February, 2015 Archives

My Top Secret Project: Pt. 4 – Getting Started

February 10th, 2015 Permalink

Made a little progress today. Basically, I rough cut my shapes. I going to hit them with the edge trimmer later this week. This is going to be my neck pocket template and will probably serve as the template to make my pickup routes. I need to make one more body template to hollow out […]

Made a little progress today. Basically, I rough cut my shapes. I going to hit them with the edge trimmer later this week.

This is going to be my neck pocket template and will probably serve as the template to make my pickup routes. I need to make one more body template to hollow out the body, but I’m out of MDF. I’m going to have to buy another sheet tomorrow. Fortunately, MDF is cheap and easy to cut.

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My Top Secret Project: Pt. 3 – Planning

February 4th, 2015 Permalink

I printed out a full scale drawing on a bunch of 8.5″x11″ paper. Everything looked pretty good to me, except, I had to make a few minor adjustments around the neck pocket area. Also, because of the extended fretboard, I had to move the neck pickup back about a 3/16″. I’m hoping that the placement […]

I printed out a full scale drawing on a bunch of 8.5″x11″ paper. Everything looked pretty good to me, except, I had to make a few minor adjustments around the neck pocket area. Also, because of the extended fretboard, I had to move the neck pickup back about a 3/16″. I’m hoping that the placement of the neck pickup won’t be super crucial.

I have a few things on my desk to finish up today, but hopefully I’ll have some time to print out another round and glue the paper to a sheet of MDF.

Here’s a picture of my printouts. Please excuse the horrible cell-phone-in-low-light image.

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My Top Secret Project: Pt 2 – The Compromise

February 2nd, 2015 Permalink

In every project, there are compromises made to in order to make the original vision more feasible, more practical, more economical or in some cases, better. In this case, I had three designs to work from, my favorite being the first, closely followed by the second. The first concept had a pair of Rickebacker pickups, […]

In every project, there are compromises made to in order to make the original vision more feasible, more practical, more economical or in some cases, better. In this case, I had three designs to work from, my favorite being the first, closely followed by the second. The first concept had a pair of Rickebacker pickups, but there were two problems with these that would have made things a little difficult. #1 was that the string spacing on the Rick was considerably narrower than that of the Fender Bass and the neck and bridge were going to be spec’d for a Precision bass. #2 was that the Rick Pickups were priced at over $100 apiece, and for a first time project, I felt that spending more than $200 on electronics was going to be a bit much.

 

The second concept had three Danelectro pickups. I liked the Dano pickups mainly because they look really cool and they fit within the general vibe of the instrument. But, I really wanted a set of humbuckers on this bass. After a few online discussions with some members of a bass building forum, I found that it would be possible to buy 4 single coil lipstick pickups and wire them as two pairs of humbuckers. Guitar Fetish sells a set of 3 single coils, bridge, middle and neck with the bridge wired in reverse polarity, conveniently designed to make a humbucker when two adjacent single coils are selected on the guitar. I bought one neck pickup, one bridge, and two middle pickups to make up my two pairs of humbuckers. And, at about $25 apiece, these pickups were half the cost of the Ricks.

 

So in the end, my compromise made the bass more affordable, gave me the humbuckers I wanted and gave me the coolness of the Danelectro. Plus, with help of a six-position rotary switch, I would have the added bonus of having access to the individual coils, giving me that twangy Danelectro tone as well as the fat humbucker vibe!

 

And Voila! I dubbed this bass El Cometa (The Comet).