LowDown Basses Custom T Bird. Build #6.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tslicebass, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    This will probably end up being the last of my "parts bass" builds. I have been getting comfortable with a lot of concepts and luthier work on some bodies/necks I have been buying from here/craigslist. Taking random parts and putting them together and trying to make them work. Not always the easiest but I have learned a ton about building and repairing from doing this.
    I figured I had already built a couple jazz basses and P basses so time to switch it up and try something new.
    I bought the body for this bass here on talkbass. Built by some guy out west. Nice flame maple top with binding. The neck was a brand new douglas neck I decided to re finish and put some fancy wood on.
    Unfortunately my hard drive on my mac crashed a month ago so I lost most the early pictures of the build (along with a bunch of other stuff... always run backup people!).
    Body and neck joined with the pickups (Nordstrand Dual Coils) and Hipshot B Bridge on for a idea of what it will look like
    Here is the neck after the final coat of tru oil
    Here I am messing with decal placement. I have since decided to ditch the decal idea and am working on a template for a new logo that I can route in with my 1/8th inch dremel bit. You can also see the figured maple veneer headstock cap and the headstock re shaping I did.
    Back of the headstock. I have also decided to cap the back headstock with the same veneer as I did the front. It covers up the hole fills from the stock tuners that came on the neck.
    Routed the pickup cavities for the Nordys and got the bridge installed. Also drilled the bridge ground cable hole as well as the pickup lead wire holes in the cavities.
    Here is the back of the body
    Added a fretting hand contour for the neck joint to allow for easier access to the higher frets. Pretty much followed a picture of a Mike Lull T Bird for inspiration.

    Contacted Marty Bell about doing the finish. Marty did a refinish on a Rickenbacker 2060 that I restored last year and did an amazing job. We will be going for a color scheme similar to this Alembic
    He suggested going opaque on the edges to hide the darker maple in the top.
    I will try to get some more updated pics up tomorrow.
  2. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    More progress on this one.
    Determining control placement. This bass will have a Nordstrand preamp with Volume (active/passive push pull), Blend, Bass/Treble stack. Plus Nordstrand Dual coils with Series/Parallel switching.
    Control Cavity with figured maple veneer
    Front and back headstock veneer caps
    I will some minor finish prep sanding today before sending it to Marty for finish when we get out of the single digits... its pretty nasty in Chicago right now. Working on my logo template for Dremel with an 1/8th router bit. Am gonna go the wood dust glue/epoxy combo to fill in the routed out emblem on the headstock.
    Splods likes this.
  3. dannoman


    Feb 3, 2004
  4. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    More progress!
    Did a rough installation of everything to check the alignment and make sure everything was looking good. Couldn't be happier
    Sent the body out to Marty Bell for finish. Marty is THE MAN! He was very helpful in suggesting some options for how to do the body. I originally wanted clear on the alder back but he talked me into color and i am way happier with it.
    A couple of pics from Marty
    And one of mine in the shop
    Then I got to work on the logo. I was frustrated with the water slide decals I have previously used and wanted something more unique. I experimented with some different approaches and ended up going with this.
    Browsed some fonts online till I found the one I liked. Copied and practiced the letters by hand a bunch of times. Then I tried making a routing template to use with my dremel but wasn't happy with the results. The 1/8th inch dremel router bit was making the letters too round. So I went back to the drawing board and used the edge of the bit only to get more of a thin line (more pen and less marker). I practiced about 10 times on scrap and then decided to go for it. Free hand routing is extremely stressful...
    Here is the emblem routed with the ebony wood dust/epoxy slurry spread on.
    And here it is sanded back
    Got it wet sanded with 400, 600, and 1500. Gonna do a couple wipe on coats in the next couple of days and then knock it back to match the rest of the headstock cap.
    Also plan on shielding the body and starting to get the electronics installed in the next couple days
  5. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    Found a couple pics from earlier in the build.
    Rough shaped for the pickup routes. You can also see the center line drawings from the bridge installation and for pickup placement.
    The original wood control cover that came with the body, next to the quilted/birdseye maple veneer that will go on top of it and the flame maple, top matching ramp stock.
    Here is my headstock veneer gluing jig, same veneer on the cavity cover is also on both headstock faces.
    The shaping of the rear headstock veneer. This is always extremely stressful because the veneer is so brittle. Have to make the tuner holes by hand.
    Here is the control cavity with the veneer attached on it's final coat of oil
    And some newer progress pics.
    Here is the electronics cavity all shielded up
    Pickup cavities shielded and foamed. Bridge re installed
    Here is the control cavity installation. I used brass threaded insert and screws for the attachment. Here I am with tape for reference of where the outlets are for mounting the cover. Pilot holes marked.
    And the holes and recess for the screw heads in the cover.
    Then got the pickups installed and wired everything up. Nordstrand 2b-3b preamp and Dual Coils with Seriess/Parallel switching
    I fancied the idea of maple knobs for this one. Got them rough shaped and then decided I didn't like the look. So now just waiting for some chrome knobs from allparts. Here is a pic of the knobs pre abandonment.
    Then I got her all put back together again. Did a serious amount of fret leveling, nstalled the new nut, did some fine tuning and a setup. Waiting on a jack plate and then will get some sound clips together. This thing is one aggressive bass. Really happy with the way it came together.
    Corey Y likes this.
  6. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    And one more with the ramp
    Means2nEnd, Mark Cult and Freekmagnet like this.
  7. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    That finish is killer!!
  8. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    That's all thanks to Marty Bell. He's the man.
  9. Looking at that pic with the ramp in place, I think the maple knobs will look cool.
    ScarfFace likes this.
  10. ScarfFace

    ScarfFace Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2014
    La Crosse WI
    Second on the maple knobs + ramp!
  11. So clean... great work!
  12. crazygtr


    Mar 4, 2011
    Puerto Rico
    Nice Avatar.
  13. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    Took this thing out to another gig last night. It sits great in the mix. Very punchy, burpy tone. Balances relatively well on a strap for a T Bird. Got the setup dialed in perfectly. Nice and even all thru the neck.

    On to the next builds!
    Means2nEnd likes this.
  14. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    My god that finish and the bass is killer. The binding with it is beautiful.