After completing my last build, the Sirena Pistolera, the universe had aligned itself in such a way that it had become clear to me that I should perhaps take this build up another rung on the ladder of luthiery. It was the middle of COVID and the advertising place where I worked had basically closed it's doors for good. For a long time prior, Bruce had been encouraging me to take some of my designs past the prototyping stage and into the realm of production. A space opened up across the hall from Bruce's shop in the Packing House. He suggested I move some of my stuff over there and share the space with a couple of other transient luthiers he knew. I certainly didn't, and still don't really want to go back to working in advertising. I have tiny amount of capital set aside, and I know a few local contractors that will give me plenty of day work if I'm ever short for cash. So yeah, I moved some of my stuff down to the new shop. /-------------------------/ I've been taking my Pistolera prototype to some gigs and spending time refining the pickup design. The last month or so has been a busy time for the cover band I play in. COVID is on the wane, and everyone in Ventura County seems to want to drink in public and hear live music. For me, the schedule has been as follows: install a new pickup on Saturday; play the gig on Sunday; take notes and wind a new pickup on Monday. This last pickup iteration seems to be pretty good. I've been getting a lot of compliments on my bass sound from random guys and other bass players in the audience. The thing about pickup making is that you kind of work in a bubble. There's no set criteria as to what a good pickup should sound like - that's something you have to decide completely on your own. It's not easy - in fact, deciding when a design is complete is the most difficult part of the process for me. It really helps to have objective feedback, and in a case like this, the feedback is coming from the people hearing this instrument for the first time. It helps because the decision process has been take out of the subjective realm and taken into a more objective state of reality. /-------------------------/ Other than the triple pickup configuration, the Pistolera is a pretty straightforward bolt-on semi-solid body design. I've built one, along with a handful of prototypes, with some success. As far as taking it to a production scale, the next step is to bring the design to a point where I can build them fairly quickly with better consistency. This involves pretty much starting from scratch and building templates and fixtures that will take a majority of the guesswork out of the manufacturing process. No more fiddling around trying to make sure my centers are lined up - all the parts need to be the same so that I can drop them into the appropriate fixtures and cut the shapes. The last few days, I've been going back and forth between my place and Bruce's office. After a brief consultation and an unfortunate incident involving carpet tape, it became clear that all roads are to begin from this point: I carved the neck taper by hand and shaped the headstock on the spindle sander. It's 34” scale, 2.5" at the heel and 1.656" at the nut. It's a pretty much a Fender spec, although I tapered the heel in such a way that it's the same taper as a 1.75" neck. The reason for this is that I want all my necks to use the same neck pocket without there being a significant gap on the narrower taper necks. The heel itself I've left square - it's too easy to screw up that radius with a router, and I think it's safer to just hand sand those corners down with coarse sandpaper. There's some CA glue stains on the heel where I had to repair the heel by bringing it up to exactly 2.500" wide. I added a little shim using a strip of printer paper soaked with CA glue. I should have another post by the end of the day.