12 String Bass Build

Skyjerk

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You have a lot more balls than me :)

I do all this in CAD first and make sure all my angles are going to work, then have someone make CNC cut templates from my CAD design.

for this part I have a template that is the entire side profile of the through-neck laminate with angles for everything all figured out. Once my neck-laminate is all done, planed on top, and squared up, I just lay it on the side, trace it on with a pencil, and then cut it on the band saw.

neck-temp.jpeg


maght17.jpg


theres no CNC in my shop, but I do use a computer in my design phase, so thats all worked out in advance and takes a lot of the pressure off.

I'd be filled with constant fear on the "cross that bridge" path :)

You probably weren't looking for lessons here, but you said "This next step that is always a little scary for me. Calculating the amount to route away to allow for the drop top, the neck angle, as well as a little extra "wing" angle."

This implies that you work these things out when you reach this point, and that it scares you, so I thought I'd offer an alternative. eMachineshop is free and simple, and really easy to learn how to use. I never saw it in my life before I found this forum. Someone on here showed a tutorial on how to figure make a template from a photo of an existing guitar design using the tracing paper feature of this, so I tried it. Like an hour later I was designing my own shapes easy peasey
 

SlingBlader

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You have a lot more balls than me :)

I do all this in CAD first and make sure all my angles are going to work, then have someone make CNC cut templates from my CAD design.

for this part I have a template that is the entire side profile of the through-neck laminate with angles for everything all figured out. Once my neck-laminate is all done, planed on top, and squared up, I just lay it on the side, trace it on with a pencil, and then cut it on the band saw.

View attachment 625787

View attachment 625786

theres no CNC in my shop, but I do use a computer in my design phase, so thats all worked out in advance and takes a lot of the pressure off.

I'd be filled with constant fear on the "cross that bridge" path :)

You probably weren't looking for lessons here, but you said "This next step that is always a little scary for me. Calculating the amount to route away to allow for the drop top, the neck angle, as well as a little extra "wing" angle."

This implies that you work these things out when you reach this point, and that it scares you, so I thought I'd offer an alternative. eMachineshop is free and simple, and really easy to learn how to use. I never saw it in my life before I found this forum. Someone on here showed a tutorial on how to figure make a template from a photo of an existing guitar design using the tracing paper feature of this, so I tried it. Like an hour later I was designing my own shapes easy peasey

Hey, thanks for the info, much appreciated. :) It's probably not obvious, but I do a full scale drawing of each build on paper. You can see this in the background in the first couple of posts. So, I have the planned measurements, etc. before I start. But, things always change along the way... the drop top or fretboard thickness may change, etc.. So yeah, last minute small changes nearly always happen.

I tend to get nervous whenever I'm removing a critical amount of material in cases like this, second guessing myself more than anything. :D

I have modeled some basics in Fusion 360, but I need to check out eMachineshop for sure.
 

Skyjerk

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Hey, thanks for the info, much appreciated. :) It's probably not obvious, but I do a full scale drawing of each build on paper. You can see this in the background in the first couple of posts. So, I have the planned measurements, etc. before I start. But, things always change along the way... the drop top or fretboard thickness may change, etc.. So yeah, last minute small changes nearly always happen.

I tend to get nervous whenever I'm removing a critical amount of material in cases like this, second guessing myself more than anything. :D

I have modeled some basics in Fusion 360, but I need to check out eMachineshop for sure.

I gotcha.

FTR, my last was not intended as a criticism of your process or a suggestion to do it "my way". :)

I'm always intrigued to see how others approach the same hurdles Ive had to jump in my builds. Not too many peeps in here are doing neck-through builds, and since thats pretty much ALL I do (till my next two builds!) I tend to really watch other people to see where I can improve my process :)
 

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I gotcha.

FTR, my last was not intended as a criticism of your process or a suggestion to do it "my way". :)

I'm always intrigued to see how others approach the same hurdles Ive had to jump in my builds. Not too many peeps in here are doing neck-through builds, and since thats pretty much ALL I do (till my next two builds!) I tend to really watch other people to see where I can improve my process :)

Hey, no worries. I didn't take it as a criticism at all. I'm very open to finding better/alternate methods for sure and I really value your input. :)
 

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Tonight I glued up the wing sammiches. These are composed of alder, black dyed poplar, mahogany and katolox on the rear. I used UF glue for this operation and used the vacuum bag for clamping duties. I use tape to keep the bundles together until the vacuum can take over. The treble side wing will get the katalox plate later, after I've cut the control cavity cover from that laminate.

EztbQa8.jpg


J0GOxda.jpg


lEA9WjE.jpg


SegYlNW.jpg


More soon. :)
 

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Today, I buckled down and finalized my headstock shape. I wanted to keep as many of the aspects of the original design as possible that I had used on my previous bass builds. Here's the one that I'm talking about.
NjPbdBH.jpg


6aGDpXn.jpg


I had laid out the tuners and string paths previously sometime back in June, which was a major undertaking. The problem that I ran into was that I couldn't keep the "wing" curves in the same orientation as the original because of the way I had laid out the tuners. So, here is what I came up with. I pretty much just reversed the design on the treble side of the headstock. It's growing on me and I think that it will work. (Apparently, I thought that today was August 8...)

ZY2xAwt.jpg


I cut the templates from hardboard at the band saw, then cleaned them up with files.
p2CSUjj.jpg


Here are both templates stacked up. Still need a little tweaking, but you get the idea.
WNtAuCj.jpg


And here it is next the the one used on the 5 string. Obviously the 12er headstock is yuuuge, but I feel like it is in keeping with the aesthetic.
G92GTDy.jpg


Thoughts?
 

Skyjerk

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I like that!

Its weird :)

Weird good, not weird bad.

the different sized tuning machines is wild

Never seen anything like this before. :)

Also, looks like you have the same vacuum system I use :)
 

SlingBlader

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I like that!

Its weird :)

Weird good, not weird bad.

the different sized tuning machines is wild

Never seen anything like this before. :)

Also, looks like you have the same vacuum system I use :)
Thanks, Chris, I'm going with it. :)

I've seen this done (different sized tuners) by a few builders and it makes sense to me. Hoping it helps when tuning this beast up.

Love that vacuum bag. It's the heavy one from veneersupplies.com, the 2' x 6'. I can get an entire bass in there easily. :)
 

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Time for (headstock) wings.
maxresdefault.jpg


Got all pieces prepped, glue mixed and neck in position.
sI7Rq2t.jpg


Gluing in progress.
VWyzV3o.jpg


Clamping.
HqJivnx.jpg


And more clamps. I had to straighten up that clamp on the end after I took this picture. I couldn't take it. :D
UJ0o3dM.jpg
 

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I didn't get much accomplished today that "shows" on the bass. But, here's what I was up to.

I got the headstock face cleaned up after gluing the wings. I planed it back to right around where the nut will be placed. After the veneers have been glued, they will get flushed down to the fretboard plane and the nut will sit on top of the veneer.
zCU1Uds.jpg


Next I glued up some black poplar and walnut veneer that I had prepped earlier.
OOnjADi.jpg


The entire neck went into the bag to clamp the headstock veneers.
MsHRE2V.jpg


While operating the leg vise on my bench today, I noticed that it was squeaking and not operating as smoothly as it should. So, I spent a little time cleaning and lubricating the acme screw. Works like a champ again. :D
 

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Haven't updated this in a while, but I've gotten a few things done. After the headstock overlay had dried for a couple of days, I thinned down the headstock at the band saw.
ogzExSn.jpg


I trimmed the headstock very closely to the template, then routed it with a pattern bit.
R5N6UaS.jpg


After the routing operation, I cleaned up the inside corners with chisels and files. The wood block on the back of the headstock was to hold everything square while cutting at the band saw and drilling the pilot holes for the tuners.
aeDnntn.jpg


I finalized the position for the fretboard, then trimmed up the "ledge" with chisels.
BVkinDI.jpg


I cut recesses for truss rod adjustments and drilled through holes into the end heel end of the neck.
JPZTqFi.jpg


I made a new control cavity template with only 1 battery compartment and also deleted a couple of extraneous screw locations. I routed the control cavity using a 1/2" bit, then chased it with a 1/4" bit to get into the corners.
X4cJRm7.jpg


I laid out the access cover on the rear plate, then cut it out on the scroll saw.
Oaso0CF.jpg


More soon. :)
 

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I made a little more progress over the past few days.

I glued the rear plate to the treble side wing blank using HHG and the vacuum bag. The HHG will make it very easy to clean up the squeeze out around the lip of the control cavity.
9ce5GtE.jpg


The next day, I rough cut the wings on the band saw, then pattern routed the wings. I leave the straight glue edges long so that I can true them up later with a hand plane. This ensures that the sides stay full width.
DODncPd.jpg


I mounted a piece of plywood to the top of the body area of the neck beam. I used that surface against the fence at the table saw to remove the excess thickness from the back of the neck beam. This operation will bring the rear face parallel to the top face, which was routed away earlier on the pin router. The overall thickness is left a bit oversized and will be trimmed flush to the back of the body wings later.
XaGbnhV.jpg


I drilled all the holes for the tuners and temporarily installed one "group". :)
RAfHngd.jpg


I glued the fretboard to the neck using HHG this evening.
yPLhSqE.jpg


More soon. :)
 

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Here's a little progress update on the 12 string bass project.

I started carving the neck using the "facet" method. In a nutshell, I draw out the neck profile to scale, then draw in straight tangential carve lines at the 3rd and 12th fret. I transfer these measurements to my neck blank and connect the dots and carve away the waste. I create additional facets and eventually fair it all together. Works great for me.

On my last couple of builds I've taken to using tape to mark my guidelines. I've found this really helps on multi-lam necks, where all of those lines can confuse my eyes very easily. Here, I'm working on the secondary set of facets.
EwQRiBY.jpg


The rough carve is essentially finished here.
z9QxSft.jpg


Drilled for side dots. I'm using MOP dots on this one.
GLWCtA3.jpg


I mounted the neck in the neck jig and got it as straight as possible. I then did a final fretboard level. After that, I installed undercut stainless frets and will eventually fill the end of the fret slots with matching dust. Here I've filed the fret ends and MOP dots flush.
XKj16vC.jpg


Frets have been masked. Ready for a very light level, crown and polish.
eLW9XJA.jpg


Done. :)
52BhEme.jpg


I trued up the glue edges of the wings with a jointer plane.
TUvcjnF.jpg


This morning I glued the wings to the body using the offcuts as clamping cauls.
ACOouny.jpg


More soon. :D
 

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You people and your nice, neat shops make me sick!!!! :mad2::mad2::mad:

This bass, on the other hand, is really looking sweet :)

LOL, thanks Chris. My shop does get messy, but I've found that if I let it go too far, my productivity drops off dramatically. I spend enough time already looking for crap that I just had 3 seconds ago, so I can't afford any additional self-induced problems. :D
 

Skyjerk

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LOL, thanks Chris. My shop does get messy, but I've found that if I let it go too far, my productivity drops off dramatically. I spend enough time already looking for crap that I just had 3 seconds ago, so I can't afford any additional self-induced problems. :D

I'm the same way. My problem is that the dropoff in productivity, and accompanying increase in frustration, never seems to be enough pressure for me to change my disorganized ways ;)

Right now I have my own bass waiting for final sanding and buffing, and fretwork, and I did nothing this weekend because there's no space on my bench and I couldn't deal with the chaos out there

My main issue is I always get multiple projects going at the same time. If I stuck with one at a time it might help, but I dont think I can manage that either ;)
 

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I hear ya, multiple projects are a recipe for clutter for sure. I know a lot of people claim to be fantastic at multi-tasking... but if we're honest, I'm not sure that humans are as good at that as they say they are. :D

Personally, I'm a pretty linear guy... I need the to-do list and generally work from point A to point B. But I don't like to get carried away with that and with too much constant cleanup... that kills the momentum as well. I tend to work through one major step, do a little cleanup, move to next major step and repeat.
 

Skyjerk

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Personally, I'm a pretty linear guy... I need the to-do list and generally work from point A to point B. But I don't like to get carried away with that and with too much constant cleanup... that kills the momentum as well. I tend to work through one major step, do a little cleanup, move to next major step and repeat.

and this is why I hate you ;)
 

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