drilling a few holes.

    Yesterday I got some Dimarzio strat humbuckers used from my local shop. After installing them, I hate to admit, I liked the stock pickups better. So I took them back out and gonna return them.

    The tuners and saddles were seperate so the tuners are on the edge of the body and the saddles where the stock bridge was. I also made a string retainer to go behind the saddles to get a better break angle. Turned out very well
  19. jloftin1


    Aug 7, 2009
    Carrollton, Ga

    Here is a Pic of the string retainer I made. I just found a piece of hard plastic and carved it with the saw and knife on my leather man. not the easiest way to do it I assure you.

    Also you can see the black jack plate I installed yesterday. It is a good improvement over the corroded chrome one that it came with. Now it is all black save for the pickguard and strings.
  20. FatStrings


    Nov 16, 2001
    Southern NH
    Cool innovation man! I dig!!

    I'm really surprised that setup fit on there that well.

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