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Old 06-06-2012, 04:49 PM   #1
BirdRiverCustom
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Join Date: May 2012
100GBP Challenge 2012 - Flea Modulus Bass

This is my entry into the 100GBP ($154.39USD) challenge for 2012. It is a Modulus Flea Bass inspired design. I plan to also attempt to build a laminate neck similar to the design used by the ex-Factor bass (Phillip Kubicki's company Factor Basses ). I shall post my running parts list and approximation of parts not yet obtained in this first thread. I'm still gathering pieces but hope to start on the build and at least build a test neck to test out the laminate neck process soon. I plan on finishing the body in a bright green color with a borax swirl finish (some testing will be required on that as well).

Parts List
Fretboard- 3x3/8x28 Birdseye Maple $20
Neck Material- Rift cut Hard Maple $25
Bell Forrest Products
Body- A piece of Oak i've been saving for a project just like this $10
'Locally' sourced lumber mill Hopkins Family Woodworks


Bridge- Vintage Bridge GFS- $13.95
Pickup- Music Man GFS- $27.95
Truss Rod- StewMac 4mm Nut Hot Rod (24")- $20.99
Pots- StewMac Alpha 250k- 2@$2.73=$5.65
Tuners- EBay- $13.95
Mounting Hardware- (ferrels, screws) TBD
Nut- $0.66 (ebay)
Knobs- TBD
Jack- $1.15 (PedalParts)

Total Cost $139.30
Total Allowance: $154


Last edited by BirdRiverCustom : 07-30-2012 at 12:00 PM. Reason: pricing update
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:54 PM   #2
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This is my rough rendering of the intended shape and finish

Last edited by BirdRiverCustom : 06-06-2012 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:17 PM   #3
Phantom14
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nice man! get that swirling right and it will look sick. Looking forward to see how you cope with the budget
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:30 AM   #4
BirdRiverCustom
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Thanks, im trying to avoid having to plane the material for the neck down, but my trip to the Home Depot last night was unproductive. I was hoping to find some hardwood laminate/veneer material but no such luck, if i cant find an option in the correct budget range than im gonna have to buy larger material and rip them down on the table saw and than plane each piece.

My drummer came up with the idea to do an alternating skunk pattern, which would provide an interesting effect on the side of the neck due to the tapering. It would look like something to this effect. This is based on 1/16" laminate pieces totaling about 32 pieces, but im thinking 1/8" is gonna be a better option going forward. That would be about 22 pieces.


Last edited by BirdRiverCustom : 06-07-2012 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:01 PM   #5
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First of the parts have started coming in. Got a cheap set of squire tuners on ebay for $14. Also got the fretboard in, im still on the fence as whether to do a fretless or fretted bass. Im not sure if the configuration of this bass, electronics wise, will lend to a good tone for a fretless with the MM pups. But heres the wood, 35" birds eye maple fretboard i got from Bell Forest Products

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Old 06-12-2012, 12:21 PM   #6
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i would go fretless just for the appeal. Plus, if you got the swirl and skunk combo, it would look sick!
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:04 PM   #7
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Thats what im thinking too @Educated 240. Ive been toying with inlay ideas using an epoxy/dye mix to fill, so not technically an inlay in the true sense. Ive gone back and forth between two ideas, the (featured below) octopus inlay with accent color inlay dot at the 12th fret, or some variation of the borax swirl effect which i havent really been able to render something that ive been happy with. Im also thinking about only doing side dots and no fret marker inlays. Im gonna get a high-res photo of the fretboard so i can accurately render the tone and color of the wood. Anyone have any thoughts?

Parts update 6/14: Everything has now come in with the exception of my neck wood. I hope to get that this weekend
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:43 AM   #8
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6/27
QUICK UPDATE: I have decided that the laminate neck will not be cost/time effective for this build. Due to the restrictions of cost, it would be too much to buy hardwood pieces long enough already ripped to 1/8" thickness due to the length needed for a bass neck (~35"). Im not in a position where i can easily rip these pieces down. I did find some very helpful info online about building a production stop for a table saw to rip thin laminate, so i will definitely do the laminate on the next build, but its just not gonna work cost wise for this one.

I have instead grabbed a rift cut maple neck blank from the good folks at Bell Forrest, who i highly recommend, i received the products in a timely and affordable manner and was very impressed with their follow up customer service. I have updated my cover photo with all 3 stocks of wood (fingerboard, neck, body) and plan on trying to get the neck template cut and blank planed to the correct thickness. Depending on how much time i can get in the shop i may try to rough cut the body and get the pup template routed. Working on all the template and math type work this week in preparation of cutting day.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:27 PM   #9
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this looks promising

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Old 07-02-2012, 11:53 AM   #10
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Thanks to this storm: (Winds measured by Doppler radar at 10:05 p.m. Pink shades indicate gusts of over 64 knots or 74 mph)

Not much was accomplished this weekend due to the subsequent power loss friday night. I was able to cut the neck template out of mdf prior to the storm so it wasnt a total wash. Gonna try for round 2 again this weekend unless i can get free time to go out to the shop on the 4th. We're getting a new Delta spindle sander in this week (!) so that should be fun to set up and help with the headstock shaping.

Last edited by BirdRiverCustom : 07-02-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:14 AM   #11
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Made progress on the neck yesterday. Got the neck blank planed down to size. Had a slight issue in that on the finishing pass it took a little more out than intended and the thickness is about a 1/16th shy of 7/8's. While less than ideal, im hoping i didnt pass a structural failing point. I was thinking i would maybe leave the fretboard a little prouder, but that doesnt really make sense as that would just increase overall thickness. Anyone have any thoughts? Is it not a big deal and more of a feel issue? The profile of the neck is just gonna be a little less cut than originally planned at this point.

Also got the template cut (again) without screwing it up this time and sanded the neck profile down and checked it against a straight edge. Hoping the spindle sander comes in this week so i can get the headstock sanded down and start to cut the neck and get the truss rod in this weekend.



edit: Just for clarification, the neck in the photo is being used as a guide for construction purposes

Last edited by BirdRiverCustom : 07-05-2012 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:38 PM   #12
Vendetta V
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awwwh just one pic?
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:52 PM   #13
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Yeah, its so damn hot out we only were out for about 2 hours. I was slacking off on the photos in the interest of getting it done without getting heatstroke. Gonna look at putting an AC unit in the workshop as the 100+ degree days are really cutting down on workability. Should be able to get a little more done this Saturday evening (assuming we have power). Gonna try and cut some body blanks to test the swirl patterns as well. More pictures to come, as a photographer i should not be such a slouch, ill redouble my efforts. Heres a look at the headstock layout i was working up on paper before rendering it in illustrator.

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Old 07-12-2012, 09:47 AM   #14
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Slow progress this week as we are still waiting on the spindle sander to get going on the build. I may just hand sand the template. In other template news, i purchased a 2" straight bit for the tracing router as well as a bottom mounted bearing cutter and may just go ahead and rough cut and rout the body so i can get to work on the pockets and control cavities. I also received the enamel paints that will be used for the swirling, so if i can get a couple body blanks cut i can test that out. Still not sure how to best paint the solid undercolor, other than buying the StewMac solid colors and mixing them. Any thoughts anyone?

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Old 07-12-2012, 07:00 PM   #15
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you could use the reranch paints. i have never used them but i have only read good things about them.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:45 AM   #16
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Thanks for the info on ReRanch, I've looked at them before so maybe ill give them a try out. I probably will just go with StemMac in order to get the right shade of green, but maybe not.

Attempted to make progress this weekend, finally got the spindle sander in so i figure i would rout so body blanks to test out the borax swirling and figure the right pattern i want. Im gonna document that with video to look back over afterwards so ill post that up here too. I got new bits for this project as i wanted them to be sharp as hell, but i didnt have the router cranked up to enough rpms, and promptly took a chunk out of the master template.

Posted up to rout


Taking a bite out of crime


Epic fail! While frustrating, i figured i may as well just cut the blanks since they're just for testing anyway. I cut two of them and ill hit them with a roundover bit and a sander tonight, then paint them up with some Behr ultra i have at the house that's a forest green color just to get a base coat and sealer on them.

Sandwiched final product.

Last edited by BirdRiverCustom : 07-23-2012 at 02:22 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:19 PM   #17
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As some of you can tell, at this stage this is a weekend project. My brother in laws shop is north of Baltimore so its not the most convention for me during the week, at least during the large scale tool phase (milling, routing, ect). Spent a couple hours of limited free time Saturday cleaning up the shop so we could make a mess again.


Halfway through cleaning up the work weeks mess.

While not super critical, the neck template is all sanded down and ready for some necking, which hopefully will happen this coming Saturday, i just didn't have enough time to get everything done at once so i held off on it.


He also finally got the spindle sander so I sanded down the body templates. I should be able to get a couple coats of primer on it no problem this week to test out some borax swirling.

Last edited by BirdRiverCustom : 07-23-2012 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:56 AM   #18
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First up, got some cheapo fluorescent paint from home depot for the testing blanks. The paint actually dulled down a little so i was glad i got it as bright as i did. Final body color should be a bit brighter than this. Also, for those of you interested on where to find Borax for the swirl, after much wandering of aisles in Target and smart phone searching, i found (apparently) the most common brand name "20 Mule Team" Borax. It should be located in your local target next to the powdered detergent. Borax was used as a laundry booster for years until all this new fancy stuff like shout and whatnot has come along, and is an all natural, environmentally friendly alternative (dont say you never learned anything here).


Heres a shot of the neck blank after being centerlined and being prepped for the truss rod cutting. Im using the StewMac Hotrod truss for this project. After doing some reading when i realized i didnt have a 7/32" router bit, i just went with a 1/4" bit. The rod fits with a slight bit of room so i may shave down a couple pieces of off-cut to shim it before siliconing it into place.


Since i didnt have plunge router available to me, i just had to slide it in where the router jumped anyway. This is the aftermath of the rout. Im on the fence as to whether i should fill the little chunks in, thoughts? I could probably just bondo it easily so the fretboard has an even bonding surface.



Then i rough cut the shape down (for some reason there are no pictures of this, sorry). This is the neck after being cut with the template reattached and ready for tracing with the router.


Unfortunately, i hit a major snag at this point. I couldnt get the bit to center correctly in the jig and after messing with it for a good bit of time, including getting the welder out and tack welding the shank so it wouldnt rotate, i gave up and got a bottom bearing tracing bit and was gonna do it upside down, until i discovered that the router shaft had somehow been knocked out of alignment. Piss! I had to pack in in at that point which was frustrating, but social obligations called, and it was scorching hot out by mid afternoon. Up this week, getting the router repaired and sealing the body blanks for testing. Catching a couple shows this week monday and tuesday so wednesday will be the first opportunity to really get into anything unfortunately.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:16 AM   #19
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Made good progress on the neck this weekend!

Made a jig with some leftover pieces from rough cutting the neck to plane down the headstock.


Headstock planed down to 1/2 inch thickness


Had to go old school to drill the truss rod access hole. The good old trusy rusty Sears and Roebuck hand drill, which took about 20 minutes to drill the hole.


Used a piece of shoe molding and some 120 grit sandpaper to sand the profile of the relief. stopped a little short of the nut and will sand it the rest of the way once the fret board is glued. This also took forever.


I then realized i hadnt planed the fret board so i had to drag the planer back out and run it through the machine a couple times. For some reason the supplier only planed one side of it before shipping. Ive read that birdseye maple needs to be placed with the fat end of the birds eye knots on the bottom so they dont pop out, makes sense to me.


Clamp city! Used the recommended 3/4 inch strip of tape to prevent glue in the truss rod channel. For some reason i didnt take a picture when i took the clamps off, ill post that next. I do have a 6" radius block, but am a little concerned with some of the other posts about uneven sanding, so im debating building a jig or figuring out some way to prevent the board from getting unevenly sanded. Ive used it for refinishing with no issues, but the board is already more or less shaped at that point.

Last edited by BirdRiverCustom : 08-13-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:47 AM   #20
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looking good so far.........i've never made a bass guitar.....i really should one day.

Looking forward to seeing the paint job.

sharp tools to ya

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