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Andyjr1515

Finished Pics! A build for our own Len_derby

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Posted (edited)

Hi

With the last three builds being on the 'dark side' (6-string electrics), it has way overdue for there to be a return to bass guitars :)

And I'm really pleased to have been asked by Neil ( @Len_derby ) to build one! :D 

Neil and I met at a Basschat bass bash a few years ago and found out that we live only a few miles from each other - and if that isn't an excuse for an occasional pint, I don't know what is.

Anyway, the broad spec Neil has asked for is going to be of particular interest to me as it is following the continued development of lightweight instruments.

It's going to be a 34" scale bass, with a body taking the general shape of the top half of my 6-string lightweight in the middle here, with the bottom half of Jane's on the right, with the number of strings of Pete's on the left :

OmV1xHul.jpg

Mocked up (just shape wise - ignore the headstock shape and the body wood), scaled up and with everything in the right place for decent balance, etc, it should look something like this:

EGYHWEEl.jpg

 

The aim will be to get something tangibly lighter weight that the equivalent Jazz bass or similar, using similar construction and weight saving techniques as the three in the top picture.

Other spec ideas being crystallised include:

  • Thru-neck
  • Black block inlays on a maple neck
  • Light but figured top wood.  Maybe poplar burr, maybe maple burr, but something in this ilk:

DxgJ6Jgl.jpg

  • Back wood Ash or Swamp Ash
  • Fretted
  • Passive, 2 J-pickups

 

Loads of details to sort before chisels start cutting timber but my mind is already working overdrive :) !  Neil's away at the moment but we're travelling together to the Midlands Bass Bash on Saturday.  Guess what's going to be the main topic of conversation! ;)

Andy

 

 

Edited by Andyjr1515
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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

Oooo! Keep us posted! :)

I don't think there's any danger in me not doing that, Silvia xD   

You know me - I even stop strangers in the street with an 'Excuse me, but have you seen my new build?  Here, I've got a few hundred photos.  Oh, wait a minute...can you see them properly if you're walking this fast???'   ;)

Edited by Andyjr1515
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Definitely be watching with interest...... :D

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Welcome back to the low country.

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On 2 May 2018 at 19:57, Jimothey said:

Definitely be watching with interest...... :D

Me too 😄👍

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At last, more vicarious build threadage!

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32 minutes ago, Len_derby said:

Me too 😄👍

I bet you will!!:D

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Been waiting for this after the hint by Andy a couple of weeks back.

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And it begins! :)

I bought the top and body woods today from Kirk at Exotichardwoodsukltd.co.uk - excellent 2-piece swamp ash set for the back and a lovely bookmatched set of poplar burl for the top.  I took along a dimensioned paper template to make sure it was going to be big enough for a bass and to get a decent idea what kind of figuring will show on the finished shape:

y1Nh5Pnl.jpg

I think this piece has everything!

Got it home and routered the join line square and straight using a rigid aluminium beam as a guide.  Then glued and clamped it with sash clamps - the small grey clamps are just to stop it bowing under the clamp pressure and so are just loosely tightened:

fyVlAAVl.jpg

 

With luck, I will be able to cut the shape out later this afternoon or evening.

This afternoon, I will order the neck wood (already have the maple fretboard wood) and a square-block/34" steel template from G&W for the block inlay routing and corresponding fret slotting - Neil's preference is maple fretboard with ebony block fret markers.  While the template is on its way, I'll be trying to work out how best to use it.  Bit of experimentation is going to be needed!

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, jebroad said:

Looks great, what pickups are you using?

Neil will correct me if I've got this wrong, but I'm not sure we've decided yet.  It will be while before I need to know for sure.

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Top joined and shape now cut out, including the 'f-hole'.  The final colour will be closer to the pic above (sprayed with a meths solution) rather than the 'dry bright' look here below.  Also in the pic is the lightweight swamp ash.

EUiRhJul.jpg

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Love the top...I'm sure that Neil will too.

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I've not done block inlays before and my conclusion is that the only way forward is a template.  I have the G&W fretting mitre box and they do a block inlay 34" template for it:

YZv5SOQl.jpg

The challenge is how to use it.  I will probably rig up a table and index pin to fit my little press drill and use the press drill as a mini router.  I've done some trials today and you never know, it might work!

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IIRC Bertbass has access to a waterjet - if so it'd probably be much easier to get him to cut several sets for future use than doing it by hand...

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Hi, thanks for the recommendation but I have a laser cutter / engraver.  I can cut and engrave acrylic, glass and wood but not metal.

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On 14/05/2018 at 18:06, TheGreek said:

IIRC Bertbass has access to a waterjet - if so it'd probably be much easier to get him to cut several sets for future use than doing it by hand...

 

7 minutes ago, bertbass said:

Hi, thanks for the recommendation but I have a laser cutter / engraver.  I can cut and engrave acrylic, glass and wood but not metal.

Sorry for my tardy reply...been a busy week!

Thanks for the suggestions but I've probably confused everyone (no change there ;) ). 

I will be setting in the ebony blocks a bit like  doing the fretboard inlays, so they will be 2-3mm deep  rectangular chambers routed into a 7mm fretboard.  The fretboard blank is fixed onto the steel template and an index pin is used in the mitre box to move the fretboard/template assembly into position for slotting the frets.

The same template assembly is used for guiding the 1mm router bit for the block rectangles.  This time, another index pin projects a couple of mm proud of the work surface, and a router jig of some sort needs to be fixed with the bit in line with the pin.  The bit is lowered into the top of the fretboard, and then the fretboard assembly is moved around the fixed bit, with the index pin acting as the guide against the sides of the template (it will be easier to explain with a photo once I've solved it! :) )

The challenge is rigging a fixed mini router position capable of being lowered accurately into the fretboard top.

I think I've worked out how I'm going to do it.  My Proxxon mini drill press is accurate enough to take a 1mm router bit.  The spindle speed is a bit slow, but it's only the outline I need to rout accurately.  So I think I can rig an elastic band to hold the spindle depth handle in place once its been lowered sufficiently.

When the template has arrived, I'll test on a piece of scrap wood and take a photo!

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You need to go on Scrapheap Challenge @Andyjr1515! You could compete with the A-Team to make a functioning Siege Onager from some wood and a few pins.

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Posted (edited)

Three beautiful pieces of timber came through this morning from David Dyke - glued up and clamped in my meaty bench clamps and their metal friends, two pieces of maple with a centre walnut splice:

qJWOXPYl.jpg

 

 

Next job will be to thickness the swamp ash back timber.  This needs to allow for the concave curve of the back and so, even though the bass body, including the top, will be sub 30mm, the back blanks alone will need to start off at 40mm:

scz9tgIl.jpg

 

In the meantime, the fretboard fretslot and block inlay template is due today so I suppose I'd better get on and work out just how I'm going to use it!

Edited by Andyjr1515
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