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Saitenholzbass Klangmaschine #1


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Pretentious title perhaps? After finishing up the Pitbull fretless I have been pondering building something for fun. I like the idea of a headless bass. I also like the idea of using renewable stuff. I ended up drawing incredibly crude ideas in paint and went from this:

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To This:

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In my imagination it's a kind of 'what bass would Kraftwerk build if Kraftwerk built basses.' I'm going to build with cheap wood from the local timber merchant (red grandis or rose gum) because it's cheap ands I don't really know what I'm doing. Also using a richlite finger board for similar reasons.

 

So far i've laminated, laid stuff out, admired the straitness of the grain through the lanimations, and rough shaped the neck.

 

 

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Thanks,  I read that before gluing, and approached the glue up with all due trepidation. I used a fresh tube of the recommended epoxy, and just placed a few weights on the board as it dried, no clamps for excessive squeeze out.

I sized the finger board before gluing to the neck blank. Once dried the fingerboard was my router guide for the neck. I also superglued some small wood pieces in place before gluing to hold the finger board in the correct location.

 

This weekend I hope to fit the string retainer and bridge so I can get junk string on to check out the bassic (sic) alignment.

 

Once that's done I need to cut and attach the wings, finish fingerboard and neck shape, final sand and finish. Nothing to it.

 

TBH I am a little worried about the wood I am using shrinking.

I'm doing this one the best I can but am regarding it as a prototype build for the 'good' one.

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That's a great question, and I don't know.

 

I think it will be strong enough for 'normal' use, especially if I make it reasonably deep. It won't survive being thrown out a window or down the stairs. I intend to get this prototype built and then I will shorten the horn to whatever minimum length allows it to balance well on the strap.

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After a range of wood bashing activities I am making some progress. The neck is almost to it's final shape and the wings are cut, although the top one will be cut a little shorter.

I have assembled the core with bridge etc and briefly put strings on it, no problems with strength or alignment appeared.

I am actually very happy with the shape that is emerging, probably proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

 

To be honest I have made some silly mistakes on this build. So far none are critical, but if I decide I like the end result I will almost certainly built another with better timbers. The Rose Gum (or red Grandis) is OK for prototyping. The grain is straight and it cuts well, but it tends to break out strands more easily than conventional timber. (I have not built many guitars yet, but I have some woodworking experience)

 

 

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Right now I have not wired controls, just a jack socket.

 

The Wilkinson pickup sounds really good, plenty of bass with really good definition as well. For some reason Amazon decided to offer me it at half price, bargain of the year so far, but would be worth the full price for sure.

 

The bridge is an overlord of music one, mine is decently machined and lightly painted. Despite some of the negative comments it seems pretty good to me for the cost. Lubricating the threads with a decent grease is essential to be able to tune with your fingers.

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Thanks, that's an interesting comparison, I hadn't seen these basses before. I must admit (a little egotistically) that I prefer mine. I wired it fully at the weekend and couldn't be happier with the outcome. I have D'Addario XL Chromes on there and the combination of strings & pickup produce a big punchy tone that I really love. The blend wiring for the second coil is pretty nice as well , although it seems like all the tonal change is at one end of the control.

 

Balance on a strap is good and it's very comfortable to play. I prefer to play standing or sitting with the strap in place, so the lack of knee balance doesn't bother me,

 

I still have a pretty thick neck shape and a flat fingerboard at the moment. I thought I could experiment to see what I like and then shave it down. So far I'm finding a flat board very comfortable but I think  will try radiusing it at some point. The Richlite makes for a very good feeling fingerboard.

 

For an all in cost of £175 I'm very happy, I made a list of over ten mistakes I can learn from. My next steps are to refine neck and fingerboard profiles, apply a finish, and work out a refined design for the next one.

 

Building the next one may be a while away though

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