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owen

The slowest build ever

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I have a hankering for a Jabba mini bass. I played one at a Bassbash. It was proper lush.

I have a hankering for a Ritter Princess Isabella - sadly, finances say no.

I have had a hankering to build an instrument for the past 30 years. I have very poor woodworking skills. I mean VERY poor. I could tell you all about woodwork classes in school, but I am not proud of it. At least I learnt to measure twice and cut once. Eventually.

All these things are coming to a head and I am going in. I am documenting it so that I actually have to do it. Because I have a bad habit of dreaming and not doing. I will need a LOT of guidance.

I want a convex front and a concave back. I have watched lots of videos on carving the front of a LP with a router and orbital sander and decided that I could not. On Sunday we went to a food fair and there was a guy selling large wood turned plates. It crossed my mind that a body blank could be "turned". Convex on front, concave on the back. Once that is done I could cut the body shape out of the big bowl. The circumference could be the bottom of the instrument. I would need to be very careful with center body depth so as to give the hardware somewhere to live. But the sides could be quite slim. I like that. I am aware that the geometry could be challenging. 

What are the reasons this way of carving would not work?

 

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Where do you want to have the dish centred? If you want it anywhere other than the geometric center of the body you're going to be turning something that is bigger than the end product. Not a problem in itself, if you have the means to do it.

Go for it, it's going to be an interesting build.

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It's brilliant that you are finally taking the plunge, though guitar building is a hard but addictive task master. With that's n mind my advice is not to build the guitar of your dreams, but to build something that is relatively straightforward and something that you will actually finish. My first was a bolt on Precision and even that was unbelievably hard. If, like me, you have no background in making anything then I honestly recommend you start simple. Leave the curved this, and the widdly that for build 3 or 4. A flat body, bolt on, single pickup, oil finished bass will still throw up a million seemingly unfathomable problems. But you will finish it, and for build number 1 I think that's the important thing.

But lots of help here whatever you choose to do...Good luck

Edited by honza992
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36 minutes ago, songofthewind said:

The dome shape will not conform to the body outline, whatever shape you make the body (unless it’s circular).

 

No, but if say you wanted the dome to be in the middle of the waist of a P-Bass then you would turn a disk big enough to get the body shape out of it.  If you wanted the dome to be in the middle of the fat bit, between pickup and bridge say, then you would be turning a dish as third as big again.  Which in anyone's book is a huge throw for any lathe.

I concur with @honza992, it's a hellishly complicated first project, but as a concept I'd love to see it happen.

Edited by Si600

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I think I have misled you slightly. I will not actually be doing the hardcore woodwork myself. I have a local woodworker online for the tricky routing etc. Christine has said she is happy to offer advice and perhaps do things which are way way way beyond me.

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5 minutes ago, owen said:

I think I have misled you slightly. I will not actually be doing the hardcore woodwork myself. I have a local woodworker online for the tricky routing etc. Christine has said she is happy to offer advice and perhaps do things which are way way way beyond me.

Go on, you know you want to do it yourself.....just one, it can't do any harm....go on.....😀

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Because it will be super short scale the body will be a max of 75% normal body size. Perhaps smaller. I dunno. Perhaps you can tell. 

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I'm in a similar situation (not that I have Christine living nearby) - I have great ideas for building basses but only very basic woodworking skills, no space and no tools.. Hence I've delegated three builds to @Andyjr1515....who, as we all know, makes very beautifully instruments.

Poor excuse really as there is a Luthiers course available (on Saturdays) in Hertford - about 8 miles away. Cost is £300 for 10x 3 hour sessions - plenty of time, I'm told to get a bass finished. Very reasonable too, and I'd gain skills which would help me maintain my own equipment and will save me money in the long run. No brainer really.

So why haven't I taken advantage??? I blame the likes of @Andyjr1515 and @Jabba_the_gut who make it all look so blooody easy - turning out magnificent instruments with seemingly little effort - it really can't be as easy as they make it look, surely. 

The fear of failure is a powerful thing, even when there is support available to make sure that mistakes aren't made and that you produce something you'll be happy with.....I'd probably enjoy the challenge.

Thing is, this is what I preach to clients all day, every day - step outside your comfort zone, give yourself a challenge, do something to test yourself....

You know what??? I really should sign up for these classes.

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2 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

I'm in a similar situation (not that I have Christine living nearby) - I have great ideas for building basses but only very basic woodworking skills, no space and no tools.. Hence I've delegated three builds to @Andyjr1515....who, as we all know, makes very beautifully instruments.

Poor excuse really as there is a Luthiers course available (on Saturdays) in Hertford - about 8 miles away. Cost is £300 for 10x 3 hour sessions - plenty of time, I'm told to get a bass finished. Very reasonable too, and I'd gain skills which would help me maintain my own equipment and will save me money in the long run. No brainer really.

So why haven't I taken advantage??? I blame the likes of @Andyjr1515 and @Jabba_the_gut who make it all look so blooody easy - turning out magnificent instruments with seemingly little effort - it really can't be as easy as they make it look, surely. 

The fear of failure is a powerful thing, even when there is support available to make sure that mistakes aren't made and that you produce something you'll be happy with.....I'd probably enjoy the challenge.

Thing is, this is what I preach to clients all day, every day - step outside your comfort zone, give yourself a challenge, do something to test yourself....

You know what??? I really should sign up for these classes.

Do it 😉

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5 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

I'm in a similar situation (not that I have Christine living nearby) - I have great ideas for building basses but only very basic woodworking skills, no space and no tools.. Hence I've delegated three builds to @Andyjr1515....who, as we all know, makes very beautifully instruments.

Poor excuse really as there is a Luthiers course available (on Saturdays) in Hertford - about 8 miles away. Cost is £300 for 10x 3 hour sessions -

You know what??? I really should sign up for these classes.

Wait! You have a luthier's course close and you have not gone on it? Eh?

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1 minute ago, TheGreek said:

I'm in a similar situation (not that I have Christine living nearby) - I have great ideas for building basses but only very basic woodworking skills, no space and no tools.. Hence I've delegated three builds to @Andyjr1515....who, as we all know, makes very beautifully instruments.

Poor excuse really as there is a Luthiers course available (on Saturdays) in Hertford - about 8 miles away. Cost is £300 for 10x 3 hour sessions - plenty of time, I'm told to get a bass finished. Very reasonable too, and I'd gain skills which would help me maintain my own equipment and will save me money in the long run. No brainer really.

So why haven't I taken advantage??? I blame the likes of @Andyjr1515 and @Jabba_the_gut who make it all look so blooody easy - turning out magnificent instruments with seemingly little effort - it really can't be as easy as they make it look, surely. 

The fear of failure is a powerful thing, even when there is support available to make sure that mistakes aren't made and that you produce something you'll be happy with.....I'd probably enjoy the challenge.

Thing is, this is what I preach to clients all day, every day - step outside your comfort zone, give yourself a challenge, do something to test yourself....

You know what??? I really should sign up for these classes.

My advice is don't.  The £300 you spend now will be dwarfed by the obscene sums your new addiction will cost you. You'll have no time to watch sh_te on TV, your mind will buzz with future builds, you'll gaze furtively at the Axminster website, and (even more dangerously workshopheaven.com), you'll lose friends who will tire of talk of 'fret radius', and 'double action truss rods', you'll find that rather than having time to fill you'll have no time at all, as your guitar building obession slowly takes over your life.....😀🤣

 

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Since posting above I've been looking for the details for the course...facked if I can find them...

To paraphrase Captain Oates.." I may be gone for some time..."

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1 hour ago, songofthewind said:

The dome shape will not conform to the body outline, whatever shape you make the body (unless it’s circular).

 

I think that I will take the lines it comes out as, as a product of the process. It will kind of design itself. My thought process is being guided by this discussion. I will have to do a prototype in pine or something cheap and cheerful. The thought of doing rather than wondering is quite exciting.

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1 hour ago, Si600 said:

If you wanted the dome to be in the middle of the fat bit, between pickup and bridge say, then you would be turning a dish as third as big again.

If I get the convex top on it, I could live with a flatter concave back (not as deep dish) to make it work.

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24 minutes ago, owen said:

I think that I will take the lines it comes out as, as a product of the process. It will kind of design itself. My thought process is being guided by this discussion. I will have to do a prototype in pine or something cheap and cheerful. The thought of doing rather than wondering is quite exciting.

draw it all out at 1:1 scale in plan and section. Everything is possible but you can fix all the problems in advance of picking up any wood.

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34 minutes ago, owen said:

If I get the convex top on it, I could live with a flatter concave back (not as deep dish) to make it work.

I can probably give you some pointers too, @owen  - the majority of my builds have been convex/concave :)

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Do it all by hand is my offering, don't be put off thinking it's difficult, it isn't, the most difficult bit is deciding to do it yourself, honestly. Carving a top is just about putting the effort in and deciding which bits of wood you need to remove. I'd never carved a top before until I did the Twins last year, it was a lot harder thinking about it than doing it. It was only when I started removing wood that I thought "well yes, I can do this", I was really thinking I couldn't or would just mess it up. It took time and I got sore fingers but apart from that it was easy, honestly.

My biggest tip is learn how to sharpen your tools and set them up. With sharp tools you have control and with control you can do almost anything, that is the universal truth of woodwork.

The more you do yourself the more you'll get out of it long term, OK you'll need some help and advice but between us all there's no shortage and no excuse not to.

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11 hours ago, honza992 said:

My advice is don't.  The £300 you spend now will be dwarfed by the obscene sums your new addiction will cost you. You'll have no time to watch sh_te on TV, your mind will buzz with future builds, you'll gaze furtively at the Axminster website, and (even more dangerously workshopheaven.com), you'll lose friends who will tire of talk of 'fret radius', and 'double action truss rods', you'll find that rather than having time to fill you'll have no time at all, as your guitar building obession slowly takes over your life.....😀🤣

 

Workshopheaven.com? Haven’t heard of that until now. I feel many hours of browsing and dreaming coming on.....

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12 hours ago, honza992 said:

you'll lose friends who will tire of talk of 'fret radius', and 'double action truss rods', you'll find that rather than having time to fill you'll have no time at all, as your guitar building obession slowly takes over your life..

Yes ^

MrsAndyjr1515 got fed up hearing about such things years ago and so now we just don't speak.

 

 

As I say, I love this hobby xD

Edited by Andyjr1515
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1 hour ago, Christine said:

Do it all by hand is my offering, don't be put off thinking it's difficult, it isn't, the most difficult bit is deciding to do it yourself, honestly. Carving a top is just about putting the effort in and deciding which bits of wood you need to remove. I'd never carved a top before until I did the Twins last year, it was a lot harder thinking about it than doing it. It was only when I started removing wood that I thought "well yes, I can do this", I was really thinking I couldn't or would just mess it up. It took time and I got sore fingers but apart from that it was easy, honestly.

My biggest tip is learn how to sharpen your tools and set them up. With sharp tools you have control and with control you can do almost anything, that is the universal truth of woodwork.

The more you do yourself the more you'll get out of it long term, OK you'll need some help and advice but between us all there's no shortage and no excuse not to.

I truly love the idea of doing it all by hand, but I know I will get impatient/sloppy/over ambitous and cut too deeply or whatever. I only have to look at the extra grooves I have in my bathroom floor where I sanded it to understand the limits of my skillset.

 

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3 hours ago, owen said:

I truly love the idea of doing it all by hand, but I know I will get impatient/sloppy/over ambitous and cut too deeply or whatever. I only have to look at the extra grooves I have in my bathroom floor where I sanded it to understand the limits of my skillset. 

 

I did say this was the most difficult bit, you just need to tell yourself that you're not impatient. You need to start thinking "I'm going to do it and I'm going to get it right", you can do it, trust me. Sharp tools and control, cutting too deep is a result of blunt tools and no control, lots of small cuts instead of trying to do it all in one effin great wack of a hammer.

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