Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Build #3, Thread #1: My New Thinline Bass Guitar

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

  1. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Every day I inch a little closer...

    [​IMG]

    Picked my poles up from the fabricator today. Set me back about $6 and some change each. Not bad. I’ll have to start running some tests with these once I get that guitar body off my desk.
     

  2. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 13, 2011
    UK
    Just came across your thread today, great work on the pickups, good to see someone trying a novel design. Visually they are reminiscent of the Alumitones I have on my Strat, though the design is very different.
    IMG_3601 (586x800).jpg
     
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  3. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Yeah, those Alumitones are a really cool idea. Never tried or heard them, but the guys over at the pickup forum seem to like the theory behind them.
     
    bettyseldest likes this.

  4. Barncaster

    Barncaster Poster Extraordinaire

    How do the Alumatones sound?
     

  5. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 13, 2011
    UK
    I remember liking them. I bought my first Fender, a Strat Plus, in 2003. I liked the guitar, locking tuners, roller nut, Lace Sensors. I sold it the following year and decided to make a partscaster. I imported the loaded pickguard from a US retailer for about £110. Bought a MIM neck, then got sidetracked for a couple of years. In 2005 I bought a body and the following year put it all together. I liked it but did not have anything to compare it to at the time. However in 2004 I discovered telecasters and the Strat rarely gets played, probably has not been ot of the case for a couple of years. I did buy a MIM strat about 5 years ago, but sold it the next year because I preferred the Alumitones to the MIM's ceramic pickups, but that was probably due to not caring too much for the ceramics.

    So I can't say how they sound, other than I like them. I ought to get it out to play again as we have a couple of gigs coming up. I spent the morning reading what others have said about them on the net, reminded me of wine or beer tasting notes and about as useful.
     

  6. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I dropped by Bruce's shop last night and quickly cleaned up the blades with the polishing wheel. Whew! That thing made pretty quick work of cleaning up those burrs. Thanks Bruce!

    Next, I grabbed a couple of old test coils and slapped a little pickup together using the stainless blades.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway the good news is that after installing the stainless blades, I didn’t find that there was a significant change in the overall character of the pickup sound-wise. If anything, I think it sounds a teeny bit better. It might be a little brighter and a little warmer at the same time, but it’s a barely discernible difference. The bad news - well, there is no bad news!

    I found a couple of coils I wound with some #42 instead of the #41 I’ve been using, and I really liked it. If I feel motivated, I might wind up a #43 coil just for the heck of it.
     
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  7. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Last week was a really busy week for me, so I didn't get a lot of work done on the bass body. The li'l lady organizes the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival here in town and that pretty much took up all my time. It's a pretty big event for us and the whole town participates in the festivities. We usually have dancers, food, live music and a lot of art work. I spent the week working on projects for the event. I made these skulls that we put in the big room where we had the shrines.

    First I took these huge 36" balloons and covered them with paper mâché. Because they were so large, each one took a long time to cover with paper and took a long time to dry as well. I also wanted to put on as many layers as I could because they needed the extra strength.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Once they were good and covered, I made their facial features out of foam core.

    [​IMG]

    Next I covered the foam board faces with more paper mâché. That was an interesting process to say the least.

    [​IMG]

    Once they were dry, I just painted them up.

    [​IMG]

    The li'l lady also made a sparkly, life-sized cutout of Selena. I spent an afternoon making the base for her so it would stand up. The funny part is, Selena is usually the most commonplace shrine at these events. I think the li'l lady was just having some fun.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, back to bass bodies. I had a few parts, tools and supplies come in the mail over the last week or so. Basically, the goal was to get the binding on that body. First, I routed the channel. I put a 3/8" bearing on my 1/2" flush trim bit. Worked perfectly. Then I used acetone and a heat gun to shape the ABS around the perimeter of the body.

    [​IMG]

    I used strapping tape the hold it on there. I'll check on it in the morning and see how it looks. I know that there's a couple of spots I gotta finesse a little bit.

    [​IMG]

    So there we have it.
     
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  8. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I’ve been scraping the sides of the bass, working the binding. It looks good on the sides.

    [​IMG]

    The top is OK. There’s maybe one or two spots that could be a little bit better. I’ll decide over the weekend if it’s worth the time to do it over again. The ABS is really cheap and I’m not in a big hurry. All I’d have to do is hit it with the router and slap another length of binding in there.

    I ordered an aluminum A-style bridge that came in the mail the other day. A guy has them on eBay for $60. I’ll see if it was worth it - I think I like the Gotoh 201 bridge a little better, but I liked the idea of The Made in USA vibe. Here it is placed on the body along with the pickup.

    [​IMG]

    I’m trying to decide if I should Brucify the bridge mount and use his method of sinking a hunk of metal into the body and bolting the bridge to it. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll pick up some brass or aluminum over the weekend and go to town with the bastard file.

    I also have to make a pickup with the stainless steel blades and the #42 wire. I may think about tackling that this week as well.
     
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  9. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Oct 23, 2011
    Lynchburg Tennessee
    It's looking good!!
     
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  10. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Thanks!
     

  11. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Where’s that confounded bridge?

    Still on my bridge quest, so I thought I’d post some assorted musings on the subject. Now, before you invest time in reading this post, currently the A-Style is in the running. I’m just venting here for a minute.

    I ordered one of those cheap Korean bridges, and while it was pretty nicely cast, it was freakin’ ginormous!

    [​IMG]

    Just for comparison, here’s the A-Style:


    [​IMG]

    So at this point, the A-Style is still tops. There’s another cast Korean bridge out there that I like OK. I have one on another bass. It’s sporty yet understated - which I like...

    [​IMG]

    ...but I’m not really feeling the cast zinc vibe right now.

    Once again I’m confronted by the trends of the bass hardware industry. Whereas pickups are cheaply manufactured, plastic and boring, the trend in bass bridges is “bigger is better” and frankly more complicated design is an all-out marketing scheme that’s meant to imply “more tone.”

    Upon doing more research, the winner in my bass bridge beauty contest is the lowly Danelectro bridge:

    [​IMG]

    In terms of simplicity and elegance, the Dano is a clear winner by several miles. However, the lack of adjustability, the floating 3-point screw mount and the narrow string spacing all make this bridge a non-starter for me.

    Someday, when I have space and tools, I’m going to design a bridge. I have it in my head and I think it will work, but for now, I’m sticking with the A-Bridge.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017

  12. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    OK, TDPRI - It’s voting time. Which bridge is better?

    A) Cheap Sung-Li high-mass cast monster made of - you guessed it, Johnny - zinc. After all, where would we be without zinc?

    [​IMG]

    B) The venerable and decidedly low mass Gotoh 203B “Vintage Style” bridge. Made of bent steel, who can deny a classic?

    [​IMG]

    C) And last, but not least - the perennial favorite and insanely over-engineered Hipshot A-Style machined aluminum bridge. It’s tough to argue with USA craftsmanship!

    [​IMG]

    Which bridge will win the TDPRI bass bridge smack down?
     
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  13. Hallo Spencer

    Hallo Spencer TDPRI Member

    30
    Apr 13, 2011
    berlin
    C)
    That bass is gonna look gorgous either way. <3
     
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  14. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Thanks!
     

  15. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    21
    Nov 27, 2014
    Morley, England
    Personally, I like the classic look and something like what's below would be what I would have (being a devoted telecaster nut anyway) but out of the options, I would go with B.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    That bridge ain’t bad! I’m leaning towards the more “classic” look, so something like that is in the right ballpark. I really want something like that Dano bridge, but the spacing is too narrow and I can’t get behind the 3 wood screw mount. I’m tempted to make my own bridge, but I really just want to get the ball rolling on this bass build.
     

  17. Hallo Spencer

    Hallo Spencer TDPRI Member

    30
    Apr 13, 2011
    berlin

  18. LowThudd

    LowThudd Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    I vote Hipshot. I am not really a fan of the bent steel bridges on basses. Just a pet peeve of mine.
     

  19. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Well, ended up deciding on the Gotoh Vintage bridge. The idea behind this bass was to make an instrument that looks like it rolled off an assembly line in Japan or Italy around 1966 but with the functionality of a bass built in California in 2017. The MIK bridge looked cool but was just too huge and the Hipshot just looked like a big block of awesome engineering and really added nothing esthetically. The Gotoh at least looks vintage. Theoretically, a two-piece like the TBird bridge @Hallo Spencer posted would be perfect, but I just couldn’t find one I really liked. One of these days, I might fabricate my own simple two-piece bridge out of rosewood and brass, but that’s a project for another day.

    Instead, I decided to use a mounting style my friend Bruce hipped me to using the Gotoh. Basically, I’m going to embed a 1/2” thick chunk if metal into the body of the bass and use machine screws to really bolt that bad boy down. According to Bruce, it makes a stronger joint, which allows the vibrations to carry into the body of the bass. We’ll see! Here’s a picture of the block being tapped for 6-32 screws...

    [​IMG]

    And here’s the bridge screwed into the mounting plate. I’m going to cut the excess and shape the rest of it this week.

    [​IMG]

    Once I shape it on my OSS, I’ll make a routing template, cut the hole and epoxy the plate into the body. Hopefully, that will happen as the week progresses.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
    Mat UK likes this.

  20. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    96
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    OK. As promised.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next, I gotta make a template and route that hole.
     

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