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Thread: Bass! How low can you go?

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    Default Bass! How low can you go?

    Planets aligned yesterday and my wife made it possible for me to take the day off from stunt-teaching/family crisis damage control responsibilities to do something for myself. So I started making a bass...well, not started technically. I started sometime last year by jointing, planing and joining a big ash slab into a rectangles big enough to cut some guitar and bass bodies. I currently have three ukuleles, a bass and six guitars in some early stage of completion and decided to focus my energy on the one that we don't have in the house.

    The woodwork on the body is so straightforward that I didn't take any photos. So far the basic profile was cut, pockets for the neck and electronics and the corner roundovers done. I'm going to do the belly cut, arm rest and a little extra material removal by hand as time allows.

    cutting slots for the carbon reinforcement rods and truss rod is fairly accurate work and rather than build a sled for it, I choose to do it all on my mill, only the mighty Deckel doesn't have enough X axis travel to cut the entire 24" slots. I drew a cross section to see where I could place the carbon rods and not have too high a risk of cutting into them when I profile the neck, laid out my lines and then had at it.

    IMG_1539 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    IMG_1540 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    This is where a "limitation" of the Deckel, isn't really all that bad. Unlike most mills, the integrated table on this machine is actually vertical and there are a number of accessory tables that can be bolted to it. This is one of the two that I have and it's just a rigid 90° table that keys into the slots at the height you choose. All I had to do was loosen the bolts and slide it over, reclamp one of the hold-downs and cut the rest of the slots.

    IMG_1542 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    IMG_1543 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    64192724089__6AD51C52-C17C-430F-AF70-5AFE445A62BC by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    Then to mix up the epoxy, set the reinforcement rods in place and wait six hours for it to cure.

    IMG_1545 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    IMG_1546 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    The slots are cut to create a snug press fit of the rods, which doesn't leave any room save for a few thou at the ends for the epoxy to escape so it's a bit of a project to get them in place, but they sit a few thou shy of the top surface of the neck which gets flat sanded one more time before the fingerboard is epoxied to it all.

    It's a flat sawn neck with some crazy figure, but it's been sitting for at least a year in my house and has remained stable. The fingerboard was resawn from the same slab and once it has some lacquer on, should look spectacular...we'll see how that goes.
    Sean Chaney
    www.vertigocycles.com
    a peek behind the curtain

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    The answer is low. I built these a couple years ago for the TV room.


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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    You planted Public Enemy in my head right before bedtime!

    I'll get even. Until then, nice work on the guitar.

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Quote Originally Posted by 72gmc View Post
    You planted Public Enemy in my head right before bedtime!

    I'll get even. Until then, nice work on the guitar.
    Ha! Was it the PE version or the collab with Anthrax?
    Sean Chaney
    www.vertigocycles.com
    a peek behind the curtain

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoCycles View Post
    Ha! Was it the PE version or the collab with Anthrax?
    It's always the collab with Anthrax. That came out when I was in college and it's the default forever.
    Dan Fuller, local bicycle enthusiast

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    This definitely doesn't answer the question of how low the bass can go but it may bring the most noise.


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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Super clean work, as always! I always find it interesting to see your process with the mill. It's a bit different than the usual hobby guitar building process.

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Quote Originally Posted by defspace View Post
    Super clean work, as always! I always find it interesting to see your process with the mill. It's a bit different than the usual hobby guitar building process.
    Thank you. Give a man a hammer...

    My shop is so packed with tooling and storage that a router sled is out of the question. The mill also serves duty as a fret press, and adjustable height reference surface (great for radiusing the fretboard and nice for carving the neck), headstock thickness sander and the obvious duty as a drill press.
    Sean Chaney
    www.vertigocycles.com
    a peek behind the curtain

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Looks great. Expecting more pics.

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Wonderfully precise work, looks great! Are the neck and fingerboard also Ash?

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    Wonderfully precise work, looks great! Are the neck and fingerboard also Ash?
    Thank you. The neck and fingerboard are roasted maple. It's a flat sawn board but the thermal treatment is supposed to help with the stability, which is great because there's a lot of figure in it and it could go wonky. The body is also roasted. I'm not really convinced that it'll make any tonal difference, but between the standard swamp ash blanks I have and the roasted ones, the roasted ones ring a bit longer and have a more defined tone. Could be luck of the draw, or maybe not. The roasted blanks are also a little lighter/BF which I'm into, except when it's a Telecaster. A ~5lb telecaster is cool and all, but the body is so light that there's a lot of neck dive. Hoping this bass will be better balanced or at least that the top horn is long enough to balance out nicely.

    Managed to get a little work done yesterday evening and in the wee hours this morning thanks to a spell of insomnia. Got the neck rough carved with a rasp to rough out the profile, a spoke shave to remove the bulk of the waste and then some 80g adhesive backed paper on a machined aluminum plate to keep it all in a straight line.

    IMG_1555 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    You can only get so close to the layout lines with a hefty aluminum block

    IMG_1557 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    These little carving knives are my favorite tool in the world to use. The blade is the perfect shape to cut an inside radius which can be varied by how far up the taper you cut it. I'll hog material out or do less than paper thin cuts. I have two, a right hand and left hand cut and when used in the proper direction on maple like this, everything about it is satisfying...the feel of it, the sound of cutting through the fibers...it's a wonderfully tactile experience

    IMG_1558 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    Most of the way through this transition

    IMG_1560 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    with a little touch up of 320, the low side is done from heal to head

    IMG_1561 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    I'll try to sneak some time tonight to finish up the high side
    Sean Chaney
    www.vertigocycles.com
    a peek behind the curtain

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Very nice work ! i ty to play on an older warwick corvette out of bubinga, so solid !!
    Thank, mick van aar

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    I found a 0.0625" endmill that I forgot I had in my endmill drawer and thought it might be a fine way to cut the nut slot.

    IMG_1572 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    It was

    IMG_1576 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    The weather was pretty great today and after helping my brother-in-law with some cabinets I sat outside and sanded the neck while my kids were playing. I left off with 800p a few days ago and picked up with 1500 and then 3000. I wish you could feel it.

    IMG_1575 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    Originally the plan was to spray it with a super thinned out coat of nitro and buff it out but this feels so good as is that I think I'm better off leaving it.

    IMG_1574 by Sean Chaney, on Flickr

    Now that the nut is fit, I need to finish up the fretwork and properly cut the nut to shape. There are probably two more coats of epoxy pore fill left to go before I can lay down color on the body and it's been too windy to shoot paint anyway since I have to do it cowboy style.
    Sean Chaney
    www.vertigocycles.com
    a peek behind the curtain

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoCycles View Post
    I sat outside and sanded the neck while my kids were playing. I left off with 800p a few days ago and picked up with 1500 and then 3000. I wish you could feel it. ...[snip]... Originally the plan was to spray it with a super thinned out coat of nitro and buff it out but this feels so good as is that I think I'm better off leaving it.
    Oh yeah! I got turned on to the concept of burnishing raw wood necks from reading this thread over on the Unofficial Warmoth Forum. Yes, it's labor-intensive, but holy crap do these necks feel gorgeous! I've been stopping after 2000 grit...but that's an hour of 2000 grit.

    I've done it to a quartersawn Brazilian Ebony bass neck, and a Padouk guitar neck. Feels like butter. Polished glass butter.

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    Default Re: Bass! How low can you go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    Oh yeah! I got turned on to the concept of burnishing raw wood necks from reading this thread over on the Unofficial Warmoth Forum. Yes, it's labor-intensive, but holy crap do these necks feel gorgeous! I've been stopping after 2000 grit...but that's an hour of 2000 grit.

    I've done it to a quartersawn Brazilian Ebony bass neck, and a Padouk guitar neck. Feels like butter. Polished glass butter.
    I'm going to get to do it again since I left the neck a full 1" thick and after stringing it up, I realized that I'd like a little less meat up by the nut. So 1/8" will be removed and I'll blend it down the neck for a proper taper.

    I strung it up last night partly out of impatience to test out my new nut files and partly because the weather has been wholly uncooperative about letting me lay down the sealer coat and I wanted to feel like I'm doing something. The good news is that it's surprisingly loud unplugged. The bad news is that I was right about my fingerboard creeping a little bit when I glued it up. I had it pinned at the nut, but pulled the pin out at the 21st fret to favor clamping and getting a tight glue line and it moved about 1mm. I'll use chopped brads next time since that worked for me in the past. Certainly not the end of the world from a playability standpoint, but now the fret markers are just ever so slighly off center between the A and D strings on the high frets. It's not all bad as it'll be MY bass forever now.

    Need to find a taller bone blank today, drill the screw holes for the pickguard and control plate and then wait for favorable weather to put some nitro down but it's looking like a bass now.
    Sean Chaney
    www.vertigocycles.com
    a peek behind the curtain

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