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Virtual Bass Building Project

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by frederic b. hodshon, Feb 19, 2001.

  1. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    hi all,

    i've bored everyone in alt.guitar.bass about this...so, i figured i'd come in here and do the same.

    i've owned a rob allen and a carvin ac50...i just love that hollow/tapewound tone and playability...

    but, the rob allens have just skyrocketed in price and the carvin "custom shop" ain't so custom. so, THAT whole experience is dead..

    so, i've decided to build my own...(hehe, sure i will). i plan on getting a stewmac/warmoth jazz body and hog the crap out of it.

    i'm looking for ANY info on ready to install piezo bridge assemblies...hopefully adjustable...anyone?

    before i start buying parts, i decided to virtually build the bass in 3D. current progress can be viewed at:


    comments are welcome...i'm still coming up with variations on the cap design...

    and i'm new to this...regardless of my decades experience in product design, i'm humbled by this endeavor.

    if this warmoth frankenstein plays and sounds even CLOSE to what i'm hoping for, i'll then buy raw blanks (body and neck/headstock) to create my own unique shape.

    best laid plans....

  2. Just out of curiosity, what software did you use to make those renderings? They look quite nice.

    Looks like that will turn out to be a nice bass too.
  3. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    hey Steamboat,

    Thanks for the kind comments.

    Here's a quick list of the software I used:

    Adobe Illustrator
    Pro/Engineer 3D CAD version 2000i2
    Viewpoint Interchange 5.0
    3D Studio MAX

    Here's the detailed process:

    1. i used a JPEG from the warmoth.com site to trace the outline of in Adobe Illustrator. I used the "pen tool" which creates easily adjustable bezier curves.

    2. i then exported the outline from Illustrator to the Autocad "DXF" format.

    3. the DXF file is then imported into Pro/Engineer to be traced again as an outline that is extruded into the 3D part.

    4. with Pro/Engineer i am able to add the edge rounds and perform the complex surfacing the Fender Jazz shape requires.

    5. with the 3D shape complete, i exported from Pro/Engineer to the "STL" (stereolithography) format.

    6. Interchange 5.0 will import STL files and export 3DS files that can then be read my 3D Studio MAX.

    7. the 3DS file is imported into 3DSMAX where i added textures, lighting, environment and cameras.

    I use this process daily for my job as a product designer. it sounds laborious, but it is a lot of fun and becomes second nature after a short while.

    3DSMAX also allows me to animate objects...recently had a new Toshiba product animation that was played as a continuous loop at COMDEX.

    probably more info than you wanted...but, I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!

    now, if i could only get a hold of some REAL tools.

  4. Lance Jaegan

    Lance Jaegan

    Dec 23, 2000
    Uhm, er, send me those programs or something... those things are a lot of money. Uh, yeah, just burn 'em real quick for me. :D
    No one will know. Trust me.
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, really :D

    that's quite a software tool kit you get there, fred. looks pretty cool.
  6. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    evil talk...EVIL EVIL EVIL...

  7. Wow! That is soooo cool! :cool: Are you actually going to try and build something, or is this just a mental exercise? If you do build it, I volunteer play it for a month or two and let you know what I think. :D

    Seriously though, this looks neat. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

    Dumb question: Do your tools provide for any generation of raw data for specifications, and can you manipulate the images based upon that data? As your design advances, you may be able to validate your specs by getting a sanity check from a luthier before you build.

    Have fun.

  8. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    hey red:

    i am planning on actually building something...need to find a partner though. actually, part mental exercize, part frustration from not finding what i really wanted in the marketplace at a reasonable price.

    if this works out, i may make more...??? do i have to pay you as a my quality control guy?

    the 3D CAD software does generate "raw data" such as center of gravity, weight, and other obscure mechanical info...not sure if other luthiers would be willing to help or not.

    just re-rendered with an African Padauk image i found on the web.

  9. Schaller do a piezo version of their 3D bridge;

    also, Yamaha did piezo bridges for the TRB, and on the Attitude Custom for a while, so they might be worth a try.

    Mike Christian used to do piezo bass bridges, but it looks like he's gone out of business.
  10. Hmmm... I used to work in my Dad's cabinet shop years ago. Does that count? (Before you answer, keep in mind that there's a reason why I'm an OS developer and not a woodworker. :D)

    >do i have to pay you as a my quality control guy?

    Well... you could pay me in product. :)

    The re-rendering looks great! I did have one thought though: you may want to think about accomodating a "tummy cut" on the upper back in order to increase the comfort of playing while standing. (May not be that big a deal if you're just considering this a prototype.)

    Keep it going.

  11. Oops! Guess I should have looked at ALL the renderings before responding. Looks like you've already addressed this. Sorry.

  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I like Padauk

  13. Floodshon, perhaps I could be of assistance here. I just built a bass that was designed on the computer and then the body was routed on a large computer controlled router. I used a Jazz style, since they fit me so well, and completely built the thing in Corel (as a pseudo CAD program) the resulting 2D files were imported into Enroute for manipulation and conversion to G-code. The results were great. You can see them here:


    The "belly" and forearm contours weren't even considered for creation on the router. Since they are 3D objects and we didn't have the software for anything but 2D. But I was able to fashion them with a flexible grinding wheel and about 3 breaths of air - held as long as I could :)

    If I could be of assistance, contact me off-forum and I'll help if I can.
  14. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    just picked up 8 board feet of nice African padauk today.

    ordered my Graphtech Piezos last friday.

    considering necks and body styles.

    decided to start from scratch rather than from a actual Jazz body. i'm sure the shape will mutate quite a bit before sawdust starts flying.

    anxious to get started designing the control cavity.


  15. I like #3 (top right) the best so far. Are you taking orders yet? ;)

  16. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Agree! Though the set-in could be deeper...
    But Red, why don't you make your own? Seems like fun :D don't you think?
    I am inspired! again.....
  17. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    funny you mentioned the set-in depth.

    it will be MUCH deeper, but still bolt on.

  18. So am I, Suburban. But I think Fred and Louis have raised the bar a bit. :) I'll stick to hot-rodding my MIM Jazz for the time being. I figure that if I can learn to level and dress frets without screwing anything up too badly, I'll be ready for something a bit more challenging later on.

    It's a funny thing, though. I've always told myself that there's a reason I play them rather than build them. (I really sucked at high school woodshop!) But lately, I've gotten the (probably misguided) feeling that I could really learn and enjoy doing some of this stuff. Only time (and money) will tell. :D

    What I really like about this project in particular is the 3D CAD aspect. It's cool to watch the design progress, and I'm really glad Fred's sharing this. It will be interesting to see how closely the finished product matches the original concept. If I ever attempt something similar, this is where I'll start as well.

  19. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Well, Red, we seem to have a lot in common. Just one thing...I'm doing it! Never mind Louis' result and Freds renderings (and coming result)...I'll do it just for the sake of having done something, scratch to gig, as good as I'm able to! :eek:
  20. Cool! :cool: Be sure to take pictures and post them as the work progresses so we can all ooh and ahh! Maybe we should open up a new TB forum on building basses. ;)