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Old January 25th, 2013, 08:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Bass Project

Howdy, I'm starting a bass project (It's not a scratch build but I'm slowly working towards that)

I currently play a Westone Thunder III bass:

But despite being a fantastic studio bass it's really quite heavy for playing live.

I'm thinking I'll just go for a simple P-bass, maybe wind my own pickups for it, have a go at getting that classic sound.

I managed to score a decent 2-piece alder body on eBay. The body has been CNC'ed and was reduced due to two small knots on the rear side. This is fine as I'm planning a solid finish anyway.



It also hasn't had the edge rounded over or the belly/arm rest contours done, so this gives me a good opportunity to do a bit of woodwork whilst knowing that all the difficult stuff has already been done (less for me to bugger up!)

I'm thinking I'll start by chucking a roundover bit in my drill press and have a go at the edges but I'm not quite sure what size bit to go for.

Any thoughts? Any advice on stupid mistakes to avoid would also be greatly appreciated.

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Old January 25th, 2013, 08:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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(Apologies for pictures sizes, won't happen again )
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Old January 25th, 2013, 10:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll bet a belly contour would remove the upper knot completely, and make it lighter and more comfortable on the stage. I'd add a arm contour on the front as well, and a 7/16" roundover Melt the edge and Finish it out.

Epoxy will take care of the lower knot nicely.

The drill press won't give you what your looking for though, that's the part I'd watch out for and the mistake you mentioned :-) Gotta have a router to spin a 7/16" bit for sure (to have it cut anyway).
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Old January 26th, 2013, 12:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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+1 buy or borrow a router. A drill press will not turn the same rpms. Arm & belly cuts arent bad, but do some research first. Read a few threads. I use a grinder with a sandpaper flapper wheel. I draw lines on the body as guides and never go to them. Leave some "meat" on there to block sand into shape. My favorite block for this is a paint stick. And on the arm contour, start @ the top and roll down to the edge. I see some flat arm contours. Fenders are not flat. Best of luck! That's a real nice looking body.

P.S. 7/16th" round over bits are hard to find and usually have to be ordered from some place like stew mac. 1/2" will work too.

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Old January 26th, 2013, 06:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ok, thanks for the advice, I suspected the drill press might not cut it for routing because of not being designed for horizontal pressure, I hadn't even considered the fact that it just wouldn't get up to speed!
Are the arm and belly cuts usually done after rounding over the perimeter?
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Old January 26th, 2013, 07:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Are the arm and belly cuts usually done after rounding over the perimeter?
That's the easiest way. That way you can see where and how much you need to blend from the contours to the "straight" edges.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 05:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Awesome, thanks for the advice. I am thinking I will probably keep an eye out for a half decent router, I hope to pursue many projects like this in the future and most of the guys here seem to rinse through their builds fairly easily with the help of a router.

Any suggestions of a decent router to buy on a budget? Although I do recall someone saying you only need to buy expensive tools once.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 06:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Lots of options, but solid, smaller one I use constantly is the Bosch Colt. You can get them on sale quite often via Amazon, but check around. My bigger ones are plunge routers, but for a few guitars those get pretty expensive. You can do a ton of work with the Colt, and it's easy to handle.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 07:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Id probably splurge on a spiral bit.

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Old February 1st, 2013, 08:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You may be able to use the workshop/tools in you local tech college. And if you import any routers remember the US is not 240volts. I use an big old Makita for all the larger cuts and a Makita laminate trimmer for more delicate jobs. I've heard good things about the Bosch Colt, and I saw a new small Dewalt last week which caught my interest for future possibilities.
I've been using my Makitas regularly for over 25 years (I'm a carpenter) but wouldn't necessarily buy them again now they're made in China.
Will you also put a Jazz pickup at the bridge? I did that on my Telecision Bass.
Have fun with the build.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 01:40 AM   #11 (permalink)
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ooh, square edges.. do some binding!
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 04:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Id probably splurge on a spiral bit.
The spiral bit requires a 1/2" collet. I don't think any of the compact routers have one that size, so bear that in mind while shopping. For a budget router, Skil makes one or two full sized routers with the big collet. I don't think many of the other budget brands (Ryobi, Ridgid, etc.) do. But I'm saving my money for one of these.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...1#.UQzHMHy9KSM

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...6#.UQzIR3y9KSM
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 04:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Don't be so quick to limit yourself to a solid color. The grain on the front (top) is beautiful. You have square edges. You could put binding on the top and color the sides & back. Or.....you could round over top & back and burst from a transparent top to a solid back. Or......


You get the idea

Edit: What do you need a spiral router bit for?
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Old March 18th, 2013, 09:50 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I think nosmo is right. Here's what I'm thinking:

2-tone burst on back and front. Hopefully something like this one:




Standard p-bass body contours with white binding on front.

Initially I only have a few problems/questions. First of all alder is darker in colour than ash (which is what I think the strat above is made of). Am I going to have difficulty getting a light amber colour to match the strat? Should I be prepared for it to come out much darker?

Secondly, is putting binding around the front arm contour gonna be a complete pain in the proverbial?
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Old March 18th, 2013, 10:07 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Yes. If you're going to bind it, don't do an arm contour.
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Old March 18th, 2013, 10:35 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Old March 19th, 2013, 03:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Dagnabbit! What would be the main problem of mixing binding with a contour? Routing the binding channel or bending the binding?
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