Jump to content
Left leaderboard
Andyjr1515

Finished Pics! Lighter and with pizzazz - pumping up a Harley

Recommended Posts

Hi

With Nic's Mouradian style just entering the 'coat and wait a few hours to dry' stage, and Pete's (our old-gits-band's bassist) piccolo short scale still in the 'how the hell am I going to do that!!!' stage, I've gone a bit back to my roots.

I started the building lark, like many of us, as an evolution of modding first the electrics and hardware, then moving on to pimping up the looks or playability of entry-level guitars and basses. In all the years I've been playing guitars and basses, I've never seen so much range at so much affordability at, generally, such good quality.

Take Harryburke14's HB bass. He loves the way it plays; he loves the sound. But it looks nice but a bit plain. And it weighs:


Yes - 10lb 11oz!!!!

And yes - I know we all know of basses and guitars that are up to 13lb and that there are those who love heavy basses. And fair enough, but I think most of us start getting a bit uncomfortable beyond 8 1/2 lb if we are playing or practising for long.

Here it is, and it's beautiful.

For the money it cost Harry, it's mind-boggling:



This complete bass cost the same as the unfinished neck wood cost me for Nic's Mouradian.

So it must be rubbish...

Well, actually, far from it. The neck - and I've used a few and I've built a few - feels silky smooth and is nice in the hand. Frets look OK, fretboard looks well finished. The fit of the neck is as good as most Fenders I've personally worked on and a lot better than some:



Yes - a bit of sawdust from the scratchplate fixing screws - but only one is going to need a cocktail stick.

It plays nicely.

It sounds pretty good. Yes - a set of Seymour Duncans would sound even better, but it really isn't bad.

Here is the surprise, given the weight and price-point. I was pretty sure it was going to be a photo-image of the grain and underneath ply (albeit Ash ply). But no. It's solid Ash:



Three-piece body, but well matched and executed:



Lightening by removing wood is all about the sheer volume of wood you can take out. Off comes the scratchplate to see if there are already voids in there (such as the entry level favourite of a swimming pool rout to allow different models out of just alternative scratchplate (P/J etc). Nope - just as you would hope to find it:



So as a bass, it has my tick of approval.

As a basis for modification, ti also very much has my tick of approval...the plans for which I'll post shortly :)

I'm really looking forward to this one :D

Edited by Andyjr1515

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There she is. @tom1946 This was yours once upon a time, hope you dont mind...

And it really is solid ash? Wow...

Edited by Harryburke14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Rumple' timestamp='1483807495' post='3210290']
I'm along for the ride :)
[/quote]
Happy New Year, Rumple! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1483808092' post='3210296']
Happy New Year, Rumple! :)
[/quote]

Same to you Andy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK - this is the part where those of a nervous disposition must look away.

For an instrument that is already built, there are basically three ways of removing wood to remove weight.
[list]
[*]Slim it down from the back
[*]Cut and cover chambers in the back:
[/list]


This is my Indie Les Paul. Beautiful and totally over the top. Full over the top spec. Still heavy after THIS, but now playable rather than (reinforced) wall hanger material
[list]
[*]Do the same but from the top. With Paul_S's Sterling, we kept it under the scratchplate - more limited weight reduction but doesn't require re-finishing:
[/list]


With Harry's, we are going to have to take much more wood out. So the option is:
[list]
[*]Route out large chambers where there is the depth to do so
[*]Cover them as you would a wood control chamber cover
[*]Sand it all down
[*]Veneer over the top
[/list]
And this is the veneer we're going to try:


and....please, those of a nervous disposition and those who hate real wood veneer being stained...it's going to have the Andyjr1515 fountain pen ink approach to end up this sort of color:



For those who think the whole thing is a travesty, you'll just have to trust me...

...that if it all goes well, it will be stunning B)

...and if it all goes badly, I will have to buy Harry another Harley Benton (but happily for him, therefore without the gig dings!) ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Paul S' timestamp='1483808166' post='3210297']
Colour me, and my tad heavy Yamaha BB425, interested..... :)
[/quote]
Yes :)

Me too...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1483809887' post='3210318']
OK - this is the part where those of a nervous disposition must look away.

For an instrument that is already built, there are basically three ways of removing wood to remove weight.
[list]
[*]Slim it down from the back
[*]Cut and cover chambers in the back:
[/list]


This is my Indie Les Paul. Beautiful and totally over the top. Full over the top spec. Still heavy after THIS, but now playable rather than (reinforced) wall hanger material
[list]
[*]Do the same but from the top. With Paul_S's Sterling, we kept it under the scratchplate - more limited weight reduction but doesn't require re-finishing:
[/list]


With Harry's, we are going to have to take much more wood out. So the option is:
[list]
[*]Route out large chambers where there is the depth to do so
[*]Cover them as you would a wood control chamber cover
[*]Sand it all down
[*]Veneer over the top
[/list]
And this is the veneer we're going to try:


and....please, those of a nervous disposition and those who hate real wood veneer being stained...it's going to have the Andyjr1515 fountain pen ink approach to end up this sort of color:



For those who think the whole thing is a travesty, you'll just have to trust me...

...that if it all goes well, it will be stunning B)

...and if it all goes badly, I will have to buy Harry another Harley Benton (but happily for him, therefore without the gig dings!) ;)
[/quote]

Have some faith in yerself :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Harryburke14' timestamp='1483810724' post='3210326']
Have some faith in yerself :lol:
[/quote]
I do....but this lot might not! :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='HowieBass' timestamp='1483820051' post='3210438']
Going to have to follow this one too! :)
[/quote]
Thanks, HowieBass :)

OK - while Nic's Mouradian-style is letting the grain fill cure, I set about attacking Harry's Harley Benton :D

I am VERY impressed with this bass. Let us now dispense with the proviso of 'at this price point' - it's irrelevant.

Metal control plate with good quality knobs reveals a clean and screw-connector-fitted loom and pots:



And before you all jump on me, I KNOW there are two levels of CTS pots, but pretty certain these are CTS pots nonetheless:


Tip for those who might want to take theirs to pieces and haven't done it before - don't lever out tuner bushes, pop a socket or similar as a drift and gently tap them out:


And in the time it's taken Tottenham and Aston Villa to get going in their first half, we have one disassembled bass, ready for all the bits to be bagged safely :) :


Thanks for looking, folks

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Pots are a Ki0gon loom so youd have to speak to him as to what they are. That being said the originals weren't bad, I just change pickups semi regularly and therefore wanted a no-faff solderless loom.

Edited by Harryburke14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Harryburke14' timestamp='1483894271' post='3210920']
The Pots are a Ki0gon loom so youd have to speak to him as to what they are. That being said the originals weren't bad, I just change pickups semi regularly and therefore wanted a no-faff solderless loom.
[/quote]

Ah...had forgotten it's a replacement loom, Harry. Good choice.

The body routings are very clean and accurate, by the way. Just the two holes from the pickup chambers to the control chamber a bit untidy. The body alone, completely stripped down is 6lb 6oz. I think I'm right in saying a typical Warmouth body is 4lbs ish?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just had a look....the chambered Warmouths are 4lbs, the solids are generally around 5...still a lot less than this one, though...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a good look at the HB body and made a full size drawing, detailing all of the existing chambers and cutouts, both sides. On top of that I've rough-drawn the areas that could be considered for removal - bearing in mind that I need to leave room for a rebate to sit the covers firmly onto.

Don't worry! These aren't the final routing areas...more looking at the art of the possible and practical:
[list]
[*]The area in front of the neck pickup is a useful one - I would go to neck pocket depth for the width of the neck/pickups, but could go quite deep below that
[*]The area in the top horn doesn't actually do much funtionally, but there's not actually a huge amount of wood that could come out here because of the cover rebate, the 'belly' carve at the back and the radius at the edges of the horn.
[*]The area above the bridge pickup and between the pickups could yield a useful amount of wood, but I want to start further forward to ensure that the balance is not affected.
[/list]
What I will do, apart from order a smaller rebate router cutter so I can maximise the size of the chamber vs the size of the aperture - around 3mm should be fine - is ponder a little more and then start with the first one on the list and see just how much weight it removes and what it does to the balance then decide on additional chambers as an iterative process.

I'll probably start cutting wood back end of this week...

Edited by Andyjr1515

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eyes are constantly on the classifieds for any nice pups to drop in when its all done. Search your parts draws people, there may be something there that interests me...

Looking good so far Andy.

Edited by Harryburke14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be doing my first wood cutting later today - forstner then router or chisel. I'm going to start here and then check the weight impact and the balance:


The reason the top horn area is relatively small is because there is a cut-out at the back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To anyone who has never done this, it will probably come as a surprise that this (don't worry - just rough cut at the moment with a forstner):


...takes out less than 3/4lb. In fact, just 10 oz.

It is now sitting at 5lb 12oz so almost certainly I will need to be using the large chamber opportunity just below the arm-relief cutaway. Even then, there is a restriction due to the relief cut out at the back.

But that will be tomorrow - because it is a lot easier to take away material than put it back, I will be reassembling the basic components and check the balance before I take any more out. It should be fine but with these types of job it is a case always of check three times, cut once!

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bit of a shame to lose that grain (But I've a massive thing for Ash woodgrain).

I'd say, as long as you're careful, you can get those walls of the chambers down to half that thickness in most places and still have enough strength - it's your call. I get that the roundovers and belly/arm cutouts are 3D and you need to hold it to know.
If you go digging out more I'd look at reinforcing the walls of the cavaties (to get long grain strength where there is a lot of runout) rather than keeping it equally thick all around. Then again, it depends on how close to the edge (yes (Yes) pun intended!) you want to go with the veneer - you want to be able to hide the plugs you use to cap the cavities!

I've no doubt it'll turn out lovely. If it were mine I'd have the cavities at the rear, of course - but each to their own!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='PlungerModerno' timestamp='1484135859' post='3212891']
Bit of a shame to lose that grain (But I've a massive thing for Ash woodgrain).

I'd say, as long as you're careful, you can get those walls of the chambers down to half that thickness in most places and still have enough strength - it's your call. I get that the roundovers and belly/arm cutouts are 3D and you need to hold it to know.
If you go digging out more I'd look at reinforcing the walls of the cavaties (to get long grain strength where there is a lot of runout) rather than keeping it equally thick all around. Then again, it depends on how close to the edge (yes (Yes) pun intended!) you want to go with the veneer - you want to be able to hide the plugs you use to cap the cavities!

I've no doubt it'll turn out lovely. If it were mine I'd have the cavities at the rear, of course - but each to their own!
[/quote]
Many wise words here.

I will be taking more out of the sides and the bottom of the existing cavities when I rout the chambers. I've got a 3mm rebate router on the way, so the rebate can actually be quite slim allowing me to get quite close to the sides. Having said that, there will be covers on so weight wise they will offset some of that.

The next big area will indeed be further back - should be able to rough that out this afternoon. However, I don't want to take too much out at the rear if the balance is likely to be affected because as we all know, a neck heavy bass feels heavier than a heavy bass!

Strength wise, I have no concerns - Tom's African Bass taught me that the body itself does very little indeed to the functional strength... ;)

The veneer needs to cover all the covers (if you see what I mean), but will go all the way to the rounded edges so still a way to go :)


My target weight is 5lbs for the body....should be able to get close :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For anyone confused by the above discussion, this is the cutout I need to be careful not to inadvertently cut into :D :


...anyway, got to my target 5lbs. Pretty similar to a semi-acoustic!:




I will stick at this in terms of chambers. Next I will take a little more out of the bottom with a bearing router bit, and that should compensate for the covers I will be putting on the top :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...