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my EBMM stingray begins its diet today

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by johnk_10, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    for the last 7 years, my stingray just hasn't been getting used on gigs as much as it really should, due to it being such a heavy bass, weighing in a 10lbs 6 oz.

    when i first bought it, being used to my early 1976 rays, i didn't care for the unfinished feeling necks on the new ones, so right after i bought the new one, i cleaned up the neck, sealed it and shot it with gloss nitro.to me, it felt much better that way, and besides having large frets, it totally reminded me of my vintage ones. it had a black pickguard on it, but i made a new one out of W/B/W.

    in an effort to shave even a couple ounces off of it, i actually drilled 8 small (lightening) holes in the bottom of its four heavy brass knobs, and doing so lightened it by almost 2 ounces. still, a 10+ lb bass is just too heavy for me, both for my back, and tone-wise so i bit the bullet and bought a featherweight piece of swamp ash from a guy that buys from the same supplier as fender's custom shop to make a new body for it. (the stock stingray body, stripped of every component weighs 5lbs 9.4oz.)

    here's a picture of the new swamp ash plank:


    it is mostly one piece, with about a 1 1/2 lam on one side. the whole plank weighed 6lbs 9 oz.

    i drew the outline of the MM body and indexed the centerline and neck mounting holes:



    then cut it out on a band saw:




    the new body weighs only 3lbs 14.9 ounces as it sits, and once the arm relief, tummy cut, pickup, neck, battery and control routes are finished, i expect it to weigh less than 3 1/2 pounds, and probably closer to 3 1/4. i really miss the versatility of sounds from my old sabre that i sold long ago, so on this one, i'm going to build it as an HH (using a duncan SMB4A for the other one)

    i don't mind the look of one big black stingray pickup on a w/b/w guard, but i always thought that two of them on a white guard looks kinda hideous, so musicman sent me two new white pickup covers for it. i intend to shoot this body black too (only with nitro instead of poly).

    anyway, next comes the routing & rounding of the body's edges. hopefully it'll be ready for paint in about a week.

    when it's finished, i'm just going to transfer all the parts to the new body, and either sell the stock one, or keep it if i ever sell the bass (which is very unlikely).
  2. subbed.

    You going to keep the black paint or going for a new color?
  3. Luckie


    Jan 1, 2010
    Northfield MN
    Nice idea man, I look forward to the results.
    What's the fingerboard wood?
  4. MilkyMcMilkMilk


    Dec 17, 2008
    I'm a bit concerned if you're going to have some serious neck dive when this is done.
  5. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    it going to be black, just like the original one.

    it has a maple neck

    i really do not think that it'll have any neck dive whatsoever. the stock body is a tank (and has 'reverse neck dive' or you might even say 'body dive'), but if the new one does, i'll put some lightweight (hipshot ultralites, gotoh or schaller lightweight) tuning heads on it.
  6. Luckie


    Jan 1, 2010
    Northfield MN
    I think the white pickups and black body would look nice with a brown tort guard.
    But I like tort on almost everything... :ninja:
  7. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I had an '07 2-band Ray that came in at a lightweight 8.3 lbs. and it did not have any neck dive either. That thing was nice to play all night long.

    Good luck with the project!
  8. IronLung1986


    May 19, 2010
    Exeter, NH
    haha i thought you were going to say you shaved off a bunch of wood, like chris squire or something. but building a new body? you're pretty much building your own new bass! good choice on the swamp ash though, that's awesome wood IMO - very lightweight!
  9. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
  10. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    if anyone that has an HH would be kind enough to trace their back control plate cover and scan it in actual size and email it to me as a pdf. file, i'd really appreciate it. otherwise, i suppose i could just order one from Musicman but i already have the black sheet single ply pickguard material for it.

    also, if anyone has the exact distance of the pickup spacing on an HH, that would be great too.
  11. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
    John, I just bought a second SUB stingray with the intentions of modifying it with contours and a second pickup. I am going to watch your progress with interest and probably at some point PM you with some questions, if you don't mind. For now, though, I'll just watch you do your thing! I'm sure it will turn out quite nice.
  12. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Great looking project.
    Can't wait for updates.
  13. richnota

    richnota Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    hudson valley
    Ive been thinking of trying this on an SR5 H i have.

    I wanted a lighter, natural wood top bass but don't have the craftsmanship of the OP.

    Anyone know a luthier who would undertake a body-only project?
  14. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    My new to me 2003 lefty fretless SR4 is the lightest Stingray I have ever found. It is very comfortable compared to my fretted versions
  15. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Wouldn't it be easier to route out all that unused space under the pickguard?
  16. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    eaiser yes, but it wouldn't save very much weight, and i don't really like taking mass out of the centerline of an instrument if at all possible. to me, it's much better to have a body that is made out of lightweight swamp ash (or alder) to begin with.
  17. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound

    Nov 29, 2008
    Subscribed and good luck.
    If this bass does have neck dive, would relocating the strap buttons be a viable fix?

    Hey John, does anyone make a neck like the early SR's (1 5/8, flatish back, and not very thick) but with big frets?
    Also, if you don't mind, would you photograph the routing process and cutter bits?
  18. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    Subscribed. I've gotta see how this turns out- would love to build a lighter stingray myself! Please keep posting pics and tips!
  19. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i doubt it, but i really don't think that it'll have any neck dive at all. the control plate, bridge, and pickups are pretty heavy components on a stingray.

    before i shot mine with nitro, i slightly shaved and reshaped it to '76 specs, but i don't know of anyone that makes a replacement neck for a stingray.

    most of the routing will be done with a 3/8" single flute straight bit, and of course a rounding bit w/bearing for the edges. since this is a 'on-off', i'm not going to make any templates, and i'll just be routing it by hand.

    i'll try to take a few pics of it while i'm in the process.
  20. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound

    Nov 29, 2008
    Regarding the neck profile, I meant a MM neck profile to fit a Fender in that the other logical version for a lightweight SR would be to modify a Fender body for a MM style pup and pre and then locate a neck with a similar shape
    This assumes that the body shape and bridge design don't have an appreciable effect on tone