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Jabba_the_gut

Another 27" Short Scale Mini Bass (but with LEDs)

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This will be a little less detailed build diary as it is very similar to my previous build. I'm really enjoying playing the other bass so I'm making another 27" headed fretted mini bass with a spalted beech body, maple neck and ebony fretboard.

This one will differ as I will use a different type of pickup and will fit LED side dots. I was trying to decide which colour LEDs (red, white or blue) but was told quite clear by Mrs_the_gut that they must be white. So that bit of the specification is fixed!! there will be a couple of other little differences but I'll detail them when it gets to the appropriate stage in the build.

 

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Why not green and red so you’re ready for Christmas?

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Posted (edited)

Probably because she knows I'm all 'Bah-humbug'....

And this was my previous attempt at a Christmas tree...

RCwmnMu.jpg?3

Edited by Jabba_the_gut
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I started detailing the new build in the other thread - this is what I'd written previously:

Nice to have a day off today. Been working on another 27" bass in spalted beech again. Had a piece left from the previous bass so marked it up for cutting - odd shape but sufficient for his build.

First, I placed the templates on to work out which was would avoid any of the knots or faults in the wood and look the best when done (always a bit of a guess with spalted beech when you are going to carve some of it as it changes pattern throughout it's thickness)

qOsmjDV.jpg

Then marked the line to cut:

gBCbk94.jpg

and ended up with this which lines up quite nicely across the join:

JIt9qww.jpg

I've also been practicing making scarf joints and have a nice selection of blanks for a neck:

4BPKnb0.jpg

I've got another body glued up made from ash which may also get turned into one of these.

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Posted (edited)

I am planning on using plain maple for the neck and an ebony fretboard but the last photo has the necks I'm making next to the spalted beech body so I thought it might be good to look at what goes together as I keep eyeing up the padauk one,,

I suppose this is the process we all go through to decide what looks good together. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but somethings go better together than others!! Here's a bunch of pictures of some different woods I had to hand just to give an idea. 

Stuff that looks nice (to me):

Spalted beech / maple / ebony (my plan)

XzIcEfA.jpg

Spalted beech / padauk / ebony

ZHeRHBX.jpg

Spalted beech / birds eye maple / ebony

2cLxjng.jpg

Spalted beech / maple / marble wood

qu3eOjR.jpg

Spalted beech / maple / wenge

cUAiBNl.jpg

Spalted beech / maple / ovangkol

QA2suti.jpg

Other combinations of woods:

Spalted beech / maple / flamed maple (fretboard just looks wrong to me)

MrDmtfQ.jpg

Swamp ash / purple heart

XmcH3zm.jpg

poplar burr / Sapele?

vBBDIRi.jpg?1

unknown hardwood (from Frank Blank) / flamed maple / birdseye maple / ebony / maple

dPukoot.jpg?1

Frank's wood / ovangkol / pafdauk / purpleheart / maple

38S8pYo.jpg

As an example, to me the burr, flamed maple and swamp ash in this picture just shouldn't be next to each other (too much going on):

pn1iVrs.jpg?1

I like the flamed maple next to the Sapele but not next to the spalted beech

6qwshlC.jpg

QVlMoB8.jpg?1

Edited by Jabba_the_gut
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15 hours ago, Jabba_the_gut said:

Probably because she knows I'm all 'Bah-humbug'....

And this was my previous attempt at a Christmas tree...

RCwmnMu.jpg?3

I’ll show my kids - take a straw poll...

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Posted (edited)

My tuppence worth...

With such a highly figured body too much coloured/figuring could be too overpowering. I think the ebony board and maple neck is the "best" permutations - similar colour palette. 

XzIcEfA.jpg

IMO, the Bloodwood and Paduak, though very decorative, don't add anything - they detract because they colours are featured in the body. If you are committed to using them maybe introduce the colours as a sunburst??

 

jabbas padua ebony.png

Or by adding the Paduak tone to emphasise the grain?

 

jabbas ebony paduak highlighted.png

Edited by TheGreek
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Cheers Mick. I'm not thinking of doing anything in terms of adding colour to the body - I've not tried a sunburst yet but I'll save that for another time. Looking like sticking with the plan of a plain maple and ebony neck.

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4 hours ago, Jabba_the_gut said:

I am planning on using plain maple for the neck and an ebony fretboard but the last photo has the necks I'm making next to the spalted beech body so I thought it might be good to look at what goes together as I keep eyeing up the padauk one,,

I suppose this is the process we all go through to decide what looks good together. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but somethings go better together than others!! Here's a bunch of pictures of some different woods I had to hand just to give an idea. 

Stuff that looks nice (to me):

Spalted beech / maple / ebony (my plan)

XzIcEfA.jpg

Spalted beech / padauk / ebony

ZHeRHBX.jpg

Spalted beech / birds eye maple / ebony

2cLxjng.jpg

Spalted beech / maple / marble wood

qu3eOjR.jpg

Spalted beech / maple / wenge

cUAiBNl.jpg

Spalted beech / maple / ovangkol

QA2suti.jpg

Other combinations of woods:

Spalted beech / maple / flamed maple (fretboard just looks wrong to me)

MrDmtfQ.jpg

Swamp ash / purple heart

XmcH3zm.jpg

poplar burr / Sapele?

vBBDIRi.jpg?1

unknown hardwood (from Frank Blank) / flamed maple / birdseye maple / ebony / maple

dPukoot.jpg?1

Frank's wood / ovangkol / pafdauk / purpleheart / maple

38S8pYo.jpg

As an example, to me the burr, flamed maple and swamp ash in this picture just shouldn't be next to each other (too much going on):

pn1iVrs.jpg?1

I like the flamed maple next to the Sapele but not next to the spalted beech

6qwshlC.jpg

QVlMoB8.jpg?1

Spoilt for choice :)

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I get and understand the ebony maple combo. But the Purpleheart brings THE FUNK!

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No idea - they all look good.  But - wow again for that spalt!!!

Looking forward to seeing how this fares :)

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Going with the maple and ebony option! I made a couple of scarf jointed neck blanks in a previous thread one of which was maple and has now been ear marked for this build.

First task with the neck blank was to add spalted beech veneer to the front and rear of the headstock. I really liked how this looked on the previous build so I'm doing on this build. On the previous build the veneer was really an after thought and was added after I had routed the channel for the truss rod and adjuster. This time it is going on before any of that is done - the only reason being the truss rod adjuster channel will look nice (even though it will be covered). But that's just me, even if something is hidden I still like it to be made well.

p9YMSQR.jpg?1

The veneer was on for a few days and I kept looking at it and kept trying to decide if it was a good enough match to the front of the body. I got a leftover bit from cutting out the body and cut that into slices a couple of mm thick. Book matched, these are just big enough to make the veneer for the headstock.

uXWMLtf.jpg

0pUfTqY.jpg

I picked a pair, glued them together and sanded them to about 0.8mm thick. I was quite pleased how they looked so I removed the veneer I'd stuck to the headstock and sanded it flat again ready to take the new veneer. I think this looks a much better match to the body than the previous veneer and was worth the effort. 

ETcr8I5.jpg

kFupMEg.jpg

Now I can get on with the fretboard and those fussy little LEDs.....

 

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Posted (edited)

Fancied a quiet little job so decided to make a couple of truss rod covers. I've used mother-of-pearl and ebony again as it has such a nice contrast and looked good on my last build. First task, printout the logo, cut it out and stick it to the mother-of-pearl the cut it out using a jewellers saw (with a vacuum and a dust mask).

DMPcEsH.jpg

Then stick another paper logo onto the ebony and cut the recess using a Dremel. The inlay pits into the recess and any gaps can be filled with ebony dust and glue. Once dried, the whole thing can be shaped and sanded.

ei2qCU4.jpg?1

rISzplG.jpg

Edited by Jabba_the_gut
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I've cut the fretboard to its final shape and marked it up ready for drilling to fit the side LEDs. Always good to mark it up and double check before drilling.

24ozEVv.jpg

Next was a few test holes to determine the correct positioning of the markers using one of the offcuts from the side of the board. That way I can ensure my drilling guide is correct and all of the holes will be in the same place; as soon as you have two contrasting materials such as the markers and the ebony, anything that is even slightly out of line stands out in a bad way!!

FsL5JfC.jpg

Next task is to route the slot on the inside of the fretboard that the LEDs will sit in. Fitting LEDs really is quite a faff......but they are bright and shiny! (I'm actually thinking they might be a bit too bright so a three position off-dim-bright switch might be required).

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LEDs as face dots as well?

*runs away and hides*

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Si600 said:

LEDs as face dots as well?

*runs away and hides*

Nope, only side dots. Face LED dots are just too much!!

Edited by Jabba_the_gut
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Who needs face LEDs when you have those beautifully inlaid numbers there?

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9 minutes ago, owen said:

Who needs face LEDs when you have those beautifully inlaid numbers there?

Took me ages to get the hand written effect.....

 

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2 minutes ago, Jabba_the_gut said:

Took me ages to get the hand written effect.....

 

As I have to remind my wife when she looks at me, fabulous does not just happen.

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Posted (edited)

What a faff these LEDs are!! This really is quite time consuming and you really have to be patient to get everything carefully soldered and lined up. I've got some fine multicoloured wire from an old SCART lead that is perfect for this job and a very small soldering iron. The LEDs are wired in pairs in series with a resistor for connecting to a 9V battery.

jzUGoPx.jpg

All the LEDs are now installed in the fretboard. They're connected to a battery and I'll leave it on for a while just to make sure everything works ok before I glue them in which is the point of no return.

Moctqx8.jpg

As soon as I'm happy with these I'll glue the fretboard on and start shaping the neck.

Edited by Jabba_the_gut
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This has been really time consuming and quite fiddly but it's done. The LEDs are installed in the fretboard, glued in place and the clear plastic installed and trimmed to get the light to the edge of the board. It's always quite a bit of faff as you need to ensure that the (really thin) wires are away from the fret slots in case they need to be cut a little deeper after the board is radiused. Everything also has to fit in the channel in the back of the fretboard so it s flat and level ready to be glued onto the neck. It's always nice to get to this point as almost everything is now robust whereas prior to gluing everything is quite delicate.

XqT3ptC.jpg

I've installed the truss rod so next task is to drill the hole through the neck for the wires then this can all be glued together. The last item to make the LEDs completely robust is to get the wires soldered to the connection on the back of the neck. Once that is done nothing is left exposed or vulnerable and  I can get on with the basic shaping of the neck.

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Question: rather than LEDs at each position,  is there any manufacturer using a single brighter LED and running optical fibres to the position dots?  I suspect not, but it would be interesting if anyone has.

 

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4 minutes ago, Richard R said:

Question: rather than LEDs at each position,  is there any manufacturer using a single brighter LED and running optical fibres to the position dots?  I suspect not, but it would be interesting if anyone has.

It is an option I've consider trying as there would be less fiddly wiring and it would be possible to use something like a tri-colour LED for more tarty options! The downside would be more fine routing on the back of the fretboard to accommodate each piece of optical fibre but also to ensure the light from the LED was evenly distributed as not to end up with one side dot being brighter than another. I might try this on a bit of scrap at some point to see how do-able it would be.

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I wasn't going to mention the tri colour LED, in case I thought shallow and flash, but clearly that's where this should be headed. 😁

"FS/FT: Jaba 'lockdown fibre rainbow bass.' Control plate knobs are volume, pickup pan, stacked bass/trebble, and individual RGB intensity. Not good for metal, but great for Blues. Or Greens. Or Taup if you must"

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