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Rexel Matador

Lockdown build - multi scale metal machine

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In between bouts of “working from home”, queueing at the supermarket and my one form of exercise per day, it seems like a good time to build a bass (not least because it’s always a good time to build a bass).

I’m craving a fretless so I can get jazzy in all this spare time, but, much as my last build is growing on me, it’s just not metal enough.

So the plan for this one is a multi-scale, EMG-equipped, 4-string, modern-looking, vaguely Fender Jazz influenced affair.

I’m not made of money and I actually quite like the simplicity of the ESP LTD “black metal” bass, with it’s single EMG soapbar, so I’ll be doing something similar. Single volume pot again, as I won’t be needing a tone control.

Wood choice is a little weird, but it’s just what I could get hold of - cherry for the body and neck and African rosewood for the fretboard. The rosewood is very pink/red, so I might try a dark cherry red stain on the body. Scratchplate and hardware will be black. I like it when jazz-style basses have the scratchplate but no control plate, and was quite pleased that the warped body shape allowed me to apply that to the single volume configuration - happy accident (though not to everyone's tastes, I'm sure)

I’m going to try a flat fretboard on this one. None of my other basses have one and I’m curious.

Here’s a very rough idea of what it’ll look like. The headstock shape is a placeholder - I haven’t given it much thought yet. Also it'll have frets, I just couldn't be bothered to draw them in.


So far, I've started on the fretboard slots. It's going to take a while!

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Posted (edited)

I forgot to mention the scale length - it's 900mm to 850mm - so roughly 35.5 - 33.5 inches. For my current band I tune, low to high Ab, F, Ab, Eb. -so the low string is a semitone lower than standard and the others are a semitone higher. I think, if I string it .135, .100, .080, .060 (or maybe .065) - I should get a good consistent tension, but it might take some trial and error.

I've never played a bass longer than 34" before, so it might take some getting used to.

Oh, and the perpendicular fret will be the 7th. Just copying Dingwall because they seem to know what they're doing - nothing more scientific than that!

Edited by Rexel Matador

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Made a template today. This plywood is far from the ideal material for the job but the piece of MDF I was going to use is in my office and I won't be going there anytime soon. It seems to be free from gaping voids so it should do the job. Still needs a fair bit of sanding but it's nice to see the body shape full size - I think it's going to look great.


I've slotted the fretboard, though not to full depth yet, just to see how difficult it was actually going to be. Yes, it's covered in gunk from when I taped it down to plane the bottom, but after a good sanding it'll be fine. I like to keep my build diaries warts 'n' all. It's a very weird looking piece of wood - I'm just going to go with it and see what happens.


And the neck blank with truss rod - still playing around with headstock shapes. I'm not doing anything fancy for this one - and I want to keep it relatively small as this bass is going to be long AF - but I still want it too look the part.


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