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Modding a solid body into a semi-hollowbody?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mcdeath, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. Hmmm.

    A project I've been thinking of was to take an inexpensive solid body SX jazz bass and convert it into a semi-hollow body test bass. Basically I was thinking of:

    1. Disassemble
    2. slice off a 1/4" top on the wings, leaving the center portion alone.
    3. Rout out the wings, leaving enough side material for strength.
    4. Reassemble.

    Basically the idea is to have a test bass for learning about how to reinforce and chamber a semi-hollow body. Play around with different patterns of ribs and chambers and so forth. I figure I'll just reassemble the wing tops with screws so I can open them up and change the chamber dimensions. I'll probably either live with any neck dive issues, as this is just to learn on, or I'll use ultra lightweight tuners and mill out a heavy custom brass bridge to compensate.

    The question is, am I totally off the wall here? Is this really a pointless exercise?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Yes, but what about the arm contour? would you cut it away and re-blend it in later?

    It would, imo, be easier to start from scratch.
  3. Honestly I was just thinking of leaving the arms alone. There's not enough volume there to really make any sort of tinkering worthwhile.
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I think you are talking about the horns, while mon rominee is talking about the beveled edge near the bottom where your right arm hangs over. Thats wher ther might be some complication.
  5. Now that makes sense. :) Thanks! I can see that I misunderstood his questions.

    Well I can see that using a jazz, with the top contour, could be a problem. But I still think it can be done with a thin saw blade and some judicious sanding. Frankly if it turns out butt ugly at this stage it would still be acceptable as it would be to learn how to setup the internal chambering of a semi-hollowbody. I figure the thing would be ugly anyways since the top would essentially be little more than a lid that would be removed and reattached as needed when I would make changes to the chambering geometry.

    Then again actually go through the process of making a semi-hollowbody with a contour would be interesting to do. *shrug* worst comes to worst I could simply pick a different bass to start with, one that doesn't have an arm contour.
  6. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Here's what you do:

    Cut a 1/4" layer off of the back. Do a routing in the back leaving the center alone. the only thing you have to worry about is the electronics. But obviously, you would completely disassemble the bass to do such a project. Just remember where your pickups mount, and your electronics run. You would also have to shorten the depth of the routing around the contour area.
  7. That's a better idea than mine definitely. Thank you, that'll solve most of the issues without most of the hassles. I think I need to get a taller bandsaw.
  8. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    I would contact a woodshop that has a high quality re-saw and have them do it for you.....

    If I were doing it I'd find an unfinished body (warmoth, or ebay is full of `em)... and run it through planer and drum sander to take off 1/4", and then make a new back (or top, depending on which one you take off) from a seperate piece of wood, but then I have bunches of extra wood lying around that I could use....
  9. That's what I was going to suggest. You might be able to pull it off with a finished body, as well. If you do it to the top you could even get a nice looking piece of wood and give it a burst that fades to black (I'd go with greenburst :hyper: ). Could end up pretty cool.
  10. I will offer that I have a timesaver sander at my disposal, and anyone who needs work like this done can contact me.

    Then again, I have a CNC at my disposal too....you need custom templates? I work cheap.