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How thin can you make a bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bill h, Mar 13, 2006.


  1. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    When I clamped up my lumber, Black walnut front and Cherry back, the clamp left a nice imprint in the stock. I am going to use Emg pick ups and a bolt on neck modeled from a lakeland. What is the thinnest body I am able to use?
     
  2. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I guess that all depends on the thickness of the heel, the pots being used, the depth of the pickups (adjustable based on intended string height), how deep you plan on sinking the neck pocket, and that kind of stuff. Just off the top of my head, without ever trying it, I'd think that an inch is pushing it. You could leave the body a little thicker near the control cavity to compensate for taller pots (stacked and such).
     
  3. Holmann

    Holmann

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ashland, WI
    How bad is the dent? have you tried steaming it out?
     
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'd say the #1 factor is the neck pocket. You want enough wood in the heel to stand up to string tension. Since you are doing a bolt-on, the thickness you shave away has to come "off the top", that is you will be lowering the top of the body with respect to where the strings sit. This means you will need the bridge and pickups to sit higher.

    I had an Acacia that had a very thin body. I believe it was ~ 1.25". The pickup routes were shallower than usual and the bridge was a big old Kahler. The electronics cavity was shallow, but I used EMGs and low profile, passive pots.
     
  5. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    Thanks for the info guys.....I like to put my PU in 13/16 of a inch and have the neck pocket 3/4 or so. I started out with 3/4 front and 3/4 back. But the dent in the lumber is in about 3/8. I have not used the steam on this, I have used it before with great luck. I will have some time to work on this later today, I will take some pics and show you what I mean.
     
  6. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    I took a wet rag and my ladys iron, worked like a charm!!! I will have 1 9/16 total thickness!!! I never new how well that could work. Thanks
     
  7. basstruck

    basstruck Guest

    Nov 25, 2005
    Sudbury
    Between 43mm to 46mm thick and the cavity of the pickups should be 20mm to 23mm deep
     
  8. speigel

    speigel

    Aug 5, 2005
    Somerset, UK
    Of course if you make it too thin, the whole guitar will be subject to neck dive. Just a thought.
     
  9. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    43-46mm isnt the minimum. i made basses that are 38mm and i might try less.
     
  10. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    43-46 sounds more like normal body thickness: 1 3/4" is ~44.45mm.
     
  11. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    Well, I just got done with the plainer. 1.25 inches thick. Am I going to have to put a 0.25 veneer on it???
    I will post a pic soon.
    Thanks for all the help!!!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. rdhbass

    rdhbass

    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
    Why did you even put it in a planer after you were excited about 1 9/16 thickness after steaming a gouge out? I'm confused. I just made a body like you did with 3/4 on front and 3/4 back and I just sanded the hell out of it by hand and it looks fine...
     
  13. Cerb

    Cerb

    Sep 27, 2004
    Indiana
    I was actually wondering the same thing :-\.
     
  14. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    The bottom of the gouge was that deep into the blank. I don't mind putting on a veneer,
     
  15. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Montréal
    True. My last build was pretty thin (about 1-3/16"), and it dives a bit. Super light though. I had to route out some extra wood to make my push/pull knob fit in the cavity.

    Why did I go so thin? I don't have a planer, so I have to use my gramp's one, and when he's there, he operates it, and he has a tendendy to get a bit too excited... ZING! :crying:
     
  16. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    35mm is prety common, ie 1.378".

    It all depends on the electronics, and how you place them. I saw a pic once of a guitar that had a deeply scalloped back, like 1/2", but full thickness (~5/4") around the pups and electronics.
     
  17. Greenman

    Greenman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    Keep sanding Bill. :meh: :hyper:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    WOW that looks great!!!
     
  19. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Great? Scary is a better word! I'd be scared whether it would cut my arm if I rest it on it :eek: :smug:
    For my playing style, that shape is perfectly uncomfortable.
    But, gee, that is very thin. Any more pics, like from the butt? (Looks like it has different thickness at some spots)
     
  20. Greenman

    Greenman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    This bass has been posted in the "Basses" forum.:)
    [​IMG]