14 weeks to build a bass - I have no idea what i'm doing :D

Discussion in 'Plans, Designs & Software' started by Jonajon91, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    Whats up guys, I'm going to be attempting my first build this summer. I will have about 14 weeks off between 6th form and university.

    I want to build a 6 string bass and I have not done too much serious planning other that
    > It will be fretless so I don't need to do metal work or worry about intonation.
    > It will be 34"
    > 6 strings
    > 90% decided I want to build it through neck because that looks fun as hell, but at the same time there is 10% that wants me to have a strandberg body shape.
    > I want to make it light as hell, by shoulder sucks and I already own two heavy as fuk basses (I will make it out of cork if I have to )
    > I have a tingling to make it hollow bodied with a cut in the top like some dingwall basses, but that might be a bit much for a first build, but then again I have 14 weeks

    The big thing is that I have no experience and I probably have minus experience in electronics so I will not be installing pickups right away. I am going to build the bass and sort the bridge and all that first, if time is looking good, I will buy a pickup and install it. I'm not too fussed about it to be honest, I play unplugged 98% of the time.
    Any recommendations?
     
  2. jkes01

    jkes01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    KCMO
    Hi Jona, sounds like a cool project. You want to make it light, then the Strandberg body will definitely help. My Only concern with making it a hollow body is that it might be neck heavy. Are you planning on installing a traditional truss rod or carbon fiber reinforcements?

    Just take your time and be sure to post lots of pics.

    Good luck.

    -John
     
  3. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    Oh there will be plenty of pics :D
    and you guys get to laugh as I slowly figure out things like 'there is more than one kind of sand paper?'. Either way, with the right attitude, anything is possible!
     
  4. sg lou

    sg lou Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    102
    I was in the same boat about 6 months ago. I got commissioned to build a early 60's Gibson EB3 Replica. I didn't have the first clue as to where to start but it all come together and the bass now resides in the UK. Once I get around to it I'll post the build !
     
    poro78 likes this.
  5. Purelojik

    Purelojik New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    365
    Location:
    Newport Beach California
    i just completed a bass for a customer, its my first bass actually strangely enough and my best completed instrument.

    first things first - you'll need a longer scale for a six string bass. try like a 37 or something. which will also require extra long strings. If you are tuning like a guitar or something similar where the largest string isnt super low then the 34 might work but unless you wanna be using telephone cable wire as strings i suggest you increase your string length.

    Make sure you plan out everything to scale and make template from MDF (i didnt do this but will next batch). It'll save you looots of time.

    Also for a 6 string bass your gonna need to make a nice and heavy body--or splurge to get the hipshot ultralight tuning machines cause that monster is gonna dive. even with my 4 string bass i built it had a bad neck dive. Needed about 2-3 lbs of counterweight.

    just take your time and dont rush anything. sharp tools and knowledge of the tools limits are what will make everything go smoother.

    Here's the link to the bass i recently built. Good Luck!

    Jormugandr Lives | Lutherie...
     
  6. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    Right. Ill be tuning it like a standard bass, but with a low B and a high C so im not sure about a 37 inch scale length. I was thinking 34" to keep the high C nice. Ill definitely look into this MDF thing. I am going to try and make it as light as possible because both my basses are heavy as hell. My 5 string has a thunderbird body shape and a 35" scale so I have had enough neck dive for a lifetime. I might even go the extra mile and make it headless, but that could really up the costs and make it a bit ambitious for a first build.
    Ill be going for new tools scenes as all the ones I have are next to death :) other than that, thanks for all the kind words.
     
  7. Jenious

    Jenious Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Indiana
    you could always try to make it multi-scale that way you can get a good scale for the bass as well as treble side. But that might be a bit of a pain to complete before going to uni.
     
    Purelojik likes this.
  8. skeels

    skeels New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2013
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    milwaukee WI USA
    Multiple scales should be fairly simple for a fretless. You end up playing by ear anyway.
    The hardware isn't that much more and will balance your high C nicely.
    Looking forward to this! I'm planning a 6string multi with frets, so we're on the same page!
     
  9. Jenious

    Jenious Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Indiana
    Whoops, you're right, I forgot all about it being fretless while I was typing that. Man, everyone's working on multi scales it seems like, my Ionizer 8s for my 8 string build came in the mail yesterday.
     
  10. BassGuy

    BassGuy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    You don't need a 37" scale, 34" or 35" is fine even with really low tunings, my Warkwick Thumb 6 (34" scale) is tuned F#BEADG it plays & sounds great.
     
  11. Purelojik

    Purelojik New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    365
    Location:
    Newport Beach California
    really? damn maybe im doing something wrong lol. my soundgear is a 5 string and at 34 in i lose definition in the lowest string tuned Ab. i beefed up the gauge but still doesnt sound quite like the other strings.
     
  12. BassGuy

    BassGuy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    The problem I've found is the normal strings sets usually have a lower tension B string compared to the rest of the set so I prefer the balanced tension sets Circle K do which I find sound more even, I think when I was tuning Drop Ab I was using a 158 or 166, you've also got the issue of have a rig that can properly reproduce those low frequencies.
     
    Purelojik likes this.
  13. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    Little bit, I guess you could say, update.
    > 6 strings (C,G,D,A,E,B nice and simple)
    > 34" scale
    > fretless (no fretlines, but markers on the side of the neck)
    > as lightweight as possible
    > Upper horn is going to be loooooong to avoid neckdive (I have had enough with my thunderbird :( )
    > still cant stress how light I want to make this without neckdive
    > know-how and tools still at 0%
    > possibly going for 24+ frets

    Electronics are an afterthought that will get done in the more distant future, when I do get round to electronics though;
    > 1 passive pickup
    > volume knob
    Yup, cheap and easy. I know about as much about electronics as I do woodwork.

    Still no thoughts on body/headstock shape other than the upper horn is going to be long.
     
  14. Purelojik

    Purelojik New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    365
    Location:
    Newport Beach California
    i say make a 1:1 guitar neck fretboard and all out of MDF or some cheap type of something. and once you get it how you want to all you need to do is route wood to match the templates.

    making the templates also will teach you how to use tools and if you screw up theres really no loss.
     
    Jenious likes this.
  15. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    well my last exam is the 20th of June so actual progress will start happening after then, but I will still be thinking about plans and such until then.
     
  16. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thinking more about hardware and whatnot now. I remember seeing a fretless six string bass build where the bridge was home made. It was strung through the body, and then the strings kind of rested on a slab of wood that is closer to a bridge of a 'cello than your modern conventional bridge. This would mean that I wont be able to change the intonation, but with this being a fretless build, does this really matter? It really will save on a lot of money buying a six string bridge.
    What are your thoughts, would it be easier to build considering this is my first build?
     
  17. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    Okay, so I am now done with 6th form and I know I said that updates would come after my exams, but I had some spare time so I drew up a quick plan of what the damn thing might look like.
    As you can tell I am no artist, but this was the best I could do with pixlr and a mouse :D.
    I highlighted where the bridge will end, the 24th and 12th fret and where the tuning pegs will sit. I am still going for a lightweight design with as little neck dive as possible so I wanted a small ish headstock and the upper horn goes right down to the 9-10th fret. I was wondering if anyone with any more experience with design could make it look a little more guitar shaped/professional.
    Anything i'm missing?
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    Just thinking aloud here.
    Would tuning up a little be viable. I could build a 33 inch scale (which would help with keeping it lighter) and tune it D-A-E-B-F#-C#(b). This is one tone up from standard 6 string and would open up lots of room for higher pitch solo bass stuff (like a picallo bass) and I would be able to play music where the lowest string is tuned to f# (like an 8 string guitar).
     
  19. emoney

    emoney New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    92
    The real key to making it lighter is in wood selection. I've built a couple of "big bodies" and got them to weigh in the 6lb range. I don't have a shoulder issue, I'm just getting too old to lug around a heavy guitar. Be selective when you get the timber you're planning to use, and you then you can always chamber the body to help out. Look forward to watching this one progress.
     
    Jonajon91 likes this.
  20. Jonajon91

    Jonajon91 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    Pictures and progress will happen after the 20th of this month because of my exams.
     

Share This Page