My Top Secret Project: Part 1 – Conceptualization

January 30th, 2015 Permalink

I’ve been contemplating building a bass for a while now. I have sought advice from some local luthiers and friends. I’ve bought a couple books on the subject and have been lurking around reading lots of build threads. Now, the time is drawing near. Among the many different builds I have been thinking about, I’ve […]

I’ve been contemplating building a bass for a while now. I have sought advice from some local luthiers and friends. I’ve bought a couple books on the subject and have been lurking around reading lots of build threads. Now, the time is drawing near.

Among the many different builds I have been thinking about, I’ve dreamt about a Danelectro style semi-hollow body. Plywood and masonite are super-cheap, so to me, this seems like a good, economical start. I’ve found a few Dano-style tele build threads on a couple other forums, so I have some reference. A luthier friend of mine sold me a Warmoth P-spec neck the other day for $50. He pulled it off of his first build and wanted to get rid of it. I can’t remember if he said it was wenge or bubinga. I need to emphasize here that exotic tone woods never have been and never will be my style, but this is a pretty awesome neck for $50. I know for some here on TB, the idea of joining an exotic neck to a plywood/masonite body could be considered an unholy union, but keep in mind that I’m hoping that none of my friends notice that my groovy new retro bass will have this super-fancy neck!

In any case, I produced a sketch based around the shape of Gibson/Epiphone bass and added some different cutaways. I have a Jack Casady, so it makes for easy reference and theoretically, the new bass will fit in a JC case! The treble side cutaway was tough – with the extended fretboard, I kept getting a pointy horn, but I managed to keep it under control.

I’ve laid out three pickup configurations, and although the 3 Dano lipstick vibe (fig. 2) would be the most economical and the most “correct” for a masonite-top bass, I’m leaning towards the Rick humbucker vibe (fig. 1). We’ll see; the string spacing might be a little weird. The fat single-coil vibe of fig. 3 also appeals to me.

Because the steel-reenforced neck is pretty much a boat anchor, I’m thinking a BadAss bridge may be in order, hence the enormous bridge in the sketch. It’s a 34″ scale neck, so I am a little concerned about excessive neck dive. Ultralight tuners may be in order as well.

Any questions or comments are welcome. Hopefully, I will be going out this weekend to buy me a cheap router and some MDF to cut out some templates. Pictures of the neck are below.

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