Daves Workshop #25: A therapuetic project...

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 09-10-2018 07:44 PM 1006 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 24: Filling a hole in a medicine cabinet and refinishing it. Part 25 of Daves Workshop series no next part

Among my hobbies, woodworking, and music are the 2 I use for stress relief when I can’t really get away camping, or hunting… And there’s been more than enough stress going on in 2018 for sure!

As some of you know, I play the electric bass, as well as guitar.

The last time I went through this much stress in my life, was when my ex and I split up, and just how messed up things with her really were came to light…. To have an outlet for all that stress, I played music, aggressively, and LOUDLY. And I have been doing that again lately.

One of the pieces I am working on, is the bass line for Pink Floyds Comfortably Numb. I have been trying to fake it on a 4 string fretted bass, but that unique sound is only really achievable with a fretless…

I want to do this on a budget, and I could have just bought for $20.00 more than their fretted version, a fretless 4 string PJ bass (Fender Precision Bass style bass with a single coil “jazz” bass pickup at the bridge position, but it is only available in one color, gloss black, and I am VERY partial to the 3 tone sunburst finishes that expose the grain of the underlying wood under the finish…

So instead I ordered up the following. An SX Guitars Ursa 3 RN 3TS Alder. Translated. Rosewood fingerboard neck, 3 tone sunburst, American Alder body.

It’s a nice, low cost instrument on its own.

I have been sitting, for quite a while on a fretless neck I bought from this vendor on sale last year.

The replacement necks have the European market headstock shape, which is the older shape used here in the US, I prefer the one on the fretted neck, but not enough to reshape the fretless neck headstock. So here’s the plan…

#1. Apply the waterslide decal the vendor sent me for the head stock. I know it’s not a brand many will brag on, certainly not collectible, but I want it to be “right”. #2. Strip the stock strings and put them in the recycle bin (these things ship with junk strings in my book). #3. Pull the neck from the bass. Mark the screw hole locations on the new neck. and take it to the drill press. Drill the neck pilot holes. #4. Swap over tuning machines, and string tree from original neck to new neck. #5. Install new D’Addario XL nickel round strings. #6. I have also purchased a white pearloid pickguard, for 13 screw Fender. These fit, more or less these basses. I need to do some minor trimming of the neck pocket and split coil pickup pockets as they are not 100% the same as Fender…. So trim up and install the pickguard..

That will leave me with an unused rosewood fingerboard neck, that honestly has one of the most beautiful, in my book, headstock designs on the market… I have an older SX with an earlier headstock design that is, well badly outdated as in 1980s looking pointy. Yuck. So swap those necks around as well…

Once the neck swapping is done, I will need to set the reilef, and action on the necks, and then the intonation for the strings at the bridge.

I am also a bit leery of touching the pointy headstock bass…. It was the cheapest instrument I have ever bought at $109.00 new, but it is also the best playing bass I have ever laid hands on… And I am almost afraid of messing that up!

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2 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4403 days

#1 posted 09-11-2018 03:04 PM

I used to play a little guitar, classic, to accompany me while I sang, mostly to myself. It was form of relaxation. I never got good at the guitar, or any other instrument. I just lacked the interest.

I also played the harmonica, probably better than I played the guitar. But to be honest, I don’t do much of anything in the musical realm anymore. I definitely had the talent, but it was my voice. Dramatic baritone, great for Wagnerian operas, and opera was definitely not my thing. It also yielded to my busy schedule as a working physician.

So music has always been in the background for me, but far into the background. I understand what people are talking about in the realm, and that is about it.

My understanding of the guitars you are talking about is minimal, but I do recall that they are built to be repairable, including a screw on neck, correct? It will be interesting to see how it works out. Be sure and take before and after photos so that clueless people like me can see what happens…

Finished pruning our old crab apple tree yesterday, and hope it will produce better next year. I think the weather controls everything, in any case, but the tree will be in better shape if it is a good year. I picked about 10# of apples last week, and we made crab apple jelly. It is my humble opinion that the tree produces the world’s best apple jelly, although I might be suspected of bias, I suppose… (-:

Just a few more days of good weather and then it is going to turn cold and rainy… until it snows.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4470 days

#2 posted 09-14-2018 01:45 PM

I always had an interest in woodworking and music when I was young. I never had the money to pursue either, although I did take shop class in high school, and I took music lessons in school with a borrowed acoustic guitar. I still remember my teachers. Mr. Dee Smith was my wood shop teacher, and Mr. John Gladstone was my music / guitar teacher. These guys were different than many of the other teachers. They wanted to make sure we learned not that we could pass a test… Kind of a different approach… And I know the arguments for both. Not worth getting into…

So for me, they both go hand in hand.

Actually last night I spent some time with my Ursa 1 (Precision bass copy). Literally simultaneously my cheapest, and my favorite instrument. It cost me $109.00 + shipping from New Hampshire. I spent probably 30 minutes playing a bunch of 60s through 80s stuff. Mostly some Vanilla Fudge, Def Leppard, The Temptations etc… so a wide range of Motown, classic rock, and Glam Metal… Yeah I like to play around…

I should mention, the Ursa 1 was bought a few years ago so I could leave it at my desk, and get some practice in with headphones at lunch. I liked playing it so much it ended up my main bass… Yeah I do collect them as well…

You are right about the bolt on neck, and that is really where this becomes a woodworking project, sort of. I have to set up some sort of jig to hold the neck dead flat under the drill press so I can make the pilot holes for the wood screws that secure the neck to the body.

There are other designs, and I don’t own any, but some basses, and solid body guitars are built as “neck through” where the neck and body are one piece as it were. Kind of a big glue up sort of arrangement.

I must admit, I REALLY want to learn luthierie as find it intriguing. Esepecially since I don’t fully fathom how necks are made with the compound radii they use.

So the jjg for the neck drilling is in progress. I will post it up when done.

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