Winter 2017 Build-off - Wing bass

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

  1. I'm putting this up here even though my build won't start for another few weeks, maybe a month.

    The plan is:
    - Four string "Wing Bass"* (similar to this)
    - headless* (never FINISHED a headless bass - I've attempted one before)
    - super short scale*
    - Fretless
    - one piece of wood for the whole instrument (or one piece laminated front to back)*
    - passive*
    * denotes something I've never done before.

    I'm using the Wing Bass linked above only for scale length - the body design will be 100% my own. I plan on using a piece of self-harvested and dried black walnut for the body.

    I'll update once I get started.
  2. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Very interesting indeed. These things are intriguing...
  3. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    This sounds like a fun build
  4. I have everything we saved from the house in our shed, it's pretty densely packed, the wood is on the bottom and in the back of the pile. I went there today to get my snowblower and figured I'd look for a particular piece of wood I had in mind for this project. Surprisingly it was right on top of the wood and at the very end of the pile so it was easily retrieved - it's a sign!

    So here's the piece of wood I'll use for the wing bass, I think.
    DEMS854, Bigbri, Deep Cat and 9 others like this.
  5. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
  6. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    That walnut crotch makes for an inspired design choice.
    This will be very nice.
  7. My kids are home so I can't really head over to the shop to work on the fiver, so I can do a little design work here.

    I need to work on this a bit more, then transfer it to a full size mock up out of cardboard (can I use the word "full" referring to this build?) - I'm wondering about how it rests on your knee. Now after looking at this I may not use the wood I pulled out above, I think it would be cool to have contrasting wood and the contours on the left hand side of the instrument expose different woods. I have slices of the same wood, but they're thinner. I'll have to look at it further, but this looks like a good start to me.
  8. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
  9. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    That's a nice chunk of wood you got there. Sub'd.
  10. Just messing around with orientation a bit this morning, it's tough to see the grain because of the saw marks, but this looks like a winner - there's another alternative where some of the sapwood shows through too. This orientation incorporates the most of the figuring in the crotch.
    SLivinghouse likes this.
  11. I got my tuners! No excuses now
    DragonFrog and SLivinghouse like this.
  12. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    very nice indeed. Building one of these is absolutely on my to-do list, so looking forward to seeing you tackle it!

    May I ask - why didn't you finish the headless you attempted in the past?
  13. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    FYI I had a look through wingbass order process to see what options they have. One option is "
    Built-In EHX Nano POG" to "flip down to standard range with the flick of a switch.". This sounds really cool, and makes it so you could probably even gig with this little bass! Any plans to explore and add?
  14. First question: The eight string was smoke damaged in the fire, luckily probably the least smoke damaged of any of my instruments. I never got to tune up all eight strings without one (or more) of them breaking. I need to work on it more, but first I have to tear it apart, sand and refinish it. It's a back burner project for now. I think I will move the tuners to the front of the bass, you might remember I had them buried in the back - the break angle on the strings was too much, never mind getting my fingers inside the cavity to get the strings situated in the tuner.

    Second question: the POG option is very cool, but also very expensive, those pedals are north of $250, maybe down the road, but the first version will not have a POG in it.
  15. SLivinghouse

    SLivinghouse Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Meadow Vista, CA
    Those look nice. Which headless tuners are those?
  16. I got it off ebay, it's $79, which is more expensive than the cheap "overlord" version, but it looked like it was better designed and it didn't have the obnoxious OVERLORD OF MUSIC stamped into it. It's still way cheaper than the ABM or other models. I haven't used it yet, but all knobs seem to work smoothly. It has a worm gear inside to turn the spindle where you feed the string through.

    I won't be able to use the part that goes on the headstock as the wing bass will be much wider up there, but I have an idea of how to do this using a metal tube of some kind.
  17. I made a full sized drawing, I have some more editing to do (funny how proportions look different when full sized). I'll try to get some wood cut this weekend. My plan is to carve the top wood for the curve that goes across the fingerboard and to have a second wood peek through on the upper curve - all TBD based on what happens in the shop, I guess.
    Bigbri, BritFunk and Will_White like this.
  18. SLivinghouse

    SLivinghouse Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Meadow Vista, CA
    Thanks. I look forward to seeing how it turns out on your bass and what you think of it once installed. I was thinking about doing a headless but the "OOL" has had fairly negative reviews here and didn't want to deal with it on a first build. I agree with you that it's pretty obnoxious as well! I've seen, but didn't know much about the one you bought, so I thought I would skip it until I found out more. May the next build.:cool:
  19. It is very heavy though - not sure if that's normal with these types of bridges. Especially on this wing bass where there will be very low tension, I can see where I can drill out to save weight. I'm not sure if I'll do that or not.
  20. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Tension should be the same as a standard tuned bass if you go with the 17" scale tuned an octave up.