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27" Short Scale 5 String


Jabba_the_gut
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I've made a couple of 4 string mini basses which I'm really pleased with so the time has come to make a 5 string version! It is going to have the same body shape as the previous build but just be a little wider to accommodate the extra string. I'm thinking of the 5th string being high rather than low - I've tried a low string on the previous basses just to see what it was like and I don't think it was quite defined enough. I will try a couple of different things before I make the final decision.

Going for a more minimal look in terms of wood finish this time. The body will be ash (nearly quarter sawn), plain maple for the neck and padauk for the fretboard. Hardware will be chrome for this one.

I've made a start, cut the templates for neck and body and headstock. I've also cut and trimmed the body.

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I've also got a body left from a previous mini bass that I have veneered the top with maple and cherry layers but haven't decided what it will become yet!!

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This will be another slow build as I've got loads of jobs to do around the house.......

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  • 2 months later...

I've done a little more on the 5 string and am hoping to really progress with it over Christmas. The postie has just delivered the 5 string set I ordered from Newtone Strings - delivered for Christmas just as Neil said. Superb strings and great service.

As you can see from the pack, the plan is to string this E to C.

dacchFC.jpg?1

I'll post the updates a little later.

 

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6 hours ago, Jabba_the_gut said:

I've done a little more on the 5 string and am hoping to really progress with it over Christmas. The postie has just delivered the 5 string set I ordered from Newtone Strings - delivered for Christmas just as Neil said. Superb strings and great service.

As you can see from the pack, the plan is to string this E to C.

dacchFC.jpg?1

I'll post the updates a little later.

 

Nice.

Looking forward to seeing more, and hearing how you get on with those gauges. I've got some starting at 0.115 on the low E for my 26.5" bass, and I find them just too thick.

Eude

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4 minutes ago, eude said:

Nice.

Looking forward to seeing more, and hearing how you get on with those gauges. I've got some starting at 0.115 on the low E for my 26.5" bass, and I find them just too thick.

Eude

Hi Eude,

Ive used these gauges on the 4 string versions and like how they feel tension wise. Anything in particular you’d like to know? (I’ll explain if I can!). 
 

I have also got another set going down to .125 for a low B but not properly explored that yet. 

Cheers

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49 minutes ago, Jabba_the_gut said:

Hi Eude,

Ive used these gauges on the 4 string versions and like how they feel tension wise. Anything in particular you’d like to know? (I’ll explain if I can!). 
 

I have also got another set going down to .125 for a low B but not properly explored that yet. 

Cheers

Nothing too in depth, just intrigued by the lighter gauges and the fact they've worked out well for you.

I want to pop a low B on the bass I question, E to F isn't really suiting me, I just don't really use the High F, and based on the above, I will be ordering some strings from Neil early next year! If the kids leave me alone for 5 mins I might just order them after Xmas.

Eude

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This bass is going to have an EMG 40TWX pickup fitted. I used an EMG MMTW on one of the 4 string version of this bass and I quite like it as it can be used as a single coil or humbucker so provides a few more options for a single pickup.

I already had made the template for the body with neck and bridge cut outs so i added another for the pickup and then I would route all of them in one go. I used my usual method of making the template - I use some straight pieces of wood to make the outline of the pickup, cut the centre out then tidy up the edges with a template cutter in the router.

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I clamped the template securely to the body and made sure everything lines up (measure twice, cut once - definitely!).

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I remove most of the wood using a drill and a forstner bit  before changing to template cutters in the router. I use a few different diameters of cutters to suit each radius of the pickup corners, bridge corners and neck.

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Before I join the two body halves together I drill holes to allow for the wring later. Just seems easier for things like the battery box and pickup cables. The holes are set at depths that should be correct when the pockets for the control cavity, pickup etc. are routed out. The hole for the pickup has ended up perfectly in the corner of the pickup pocket - quite pleased with myself!!

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Next job will be to cut the pockets for the control cavity and battery boxes. I think I'll put two batteries in this - one for the pickup and one for the neck LEDs.

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Made the cut outs in the template for the two batteries, removed the bulk with a forstner but then tided up with a router. There's two templates for the battery box; one for the main body and one for the rounded top (as I'm recessing this as I think it looks much better that way).

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Same process is used for the control cavity. I find it useful to have a selection of template cutter bits of differing diameters and lengths for routing these cavities. You can get away with one template cutter and a chisel if needed as the cutters can get pricey  (£25+ each).

I kept an offcut of the ash from the body and cut a slice off to use for the cavity cover. I've tried to match the grain as much as possible. Next task will be to cut the cover to shape.

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7 minutes ago, owen said:

You make it look so easy :(

Not everything goes smoothly.....

I hadn't drilled the hole for the battery to control  deep enough to fully reach the cavity but I was lucky in that it was only 3mm short which I could drill from the cavity end!! Anything more than that and I would have been drilling more holes to route the battery wires through the pickup cavity.

It also makes life easier having a bolt on neck as that allows for some adjustment if needed but if it went completely pear shaped, you can just build a new neck. I'm trying a set neck on the 4 string I'm building at the moment as that wouldn't be too big a loss if it all went wrong.

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26 minutes ago, owen said:

>if it went completely pear shaped, you can just build a new neck

There is a fundamental difference right there.

"If it goes pear shaped then you  @Jabba_the_gut, @Andyjr1515 et. al. can just  build a new neck due to their considerable skill, time spent learning, toolset, innate ability etc. "

I think the above is what he actually meant 😉

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Posted (edited)

Some important little pieces arrived today so I can get on with a bit more this weekend.

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These are the LEDs for the fretboard that are stopping me rounding the edges of the body. I need the LEDs, soldered and installed before I can fit the fretboard to the neck which I can then trim to fit in the neck pocket so I can then take the thickness off the back of the neck (by using the body as a template) so I can then round the body edges..... If I round the body edges now, I can't use it as a template!

I'm not sure how these LEDs will look. I've gone for orange LEDs for a padauk fretboard - not sure how that will look so will try it first but I am thinking of making two necks at the same time in case I don't like one of them!! If they both go well then I'll have a spare neck for another build.

Not the biggest things these LEDs 1.25 x 2.00mm....

Edited by Jabba_the_gut
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I'm kinda surprised you don't see a kind of light waveguide up the edge of a fingerboard. One led at one end and notches or small conical indentation at the marker positions. I  could picture a gentle glow along the fingerboard edge with small points of light. 

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14 hours ago, MoonBassAlpha said:

I'm kinda surprised you don't see a kind of light waveguide up the edge of a fingerboard. One led at one end and notches or small conical indentation at the marker positions. I  could picture a gentle glow along the fingerboard edge with small points of light. 

I did try a couple of experiments originally with pieces of perspective and fibre optic cable but didn't get the effect I wanted. I couldn't get the focus and brightness I was looking for. I'm going to continue looking at ideas along these lines but for the moment individual LEDs works for me (but they are fiddly!). 

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57 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

Mabye more fibre optic and less perspective? :D

 

Yeah! Don't you just love predictive text!! Not as bad as the time a while back when I was writing a technical document and describing a 'shut down' sequence. U and I are next to each other on the keyboard and the spell checker didn't pick that typo up.....

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1 hour ago, Jabba_the_gut said:

Yeah! Don't you just love predictive text!! Not as bad as the time a while back when I was writing a technical document and describing a 'shut down' sequence. U and I are next to each other on the keyboard and the spell checker didn't pick that typo up.....

I know the problem, f and g are next to each other and writing 'buffered' has caught me out more then once

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 months later...
On 03/01/2021 at 13:48, Jabba_the_gut said:

It also makes life easier having a bolt on neck as that allows for some adjustment if needed but if it went completely pear shaped, you can just build a new neck. 

That tempted fate didn't it?!!!

Not entirely sure how, but the chuck must have not been tight enough and router bit moved out putting a hole in the back of the neck. Time to build another neck......

I actually needed to build another two necks for another project so I've started making them all at the same time.

After thicknessing all the neck blanks I used a bandsaw to cut the angle for the scarf joint. After lots of very tedious sanding (I really must build a jig to make this easier and quicker) I ended up with these:

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It pays to take time and get this right as it makes for a nice, tight joint. These are the three necks prior to gluing:

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The worst thing about wrecking the original neck is that I need to make new veneers for the headstock. I bought some ash veneer from different places but it just didn't match to my satisfaction so I made some by cutting thin slices from the offcuts from the body then sanding to thickness. That took ages the first time and now I've got to repeat it!! Oh well, it will be worth it in the end.

Cheers

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Lots and lots of sanding , a few blisters and an understanding of why they call it 'hardwood', I have sanded the veneers to about 0.9mm.

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I then glued these to the front and rear of the headstock and clamped in place. Once set, a quick sand of the lip and marked up the centre line ready to cut the truss rod channel.

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Best thing today was putting a fan in the workshop - made it nice and comfortable to get on with a few things.

First up was cutting the truss rod slot - took a little longer than I planned as I made a new jig for holding the neck.

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After that, cut the neck to size and trimmed the edges with the router.

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All went well, no issues so that puts me back to where I was a couple of weeks ago but this time I have a neck without a hole in it!!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Jabba,

A friend asked me today if I could make him a 5 string short scale bass. I've successfully made a

few 6 string custom bodies but no bass' yet. 

 

I've got everthing I need to build 6 string fret boards, including a nifty heavy steel slotting template

from Stew Mac for 25 inch and 25.5 inch scale. I use this with a crosscut sled on my table saw.

 

Please help if you can. How are you cutting your 27 inch scale fret board?

Thank you in advance, Matt

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