Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reiland Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reilander Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reilander Pickups
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Build #3, Thread #1: My New Thinline Bass Guitar

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Freekmagnet, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. DrASATele

    DrASATele Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    echo...echo... I'm just echoing all the others here...blown away ....awesome to see such an involved project! Love the design and well.... the pickup making, very cool!
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  2. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Aw shucks, thx. But don't be blown away yet! I've barely gotten started on it!
     
    DrASATele likes this.
  3. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Alrighty, I spent the afternoon making these steppy things for that belly cut I think I'm going to make. Thankfully, the OSS made this project a snap. The steppy things are not much to look at, but my templates are pretty much ready to go.

    [​IMG]

    Some of them fit better than others, but I figure I'm making a template for a part I'm going to sand away anyway. I just made sure that there was only one way for them to fit into the interior wall.

    [​IMG]

    All I need are my blanks, and I can go town!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
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  5. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Wow, what a great thread. Love the Funktronic Coil Genie Mk. 1..

    I've been wondering for a while how to integrate Arduino control into a pickup winder, but am too computer illiterate to figure it out, so good on ya!

    Thinline Bass is awesome, too.
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  6. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Thx.

    Do you know any scripting languages? Arduino has fairly simplified version of C+. If you know say, JavaScript, you can kind of pick it up.

    The basic Arduino kit has some really easy beginner tutorials as well.

    The tricky part for me was that I unite the virtual universe with the physical universe. For instance, I had to write scripts that turned motors rather than made images fade on and off screen. I had to swap my first stepper motor for a much larger one. I had to replace the driver as well, and the increased load interfered with my optical switch causing it to misfire. I was completely stumped. Fortunately, the guys at the Arduino forum were really helpful and pointed out that I needed to put a Schmitt trigger between the optical sensor.

    What's Schmitt trigger? I'll tell you that I had no idea either. Basically, it's a chip that insures that an output voltage is either 0v or 5v. Apparently, digital signals are very sensitive to electrical fields, and any variation in voltage wreaks chaos on digital circuits. Naturally, the larger motor/driver was throwing a lot of interference around causing all kinds of spikes. The Schmitt trigger fixed that right up. Thanks Arduino forum!
     
    sergiomajluf likes this.
  7. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2010
    Sacramento
    You need to re-jigger your input baud and adjust it to heap at 23.7khz... probably.

    Geez, you smart guys make me feel so out of touch. I think I had an Arduino once, the Dr. gave me an ointment. Keep up the great work, seriously.
     
    Barncaster and Freekmagnet like this.
  8. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Haha - I had to hit the dictionary for this one, and a had a little chuckle about it on my way to work this morning.
     
  9. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I picked up my mahogany boards from Bruce the other day. I've had this wood sitting by my desk for about a year. I don't have space for jointing rig - I traded some extra wood with Bruce and he milled these down so I could glue up a blank. He did an awesome job.

    The back is going to mahogany and I'm going to put maple cap on front.

    [​IMG]

    Everybody's favorite epoxy. Invariably, I end up mixing way too much. I suppose too much is better than not enough, but this stuff is pricey!

    [​IMG]

    I slathered a bit on the edges here. I laid wax paper down on my desk - easier cleanup and epoxy seems not to stick to it. Once I spread it on there, I let it sit for about 10 minutes and let it soak into the wood.

    We're having an early spring this year in SoCal - there's tons of bugs and they kept landing in my epoxy.

    [​IMG]

    And here it is all clamped up. I'll let it sit 'til tomorrow night. I made a little mess with the epoxy, but figure my old fried the flat bastard file will make pretty quick work of it when it's cured.

    [​IMG]

    I have to hollow out the inside. After that, I'll glue the maple on before I cut out the shape. The maple needs a little more work; Bruce suggested hitting it with some 80. I may glue it on before I sand it. That'll give me a flatter surface to work on. We'll see.
     
    Mat UK likes this.
  10. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    892
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Great stuff here Freekmagnet!
     
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  11. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I haven't posted for a few days - I got a little sidetracked with my pickup making. After sitting down and giving my last neodymium pickup wind a real critical listen, I decided I wanted to experiment a bit further with some more winds. The sidewinder design seems to impart a really neutral-sounding midrange as well having pretty bright character to it. The neos bring out a lot of brightness, much brighter than ceramic, but with out the unstable and harsh characteristics. The brightness of of the neos didn't bum me out - in fact, in their own way they sound quite good. But, my #1 criteria is, "will this tone drive the rhythm section?"

    I pulled out some Alnico 8 bars I had laying around. Leftover from a previous wind, I'd sort of found that the A8s bring out a nice round, top end, but came with a really dense-sounding midrange - I thought that might a perfect marriage with the more neutral-sounding sidewinder design. The only downside would be that I would have to change the form-factor to a larger-sized pickup. I really liked the skinny humbucker vibe of the neo pickups.

    Anyway I wound two sets of A8 coils - one tall and skinny and one short and fat - both with 5000 turns. I dropped the short and fat ones into El Burro last night and it sounded pretty good! (El Burro is my pickup testing bass). I was right about the mids balancing out. The short, fat coils were pretty diffuse sounding, but they didn't sound bad. Output was a little low. I'm going to drop the tall, skinny coils in tonight. I'm predicting that they will be more focused sounding. I'll post a pic and some notes later tonight.
     
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  12. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    OK, I soldered the alternate wind together and popped it into El Burro. Speaking of which, allow me to introduce my mule, El Burro.

    [​IMG]

    It's a junk Squier I bought off of a buddy for $50. It's a crummy bass, but it's the perfect bass to route a swimming pool and drop pickups into it. Note that I'm using double stick tape to hold them into the body. These sidewinders are really tall. I put adhesive into that T-Bird cover to hold the plates together.

    Here's a shot of the A8 coils:

    [​IMG]

    The ones on top are the coils I popped in tonight. Now remember, since they're on their sides the fatter coils on top are actually, the tall, skinny coils. The ones on bottom are the short, fat coils. The gunk on them is dried epoxy. I'm just prototyping now, so I don't bother to clean them off.

    Here's the size of the A8 compared to the neos.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the neos on bottom are much smaller than the A8's. I was really digging the size and shape of the smaller coil, but I'm not 100% sold on the sound of the neos. I like them, but I'm not feeling totally blown away. The A8's have a friendlier character to them. I could hear myself rocking some rancheras in the cover band I work for at some Mexican wedding with the A8 coils. The neos made me want to sit in my living room and work on my chops. I can learn to live with a T-Bird sized pickup no prob.

    The taller, skinnier wind pretty much performed as expected. It has a little more focus and punch than the short, fat winds. The big surprise was that I got a little more output out of them than I did with the fatter coil with the same amount of turns! Furthermore, the denser mids I was getting out of the A8 coils really sweetened up the sound of the sidewinder pickup.

    I really like how the taller coils sound. My only quandary is this: I could use a little more output - not much more, just a little. I can't fit much more wire on this sized bobbin, so if I want to up the wind count, I'll have to go to a smaller gauge. The pickup is plenty bright, so I'm not too worried about losing treble. Besides, I could knock my pots down to a smaller resistance, and that'd compensate plenty for any loss of high end I might experience.

    Another option is to make the bobbin maybe 1/32" wider. That would actually give me a significant amount of space - maybe even enough for 750 - 1000 turns. That would diffuse the punch a little, but the upped output and additional fatness I'd gain might be worth it.

    What I was really hoping I could do is go down to a heavier gauge. Maybe if I widened to bobbin slightly I could get close to my current wind count. I've never used a heavier gauge, but supposedly it would allow more lows and highs through. Perhaps that would make it seem like there's more output.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  13. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I made a crappy iPhone demo of my new pickup last night. Here's a few thoughts:

    1) Please excuse the clicking noise. The T-Bird cover I'm using to hold the prototype together is placed on to the poles with Scotch tape! It picks up all the finger noise. Aside from that the poor overdriven audio quality is about what you'd expect from an iPhone.

    2) I'm playing through a DIY MM preamp I built. The pickup works in conjunction with the preamp; without it, the pickup sounds OK, but it's a little weak. I suppose I could have put more wire on it, but it starts to get really too boomy pretty fast.

    3) It's pretty bright. I have the treble on the pre backed off about halfway. I'm generally and old flatwounds kind of guy, but for testing, I'm using a relatively fresh set of rounds. I have a Stingray as well, and I usually back the treble off when I play that bass so, the fact that this bass seems bright to me makes sense.

    4) I really like how it sounds, but it's a little more agressive than I'd originally envisioned it to be. I can live with that - it's really "live" feeling when I play the bass, so I think that's a really good thing. Although at rehearsal last night, we were working on some boleros and the super aggro vibe was interesting to say the least.

    5) On one earlier wind, I wound about 5000 turns of #42 wire. This coil is running about 6500 turns of #41. The previous wind had a slightly sweeter voice, but I don't think it had the deep lows that this one has. Just for the heck of it, I might wind a coil with #42 at a higher wind count. We'll see. This one is growing on me...

    6) I scrapped the neo thing and went with the A8 magnets.

     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
    Muzikp and sergiomajluf like this.
  14. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2011
    Parts Unknown
    A cool balance between retro & today...nice color & details...I'm bias, I like thinlines!
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  15. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    [​IMG]

    Toiling Away - Here's a little jig I built to cut slots in Garolite using a spiral bit with my Dremel.

    I don't have too much to report this week other than that I've been honing the wind count of the pickup I played in the demo I posted last week. I really liked that one, but after sitting down with it for a few hours one day, I decided that it was just way too hot. Every note I would play would come out like, full volume. I popped some old LaBellas I have on the bass, and while the wild and crazy mids were tamed to a nice thumpity thump, I just noticed that the pickup was really overdriving some of the upper mids / lower highs. I attributed this to too much output. I'd wound it with 6500 turns of #41, which ended up making an pretty enormous coil. Luckily, I'd wound a set of coils a few weeks ago with about 5000 turns of #42. I really liked those as well, but the lows were a little too tame. I figured I split the difference of the wind count. Sounds good for today! I'll see how it sounds over the weekend.

    One interesting thing I wanted to post: After doing these comparisons, I come to have both a better understanding and more questions concerning coil size, wire gauge and it's effect on output. I wound a few coils with the same wind count with different gauges of wire - namely, #44, #43, #42. Remember the coils are on their sides. So, adding heavier gauge wire made the coils taller, and gave them more output. This may have been illusory, given that the heavier gauges will render more lows than the lighter gauges. Right now, I'm settling with the #41 - the extra lows, along with the extra mids from the A8 magnets really compliment the neutral-sounding mids and natural brightness of the sidewinder design.

    Lastly, once that's all done I'll prolly tweak the preamp a little bit. I'd be more comfortable with a little more overall output - this may seem strange coming from a guy who was just complaining about his pickup being too hot, but if the overall volume as opposed to just certain dynamics being increased, that'd be nice. There's a resistor that can be swapped out pretty easily to up the volume a bit. I'll try it and see how it goes. In addition, I may take advantage of the way extra brightness of the pickup and add a switch with a couple of different input caps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  16. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Anybody have a source for machined aluminum concentric knobs? Most of the ones I'm seeing online are boring old dome knobs. They had some of these at Best Bass Gear, but they're black. :(

    [​IMG]
     
  17. brogh

    brogh Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    italy
    Wow, This is gonna be awesome !

    cool work !
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  18. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Well, I'm back from a brief hiatus; I took a little spill on my bike about a week ago and I injured my shin. The injury itself wasn't serious, but it just made it difficult to get inspired to stand around at my workbench and operate power tools. I'm OK now, but I spend my time away from my workbench working on drawings and stuff.

    Now that I've pretty much got my coil design about 95% there, the next order of business is to move on to designing a cover. For now, I'm fairly resigned to casting the entire pickup assembly into a block of solid epoxy, so I had to make an original from which to make my mold. Here's my drawing:

    [​IMG]
    Part of engineering is making compromises in order to make a working piece. In this case, I had to make two. #1) I really didn't want dogears; I wanted to drill holes in the back and mount the screws from the back of the bass. Unfortunately, there just wasn't space to safely send a screw hole through the body of the pickup. I really didn't want to endanger the coils. In the end, I grew to like the dogears and I like the way they sort of added to the olde school Gibson pickup look. #2) I wanted to have the 3 exposed pole pieces extend all the way through the shell and be exposed on the edges as well. I realized that pretty much leave me with a really difficult corner using two different materials that just wouldn't match up easily. Again, I grew to like the design for retro reasons.

    Next, I took a little square of MDF and rounded the corners with a 1/2" round over bit. Don't ask me why I did it this way.

    [​IMG]

    From there, I trimmed the sides using a saw and my router mounted onto a make shift work table. I made a little jig to keep my fingers away from the 18,000 RPMs of spinning death.

    [​IMG]
    I spent one morning machining a billet piece from MDF and some 1/4" alder I have laying around. The alder was a mistake - it got a little splintery when compared to the machinability of the MDF. I've just been trying to find ways of getting rid of it. I should prolly throw it in the fire pit in my back yard. In the end, it won't matter too much - I put the alder part on the bottom that will ultimately be inside of the bass. Anyway, I made a little router sled to even of the tops of these various parts of wood I seem to be using more and more.

    [​IMG]
    Then, I hollowed out a channel in the block using the router table. Again, I used a clamp to keep my hands far far away from the blades while machining my small parts.

    [​IMG]
    And here's my original!

    [​IMG]
    Obviously, it'll need some cleanup before I glue it together, but overall, it ain't too bad considering my Fred Flintstone level of technical prowess. I'm thinking that once I sand it and glue it, I'll hit the seams with Bondo and paint the piece before I try to make a mold from it. I'm not sure what I'm going to use to paint it, but I'm tempted to go over to my pal the auto body man and have him hit it with some poly. We'll see. Maybe I'll buy a bunch of tubes of CA glue and use that instead.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
    paulmarr likes this.
  19. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2010
    Sacramento
    I vote CA, should work great and it's sandable if needed. I don't know much about molding things, except what's in my fridge. How do you keep the mold stuff from sticking to the thing you mold on? Like I said I don't know much about molding.
     
  20. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    42
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    CA will work to seal it for sure. It may even work to fix the small chips on the face of it. I want to paint it as well - It will be easier for me to see what's going on while I surface it.

    I'll be using silicone to make my mold. You can use paste wax as a release, but silicone releases pretty easily on its own. If I get a nice, smooth surface, it'll be just that much easier.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  21. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Exactly my thoughts! I dig this much.

    Unfortunately, I don't know anything about scripting languages, Java, or schlottkey pernambulators. Eons ago, I played around with some BASIC on my Timex-Sinclair computer. I do have an Arduino and breadboard, and tutorial book, and after a very frustrating entire weekend, I was proudly able to make a LED turn on and off. I can do that with a switch, a resistor an LE D and a battery, so I figured my brain just isn't wired for this kind of stuff.

    But I am getting immense vicarious enjoyment out of this thread.
     
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