Precision Bass Build

SlingBlader

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Hi everyone. I already have this bass build completed, but I thought that there may be some interest in a "condensed" build thread. I'll make several posts with some progress pictures along with some explanations where necessary.

I didn't have any templates, so I broke down my mid-90s P bass and took some tracings.


Which resulted in these templates on hardboard.


This is going to be a 2 piece poplar body. Flattening a face here.


Jointing the glue edge.


I used UF glue for the body blank.


The blank was run through the drum sander and was ready to be cut.


Next, it was over to the inverted pin router to rout the cavities.


Cavities in progress.


The body outline was bandsawed, then trimmed flush on the pin router.




I used a 1/2" roundover at the router table on the body.



More soon, thanks for looking. :)
 

SlingBlader

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Next up, I started to work on the neck. This was made from figured hard maple with a birdseye fretboard.

Trussrod channel routing at the router table.


Drilling the adjustment access hole in the neck heel.


A good fit. :)


Trimmed neck blank flush to template on the router table.


A good fit, again. :D


Mounted the fretboard to my squared up fixture/block. Routed the 9.5" fretboard radius.


Slotted the fretboard.


Cut the taper on the fretboard, leaving it slightly oversized.


Glued with HHG and vacuum bagged.
 

SlingBlader

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Next up, I got to work on the body contours. Here I'm just starting the extra-large "Covid-19" belly cut. :D


Forearm contour in progress.


A little blending, but may need to revisit this to make it a bit deeper.


Forearm contour ensmoothened. LOL


Next, I moved back to the neck. Glued in the dots with HHG.


Lopped off the excess headstock thickness at the band saw.


Drilled for the tuning machines.


Layed out reference lines for facet carving the neck with measurements taken at 1st, 5th and 12th frets.


Faceted neck carve in progress here.


Working on headstock transition here.


Neck carve pretty much complete.
 

SlingBlader

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Next up I wanted to get the neck fretted, so I sanded the dots flush and cleaned up the fretboard. I was afraid that I'd get the board all dirty from my grubby little hands, so I wiped on a couple of coats of shellac.


Once the shellac was dry, I very lightly sanded and buffed with a brown paper bag to make it smooth.


Frets were pressed in. Thin CA was wicked in after they were pressed.


Fret ends were beveled. Final fretwork and polishing to be done after finishing.


Squaring up and mounting the machines.


Drilled pickup wire channel.


Routed truss rod adjustment access in the body.


That will work.


Bolted together for the first time.


Marked and mounted the bridge



Strung up the outer strings and rough cut the nut.


Strung up and very roughly set up.


Next up, breaking it down, fine tuning and getting started on the finish.

Thanks for looking. :)
 

SlingBlader

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nice work. i think we'll be seeing more of those 'covid cuts' in the coming months.
Thanks, Bob! Yeah, definitely needed the larger belly cut for sure.

You'll probably see me on the national news around the end of August... When the fire department comes to my house to enlarge the door with chainsaws so they can hoist me out so I can go back to work. :rofl:
 

SlingBlader

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OK, next up was finishing. I broke the bass down and deepened all of the contours a bit. Then I smoothed everything out and sanded through the grits up to 320.

The first step was to apply a sealer. I had ordered some Mohawk nitro sealer and this was my first time using the product. It is a little less expensive than the piano lacquer and has a good deal of flatteners added. Apparently it can be used as a standalone finish. I may try that sometime as it does look pretty cool and has an awesome satin sheen.



The neck with one seal coat.




The poplar just isn't pretty with the sealer. LOL. Glad this will be a solid color.


More soon. :)
 

SlingBlader

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OK, on to more finishing. When I was first shooting finish the weather was perfect; warm and low humidity. But as I got closer to the end, humid air and rain was moving in, so getting it completed quickly was questionable.

I had decided on a candy apple red, but on the lighter side to let more of the metallic undercoat show through. I chose a gold pearl undercoat, so to get started I laid down a few coats of black.

This was done with mixol tint mixed with Mohawk sealer.


This is after a few coats. This needs to be smooth, but the coverage does not need to be perfect as it is just a backing color under the gold pearl.


This is the gold pearl flake. Very, very tiny stuff. I used my harbor freight gun to shoot this.


I mixed the flake with gloss piano lacquer and cut a bit with reducer.


Here we are after a few passes. It came out nice and even. I shot around 20 psi with light flow and a medium fan for a misty and even coverage.


I then followed up the flake with a couple coats of clear gloss. This locks everything in and allowed me to very lightly sand to knock down the nibs and high spots before shooting the candy red.


I used alcohol based Lockwood red dye mixed into Mohawk piano gloss to lay down 3-4 passes of transparent red. I believe this was again cut with some reducer to keep the thickness to a minimum. I decided to leave it on the lighter side with more gold showing though.


I shot another quick coat of clear over the top to seal it all in. At this point, humid and rainy weather was moving in and I had to stop shooting paint. Here are a couple of shots in the sun.


Still looks rough, but will get better with more clear.


I was also able to shoot a couple of coats of sun-aged nitro on the neck that day.


Needs a bit more, but looking good.
 

Stephmon

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I hear you. Getting a photograph that captures the sparkle of a CAR finish, or the chatoyance of a figured top, can be a frustrating challenge.
 
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jkes01

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Excellent job laying that all down man. Metallics like that can be challenging to lay down because there is no real pigment in them. Looks great.
 

SlingBlader

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I hear you. Getting a photograph that captures the sparkle of a CAR finish, or the chatoyance of a figured top, can be a frustrating challenge.
YES! I spent some time yesterday with the DSLR and shot probably 300 pictures. I hope to glean about 10 good ones. Of course, if I was a real pro, I would stack multiples together to composite the perfect shot.

I'll put some up soon, but expect to see the tripod and the front of my car in the reflections. :D
 

SlingBlader

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Excellent job laying that all down man. Metallics like that can be challenging to lay down because there is no real pigment in them. Looks great.
Thanks! This was my first time and it came out better than expected. I think I got lucky. :)
 

SlingBlader

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So the next step was to build a few additional clear coats. The weather for the next several days was unbearably humid, but I finally caught a break and the dew point dropped in between weather fronts. To hedge my bets, I added some retarder to the spray mix.



I also added some extra retarder to the final coat to help with flow out and leveling. This picture shows how nicely that worked.


I added a couple extra coats of the aged clear to the neck to amber it up a bit.




As I was finishing, the next weather front was rolling in and the clouds were stealing the good late afternoon sunlight.


Looks a bit dark here.


Some shots back in the garage.


Hung it to cure for a few weeks.


That's it for the spraying, up next is level sanding and polishing. :)
 

lewita

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amazing work! extremely well executed too! may I ask where can one find a radiusing bit like that?? that's awesome!!
 

SlingBlader

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amazing work! extremely well executed too! may I ask where can one find a radiusing bit like that?? that's awesome!!
Thanks for the kind words. I bought several of those bits through Amazon. The ones that I bought are the SJE brand, but I believe that Yonico also makes several. (they may even manufacture them for SJE for all I know)

SJE Tools - Fretboard Router Radiusing Bit (9.5")

They also have some neck profile bits that look interesting.
 

truckermde

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Frankly, amazing!

And that neck!! Oh, that neck. As a bass player, that neck floods me with emotion :)

Thanks for posting this really informative & instructive build thread.
 

SlingBlader

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Frankly, amazing!

And that neck!! Oh, that neck. As a bass player, that neck floods me with emotion :)

Thanks for posting this really informative & instructive build thread.
Oh thanks a lot. Yeah, that piece of maple is something else. I think I'm going to get 4 necks out of that board. I left this neck a little on the chunky side when I carved it and it feels really good. :D
 


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