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Kyle's Super Duper Bass Build of 2018

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner [DB]' started by Kyle83, Jan 30, 2018.


  1. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    Hello Talk Bass community!:):):) I'll be building a double bass and posting my process here. My plan in for a Busetto corner bass, maybe a 5 string, with an eagle head scroll. I'll try to do this with mostly local and reclaimed woods (New Jersey). I've built a non-traditional, coffin-esque shaped upright before, along with two 5 string electric basses. My tools are somewhat limited so I'll have to work with what I have and build tools as necessary. I'm posting this here in hopes that I can share my experience in building this bass, to answer questions or concerns, and to receive input and constructive criticism.
     
    geoffbassist likes this.
  2. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    This is the wood I'll be building the bass out of. The older looking piece is from a building built in 1905 in Pennsylvania. It measured 2.75" x 11" x 16'. I was told it is douglas fir but would like to make sure what it is at some point. I counted 236 growth rings on it with an untold number milled off. This will become the top to the bass. The lighter wood is bookmatched cherry that has been air dried for about 10 years. Each piece measured about 1 x 11 x 9'. This will be the flat back to the bass. I cut these pieces to about 4 foot lengths and put them under my bed to dry further until I am ready to work with them. I will need wings on the lower bouts for both the front and the back. There are also a number of nail holes in the reclaimed douglas fir which will have to be navigated thoughtfully (or filled), though I think it may add some character. I am still unsure as to what thickness I'll be making the back. I've recently read that a thicker back makes for a louder sound but I'd also want the bass to be light. What are your opinions and observations on back thicknesses? I'll need to get a jointer and make a 40" drum sander before I start gluing these pieces together. I will post my drum sander when it is completed (hopefully in about one week)
     

    Attached Files:

  3. You’ll want the back about 6mm but that depends on the wood itself.

    The more air circulation the better. Under your bed isn’t ideal.
     
  4. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    Both cherry and European maple (sycamore maple) have a janka hardness of about 1,050 so I figure making it as thick as most other flatbacks will do good. 6 mm will be a good number to shoot for, thank you. I'll consider putting a fan under the bed. It's nice because it's winter( dry air) and there is a baseboard heater heating up right under the bed. I'd imagine the wood is fairly dry already, just giving it an extra little extra something. How hefty do you make the bracing on flatbacks?
     
  5. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    Under your bed is fine, cool and dark is best. You'll want to bring that wood into the heated workshop a few weeks before you work it, avoid storing it close to a heat source.
     
  6. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    I recently made the form. It's a busetto corner with violin corners at the top. I used my Romanian bass for a couple measurements. It's just a matter of forming the blocks i guess. DSC00127.JPG DSC00125.JPG DSC00128.JPG DSC00129.JPG DSC00130.JPG DSC00131.JPG DSC00132.JPG DSC00133.JPG DSC00135.JPG DSC00136.JPG DSC00137.JPG
     

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    SamPa and Selim like this.
  7. James Archer

    James Archer

    Jun 5, 2018
    Montreal
    Kyle, just found this thread! How did the build go?
     
  8. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Great bump. I had forgotten I was subbed to this thread.
     
  9. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    Hey, It's going slow but steady, I will add pictures soon. I've started work on the neck and am working on the rib assembly
     
  10. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Not a question about the bass you're building, but about the one you already have... is that a fingerboard with a "solo" treble side extension, or is it a regular board that's been cut away on the bass side? Probably either my vision or the angle of the image, but it looks more like the latter, and I'm interested in why someone would do that (if I'm right).
     
  11. James Archer

    James Archer

    Jun 5, 2018
    Montreal
    Yes, please keep us posted :)
     
  12. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    Hey RBrownBass, the bass side of the fingerboard is cut away. I generally like the style and don't even fret near that area. The only downside I have found to this style is that for pizzacato, you are more limited as to where you rest your plucking hand. The wood is osage orange, the hardest wood that grows in my area (New Jersey). I'm still unsure how I'll finish the end of the fingerboard I'll be shaping for my bass build. I'll post pictures of all the pieces and where I am at in the build. I am doing a bird head scroll and it's starting to look really nice. Cheers all
     
    RBrownBass likes this.
  13. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    Willow for the linings. Carved Thistle applique for the back of the bass. Flamed red maple neck. Malagasy ebony fingerboard. douglas fir soundposts. Douglas fir top. cherry back and sides. I need one more bussetto corner untill I can start bending the willow linings. After that I will finish up the back and glue it on. What do you guys think so far? any ideas?
     

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  14. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    oh ya the malagasy ebony. :)
     

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  15. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I just realized you had begun the scroll carving. That eagle really looks nice from what I can see.

    Thanks for the reply. Never been one to criticize any aspect of anyone's approach to the instrument, and I hope I didn't come off that way. My gig and jam playing (essentially, all my non-practice playing) is exclusively pizz.

    If you decide to use that style of board end, maybe keep the bass side the regular length and add to the treble side like a traditional board extension, in case you ever want or (knock on wood) need to sell the bass. I'm no luthier, so IMHO, grain of salt, etc., but I can see how a board with no anchor point where a pizz-heavy player might expect it could give a potential buyer some concern.
     
  16. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    I totally agree with you RBrown Bass. In hindsight I would make the treble side longer, rather than cutting from the bass side. I also play 99% pizz. This bass I'm making will be a jazz bass (good for pizz with a bright sound). The next one I make I will make an orchestral bass with a c extension ( good for arco with a dark sound) out of black walnut back and sides. For this fingerboard, I have a straight end in mind, but we'll see what happens. :cool:
     
  17. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I filed and sanded a curve about 1/4" radius or so underneath the edge of the bass side of my board a few weeks ago and finally got rid of what was a sharp edge that had been shaping the way I played to avoid cutting into my thumb. I found I was spending more time with the web of my palm partially around the edge than with my thumb firmly on it. Rounding that edge from the bottom to about 7" up made me forget it's even there and keeps me closer to the bridge as the norm (I used to play about 12" or so up the neck) rather than the exception. Bass seems to be louder- it's like my arm muscles don't have to do anything but play the string. In a nutshell, I'd have a much harder time playing your Romanian than you do.

    Anyway, I enjoy the photos. Looking forward to seeing more progress.
     
  18. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    Hey guys, I've pretty much finished my bass. I'll put a video up or me playing it in a little bit. What do you guys think? I plan on taking better pictures. It is a 41" scale length busetto/violin corner bass. It is set up for jazz and has a very nice pizz tone.
     

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  19. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    The Busetto/Violin corner combo is a great one! Only ever seen that once before, and always remembered it.

    Kudos on your accomplishment! Maybe you'll encourage me to work on my bass build (which is about 2% done).
     
  20. Kyle83

    Kyle83

    Sep 24, 2013
    Are you doing busetto corners too train? 2% done for me was just thinking about it, even before searching for the wood. What step are you on now?
     
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