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Another Project to Keep Me Busy


Robin.C

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Here we go again as they say. I obviously don't have enough other things to occupy my mind, transition and all.

Therefore I have decided to try my hand at building a bass guitar.

Being my first try at this sort of thing I've had to make some decisions based on cost availability and time factors.

As the photo shows its a sort of Hofner 500/1 Beatle Bass. Sort of 😉

It's a short scale not medium, it's MDF semi-hollow not hollow and it will be PJ pickups not humbuckers.

Will it be any good? I don't know. If it makes a noise sort of like a bass guitar I'll call that a win and then maybe I'll make a better one 🤪

 

Enjoy

Hugs

Robin

Bass Guitar.jpg

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It certainly looks like your getting a good start.  Hopefully you will share some pictures with us as you make progress.

 I have found a great deal of satisfaction in making things that require mind and  hand work.  I've only made two instruments while working at home.  Both were dulcimers.  I steamed the sides on one and built the others sides up using verniers.  It is such fun to hear sound coming from your creation!  Enjoy.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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I'm having a left handed Rickenbacker bass made for me.... here is the progress.....

 

Image previewImage previewImage preview

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Good luck with the guitars. I always found the basic physical construction of them a bit of a black art as, although matehematically the scales size could be correct, the fine tuning could still seem wrong. A point to beware of is the neck / body joint as there is a lot of stress. I remember on cheap Fender copies the neck could readily be pulled back and forth so behaving like a tremelo arm with the sound. My forte was really limited to a bit of fretwork and swopping pickups / machine heads. It's some years since I did anything with them now though.

 

It would be good to see the Rickenbacker (it does not show for me either).  I always liked them although I never played one.

 

Tracy

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here we go setting out stuff. The fun thing was I had to adjust the tailpiece coz it wasn't straight.

A hacksaw and file fixed it though.

Then I found out the strings I bought are too long for short scale neck I'm using. If I was building a proper Hofner 500/1 the medium scale strings would be okay, short scale not so.

For those musicians amongst us, they are Rotosound RS66S. They look and feel nice by the way.

I also have given up on the P/J pickups as they are too big to fit in the area I have available. So ordered a set of mini Humbuckers. Which also leads to the issue I now need to build a control setup. I've downloaded some Hofner schematics and going to try and make something that will work I hope.

 

Oh yeah the cutters for the router have arrived and they are too small to work. Dang it.  Ah well just order some more right. Yep. Now to wait again. Building custom stuff is so time consuming, fun though.

 

I hope you'all like the progress such as it is.

 

Hugs

Robin

 

 

For TP Body_3.jpg

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On 8/28/2021 at 1:55 PM, Robin.C said:

 

I hope you'all like the progress such as it is.

 

 

We do,

 

Fun to follow along with your post as it's being created. 

 

Hugs,

 

C

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@Robin.C excellent work. I have a left handed hofner and a luthier is building me a left handed Rickenbacher 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I'll be watching your progress.  If you have any hiccups or want to bounce ideas around, I've built a few instruments over the years..built this one a few years ago and it's been my daily player ever since.. wife did the art

.20180831_104713.thumb.jpg.8ad92328d4ee6ed7ef21d0538220f384.jpg

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4 hours ago, PrincipalGeek said:

I'll be watching your progress.  If you have any hiccups or want to bounce ideas around, I've built a few instruments over the years..built this one a few years ago and it's been my daily player ever since.. wife did the art

.

That's a very nice bass ❤️

Have you ever tried to paste artwork onto a curved body ? I have an idea for artwork, which I want to print and then try to glue onto the curved surface and then clear coat.

Also how wide is the nut (43mm ?, oops 1.69" ). I wanted to get the tuners/machine heads straight inline with the strings like you have there, though I was hoping to get them level rather than offset like you have.

 

I might have to put up a picture showing the difference in the body I've designed compared to a proper 500/1. 😁

 

@Cyndee thank you 😊

 

Hugs

Robyn

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16 hours ago, Robin.C said:

That's a very nice bass ❤️

Have you ever tried to paste artwork onto a curved body ? I have an idea for artwork, which I want to print and then try to glue onto the curved surface and then clear coat.

Also how wide is the nut (43mm ?, oops 1.69" ). I wanted to get the tuners/machine heads straight inline with the strings like you have there, though I was hoping to get them level rather than offset like you have.

 

I might have to put up a picture showing the difference in the body I've designed compared to a proper 500/1. 😁

 

@Cyndee thank you 😊

 

Hugs

Robyn

 

That particular art was done on heavy watercolor paper and glued to the bass.  Never tried, curved.  I wonder if there's any sort of flexible plastic that can take ink from a printer?  That would might be the best bet.  I'll ask my wife and post back to this thread if she knows of anything suitable.

 

As far as my nut size, that's kind of a personal question (ba dum-chss)!  The nut on that bass is 38mm, the nut on my Ibanez acoustic is 43mm (attached pic of that).   If you need precise spacing/measurements for reference, let me know.. I just eyeballed those with a ruler, I'll get out the caliper is you need better.

 

Would love to see a 'side by side' comparison.  I've sort of wanted a violin body bass, but not enough to buy or build one.... only so much room 😉

P8310004.JPG

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My wife just passed this info on.  This is a printing service, however it may be possible to acquire similar materials for do-it-yourself:

 

 

Laminated Poster might be a good option
https://smartpress.com/offering/large-poster-printing

 

Or more expensive but you can get it precut to shape and pre-sticky,
floor vinyl in particular is probably very durable...
floor vinyl https://smartpress.com/offering/floor-graphic-printing

 

or wall vinyl https://smartpress.com/offering/wall-decal

 

or vinyl banner (not sticky or cut to shape, but cheaper) https://smartpress.com/offering/hanging-banners

 

if 24 x 18 is big enough this print/coating sample sheet you can get in
"synthetic paper" which is plastic https://smartpress.com/offering/print-coating-sample-sheet

 

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@PrincipalGeek thank you fort the information. I will give the glued paper method and see if i can get it to do a gentle curve. Sort of like steaming wood.

 

I have done a similar thing on a much large scale on the my rocker plate below. It was flat though.

 

Hugs

Robin

20200615_160355.jpg

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This a s good a comparison as I can do, not owning a Hofner bass an all.

So if the photo orients properly then the one at the top is the full size Hofner body and the bottom one is what I have made to fit the short 25.5" scale neck. I wanted the proportions a little bit more in keeping with the short scale and smaller, bridge and pickups.

 

Hope this helps a bit with understanding what I'm trying to achieve, if it even works at all.

 

This weeks drum homework is get Michael Jacksons Beat It into at least some sort of recognizable form.

Wish me luck 🤪

 

Hugs

Robin

 

Hofner vs Wonky Duck.jpg

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Nice, the smaller body should be easier to get around if working higher up the strings as well. 

 

Good luck on the drum work!  And the project bass!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Woo hoo, so here is the next update in the saga that is guitar making.

Soooo ... got some okay double-sided tape to hold things together while routering. Packaging says to leave for 48hrs for maximum bond ... really !!?? It was difficult enough after 2 hours !!

Cutting the bodies turned out to be quite easy, though I may end up having to cut some more pieces unless i can hide the jigsaws undercut. Jigsaw blades can bend a long way in 16mm MDF.

So I have all the main parts to do the layout and get the scale length correct, set the pickups at the correct-ish 60s intonation lengths.

New short scale strings have arrived so i can do the tuners when i get to that end. Though I have had to order an new nut as the one with the neck was for a 6-string guitar.

 

Let's see all the electronics are on their way across the waters to our fair isle. Got the audio pots and the slide switches should arrive next week. I'm going to prototrype various control circuits and see which i like the best, including the original style Hofner setup.

 

I think that's all for the moment.

Oh almost forgot now I have the pickups and saddles I can make a template for the neck pocket and the internal hollowing to lighten it up and add some sort of resonance, it will be interesting to see what a semi-hollow body sounds like.

 

Until then,

 

Hugs

Robin

For TP Cutting body.jpg

For TP double sided tape.jpg

For TP removing Double sided tape.jpg

For TP Setout.jpg

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It is certainly becoming on nicely.  It sounds like you are enjoying the challenge without a note sounding.  

That is a lot of progress from some paper templates!

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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What a beauty pre-born instrument. My new left handed hand made Ricky bass sounds so sweet and it's second appearance in public is tonight.

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Very cool.  You can certainly see from the mock up that its compact.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was one of the most nerve racking parts of the build so far. Would I stuff this up and then need to wait 3 months for another neck to be shipped or would I get it pretty okay !?

Spoiler Alert .. pretty okay 😉

The picture tells a thousand words, as long as you don't use a word count program.

It is a bit difficult to see in the last photo, however the strings will all end up in a straight line, nothing bent here .... LOL.

The electronics have arrived and the rest of the stuffs to make the control circuit, so that's next.

 

I hope this finds everyone doing well. Some of you will have noticed me missing from a few things. Work, garden and house have been crazy busy the last few weeks and the guitar was a way of looking after my mental health and just disappearing into the garage for a couple of hours.

 

Stay safe.

Hugs

Robyn

Sep2021_002_TP Finished Cutting.jpg

Sep2021_001_TP Marking Out.jpg

Sep2021_003_TP Tuners Front.jpg

Sep2021_004_TP Tuners Rear.jpg

Sep2021_005_TP Straight Strings.jpg

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I like the shape.  Is there a particular reason you made the stem of the neck so long?  (from the tuning keys to nut)

 

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@Jani it has ended up so long in the head area due to the crazy short scale 25.5" ... I wanted to use these really nice Rotosound strings and they are fairly long before the silk winding blue bit, so it sort of forced me to move things far away .. 😁

I'm hoping that it will also help with the balance a bit.

I am sorting out ways to hollow out the MDF without ruining the structural integrity of the body and still be able to shield all the electrical bittys. Conductive paints seems to be my best option at the moment. 

Maybe I should call it my Giraffe Bass 😉

 

Hugs

Robin

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That’s a very cool project. I didn’t realize how many bass players are on this forum  (actually I play multiple instruments, and it seems that is not uncommon here either, I just have an affinity for bass guitar). I am in awe you are building this…I don’t even have the skills to adjust the action on the two basses I have. 

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      Based on the description of your outfit pumps sound like absolutely best fit. However, if you plan on spending any time outside and skirt is long enough boots might be reasonable choice. But yes, the event calls for chic and pumps are IT 😀
    • Willow
      So sorry Bri.   well it’s now the third day.  Talk about.bruises!  I’ve got bruises on top of bruises.  And In places I wouldn’t have expected.  I slept fairly well last night.  I’m really spreading out my pain meds now.    its mostly sitting around right now.   coffee is good this morning at least I can get back to that.  I missed it while in Charleston.   take care stay away from the malls.  Be good to each other.   hugs   Willow 
    • Heather Shay
      Never from family or friends except for music producer and recently my HRT NP. I have dear friends here who are encouraging but I guess the word proud is a trigger point for me. I try to tell people I'm proud of them especially young people.
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