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Winter 2017 Build-Off: Basso-Cello

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Will_White, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    So for the Winter 2017 Build Off - Challenge yourself I'm going to be building an Electric Upright Basso Cello.

    - 3 Strings
    - Oak Neck and "Body"
    - Bamboo fingerboard
    - 2" nut width
    - 22.5 mm bridge spacing
    - 2-3" effective radius (approximate I'll have to measure tonight)
    - 36" scale
    - Under-Bridge Piezo
    - Sub 200$

    Things That I've Done Before:
    - Oak Neck
    - Upright Bass
    - Piezo Pickups
    - 3 String Bass
    - Fretless Neck

    Things That are New:
    - Bamboo Fingerboard
    - Piezo Only Bass
    - Neck and Body from one board.
    - Fifths Tuning
    - Designed for Arco
    - Set Neck
    - Angled Neck
    - Super Long Scale
    -LEDs (Maybe EDIT: Not going to do them on this one)

    I'm working on refining the design I've got all the critical stuff layed out so I might just go by that and play it by ear on final design, whatever I decide I'll post it tonight. I purchased all the wood I'll need for this project last night, with the exception of any embellishments and I put a radius in the fretboard at the same time;)
    20161221_212758. 20161221_212956.
    I'm using floor T moulding for the fretboard so it already had the radius in it, I looked up the janka hardness of the bamboo flooring material and it varies by who made it but they all agreed that it was harder then the oak I was planning to use. It doesn't look quite like a perfect cylindrical radius (The edges look like they are a little flattened out), but it is very consistent along the length and because it's a zero taper neck I shouldn't have to do much if any sanding to the face to level it.
    I found this box and I'm hoping to be able to use this side of it to make the bridge but I'm not sure how tall it needs to be so I don't know if it will work.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  2. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    Will_White likes this.
  3. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Looking forward to this one
  4. CatSquare


    Mar 7, 2014
    Whoa. Sounds very interesting, hard subbed.
  5. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Here's the rough design, it's probably not going to change much, other than the headstock and the little details getting filled in, I like the very simplistic design, I haven't decided on electronics yet I'm leaning towards passive piezo to output jack onboard with a decent outboard piezo preamp.
    wraub and moonshinegtrs like this.
  6. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    Subbed for a cool build...

    Moonshine :bassist:
  7. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    I got all the wood rough cut before I had to stop and be sociable. I checked the radius and it's a 2.6" effective radius. I'll order the parts and embellishments tonight, and I have to figure out strings and a pre-amp at some point too, I have threads for them in their respective forums.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  8. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Well if it sounds terrible I won't be able to say "I don't have a way to get a decent recording" because this was under the tree.
    Scarlet Solo Studio pack, I still need to get an AKG P2 to mic up bass amps but I can DI in for the clean channel and use the included Mic for a distorted channel. Unfortunately for you guys my wife had something a little cuter under the tree. A Rott'n'Pitt Mix puppy
    20161224_212625. 20161224_212359.
    Back onto the topic of the EUBC, here's where it stands now.
    20161224_222134. I ordered some Piezo discs, output jacks, strat jack plates, "Soundhole" covers, and Made in the USA plate from CB Gitty.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  9. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Haven't made any more sawdust since I last posted, but I've gotten it all layed out and designed a headstock. I'm going to have to come up with a logo at some point but I'll do that some time down the line.
    20161227_201159. 20161227_202925.
    And I cleaned up and organized my bench so I have room for my recording stuff and my building stuff, it is primarily my electronics bench but because my workshop doesn't have heat it's going to see a fair amount more use.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
    CatSquare, moonshinegtrs and Scoops like this.
  10. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    Looking interesting so far, can't wait to see more.

    The interface should be a good one, I have a Scarlet 2i4, and it makes for recordings with as much detail and precision as you'd like, or not. :)
    Also, enjoy that dog. Ain't nothin' like an xmas puppy. ;)
    Will_White likes this.
  11. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    20170101_191511. 20170101_191423.
    I got the channel for the fretboard to sit in cut, I'm only using 3 lower tension strings so I'm not going to worry about a truss rod.

    Because I cut the channel with a saw not a router and I forgot to account for that I have to move the fingerboard down and use a cover so I adjusted the headstock accordingly (green) I haven't decided if I want to keep the A string tuner in the original position and give a nod to Teisco (purple) or move it up to balance it a little (green, maybe a little further) because it's an odd instrument to begin with I'm leaning towards keeping the tuner in its original position.

    20170101_162958. 20170101_162920.
    Now I need some opinions on "sound holes", (note handle marks approximate bridge location not actual bridge) I don't have a preference either way really.
  12. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    It was 28° but I got a fair amount of work done, cut the neck out but the headstock is going to need a lot of sanding.
    20170104_215133. 20170104_215126.
    I also got the wiring cavity cut out, I'm planning on just going straight to the jack into an outboard pre-amp. I'll glue up the body tomorrow, I need to get a new bottle of tightbond.
    20170104_214418. 20170104_214448. 20170104_214513.
  13. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Body clamped up
    And the headstock thicknessed
    smithcreek likes this.
  14. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Worked on it a little last night because it warmed up some. Got the headstock sanded, drilled the tuner holes and pressed in the bushings.
    Profiled the back of the neck, I used a 1/2" roundover bit and then smoothed it out with a palm sander.
    And finally I cleaned up the body
    The end grain on the body is kind of interesting, I was planning to have the boards directly opposing but I must of gotten it flipped around when I routed the wiring cavity. I do like how they flow together though.
  15. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    It's been down in the mid 20s again so I haven't gotten much more done but I did drilled the holes for the tuners and test fit them.
    Looking at it with the tuners on it looks a little bit odd having the widest point at the headstock, I'll wait until I get everything on the body to decide but I might add some wood the the body.

    Because it was too cold in the shop, I did do something you all might find interesting. I've mentioned these before in the fireman thread but I made a microphone and it can actually be used to record acoustic instruments.
    It's too sensitive to be used to amplify an acoustic if it's any louder then the guitar it just feeds back. The red button is a mute switch because I was hoping to use it for vocals but the same problem applies as the guitar. It does record really nicely though I made a couple quick tracks using the Scarlett Solo and one of my 3 string slide guitars.

    The playings not the greatest but it does show how it sounds. I actually think I might like the Tin Microphone better than the condenser in this case. The highs are a little more muted and it does get a little bit of an odd resonance on some notes but I didn't notice much in this take. On others it was more prominent. Inside it's super simple just a piezo, a mute and a 1/4" jack.

    Edit: I just realized that these are the first tracks I've posted anywhere.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
    smithcreek, JIO, SLivinghouse and 2 others like this.
  16. Hey Will,
    I know what you about getting work done in cold weather. I keep bringing my build into the house and keep getting kicked out. I live in the foothills 30 miles east of Sacramento and after about 5 years of virtually no rain and warm weather we're getting nailed this year - and more to come. I know people in colder areas are rolling their eyes but if you're not used to it...

    I've seen those piezos before but never tried them. I'm glad you posted the recordings. Sounds good. I agree that the tin mic sounds better. I'll pick some up, build a tin and give it a shot with recording my double bass.
    Thanks for sharing that.
    Will_White likes this.
  17. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    It's been warmer lately but I've been really busy with school and work. I got some time before "The Big Game" and got the angle cut in the neck.
    I decided to do it this way instead of cutting the angle on the pocket so I could keep the pocket template solidly on the body since I don't have much to fasten it to. I'm only going to do a shallow pocket since at the tensions I'm looking at even a 1.5" square lap joint is sufficient and I want to get the bridge as tall as possible.

    I also figured out a logo for it. I need to get with my vinyl guy and have him cut it out.
    smithcreek, afa3 and mapleglo like this.
  18. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Got quite a bit done after "The Big Game" routed the neck pocket and contoured the body, just a 1/4" roundover on the front and on the back the same 1/4 round over with the bit extending into the wood about 1/8" and smoothed over with a palm sander. 20170205_200326. 20170205_202921.
    Finish sanded to 320, and put on a coat of an Iron Acetate solution.
    It's a nice blueish/purplish gray right now but it will darken to a nice dark steely blue gray over the next few days as I let it dry completely. since it's a chemical reaction not a dye or pigment I shouldn't have to worry about the neck pocket but I'll probably still hit it with some 60grit before I glue it up.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
    smithcreek likes this.
  19. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    It's darkening nicely, It still smells slightly vinegarey so I'll wait until tomorrow to glue the neck in. I think I'm going to dye or paint the "soundhole" covers a colour adding another natural colour tone will make the whole bass less cohesive. I'm still deciding on which one(s) to use. 20170206_210515.


    I'm actually leaning towards the F-holes at the moment but I flip flop hourly.

    Attached Files:

    smithcreek and Bugeyed Earl like this.
  20. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    I got some more done this afternoon, drilled the holes for the side dot position markers, and painted the F-"Holes" I'll upload pics later they are on my phone which is dead. I'll probably install the side dots tonight and if that goes well I might glue in the neck too.

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