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Bridgehouse

A semi-build with shades of P

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Had a load of really good suggestions for semi hollow or hollow basses to fill a hole (ha!) I've had for a while.

Checked them all out, and was left feeling pretty meh. The main issues were:

- Short scale (I want 34")

- Silly slim nut width (I like 45mm)

- Odd pickup combos (not sure I have use for a neck mudbucker)

- Availability (as in I'd need to find one used and they are as rare as rocking horse droppin's)

So, I dropped my fave secret squirrel parts maker a message on the off chance. 

And he does do semi-hollow. He sent me this teaser:

lQf7TVB.jpg

So an order spec went in double quick, given my second PJ build is currently on hiatus whilst I get some lacquer checking on it!

What are we looking at then?

- 51 P style body (slab) chambered (as above)

- f-hole

- No pickguard - going with vol, tone and jack on the front and that's it

- Trad 51 P style pickup rout - I will probably get a split coil pickup custom wound for it - vintage output to emphasise the semi-hollow body tone

- Traditional bridge

- Swamp ash body and cap

- Maple neck, Rosewood board

- 45mm nut, slim front to back

- Tele style headstock

- Ultralight tuners

 

Should be with me in time for Christmas, so something to do over the hols :)

Will update as I go, but in the meantime I need to  gather parts and decide how to finish it. 

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First question/comment:

I'm not going string through - I want to keep it all fairly simple, and I like the sound from the top loaders I have. 

Question is, do I go standard Fender bent-metal bridge, or go a bit experimental and try something like a Hipshot Kickass (https://hipshotproducts.com/collections/bass-bridges/products/kickass-bass-bridge) - I quite like the idea of custom fashioning some saddles for it out of some sort of random hard wood and see how it sounds (?!)

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Are you intending to relic it?

Reason I ask is a hipshot will look pretty silly on a relic'd bass (IMHO obviously). ;-)

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10 minutes ago, fftc said:

Are you intending to relic it?

Reason I ask is a hipshot will look pretty silly on a relic'd bass (IMHO obviously). ;-)

No, not this one. A straight build - I'll let it naturally age ;)

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My ipad isn't picking up the picture for some odd reason so I'll have a proper look when I'm on the desktop, but the spec sounds great :)

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1 hour ago, Andyjr1515 said:

I can see the picture now I'm back on the desktop - it looks great!

Now imagine that as a 51P shape in ash with a f hole cut and a trad single coil slot and no guard.. that's where I'm heading ;)

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3 hours ago, Bridgehouse said:

Now imagine that as a 51P shape in ash with a f hole cut and a trad single coil slot and no guard.. that's where I'm heading ;)

Yes - lovely :)  Can't wait...

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1 hour ago, Bridgehouse said:

Nor me ;)

Going to be a slightly slower burn is this one 

Yes, they say ash is one of the best woods for burning... ;)

Edited by RichardH

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1 hour ago, Bridgehouse said:

Nobody has ever said my bass playing is smokin'

Aye, there's the rub... ha, ha, ha! Ahem. :|

That pic is very intriguing... presumably you could cap it so as to present a 'normal'  bass to the world, but much lighter..?

Edited by discreet

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1 minute ago, discreet said:

Aye, there's the rub... ha, ha, ha! Ahem. :|

That pic is very intriguing... presumably you could cap it so as to present a 'normal'  bass to the world, but much lighter..?

That's the idea. Just like a thinline Tele, but a P bass. It will be a swamp ash body with a swamp ash cap. 

There's two reasons I want to try this:

- lighter weight

- capture some of the hollow body tone (hopefully!)

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1 minute ago, Bridgehouse said:

That's the idea. Just like a thinline Tele, but a P bass. It will be a swamp ash body with a swamp ash cap

That's what I thought, but with no f-hole or anything to show it's not a solid bass.

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2 minutes ago, discreet said:

That's what I thought, but with no f-hole or anything to show it's not a solid bass.

I'm going to go with an f-hole on this one to keep the thinline tele vibe - but to be honest it's an aesthetic thing - it wouldn't sound much different if it didn't have the f-hole and just looked like a solid body ;)

I am aiming for 7lbs. Anything under that and I'll be very amazed. 

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5 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

I am aiming for 7lbs. Anything under that and I'll be very amazed. 

Having stumbled across paulownia and Ultralites and put together a 7lb Jazz more or less by accident, I'm not going back to 9lb basses!

Never gave it much thought, but a light bass is just so much nicer, for many reasons.

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5 minutes ago, discreet said:

Having stumbled across paulownia and Ultralites and put together a 7lb Jazz more or less by accident, I'm not going back to 9lb basses!

Never gave it much thought, but a light bass is just so much nicer, for many reasons.

Obeche is another wood for lightness - I did a telecaster out of it which came out about 6lbs

Just over 8lbs is about my limit for comfort..

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25 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:
10 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

Obeche is another wood for lightness...

Had a Hayman 4040 bass made from obeche. I'd use that wood for sure. I think it's less balsa-like than paulownia.

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I was amazed years ago when I was taught that Balsa is in fact a hardwood.  It's all about water content, not perceived hardness apparently.

'Balsa - is a pale white to gray. It has a distinct velvety feel. It has exceptional strength to weight properties. It is the lightest and softest wood on the market. A hardwood.'

http://mr-dt.com/materials/hardwoods.htm

Edited by SpondonBassed

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On 16/11/2017 at 19:57, Bridgehouse said:

I'm going to go with an f-hole on this one to keep the thinline tele vibe - but to be honest it's an aesthetic thing - it wouldn't sound much different if it didn't have the f-hole and just looked like a solid body ;)

I am aiming for 7lbs. Anything under that and I'll be very amazed. 

Sub 7lbs is definitely do-able (and I realise that is not your goal!), though I would say only with ultralites. 

My fretless build I'm doing here on Basschat is basically what you are suggesting, ie a P bass build with chambering and an f-hole.  I haven't weighed it yet, but my guess is it will be 6lb6oz pounds, 2.9kg.  Thats a maple top and mahogany body so probably fairly similar to swamp ash in terms of the overall weight of the wood.   Overall thickness is 39mm.  I've got a wooden bridge which will save a bit of weight and there's no magnetic pickup. The balance is perfect, though I've designed it so the strap pin is level with approx fret 10 and it's a 33" scale.  

The lightest 34" scale bass I've ever done was a 2.4kg (5lb5oz) chambered 'f-holed' P bass.  That had a standard fender style metal bridge and P pickup.  The body wood was horse chesnut though (or at least I think it was, my memory is atrocious, ditto my record keeping) which was very very light.  Although the bass was ridiculously light it wasn't really a success.  Even with the bridge close to the edge of the body and with Ultralite tuners the balance was still a touch neck heavy.  That made it much less comfortable that the one I'm just finishing.  In my book balance is more important that absolute weight.  7lb and perfect balance is ideal for me. 

Looking forward to seeing the build!

Edited by honza992

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8 minutes ago, honza992 said:

In my book balance is more important that absolute weight.  7lb and perfect balance is ideal...

In my book, too. If a bass hangs well on the strap it's easier to play and a heavier bass becomes tolerable.

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Yes, ultralight tuners and a slightly heavier bridge I think.. I will assess balance as I go.

As it will be a gigging bass then balance on the strap is very important. 

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2 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

Yes, ultralight tuners and a slightly heavier bridge I think....

That's what I'm doing, Ultralites and a Hipshot KickAss. Heavier overall, but much better balance on the strap. 7.5lbs.

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