The Mediocre Builders Club

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MirandM, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    This is my alternate version of the The Mediocre Bassist Club.

    The idea behind this is to have a club for mediocre builders like me, not professionals, more like a hobby type of building, but not limited to building only. This should be the place where we can show off our builds, projects, modifications etc of basses.

    I'm an active member of the BHPD club and since my latest addi(c)tions are mostly own custom/projects/builds someone suggested about posting my work in the luthier's corner. I agree to that in a certain extend except for the fact that I don't consider myself a true luthier. I know sufficient to do projects, customs and even builds to some extend, but I don't have the possibilities to complete some of the truly impressive builds exposed in the luthier's corner. I don't have a real workshop, I do things with my hobby gear and hope to eventually be able to have something worth of playing.

    I know more members of TB do things like I do and that's why I think this place should be a happy place to show whatever we do (good, bad and ugly) and be able to talk freely of our mistakes and accomplishments. All good advice is welcome, even from professionals. Good spirit, humor and respect are keywords here. I'm not against off-topic things as long as they don't turn into most-of-the-time topics and they should at least have some relevance to a post.

    We should be free to talk about anything related to customizing, projects and complete or not complete builds. Strings, electronics, machinery, paint, procedurees, whatever.

    I should also mention that I'm not against showing counterfeit instruments as long as they are related to customizing, projects, modifying them, but not for sale purposes.
    I am as TB rules, totally against selling copied instruments as real ones.

    As to the membership of this Mediocre club, I will honor the spirit of the Mediocre Bassist club, meaning that all member here will have the same membership number, being #1110 (haha, yes, that's one up from the Mediocre Bassist club number).

    I will reserve the first post in this thread for my own purpose of showing the initials of my latest build, so you should have an example of the purpose of this club.

    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  2. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    So I actually gave myself this crazy idea to build a shorty... I know I can't be helped...:eek:

    I have the neck (24 frets) and thus I started looking for a shorty body, and guess what... nothing for a small price, the ones I saw are in a class of being able to afford a complete new shorty. No go.
    So I thought about just using a P-body moving the bridge up on the body... uh-uh that would probably clash with the p-pup routing, another no go...
    So maybe I should make the body myself... yep, you guessed, bass wood is expensive...
    Next I looked into several other options to get some wood that would serve.. blimey, expensive and difficult to get.

    This body would need to be like 40x30cm to serve. While cutting vegetables in my kitchen I got the idea... why not use a kitchen cutting board? Some of these are quite large and made of solid wood. So I started looking and I found a nice one made of... bamboo! Yes sir, hard as hell indeed, according to the internet it can be used to replace rosewood, ebony and mahogany... how about that! Janka index puts it at 1450 so very well suited for the body.
    Having the correct dimensions I ordered this for only €25 ! No need to glue anything as it is 4cm thick, so I should be able to make the body from this one piece.

    This will be the first body I will make from scratch, which would take me to a half luthier status if it wasn't for the fact that I made fretless neck from nothing back in the 80's. I guess the term 3/4 luthier should apply :rolleyes:
    The body shape to be determined but a little different from the usual, that's for sure.
    I will make this a natural finished bass all the way. Another interesting project on the way, yay #39!

    Current projects to be completed:
    #16 semi-acoustic 5 string (all available, need to do the works)
    #36 nofretbacker (yet to be delivered, defretting and electronics)
    #38 j-bass with a twist (stuff coming in, the works)
    #39 shorty (the works)
  3. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Hold on to your horses, I just got the idea. I will post pics of course but the wood will come in somewhere like the 10th of march, so we'll have to wait anyway.

    Here's the wood I ordered:

    It is laminated but that doesn't matter to me, it looks nice anyway and since this is like a plunge into something new, I'm willing to take chances.
  4. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Yes, I read about that. Mostly this will apply to the cavities and neck pocket. I will intend to make this a no-pg natural finish so no routes for the wires, they will be drilled. Since this is laminated, most likely the grain will be perpendicular in each layer making the drilling easier. Drilling normal bamboo is pita as it tends to lift the grains in stead of cutting them. Again sharp drills are imperative. I do have some old used laminated bamboo kitchen planks, so I will do some tests prior to starting.

    The mayor body shape will be made primarily with a band-saw and sanding machines. I already made a rough body shape design, but I need to scale it and see if it fits to the dimensions of the wood (45x30cm).

    Should be fun to make this body. When I was about 14 years old I hand made an axe handle from hickory, that was quite a job because it's an all curved handle with variable thickness. I always love working with wood.
  5. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Some calculations:

    expected body size from the start of the neck pocket to the end of body (below the bridge) = 27,5 cm
    distance from the 12th fret to the end of the neck = 19,5 cm
    distance from the 12th fret to the bridge = 38,1 cm (half of 30" is 15")
    distance from the end of the neck to the bridge = 38,1 - 19,5 = 18,7 cm
    estimated neck pocket length = 10 cm
    bridge needs 3,5cm from the saddles to the end.
    distance from the body at the start of the neck pocket to the bridge = 18,7 + 10 cm = 28,7 cm
    to be able to mount the bridge I would need 28,7 + 3,5 = 32,2 cm -> DOESN'T FIT as I have only 27,5 cm in my current layout.
    Solution: I need 18,7 + 3,5 = 22,2 cm + neck pocket size to fit into 27,5 meaning the neck pocket would be 5,3 cm which is to small. The neck mounting plate measures 6,5 cm so I need at least 7,5 cm to mount the neck safely.
    Thus minimum body size should be 18,7 + 3,5 + 7,5 = 29,7 cm, or anything above 30cm. This is the minimum size I need from the start of the neck pocket to where the body ends below the bridge.

    Yup, back to the drawing board.
    Some redesign and now I have 34 cm available, meaning I can locate the bridge 2 cm of the edge of the body and have a neck pocket of about 9,5 cm THAT SHOULD DO.
    Bridge measures 4,5 cm so I have 34 - 9.5 - 4,5 - 2 = 18 cm available for the pups, more than enough.

    While having a look at my bass-sheet I found out that actually I do have another short scale, #19 the Gypsy Rose pj-bass. So having a pj I should be doing a different pup config, maybe two humbuckers like MM's or throw in a ric toaster, since the string spacing will be 19 mm I can do pretty much any combo.
  6. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Since this neck has a 2+2 raw paddle (no holes drilled) I was toying with my previous idea of a reverse 2+2.
    However, it looks like the paddle has enough material to make a 4 inline reverse, which is my preference.
    I'll need to make a photo of the headstock to see in my design program if this is possible. I want the headstock to have a design that goes with the body.
    bass theory and RodRy like this.
  7. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    First shorty design:

    yes, it's a different design. I had the old V-bass from my GAS list in mind but didn't want the absolutely unpractical diagonal bottom shape as I play seated and that's just plain uncomfortable. So I inspired this on a combination of other designs I saw passing by as I scoured the internet.
    It may still change, it's only a first drawing. The outer pink rectangle is the scaled measurement of the wood I bought. The blue line on the headstock is a leftover from my measurement tape when I took a photo of the paddle. The headstock itself is maple, I only changed the color to make it more visible.
    Of course all electronics still need to be decided, this is just to get an idea.
    Paco Leon, deff, JRA and 5 others like this.
  8. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Earlier I posted this in the mediocre club thread, not what I wanted (because there's no post of the previous design and history), but anyway here it is again.

    Second el-weirdo shorty design:
    five controls? Yes five, this will have a 3EQ preamp, with volume and blend.
  9. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    You will, no doubt.
    I can tell you this: the bottom of the bass is V shaped and will stay like that, that is, symmetrical as this has a very useful purpose namely you can set the bass on the floor without a stand and it won't fall to one side. My thunderbird copy is the WORST bass I have in this aspect. There's no way to keep this bass from falling to one side, even a stand is not a solid solution, horrible!
    And yes, me too likes curves (now why would that be? haha) but as you say, this is from an old GAS idea and to have something completely different, EL WEIRDO :roflmao:
  10. Does it come with the cranberry cheese?

    Thanks for starting this. Your productivity and numerous skills in many areas are legendary in the MBassistsC!

    My first attempt at mods will likely occur sometime this summer- preamp and pickups for my GIO 5 string. I believe it will most definitely qualify as mediocre, all the way around.
  11. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    That's why we're here, so you can post without being ashamed of what you do, everything is Great, Good, Bad and Ugly, Mediocre rules!
    Gaolee, Marc DLarosa, JRA and 4 others like this.
  12. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Shorty custom: Seems like the bamboo wood is not going to arrive. So as an alternative I've searched for another way to create the body. No wood of 40 mm thickness anywhere here available, so I've gone for a multilayer using three or four layers of wood. At the moment I've bought material to make 2 outer layers of solid wood and one inner layer of multiply wood. Thickness with this setup will be 46 mm so I'll need to bring it down to 42 or there about. The multiply layer will be for more inner stiffness and will also serve to make wire routing before gluing the body layers together. That will make life easier when routing the control and pup cavities, you won't see any of the wire routes from the outside and I won't need to drill them.
    Just an hour ago I printed the body layout template so I can decide on where to make those routes. They will be general so I can play with the cavities position without having to redo the wire routes.
    bass theory likes this.
  13. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Btw, I forgot, WELCOME and if you want to be a member, your number will be #1110, like all of us.
  14. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Short scale custom project:
    Just requested a refund from amazon for the not delivered bamboo piece. This means I can go ahead with my new idea on how to make the body (layered). More to come soon.
    bass theory likes this.
  15. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Short scale custom project:
    Received the refund. And proceeded with the new plan.
    Here's how.
    I copied the design onto the middle layer. This is the multiply layer where I'll be routing the wiring routes and the control cavity. This is done before gluing the three layers together because this layer is only 1 cm thick and thus very easy to route. The trick here is to use a routing that will serve independently of where the pickups will be placed. It also extends to the bridge for the earth wire.

    Done. You can just see the two points of where most likely the pickups marked PB and PN will be placed.
    Obviously I chose the horizontal route in a position where it will not interfere with the pickup and bridge mounting screws.

    Next was to copy the outline to the upper layer, I also copied the routing channel and cavity, here not yet visible. Ready to glue.

    48 hours of waiting... I should have had more clamps, but they did their job anyway.

    Result looks quite nice.

    Up close even better.

    Since I don't have all my tools here at home I needed to buy a hand held circular saw. With a maximum depth of 43 mm just 3 mm short of going through. No big deal, a simple hand saw did the rest.

    So there's the raw body of my shorty, as you can see from the cut pieces, the glue job was done perfectly, not a single aperture anywhere. The body as it is weighs 1.8 kg so this is gonna be a rather light shorty.
    I love the looks of it so far, putting it on my lap gives an impression of what will be a balanced bass.
    So this is how things are right now. Next I will need to go to my second home to fetch my belt sander and planer ortherwise I won't be able to advance. So... to be continued...
  16. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Shorty "El weirdo" project:

    Despite not having my tools here, I bought a simple mini sanding disc on amazon, and did do some preliminary work on the body.
    Here's the first mock-up


    The glue job has been a total surprise. It didn't expect the result to be so good. The layers are damn tight, the sandwich appears as solid wood, which is great.

    Doing this mockup I noticed something very fortunate. The neck pocket needs to be exactly 18 mm depth, which happens to be the exact thickness of the top layer. So after routing the pocket the neck will rest precisely on the middle multiply layer. As this is a 5 layer multiply it is also the strongest and thus perfect for the neck to be seated on.

    Another thing is the thickness of the body. Now it is 46 mm and I had originally thought of shaving 3 mm of the back layer to get to the rather standard 43 mm.
    The body right now weighs 1.8 kg, and I was thinking that if I shave 3 mm off it will no doubt be even less, maybe close to 1.6 kg. That may be too light, I wouldn't want to have a clear neck dive, so maybe I'll leave the thickness as it is (for the moment) and wait till further on to see how it's gonna behave. As long as I don't go into the lacquering stage there's still time to consider if it is needed. I'm even thinking of contouring the body at back which would eliminate the need to do the total shave while not sacrificing the weight too much.

    All of this keeps me well off the streets I guess :woot:
  17. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    Shorty "El weirdo" project:

    So I finally got my belt sander and did the sanding & shaving job. No pics yet as the body is drying from woodglue used on some imperfections. Other than that it looks good. Tomorrow I will probably be projecting the neck pocket for routing during the next days.

    A litttle later:

    So here are some photos of its current state.

    front of the body

    back of the body

    back has been contoured lightly to make it look slimmer.

    layering has given a much better result than I expected. The body feels solid and sturdy.

    Next will be marking the neck pocket and control cavities. The pickup cavities will be the last to mark and route. This will be after having the neck mounted so I can correctly position the bridge and thus know where the strings will go over the body. Positioning the cavities will be easier and more precise that way.
    Apart from the machinery like the belt sander and circular saw, all the rest is totally hand made, no cnc or router used for the contouring and edges. It still needs some refining here and there, but that's ok, I'm in no hurry. :)
  18. Excellent.
    My Mediocre club numbers are the only ones I can always remember.

    Looking forward to the builds from you and the other more ambitious(than I) tinkerers.
    Holdsg, JRA, George Dennis and 2 others like this.
  19. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass.

    Oct 29, 2019
    This concludes the first series of posts related to my still ongoing "El weirdo Shorty" build. More will follow.
    Please feel free to post any comments or new things.
    bass theory likes this.
  20. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I'm in! I feel a big sense of superiority over all those poor sods in the Crappy Builders Club, Mediocre is a big step up in my mind! Three builds under my belt: