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The Breather Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lumanoth, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Lumanoth


    Feb 24, 2014

    Custom made bass. Made by my brother, Jason Russell. This is his first time ever making an instrument.
    34" scale fretless 5 string, set up like a 5 string banjo with shorter 5th string and moveable bridge, tuned GEADG.
    Body of the bass is a 50's Cadillac air breather, neck is made from a 100+ year old pine 2x4 complete with nail holes, drawer pull tail piece, bridge and fingerboard are rosewood, neck is finished with homemade walnut stain and tru oil, fingerboard inlay and fret position markers are brass cogs and parts from watches, skeleton key tuners, nut and 5th sting pip are made from deer antler, truss rod cover is old key hole plate.
  2. I like it! It has designed-in sound ports from the air cleaner. It looks like folk art. I can appreciate the amount of work that went into building it. Does it have any pickups? How does it sound?

    Rick B.
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I would love to see a video of it being played, or at least some sound clips. It looks really cool.
  4. Lumanoth


    Feb 24, 2014
    It has a good sound though a few things kinda mess it up,(string sit to high, large hole in the back) though we have plans to fix those problems. As for pickups it doesn't have any, but we are looking into some sort of acoustic pickup(something we wouldn't have to cut holes in the front for.) Any suggestions on that would be great cause we don't really know much about that. As for an audio clip or a video, we will try to get one up if we can figured out how to do it.
  5. Apolicious


    Jan 16, 2014
    LOVE it! How did you make the tuning machines?
  6. Lumanoth


    Feb 24, 2014
    If i remember corectly my brother got regular tuning pegs and removed the ends and used epoxy to get the skeleton key parts on.
  7. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Bump for awesomeness.
    I love it, love it, LOVE IT!

    I'd stick a foam mute under the strings to minimize low note overhang (heavier in the middle, lighter under the Gs) and play banjo rolls to my heart's content - without letting the difficulty in getting chord shapes in tune on a fretless board deter me; clawhammer and Keith style would be great as well...
    [Because of psychoacoustic and physiological reasons, in order not to sound muddy chord voicings need more spacing (splicing?) the lower you go, so I'd hit only one of the two lowest-pitched strings in any given roll unless they are well-muted.]

    Piezo pickups are the way to go IMO: I hope somebody will chime in with specific suggestions.

    Again, fantastic job guys.
  8. Lumanoth


    Feb 24, 2014
    Got to use a friends pickup he had for dulcimer and it sounded good through a sound system, the recording we got though was trash so it probably wont make it on here. but when we get a good recording i'll get it up on here. might try using a mic next time.
  9. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    That's really kind of beautiful in it's own way. NICE piece of wood with the vintage design carving for the neck (what piece of furniture did it come from?) and the headstock piece with the keyhole plate (door?) is just gorgeous, as are the tuners. Doesn't the short string tuner get in the way playing it as a whole?
    Your brother has a rich artistic imagination and I like it.
  10. Lumanoth


    Feb 24, 2014
    My brother did the carving on the back of the neck with a pocket knife, (the neck in itself is a 2x4 he got from a deconstruction job.) And yes you are corect, it is a keyhole for a door. As for the tuner for the short string i thought the same thing myself but it's reall not in the way, at least not for me.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Your brother is pretty awesome. One of the coolest things I've seen on here ever.
  12. Lumanoth


    Feb 24, 2014
    We are having a problem with strings, with how the tail piece is set up they arn't long enough and they taper down before they past the nut. Thus making it to where you can't play where the first fret should be. Any recommendations on some kind of string we could use?
  13. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Measure the total required length, front of ball-end to nut, for your "long G" (the most problematic string because the bridge-to-anchor afterlength is slanted ergo longer).
    If it clocks at or within 40", DR and Ken Smith extra long scale strings (and maybe also the Thomastik-Infeld super longs) should fit, as per this useful string length guide:
    (If what you need turns out less than 40", Fodera, R.Cocco or Rotosound extra long sets might fit too.)
    [EDIT: oh! Kalium (formerly Circle K)'s "long scale" strings are actually 41.75" ball-to-taper.]

    Alternatively, you could look into flatwound strings for 1/4 double basses (~35" plus afterlength which is also considerable in uprights), or go custom, e.g. with La Bella, or small L.A. manufacturer Guadalupe Strings, or any other maker willing to work with you (and not too uptight about price and minimum quantity).

    [EDIT: of course, you could also add a trapeze tailpiece to shorten the string path, though it's not like you guys needed me to come up with such a simple, but somewhat inelegant, fix...]

    Boy, is this thing gorgeous:
  14. LOVE IT!

    I love hotrods and that is one cool hotrod bass.

    You could put it into production, the Caddy air-cleaner is being repopped by some hotrod firm or t'other. Might have to steal your idea, make my own hotrod bass...

    Way Cool Caddy Bass!
  15. Lumanoth


    Feb 24, 2014

    Thanks! I will most definitely show this to my brother and we will get it fixed.