Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Electric solid body bass guitar

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
Hey all, sorry Ive not been on here much recently - since Ive started a new project I though I'd fix that and post a progress thread.

For those interested in such things, heres the spec:

5 strings 34" scale, 46mm nut, 17mm spacing at the bridge
24 fret maple fingerboard with side dots, no dots on fingerboard face
3 pc maple neck
MM style spoke nut dual action truss rod with carbon reinforcement rods
3 pc poplar body, painted finish
Chrome hardware, Schaller 2000 bridge, Gotoh small tuners

The shape is based in Leo Fenders class Jazz bass, slightly modified to make it a little more contemporary:



I bought the timber from the my usual place, John Boddys Timber. To get the haul home, I had to cut the boards down in the car park, when measuring up to glue up the blank I found I was a little too short! So with some head scratching I found if I arranged my template is just such a way I could just about fit it on, with a bit of an odd cut. Heres the body blank after jointing and in the clamps:



I made up a template for the router - using a 1/2 inch bit and a 26mm collar, the template needs to be around 6.5mm undersized:



This allowed me to start with a 30mm collar to take off the bulk of the waste, then come in with a 28mm and finally a 26mm collar.

Ive never seen this done in any photos, but I assumed theres no reason not to, so heres my T10 router mounted in the table with the collar. Theres about 3mm clearance under the ruler:



The body was rough cut with the jigsaw (really want a bandsaw!) then cleaned up on the router table:



The first pass was using a 30mm collar, so we're still 2mm over sized here. Some nasty tearout:



Taking 1mm passes at a time, I got a much cleaner result:





Burnt like crazy over the tricky bits though!



Then followed up with a roundover bit and a bit of carving:









For the forarm contour, I planed the bulk away with the smoothng plane, then finished up the roundover with sandpaper. On the belly contour, I used the drawknife, followed by Auriou rasp (DRIVEBY!) followed by the scraper to clean up, again adding back the roundover with sanpaper.
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
Onto the neck :)

The neck will be made from three pieces of quarter sawn maple. To make the outside staves, I sawed down a flatsawn maple blank, to make a bookmatch:



I always go a bit nuts on the glue:



Theres black stained .6mm veneers between the laminations, just makes it a little more interesting:





Stripey shavings!



Checking the size of everything against the plan:

 

uk woodman

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2011
Messages
48
Reaction score
0
Location
Flintshire
Looks like this project is well under way, looking forward seeing more pics of its progression, I've started my own guitar project a Les Paul standard from scrap wood I've had knocking around and stuff I hopefully will come across for free or cheaply, might put it up on the forum also, keep up the good work mate.

Regards Tim
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
uk woodman":7nuti410 said:
Looks like this project is well under way, looking forward seeing more pics of its progression, I've started my own guitar project a Les Paul standard from scrap wood I've had knocking around and stuff I hopefully will come across for free or cheaply, might put it up on the forum also, keep up the good work mate.

Regards Tim
Do it - its always good to see how other people approach the same kinds of problem - though a set neck is a different kind of construction than bolt on. If youre planning doing the classic Gibson style tennon then I'd be very interested in seeing that! :)
 

jimmy rivers

Established Member
Joined
2 Aug 2010
Messages
157
Reaction score
0
Location
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Looking good Mike! =D> Keep 'em coming, epecially interested in the neck work . I hope to find the time to make a Jazz Bass ...

...one day :D

Jim
 

Eric The Viking

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
6,606
Reaction score
62
Location
Bristle, CUBA (the County that Used to Be Avon)
Are those EMG pickups perchance? If so, they're great but do still need careful screening of the cables. You can wrap aluminium tape round the wires, and round the inside of the routed space behind the knob plate. I have some on the bass I used to play at church: great sustain but very good at picking up the induction loop during the sermon - made me jump the first time the minister "leapt out" from my cab! Screening them well makes a big difference to RF induction (taxis and mains hum), but won't help the loop issue though.

One other quick question - where did you get the fittings (bridge and capstans)? I'm only curious as I've got the parts of a four-string waiting around for a rebuild, part of which is replacing the bridge.
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
Eric The Viking":tvacjp0v said:
Are those EMG pickups perchance? If so, they're great but do still need careful screening of the cables. You can wrap aluminium tape round the wires, and round the inside of the routed space behind the knob plate. I have some on the bass I used to play at church: great sustain but very good at picking up the induction loop during the sermon - made me jump the first time the minister "leapt out" from my cab! Screening them well makes a big difference to RF induction (taxis and mains hum), but won't help the loop issue though.
Hey Eric, Im planning screening the cavities with conductive paint, good tip on screening the wires though, I'll do that!

The pickups are made by Andy at Wizard pickups http://www.wizardpickups.co.uk/shop.asp?category=Bass, these ones are specially made with bars instead of poles and a separate lead for the screen, in case I want to run them in series. They were originally intended for another instrument but whilst Im waiting the finish that one they'll be put into this one.

Eric The Viking":tvacjp0v said:
One other quick question - where did you get the fittings (bridge and capstans)? I'm only curious as I've got the parts of a four-string waiting around for a rebuild, part of which is replacing the bridge.
The tuners were from Allparts, the bridge was from ebay, its a Schaller also distributed by Allparts:



Have a hunt around, google will throw up a number of dealers.
 

Eric The Viking

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
6,606
Reaction score
62
Location
Bristle, CUBA (the County that Used to Be Avon)
Thanks for that.

I've a vague memory of Wizard pickups from years back, but I haven't really done instrument wiring for ages.

Looking at the spec they're all passive and in the 6.5 to 15 kOhm range. As much screening as you can manage will help keep it clean. I'd put conductive paint or tape on the bottom (unseen) of the pickups too (ground everything). It might be an odd impedance match to the head, as typically the input Z used to be quite a bit higher (50kOhm), but he quotes the DC resistance, not the actual impedance with notes coming out. Don't forget also to run a ground wire to the bridge (you can simply spread the individual strands underneath, so it doesn't show).

With the EMGs I went down a different route: because they're active, I added an emitter-follower circuit and output transformer, so the output (3-pin male XLR) is balanced at around 300 Ohms. It meant altering the input to the amp though - you can't use a conventional bass head without modification. I also had to add a battery compartment - they need 2xPP3 batteries!
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
DIY Stew":1w8texhb said:
This site was recommended to me, see what you think.

http://www.smallwonder-music.co.uk/shop/default.asp?

Stew
Cheers, bookmarked for later! :)

Eric The Viking":1w8texhb said:
Thanks for that.

I've a vague memory of Wizard pickups from years back, but I haven't really done instrument wiring for ages.

Looking at the spec they're all passive and in the 6.5 to 15 kOhm range. As much screening as you can manage will help keep it clean. I'd put conductive paint or tape on the bottom (unseen) of the pickups too (ground everything). It might be an odd impedance match to the head, as typically the input Z used to be quite a bit higher (50kOhm), but he quotes the DC resistance, not the actual impedance with notes coming out. Don't forget also to run a ground wire to the bridge (you can simply spread the individual strands underneath, so it doesn't show).

With the EMGs I went down a different route: because they're active, I added an emitter-follower circuit and output transformer, so the output (3-pin male XLR) is balanced at around 300 Ohms. It meant altering the input to the amp though - you can't use a conventional bass head without modification. I also had to add a battery compartment - they need 2xPP3 batteries!
These Wizards are fully screened, so I doubt adding any extra screening will do much more. I would have prefered split humbucking pickups but Andy doesnt do any in the single coil footprint.

Nice mod - DI box built into the bass! Be careful with the emitter follower though - they are fairly linear but not as linear as a high gain op amp with negative feedback. Youre putting the output of a very hi-fi pickup into something thats not entirely flat - maybe what comes out adds a bit of warmth, maybe its near flat as makes no difference - personally I prefer a bit of grind and grunge. :) Since youve already got an 18v supply in the instrument, you may as well use a super linear op amp.

Power amps and line driver amps typically have a higher gain long tailed pair driving the power stage, with unity feedback around the whole loop - maybe with some reactive components if theres a tendancy to oscillate.
 

Eric The Viking

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
6,606
Reaction score
62
Location
Bristle, CUBA (the County that Used to Be Avon)
Fair points, the pictures looked as though it was open at the back (I should have read it more carefuly.

Regarding the emitter follower - I'm not convinced it's a huge issue. A bass doesn't have a well defined tonal range, even though the EMGs are in "jazz" configuration. As long as it's not clipping I'm not going to worry too much. I may redo it sometime with a 748 or similar with a bit of bandwidth limiting - that'll be quite adequate as a line driver in this context.

Cheers,

E.
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
Eric The Viking":y3luzosj said:
Regarding the emitter follower - I'm not convinced it's a huge issue. A bass doesn't have a well defined tonal range, even though the EMGs are in "jazz" configuration. As long as it's not clipping I'm not going to worry too much. I may redo it sometime with a 748 or similar with a bit of bandwidth limiting - that'll be quite adequate as a line driver in this context.
Yeah, the proof is always in the result - if it sounds good then thats all that matters :) Im tempted to maybe drop in a John East preamp if I like the passive tone of this one. Of course, if I really like the passive tone then I'll just keep it as is.
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
I managed to spend some time on this one this weekend.

Planing up a refernce edge for the fingerboard:



Fingerboard layout glued down


Cutting the fret slots



Makeshift depth stop :)


All done


Zero fret slot and slot for nut


Im using a double action truss rod with MM style spoke nut on this one - they are much better than the allen key type






One trick I learnt is gluing a fillet over a double action rod - its not needed, but it does mean when you glue down the fingerboard you dont need to worry about the glue ending up in the truss rod channel


Thats it for another weekend spent making stuff.
 

Mike Saville

Established Member
Joined
18 Jan 2007
Messages
99
Reaction score
0
Location
St Austell
Interesting method for cutting the fret slots. How was it in terms of accuracy? Seems like lots of scope for wandering off line, which could be an issue given how accurate the slots need to be.
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
Mike Saville":kptaxzmd said:
Interesting method for cutting the fret slots. How was it in terms of accuracy? Seems like lots of scope for wandering off line, which could be an issue given how accurate the slots need to be.
With the maple block guiding the saw theres very little chance of the saw wandering - provided you start it gently and use enough wax on the teeth theres no reason you cant cut acurately enough in real terms. Even if you are out by the tickness of the kerf, you will be consistently out by that thinckness the whole length of the neck. One of the reasons I prefer the zero fret - the other is the sound of the open string matches the fretted notes much closer.

p.s. One thing I didnt mention - to match the thickness of the fret wire, this saw has zero set. Its crazy accurate but binds in the cut so wax is an absolute necessity.
 

scubadoo

Established Member
Joined
4 May 2009
Messages
225
Reaction score
9
Location
Bristol
Mikey R":30i13kja said:
I know this is a bit late, only just seen the thread but are you routing downhill?

When doing this you're best to ignore the usual rule of feeding the stock against the direction of the bit and rout down the curves

This isn't my photo but gives you the idea - (it's by JWells on the TDPRI forum a great source of info for guitar building)



Hope that helps for future builds.
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire
Cheers Scubadoo, I'll definately need to do something different on the next one I build. I think I'll get away with this one as I'll be doing a painted finish.

Now Im back in the UK Im looking forward to getting started on this again, but I'd best get over the jet lag first ;)
 

Mikey R

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2008
Messages
283
Reaction score
0
Location
North Yorkshire




Gluing down the fingerboard - at times like these theres never enough clamps!




Ripping the neck taper




Adding a single 'ear' to make up the width of the headstock. I was careful to use a piece cut from the same side of the neck so that the grain matches.
 
Top