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Jimothey

New Tangocaster bass project

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Whilst I’m waiting for stuff to dry and harden on my other projects I thought I’d make a start on a new one 

I had a Telecaster copy that I never used so I thought I’d change it in to a bass instead 

I’ve stripped it down and listed everything apart from the body on eBay 

So the plan is....

1. Get a neck (I’m thinking maple/maple fretboard) then widen the neck pocket to suit new neck

2. Fill in the old bridge pickup cavity and screw holes

3. Rout out for split p pickups 

4. Repaint the body, cut new pickguard (I can’t decide what colour but I’m thinking black body and black pickguard?) 

5. Fit Chrome hardware that I’ve got spare from my Jazz kit build 

6. Hope it turns out ok!?! 

B0105BB4-ECD6-46AD-9882-393629668D22.thumb.jpeg.e2e423687144e7658b670e8f13f1b3bd.jpeg

Edited by Jimothey

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Can't you go for the old style single P pickup? Would look great on that body shape.

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42 minutes ago, Mykesbass said:

Can't you go for the old style single P pickup? Would look great on that body shape.

When I looked online to get some inspiration there was quite a few with a single P pickup but I didn’t see any with split p’s so I thought it would be a bit different, also I’ve already ordered the split P’s but thanks for the advice anyway

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Are you going medium scale? I suspect on a telecaster guitar body the balance will be a little interesting with a 34" scale.... hope I am proved wrong, as I love the telecaster shape.

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2 hours ago, RichardH said:

Are you going medium scale? I suspect on a telecaster guitar body the balance will be a little interesting with a 34" scale.... hope I am proved wrong, as I love the telecaster shape.

I was going to try and do a long scale, that’s a good point I hadn’t thought about the balance of it!?! I’ve got a 34” scale neck off one of my kit builds that I might test on it to see how it feels??

Is the heel width of the neck different on a medium scale to a long scale? 

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1 hour ago, Jimothey said:

I was going to try and do a long scale, that’s a good point I hadn’t thought about the balance of it!?! I’ve got a 34” scale neck off one of my kit builds that I might test on it to see how it feels??

Is the heel width of the neck different on a medium scale to a long scale? 

I'm pretty sure the neck pocket (assuming it is made to Fender/Squier dims) is the same regardless of the scale lengths.

You may well have balance issues with a 34" scale - just look how far forward the bridge is.  Simple check is to work out which fret the top horn button will line up with.  For a long scale, anything higher than the 13th fret is going to be in amber territory and looking at where this button is, I reckon it would be more like the 15th fret or higher...definitely into red territory.  There is more choice nowadays of lightweight tuners, so that is one option - but even those will struggle if the button is so far back.

An alternative is to put a button on the 'wrong' side of the heel - this is my gigging 6-string electric:

68X4FXYl.jpg

I know it looks odd, but it balances perfectly even though it lines up with the 17th fret.  And look at the where the 'normal' button is - lined up at the recommended 13th fret.  And they both balance (in horizontal terms) the same :D

What it does do, though, is change the sit of the guitar (or bass) in two ways:

  • It swings the whole instrument to the player's right.  This brings the nut closer to your fretting hand - making it feel like a short scale from a comfort point of view
  • It makes the instrument sit a bit more upright from the vertical point of view (generally you see the fretboard edge on - side dots are useful!)  This is why I now do this for all of my own guitars and basses - it means that when fretting, your wrist is much less twisted round...and if you have creeping arthritis in your hands, this make a BIG difference....but it's a more comfortable position for many players

If you are interested in this as a possible solution for going full scale on the tele, shout and I'll post the 'before and after' shots on @W1_Pro 's custom semi

Andy

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Hi Andy thanks for the advice

This is just a mock-up excuse the finish on the neck I haven't flattened it yet

The strap button is exactly in line with the 15th fret 76411842-717E-47F9-BD6F-9DA2A1E27D5A.thumb.jpeg.3bdd1b18399539cb4f9d9c730083c481.jpeg

The bridge is about 10mm from the edge of the body it doesn’t really show it that well in the picture but I will have to lengthen the neck pocket as it stops at around the 19th fret 

561DCA47-5258-4AAB-984A-F1F0A4CB292D.thumb.jpeg.66f07268abe2ca778ce391c09bcf5b52.jpeg

I think that having the strap button where you have suggested will be the only option as I've just been looking at short scale necks and the cheapest I can find is a Warmouth one for £180 which is a bit excessive for this build 

So yes please Andy if you could send me the link that would be much appreciated 

Edited by Jimothey

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Possibly.  Certainly it's the same principle.

What I do is pop a strap on the back button, sling it over my shoulder and literally hold the other end of the strap, supporting the bass at the various position options (being careful not to drop it!) and decide the best one to go for.  It won't be exact, but will give you a decent idea of how the bass is going to sit on the strap.  For my own, I sometimes actually try them in two or three positions for real - at worst you have a couple of extra 2.5mm holes in the heel/horn but you also have a d****d well balancing bass :D

@W1_Pro 's custom, a beautiful bass that had sat in its case for many,  many years unplayed started out with the button here (actually pretty standard ES335 position):

vQXkiULl.jpg

 

And, through a mirror, you see how it hangs and note it is UTTERLY unplayable.  This is my longest reach!  :

4s17ldD.jpg%20

 

So I moved the button to here:

WYDNGypl.jpg

 

And this was the result (same camera angle etc,etc):

Y0xzlhBl.jpg

 

In this particular case, just putting the button on the end of the heel actually wouldn't have worked so well - but it just depends.  Hence the advice to try the 'half attached strap approach' above.

Did I think this would help?  Yes :D  Did I think that we could get a bass that had been unplayable for over 20 years, fully playable in 10 minutes?  No - I was as gobsmacked as Stuart ( @W1_Pro ) xD

And here's the proof that there is no camera trickery.  Here it is fixed:

wFoFjYXl.jpg

 

...and just hanging on the strap:

MzP0Ezel.jpg

 

So in summary...the strap position can make a BIG, BIG difference.  And therefore I would have thought at least one of those two positions - mine above or yours from your website search -  would allow you to go 34" on the Tele ;)

 

 

 

Edited by Andyjr1515

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2 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

 

Possibly.  Certainly it's the same principle.

What I do is pop a strap on the back button, sling it over my shoulder and literally hold the other end of the strap, supporting the bass at the various position options (being careful not to drop it!) and decide the best one to go for.  It won't be exact, but will give you a decent idea of how the bass is going to sit on the strap.  For my own, I sometimes actually try them in two or three positions for real - at worst you have a couple of extra 2.5mm holes in the heel/horn but you also have a d****d well balancing bass :D

@W1_Pro 's custom, a beautiful bass that had sat in its case for many,  many years unplayed started out with the button here (actually pretty standard ES335 position):

vQXkiULl.jpg

 

And, through a mirror, you see how it hangs and note it is UTTERLY unplayable.  This is my longest reach!  :

4s17ldD.jpg%20

 

So I moved the button to here:

WYDNGypl.jpg

 

And this was the result (same camera angle etc,etc):

Y0xzlhBl.jpg

 

In this particular case, just putting the button on the end of the heel actually wouldn't have worked so well - but it just depends.  Hence the advice to try the 'half attached strap approach' above.

Did I think this would help?  Yes :D  Did I think that we could get a bass that had been unplayable for over 20 years, fully playable in 10 minutes?  No - I was as gobsmacked as Stuart ( @W1_Pro ) xD

And here's the proof that there is no camera trickery.  Here it is fixed:

wFoFjYXl.jpg

 

...and just hanging on the strap:

MzP0Ezel.jpg

 

So in summary...the strap position can make a BIG, BIG difference.  And therefore I would have thought at least one of those two positions - mine above or yours from your website search -  would allow you to go 34" on the Tele ;)

 

 

 

Thanks Andy that’s some great advice I’ll definitely give it a try 

Heres a mock-up of where I think everything needs to sit? and I thought I’d slightly change the shape of the pickguard

In your opinion is the bridge too far back? 

4D6F37F5-351D-4D34-A86B-E3B208458913.thumb.jpeg.d36757169536c1c09e6e9ae4c8668597.jpeg

Edited by Jimothey

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5 minutes ago, Jimothey said:

Thanks Andy that’s some great advice I’ll definitely give it a try 

Heres a mock-up of where I think everything needs to sit?

In your opinion is the bridge too far back? 

4D6F37F5-351D-4D34-A86B-E3B208458913.thumb.jpeg.d36757169536c1c09e6e9ae4c8668597.jpeg

If you already have a neck pocket, then you know where the 12th fret is going to be, depending on the scale length of the neck you're going to use.  Double that distance and that's where the bridge HAS GOT to be placed.  It's mathematical.  I don't fix the bridge until the neck is fully fitted and then use a long steel rule to make sure I can place it very accurately. 

 I personally put the bridge  at the scale length of the g saddle, moved fully forward, and then make sure there's at least 3mm rearward movement of the other three saddles for intonation.

Does that make any sense?

 

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2 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

If you already have a neck pocket, then you know where the 12th fret is going to be, depending on the scale length of the neck you're going to use.  Double that distance and that's where the bridge HAS GOT to be placed.  It's mathematical.  I don't fix the bridge until the neck is fully fitted and then use a long steel rule to make sure I can place it very accurately. 

 I personally put the bridge  at the scale length of the g saddle, moved fully forward, and then make sure there's at least 3mm rearward movement of the other three saddles for intonation.

Does that make any sense?

 

Or...if that's what you've already done and that is where the bridge is calculated to have to be (based on the penned pocket position), then yes....the bridge can be as far back as the body will support it.  Have a peep at how far back the Cort Curbow bridge is placed :)

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19 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Or...if that's what you've already done and that is where the bridge is calculated to have to be (based on the penned pocket position), then yes....the bridge can be as far back as the body will support it.  Have a peep at how far back the Cort Curbow bridge is placed :)

Yeah that’s what I’ve already done, I tried to move the neck back as far as possible to try and counteract the lack of length on the top horn/strap button position and keeping the scale length correct,  I asked because it was just that generally the bridge on most basses isn’t that far back so because you’ve got a load more experience than me at making/modding basses and I didn’t factor in the balance issue I wasn’t sure if there was going to be any other issues ie bridge position etc 

Edited by Jimothey

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18 minutes ago, Jimothey said:

Yeah that’s what I’ve already done, I tried to move the neck back as far as possible to try and counteract the lack of length on the top horn/strap button position and keeping the scale length correct,  I asked because it was just that generally the bridge on most basses isn’t that far back so because you’ve got a load more experience than me at making/modding basses and I didn’t factor in the balance issue I wasn’t sure if there was going to be any other issues ie bridge position etc 

Forgive me for teaching granny to suck eggs xD

Yes - as long as the bridge is on solid flat wood then yes - it can be right back to the edge.  However, just be aware that the playing position of your hand will be in a different place to some other basses.

I personally like a rearward bridge because it reduces the 'apparent' scale length - which with my short arms is a great advantage!

The Cort Curbow I played for a bit (I was putting a replacement body on it) felt like a short scale but sounded like a long scale (which, of course, it was) :)

 

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4 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Forgive me for teaching granny to suck eggs xD

Yes - as long as the bridge is on solid flat wood then yes - it can be right back to the edge.  However, just be aware that the playing position of your hand will be in a different place to some other basses.

I personally like a rearward bridge because it reduces the 'apparent' scale length - which with my short arms is a great advantage!

The Cort Curbow I played for a bit (I was putting a replacement body on it) felt like a short scale but sounded like a long scale (which, of course, it was) :)

 

No worries mate i don’t take offence to any advice given, I apologise if I ask some stupid questions sometimes :biggrin: 

I wanted to keep it long scale as I like the sound of a long scale over a short as I find they sound a bit ‘floppy’ 

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2 minutes ago, Jimothey said:

No worries mate i don’t take offence to any advice given, I apologise if I ask some stupid questions sometimes :biggrin: 

I wanted to keep it long scale as I like the sound of a long scale over a short as I find they sound a bit ‘floppy’ 

We're on the same page.  I too like 34" scale basses but prefer them to either sit well to my right (ref the strap position) or with the bridge well back and therefore the nut that much closer to my hand ;)

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19 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

We're on the same page.  I too like 34" scale basses but prefer them to either sit well to my right (ref the strap position) or with the bridge well back and therefore the nut that much closer to my hand ;)

I was thinking would moving the bottom strap button up make any difference to the way it sits aswell my thinking is the weight of the body will make it sit lower and lift the neck up??

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@BrunoBass after seeing your P bass!!! I can’t get out of my head how cool this build would look in Bright Orange but I’m now tempted to not have a pickguard 

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10 hours ago, Jimothey said:

@BrunoBass after seeing your P bass!!! I can’t get out of my head how cool this build would look in Bright Orange but I’m now tempted to not have a pickguard 

Go for it! 

BS557 Light Orange is a very close match if you need to get it mixed.

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12 hours ago, Jimothey said:

@BrunoBass after seeing your P bass!!! I can’t get out of my head how cool this build would look in Bright Orange but I’m now tempted to not have a pickguard 

Orange sounds great!

On 14/01/2018 at 23:53, Jimothey said:

I was thinking would moving the bottom strap button up make any difference to the way it sits aswell my thinking is the weight of the body will make it sit lower and lift the neck up??

Missed this in January!!!

Yes - it's worth experimenting.

On my bubinga bass, I find the stretch uncomfortable.  I left the button there for when other players want to borrow it, but from my own use, use the higher black button:

vjtCP0ol.jpg

It depends on the bass, but on this one, it lifts the neck a touch and swings the whole thing it back a touch, leaving a comfortable reach

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I’m thinking of putting the MM pickups in this build instead of my p bass build so it will look a bit like this

7B40DAE5-A13C-44BB-97B9-22E7BD33BE0C.jpeg.72ba66eccad78d834894f8ad18c3f266.jpeg

But after seeing @BrunoBass‘s Orange P Bass I think that’s the colour I’m gonna go for 

But I can’t decide whether to go for a Maple or Rosewood fretboard??.....

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4 hours ago, Jimothey said:

I’m thinking of putting the MM pickups in this build instead of my p bass build so it will look a bit like this

7B40DAE5-A13C-44BB-97B9-22E7BD33BE0C.jpeg.72ba66eccad78d834894f8ad18c3f266.jpeg

But after seeing @BrunoBass‘s Orange P Bass I think that’s the colour I’m gonna go for 

But I can’t decide whether to go for a Maple or Rosewood fretboard??.....

That’s going to look awesome. With my orange bass, I thought a rosewood neck would look better with a white scratchplate, or (what I went for) a black scratchplate with maple board. Nice colour contrast. 

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1 hour ago, BrunoBass said:

That’s going to look awesome. With my orange bass, I thought a rosewood neck would look better with a white scratchplate, or (what I went for) a black scratchplate with maple board. Nice colour contrast. 

I’m probably not going to have a pickguard so I think the contrast with the rosewood would look better......

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How did you get on with this? 

 

I'm trawling through the build diaries to gage if it is something I want to do soon. I like the idea of a tele bass so interested to see how this turns out. 

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3 minutes ago, Nothingman said:

How did you get on with this? 

 

I'm trawling through the build diaries to gage if it is something I want to do soon. I like the idea of a tele bass so interested to see how this turns out. 

I haven’t started it yet, I’m hopefully going to do this soon as I’ve got the body just sitting there, I’ve got most of the hardware I just need to order a neck........:D

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