#1
Hello all,

Thought I'd share this here, its a bass...I hope that's ok .

This is a build I have been working on for a while, it is a bass version of the Sirius guitar (pic below). It is a 32" scale 4 string bass. The top and back is of Cherry with an English Maple core. The neck features the same woods, a three piece laminate construction with a fingerboard again of English Maple. So 10 pieces of wood from only two species!

Electronics wise its going to be passive with two Kent Armstrong precision pickups.

The bass was actually started over a year ago now, but I got so busy with commissions this build had to wait. Unfortunately I didn't start taking pictures at the begining of the build, so the first picture you see is when I started documenting the build.

This is where I started documenting the progress. The shape has been cut out and the roundover to the body cut, though the neck profile has yet to be carved.



This is the little brother of the bass, the Sirius guitar. The same three woods were used for this instrument also. Though the body is a single piece of Cherry here, as apposed to the 6 pieces used for the bass body.



Time to polish the fingerboard to a high gloss; this was done with Micro-Mesh upto 12000 grit. There is no finish on the board here, the shine you see is just from the polished wood.



Next, I installed the frets. I prefer a hammer to do this as it's nice and quick (30 mins max) and gives good results. The wire is pre bent using a fret bender before this. I don't have a picture of this, in the picture here I'm beveling the fret ends using a home made tool which holds the file at the correct angle...It looks a little rough as it has been well used!



After that I level with an oil stone and crown with a crowning file. Then I sand/file smooth all sharp corners.



Onto neck carving, the most enjoyable part of the whole build for me! I start by marking up the facets which will create the rough shape, then carve to these facets. Following this more facets are drawn and carved and we are getting close to final shape, where it is then sanded to the finished contour. All of this is mainly done with the tools you see here, a Drawknife and Surform (not pictured) for removing the main meat of the neck, then spokeshave and micro plane rasp for the more detailed areas.



Here is the neck nearly finished, it still needs a lot of sanding but its close!



Jumping to body now, where I have drilled for the neck attachment ferrules and bolts. I have also made up a pickup template, so next update I'll be routing for the pickups.



That's all for now, check back for more updates soon. Thank you for checking out this build.
#2
That polished wood idea is seriously interesting. I'm tossing up what to do with my maple neck I'm using in a build. I hate having poly finishes on the fingerboard but buffing up the wood might be a great option for me.

how resilient is the buff?
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#3
Yes, it works well polishing the board like this, I do still apply a finish after, though it is a very light coat just to protect against dirt and finger grease. This coat is applied thick then left around 15 mins and rubbed off completely. This leaves a very fine layer behind protecting the wood from discolouration and moisture. Polishing the wood like this means you aren't relying on the finish for the gloss...it comes from the wood and the finishes only purpose is protection

If the fingerboard were Rosewood or Ebony it would be polished just like this though without a finish afterwards as dirt isnt such a problem on darker woods.
#4
cool

I really want a vintage vibe with my build so I wanted to yellow/age the neck somehow. How do you think I could do that with the buffing wood method?
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#5
The only way I can think of to get that kind of look (without waiting years) is to use a tinted Nitro. You should be able to find it in aerosol cans and spray it after installing frets. I haven't sprayed Nitro onto polished wood before though, so not sure how it would look. But give it a try! .

Alternatively Linseed oil yellows quite quickly, but it might be a different yellow to what you are after. This works well with the polished wood too. Best to do some test pieces.
#6
Yeah I'm thinking that too.. The thing is I played a vintage strat with a bare maple neck and it felt AMAZING. I was hoping to recreate that feel with just the polished neck but maybe a thin coat of tinted nitro is the way to go... I'm sure it'll wear through pretty quick anyway (I play 1-2 hours most days)
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
#7
Next up is the pickup routs. This bass is having twin P pickups which are a fiddly shape to make a template for. But here it is attached! The front pickup is in the traditional place for a Precision pickup (though scaled down with the 32" scale) and the bridge pickup is in a similar place to a Jazz Bass.



Here it is with the pickups routed, the line behind the bridge pickup is where the bridge will be mounted to give an idea of scale. You'll notice the corners of the pickups are still rounded, as the bearing of the cutter cant get to these. There are a few ways of dealing with these, but as I'm fairly proficient with chisels these are going to be cut with a few chisels a bit later on.



Now onto the control cavity. A nice messy action shot here! I just love the shavings Forstner bits create, so thought I'd share a picture of them.

To get to this step a template was made, the pots drilled for, then the bulk drilled out with Forstner bits to save on the router cutter.....and make pretty shavings!



The finished cavity, the lid will be routed for with a rabbetting bit when the majority of the sanding has taken place.



I realised I didn't have a shot of the side showing the construction, so here is one!



Here is where we currently are with the body. Basically done except the pickup corners, cavity lid and a whole lot of sanding!



Thanks for checking this build out .
#8
Now with all those nice sharp chisels from the tutorial I posted here I get to work!

Here I'm chiseling out those troublesome pickup corners mentioned earlier. I say troublesome as a pickup usually has 4 corners but these have 7...and there are two pickups, so 14 corners! It wasn't too bad really though and was completed in around an hour. The key to good results is using the edges (which should be dead straight!) of the pickup rout as a guide by resting the back of the blade against them and using the chisels almost like a plane. Just don't try and take too much off in one go or it'll chip and look awful!



Here are the pickups roughly in place, I have also drilled the holes for the pickup wires, as you can see them coming out the back.



The jack drilled for, I'm using a Gotoh football style jack plate with a switchcraft jack. That's now the body done except for some minor tidy ups and sanding.



Onto one of the final jobs on the neck...drilling for the tuners. It is important to make sure they are symmetrical and none of them interfere with each other.



A Mockup of the body



A full mockup picture. There isn't a lot of work left now really, just sanding finishing, assembly and setup.



That's all for now, thank you for stopping by
#9
Bit of a gap in the updates due to having a few weeks off with flu and some other work taking priority. But we are off again!

Just some small jobs to finish off before we move onto finishing. Here's a picture of the first one, which was installing the side dots.



The next job was to rout the cavity for the lid, this was done after the majority of the sanding has taken place to ensure an accurate depth for the lid.



After plenty of sanding its time to apply finish. Here is the neck in my drying cupboard which I built a few years back. It's basically a pine cabinet with a small shelf near the bottom, under the shelf is a 100w light bulb to provide heat to aid with drying.



Here is the rear of the body after finishing and ready to be assembled. As you can see I'm going for a satin finish as opposed to a full on gloss. This is in keeping with the general natural feel of the bass and the neck will feel like playing on natural wood.



Here's a shot of the front. So we are onto assembly next!



Thanks for looking.
#10
Ok, here we go with the finished shots! The final few jobs were assembling the bass, shielding the cavities and wiring it up. Also making the cavity cover and truss rod cover...there wasn't a lot to picture but you can see them completed on the bass below. I made the truss rod cover out of Cherry (dyed black for a nice contrast) and the cavity lid from English Maple (also dyed).


Seeing as the bass has a natural vibe to it I tried to find some places that reflect this for the pictures, I hope I got it right .



Note the Maple cavity lid!














Thank you to all who have commented on and followed this build, I'll be back soon with more builds!