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Project Information

I finally got some pictures of the custom bass I made for myself. The body is locally harvested (Michigan) White Ash. The neck is Mahogany with a tiny bit of Cherry in the headstock, and the fingerboard is Striped Ebony. The rear coverplate is quartersawn Cherry. It is quite heavy because of the ash, but sounds GREAT! It sounds very much like a double (upright) bass. I love the strings-they are called "tape-wound"strings, and won't corrode-I use GHS brand strings exclusively because they are excellent quality and are made in Battle Creek, MI-that's pretty close to home. The pickups are dual-coil humbucker Jazz Bass pickups. I have a volume control for each pickup, and one tone control shared between both.

HEAR A SAMPLE OF IT HERE.

The headstock was possibly the hardest part of the instrument as far as design goes. I wanted it to be as small as possible, look good, and still fit my tuners and the cover plate for the truss rod. I carved the neck with wood rasps and spokeshaves. The neck was finished with pre-cat lacquer and the fingerboard was finished with-you won't believe it…......OLIVE OIL rubbed in by hand. The body of the bass has four coats of 100% tung oil (imagine how long that took to dry!!) and four coats of clear gloss Polyurethane.

I am a true believer in showing the natural beauty of the wood that God gave us to enjoy. I rarely stain wood. Here are some Pictures of this gorgeous instrument…the Ash is really nicely figured.











Notice that the guitar body is made from ONE board of Ash. I planed and sanded the boards to thickness, cut the pieces to length, and glued two pairs of boards face-to-face to get the thickness, and then I edge glued each 'half' to get the width I needed (I made sure on the front of the bass, that the sapwood came together on the centerline of the guitar to give a nice blend from one side to the other, with no visible glue line). The end grain on the bottom of the bass has a cool Herringbone pattern from the rift-sawed part of the boards.

I will post a clip of one of my studio recordings with this bass later. The recording was made with standard stainless round-wound strings, but they were cutting into the Ebony fingerboard, so I changed them to tape-wounds.

Keep an eye out for my instruments to appear on Ebay. I'd like to try to get a market for these fine instruments going online. I'll keep ya posted. Thanks for looking!!

Gallery

Comments

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6,840 Posts
Really sweet-looking bass!
 

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1,832 Posts
You did a very nice job on the bass. Thanks for the construction detail. I feel the details really add to the project.
 

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463 Posts
That looks great, awesome pics as well.
 

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429 Posts
Lovely body shape - your design? That headstock is a delight too - the small size really works well. And the fretless fingerboard looks, well, just cool!
 

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2,212 Posts
amazing!!!! i love all the photos…turned out great!
 

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505 Posts
Thanks for the kind words everyone! Yorkshire, I 'eyeballed' the basic body shape by looking at a Carvin catalog. Check them out! www.carvin.com

I made sure I didn't steal their design by just freehand sketching the shape on my wood blank and then cutting and sanding until it pleased my eye. I should have first made a plywood template, because now I have to sketch a new design (unless I take my finished bass back in the shop, and trace around it).

CHECK OUT MY FORUM TOPIC-hear me play my bass: http://lumberjocks.com/topics/1566
 

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4,691 Posts
Nice grain matching on the glue up, it looks like a solid piece.

Nice pictures, I think taking decent pictures of a guitar is very difficult.
 

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9,848 Posts
nice ash. well done.
 

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Beautiful Bass.
Sounds great!

Where in Michigan are you?
 

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168 Posts
Very sweet! I'm a big fan of two things you've done here: 1. Fretless. Now, that's a REAL bass. 2. Clean. No pickguards, no funky graphics or racing strips. Excellent job-and I hope you get a great business going!
 

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203 Posts
You did a very nice job on the bass.
 

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Thanks!! I'm actually sitting here browsing the LJ site with the bass in my lap !! It's my baby…
 

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I understand "Baby". You can check out mine here. Since the original I've made a neck-thru purple heart/maple/brazilian cherry/cherry P B & J. which i sold and im making a alder/walnut sith a set neck.

And Fretless…wow. I didn't know how to play the Bass when I made it and it took me 30 days to learn how to play it and now I play it at church every week.
 

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really nice! thanks for sharing all those pix I feel like I could actually tackle one of those in a reasonable amount of time… learning to play, might take a little longer.
 

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Beautiful work. I'm not a bass player yet. I'm playing around with the idea of making an upright acoustic bass. Great job and keep up the good work.
 

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I've been itching to build a bass for a while now, but am not sure how to deal with the neck / torsion rod layout. I am assuming the cap between the tuning machines on the head stock is where the rod access is…

Having played a fretless on a couple of occasions, I love the sound they give. Your project definately gives plenty of inspiration!
 
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