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Two parts '54 Precision, One part Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by loopy reed, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Building this one for a friend, who is sending the materials. He wanted a '54 Precision Bass, but made from mahogany, with Thunderbird pickups.

    Here's the general idea:
    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1488068803.776000.jpg

    This won't be a fast build or a painstakingly detailed thread. We've all seen builders who are far more skilled and practiced than I am go into detail about exactly how to build a guitar, so we won't get into that.
     

  2. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Marked the centerline and outline on a Warmoth mahogany bass-sized blank

    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1488070442.387952.jpg
     
    PingGuo and Mat UK like this.

  3. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Cut out with my jigsaw and sanded almost all the way to the line

    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1488070529.763929.jpg

    Had some rough spots where I broke a blade, and another where the base of the saw started drifting and cut in at an angle. Luckily I was far enough away from the line for it to have caused too much chaos, but lesson learned.
     
    PingGuo likes this.

  4. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Routed to the template. I don't have a router table, and will be getting one after this experience. Had to use two different bits and it took 3 passes, but it's done, and pretty clean. Didn't have any tearout issues at least.

    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1488070724.950645.jpg
     
    guitarbuilder likes this.

  5. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Sun was up and my toys were still out, so I thought I'd try the roundover on the back. 1/2", a little bigger than the '54 recipe calls for, but that's not really something I care too much about on this project.

    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1488070877.038467.jpg

    I am definitely getting a router table and may look into a more powerful router to mount in it. Luckily this will be getting an opaque finish so I don't have to worry too much over the burns. Got a little tearout here and there but nothing that can't be handled.
     
    Arch Stanton and fortj3 like this.

  6. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Now it's time to get creative.

    My friend, who "ordered" this bass, will be using a Warmoth neck built to fender specs. Which is great, except...

    IMG_1510.JPG

    My templates have a square pocket, true to '54 specs, and Warmoth doesn't make a square heeled neck.

    I may use a tracing bit and copy the pocket from my jazz bass. Gonna work that out today.

    Image1488558128.898047.jpg
     
    PingGuo likes this.

  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County

  8. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Spent all day figuring this one out. What I ended up doing was using a pattern tracing bit to copy the neck pocket of my jazz bass into a piece of MDF.

    Then I put the neck in to check the fit, and after lots of careful measuring was able to draw out the center line.

    Lined that up with my body's centerline, and after three passes I got it to 5/8" deep. Looks pretty good. It's just a little gappy so I'll probably glue in a veneer or two later on.

    IMG_1513.JPG
     
    PingGuo likes this.

  9. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Went ahead and did the roundover too. Did I mention this is the first time I've done all this stuff?

    IMG_1514.JPG

    Starting to look like a bass! Tomorrow I'll do the pickup routes and get started on the contours.
     
    Tonetele, Muzikp, PingGuo and 2 others like this.

  10. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    I’m sure we’re all aware that in guitar building terminology “tomorrow” can mean “53 weeks later” right?


    Image1520617846.532336.jpg

    In order to get going correctly I felt it was necessary to draw some plans, so I can work out my moves. Doing the mental gymnastics to figure out where to drill was too much work, and I’d get confused. This is my first submission for the new owner’s approval.
     

  11. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    The biggest hold ups were the pickup routes.

    Thunderbird pickups have a 3/8” radius on the corners. I eventually found a 3/8” router bit and went through countless trial-and-error runs cutting MDF for templates until one day I dawned on me that a 3/8” RADIUS meant 3/4” DIAMETER.

    Duhhhhhhh

    So I did the math, glued together some chopped-up yardsticks as fences for my router base, and got after it.

    Image1520618293.320800.jpg
     
    PingGuo likes this.

  12. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Image1520618330.225000.jpg

    It’s just a little gappy, which is fine because we are using the nickel trim rings to hide the cavities.

    Funny how a year’s worth of agony can be solved with very basic geometry.
     
    Epikaster likes this.

  13. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Image1520619430.139809.jpg

    One T-Bird pickup cavity template, freed from its MDF prison. I’m very thankful they’re both the same size.
     
    PingGuo and ModerneGuy like this.

  14. bcarter_1

    bcarter_1 Tele-Afflicted

    Looking good... I like the looks of the old p bass
     
    loopy reed likes this.

  15. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx

  16. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Image1520629425.703605.jpg

    Starting on the pickup routes with a big Forstner bit.

    It doesn’t look like much because the pickup routes are going to be fairly shallow. I’m aiming for 3/8” depth, considering that the pickups are less than 1/2” thick and the height of the strings from the body.

    I’d much rather have the pickups a little more proud of the body than have to go back and make the neck pocket deeper.

    I also broke my router just now, so this is where we stop for a while. Was considering getting a new one anyway.
     
    Barncaster likes this.

  17. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Got a registration pin rig setup so I can do the control holes

    Image1520634357.783605.jpg

    Already drilled from the front

    Image1520634398.890275.jpg
     

  18. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    I Image1520634701.050964.jpg

    Nice and straight! By the way this was a very difficult photo to take
     
    PingGuo likes this.

  19. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Image1520634861.420447.jpg

    3/8” forstner for the top
     
    PingGuo likes this.

  20. loopy reed

    loopy reed Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Comme ça

    Image1520635026.833070.jpg

    Not worried about the last hole being slightly off. It’s for the jack and isn’t going to be as noticeable as one of the knobs being off.
     
    PingGuo likes this.

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