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modding my T-40

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tuBass, Dec 27, 2011.


  1. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    no, I'm not going to cut the horns off it like the guy on ebay...

    I've got a great condition t40 (same one as in my avatar)

    I love the way it sounds, but not the way it makes my middle age body feel after a 3 hour gig. A few years ago I picked up an extra body for it. Not great condition, just an old body with some scarring on it.

    Here's my idea, I'd like to cut a forearm contour into the topside, and tummy cut into the back. I'm also thinking of routing out some of the extra material under the pickguard. I really don't want to do the radical cutting like I've seen Chip do to t60's. that's too much for me

    I'm hoping that I can get 16-24 Oz off the bass body. right now it's almost 5 pounds just for the body by itself. Every little bit helps, and if I can put together a T40 that is around 10 pounds, I'll be happy. the one I play now is a little over 12, but I think the extra body isn't as heavy a wood as the good condition one. I'll weigh it after I get it apart

    I'll still leave my nice body alone, only experimenting on the junk body I have. that way if I decide to sell it someday, I can leave it up to the new owner which way he would like it.

    I'm also going to do a sunburst finish on the new body when I'm done sanding it.

    What do you think? Anybody ever done body shaping on a t40 before?
     
  2. kjpollo

    kjpollo

    Mar 17, 2008
    CT
    Since its a lower-quality body to begin with, I say go for it. You'd still have the good one in original condition.

    I know the body contouring will help lower the weight but I think routing under the PG is really where you can make a difference. You can also attempt some "chambering" by CAREFULLY drilling out from the pickup routs toward the bass side of the body. As long as you dont miss and send the drill bit through the back or top of the bass, it would be completely invisible. ;)

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
     
  3. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I've got a drill press so I can set and adjust the depth of the stroke, and obviously the same goes for the router

    It will be interesting to see if I can get a significant amount of weight off to make this a worthwhile project
     
  4. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    Yeah, this sounds very interesting.
    Although it doesn't weigh a ton, 3 hours is a long time to haul a T40 around.
    I like the chambering idea - there was a video of Roger Sadowsky's shop and a clip showing some finger-shaped chambers (at 1:30 of the video) - might be of interest.

    Larry DiMarzio's Conversation with Roger Sadowsky - YouTube

    Keep posting your results, if you can.
    Good luck.
     
  5. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    thanks for that video! very interesting!
     
  6. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    I would defininately try it. Another Idea would be to take it to a nice lumber shop & have them plane the body down 1/4" then chamber the cavities except the center section. Be sure there is enough space for the bridge mounts & control cavities etc. Top with a piece of 1/4 bookmatched wood & you will have a very cool bass.

    It's similar to my Blueshawk body I made-
    chamber.

    P1030318.

    Bookmatched flame maple top
    top.

    P1030326.

    P1030886.

    I contoured the back with a hand held belt sander

    P1030884.

    P1040042.
     
  7. +1 on the chambering. I'd be interested to hear any differences. I really like the sound of my T-40 but I didn't name it 'Brutus' for nothing..
     
  8. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    Great idea to do the experimenting on the sacrificial body. My T-40 is pretty freakin heavy, but it doesn't bother me...yet.

    I like the idea of planing the front and adding a nice bookmatched veneer to the top. Combining that with some contouring and sub-pickguard routing...there should feel a measurable difference.

    Any chance you could record some clips through the same amp before and after? That would document the tone changes...if any.
     
  9. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    certainly. I just made a bunch of recordings with my t-40, but I'll make some more with both bodies before and after to make sure I have the same settings for both
     
  10. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I'm going to take the bass to a guitar builder tomorrow (after i finish the chambering) and get a quote on the body shaping. while I'm there, I'm going to ask him about a quilted top

    I would LOVE a quilted top and a sunbursts on this bass. The only problem is so much of the bass would be covered by the black part of the burst or the pickguard, a top may be too expensive to consider.

    why a burst? I play in a classic rock band, and I've always wanted a burst for that style of music
     
  11. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    That is exactly what I would do, make something very unique.

    Why would you put the pickguard back on if you put on a nice top?
     
  12. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    How would I access the electronics? Have the cavity opened up to the back?

    Interesting
     
  13. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    Yup...the thickness of the veneer would provide the same function as the pickguard when mounting the pots and switches. It would also serve to cover the pickup wiring routes. Then you just use the existing cavity and place a cover over it. That would be epic in a world where "epic" is overused.
     
  14. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I'll have to come up with the way to mount the pickups.

    Don't they mount to the pick guard right now?
     
  15. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    Exactly. I plan on picking up a T-40 next year and doing just that.
     
  16. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    They mount into the rings, they're not part of the pickguard. You can just mount the rings directly onto the top.
     
  17. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    You should post some pictures of your other body nakey, front & back to get an idea of what can be done
     
  18. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    here you go, here's what I've done so far.

    2011-12-27_12-40-53_811.

    using a primitive digital bathroom scale, I've gone from 4.8 pounds to 4.2, so a little over half a pound. I hope I can at least another another half pound off with the body shaping, maybe more if I'm aggressive.

    I'll see the guitar builder tomorrow, and depending on cost, I'll either leave the bass with him to be shaped, or decide to do it myself.

    I'll talk to him about putting the new top on, but honestly I expect that to be more expensive than I'm able to pay right now
     
  19. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    You could do it yourself if you have access to a drill press & Bandsaw.

    A wood place will plane it down for you & you can buy the bookmatched tops at a lot of places including Stewmac. Just tracing what is all ready there & transferring the mounting holes, which would be fairly easy.
     
  20. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    all right, I'll look into it. At the least maybe the guitar builder and plane the wood for me. after that, I think I could do the rest myself
     

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