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My 5-string Cocobolo bass project

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Florida Jim, May 11, 2008.

  1. Florida Jim

    Florida Jim

    May 9, 2008
    Greetings! I'm very glad to have found this forum, I will surely enjoy reading about all things bass, and I hope to learn a lot.

    I played bass in bands in the past, and now that I'm nearing retirement, I hope to play again, in a casual beach band, or something. I've built a few guitars and basses before, so I have decided to build myself a 5-string bass out of solid Cocobolo wood. I know that the dust can irritate some people, so I always use an activated charcoal breathing mask when working it. And, glueing it up can be a problem, so I've been reading about that here; wipe the glue edges with acetone first, etc. This is more of a hobby for me, I'm not a pro luthier, so please feel free to give me ANY advice, on the best setup for the truss rod, tips on shaping the thing down, to what pickups to use. And now, some pics;

    Here's the parts roughed out.


    Now pushed together just for the picture.


    A side view. The wood sometimes looks light when freshly cut, but will darken to rich brown all over in time.


    With the Madigascar ebony fingerboard blank.


    A close up.


    I will be looking for help/comments on this project, and will post pictures as I progress on it. Talk to everyone later! Jim
  2. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Thats the lightest colored cocobolo I've ever seen! You've got to post the weight of that thing when its complete.
  3. Florida Jim

    Florida Jim

    May 9, 2008
    Yeah, the only comments I've gotten so far is "That thing is going to be heavy!" I've got a Luna bass, and it weighs 7 lbs., and sounds like it's made of balsa wood. I've also got a 5 string that I did a lot of pearl inlay on that has a clear plexiglas body, and it must weigh 12 lbs! But, it's punchy and has a solid sound. So, I'll try and make Mr. Coco thin as reasonable and use a wide strap. :bassist:
  4. sir juice

    sir juice

    Sep 11, 2006
    London, England
    What hardware are you putting on this beatiful piece o'wood
  5. Florida Jim

    Florida Jim

    May 9, 2008
    I haven't bought any hardware for it yet. I like the look of brushed nickel. It's a subdued bling! But, most places I've been looking, sell only chrome, black, or gold. For now, I'm leaning toward chrome, as when Cocobolo is fully oxidised, it gets a real dark brown, and black would hardly show up. But, that might look good with black soapbar pickups, so what does everyone else like?
  6. Sandu


    Oct 23, 2007
    Bucharest, Romania
    That cocobolo is one of a kind, looks like lava:cool:. Don't you like the way it looks now? AFAIK there is stuff out there that stops the oxidation process... While I like the look of "regular", oxidised cocobolo too, I think these pieces are just too cool:cool:. Chrome hardware would still show up very nice on it.

    And as a suggestion, you might wanna enlarge the lower cutaway by thinning out the lower horn a bit, or you'll be having a hard time reaching those top frets. I had a similar thing on a bass I modified some years ago, and I kept hitting the lower horn every time I went up there. Otherwise, I can't comment on the body shape, as long as you like it.
  7. a 100% cocobolo bass...hmmm...

    nickname it "the herniator" :D
  8. Florida Jim

    Florida Jim

    May 9, 2008
    Well, I've been slowly working on "Coco", and here's some pictures. The body sections are glued up and the neck is shaped down a good way.


    It's time to glue on the fingerboard;


    All clamped up. You can see the edge work that will have Koa wood purfling eventually;


    In deciding to make this bass out of Cocobolo, most woodworkers, and articles about this wood said that the dust can make a poison-ivy type rash......believe me, it does! I used to just get the dust all over me, but brokeout on my arms and legs. So, now I cover up and wear gloves, along with the goggles and breathing mask. But, I hope when it's done, it will be a one of a kind bass. And, it weighs about 11 lbs. My other bass weighs 12 lbs, so no hernias yet! I've got black compact tuners for it, and a Hipshot, type A black brass bridge. I plan to use Bartillini ( can't spell!) soapbar pickups with active tone controls. "Talk" to everyone later! JT
  9. envika


    Nov 27, 2007
    Bronx, NY

    And yeah, that thing is nice. What's the scale length on that? It looks a little longer than usual.
  10. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    I like your shape. The cocobolo is nice too.
  11. Yvarg

    Yvarg Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Irvine, CA
    Great looking bass so far! Is that a removable fingerboard endpiece for trussrod access I spy?
  12. Foxworthy925

    Foxworthy925 Guest

    Feb 24, 2007
    Bay Area, CA
    I too like the shape of your bass A LOT. It looks like it's coming together very very nicely. I'll be sure to check back here often for updates.
  13. Florida Jim

    Florida Jim

    May 9, 2008
    Thanks for the replies! It's a 35" scale. I played some basses with the longer scale, and it felt good with my big hands. Yes, the endpiece on the fingerboard will be removable to access the truss rod adjustment. I hate to just have a plastic cover for that! When it's at the headpiece end, I like to make a flush cover in the overlay wood. I plan to put some sort of pearl inlay in it also. I know, the shape has a long "horn", but that should make it balance pretty well. With all the inlay, and trim I plan to do to this, I'll be whittling on it for a long time! Bye for now. JT
  14. Florida Jim

    Florida Jim

    May 9, 2008
    Here's a shot at what I've been doing on the bass...


    "Normal" pearl inlay is done with shaping the piece, carefully scribing it's outline on the wood, routing out the area with tiny Dremel router bits and setting it into the cavity. This is the reverse. I routed a 3/64" line around the headpiece, then cut and shaped the Paua abalone pearl to fit. This is harder to do! But, I think it will look great. I've epoxied it all in tonight, and will post a pic of the finished area. "Talk" to everyone later....JT

    Attached Files:

  15. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    cool project where in Florida are you I am in-between Daytona Beach and Orlando...Tom
  16. tbrannon


    Jun 11, 2006
    I've been waiting for updates on this one- I like that paua
  17. bassmanhamilton

    bassmanhamilton Commercial User

    Nov 21, 2007
    Owner, J. Hamilton Guitars
    Looking nice! I really like the shape of the headstock and the binding should be beautiful.
  18. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Woah, thats sexy lookin'
  19. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    Is that neck one solid piece of wood?
  20. Me like!!!

    I have a soft spot for cocobolo. It always looked so classy to me, especially with a nice high-gloss finish. I can't wait to hear sound clips from this one.

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