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Tele bass - a '51 P-bass based build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by tklaavo, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. tklaavo

    tklaavo Tele-Holic

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    Today I started planning my upcoming build. It will be a Tele-style bass, based on the '51 Precision Bass plans.

    It will be a birthday present for my bass-playing friend. He saw my red Tele (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/312997-introduction-first-diy-guitar.html#post3923892) and said that he'd love to have a bass like that. His 40th birthday is in July, so I'd better start soon to finish it in time...

    Here's the body template I made today:
    [​IMG]

    It's just like the '51 P-bass, but I replaced the upper horn with a Tele contour. I think it looks surprisingly good. It's longer than standard tele of course.

    Also started planning the neck template. My friend plays a Fender Jazz bass, so I'm going to make it a bit narrower at the nut. At 40 mm it's going to be about halfway between P- and J-bass necks.

    [​IMG]

    I want to keep this as simple as possible and make it as nice as I can. Solid body, two-piece maple neck with a 2-way rod, one pickup, two pots, top-loading bridge.

    I need to design a pickguard for this. I will post some sketches later and ask for opinions. I think I will keep the pickguard separate, if the body looks good without one, and we can drill the holes and install it if he wants.

    The body wood choice... Because of the body shape, there's a risk of neck heaviness so the body wood shouldn't be too light. Don't know yet. A heavier slice of pine could be nice. The finish will be rattle can red, and I like the look of pine grain showing through.

    I need to start acquiring parts. Any tips for a good pickup that fits the '51 P-bass front route?

    All other ideas are welcome too!
     
  2. twiggymac

    twiggymac Tele-Holic

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    love the idea! i think for the pickguard, since the original 51 style guard would no longer fit, you could just go for something tele-esque. personally i don't like pickguardless guitars alot, especially slab style guitars like a tele/ 51 bass.

    you going for a 2 saddle bridge or a 4 saddle bridge? when it comes to bass i have no idea what is "better" but im just curious =)
     
  3. bcarter_1

    bcarter_1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow, I think I am going to like this!
     
  4. storyboards27

    storyboards27 Tele-Meister

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  5. twiggymac

    twiggymac Tele-Holic

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    cabronita style tele bass? i think i just fell in love.... is that a guitar toaster pickup in there? and 32" scale seems weird, i would go with 30.5" shortscale if i made one!
     
  6. storyboards27

    storyboards27 Tele-Meister

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    It's a Gretsch bass Filtertron. 32" is very comfortable. 30" seems too dinky some times to my hand. To each his own though.
     
  7. tklaavo

    tklaavo Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the interest! Storyboard27, yours looks very good, and I might consider that pickguard style as well.

    The bridge: I don't know yet. A 2-saddle would look good, but a 4-saddle is probably better.

    The scale will be full 34" - the guy receiving this is taller than average and I know he's not into shorter scales. The body design has more weight towards the bridge end, so I'm quite sure there's enough counterweight.

    The wood - I have a basswood blank that would be enough for a 2-piece body, and then I can have lots of pine for free. Got to bring a scale to measure the weight / volume and decide after that. I have to buy some maple for the neck anyway, maybe I find something for the body as well.

    I made some very rough pickguard sketches. The body will be red, pickguard will be black. Here's some ideas:

    Sketch number one is most faithful to the original '51. Too big and black, I think:

    [​IMG]

    Number two is inspired by Tele Deluxe model. Too weird for me.

    [​IMG]

    Number three is kind of a cross between models just like the body. I like this:

    [​IMG]

    I'd like to keep the control plate design and the curves in front of the pickup, so those parts of the pickguard are kind of locked in the sketches.
     
  8. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

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    I like number three the best.... I would let the guard come up a little.... see regular Tele guard. That would be perfect, to me.. Very cool bass.
     
  9. tklaavo

    tklaavo Tele-Holic

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    You mean the upper contour would go a bit higher? That's what I think, I should copy that outline straight from a tele guard.

    It's amazing about Fender models how easy it is to mix them and usually get something that looks ok. I think they had an excellent eye for design back in the days..
     
  10. Cinicvs

    Cinicvs TDPRI Member

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    i like the first pickguard
     
  11. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Afflicted

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    I built a 'Telecision Bass' last year (see my thread) and almost went for a style of pickguard like your No 3. So that's my choice, I love it. I used the Fender Hi-Mass bridge which is a bit heavier and also has the option of top load or thru body stringing.
     
  12. esetter

    esetter Friend of Leo's

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  13. esetter

    esetter Friend of Leo's

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    Pickguard #1
     
  14. tklaavo

    tklaavo Tele-Holic

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    Hi Crafty Fox - I checked your thread. I think your bass looks great with the pickguard you chose. And I like when people use local wood for their builds. Great job on that one!

    I'm going to modify my pickguard sketch number three by copyng the upper curve from the original Telecaster pickguard and stick with that.. Number one still looks too big.
     
  15. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

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    I like the body template - it looks kind of familiar. If you go with a pickguard, I'd use #3.
     
  16. tklaavo

    tklaavo Tele-Holic

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    Sketching again. Variations:

    [​IMG]

    And with a rounded corner:

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere in between?
     
  17. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

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    #1
     
  18. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

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    I think that both of those are perfect... Toss a coin? The 2nd of the two I like because of the continuity of the curve over the pickup route. That pick guard is absolutely perfect to my eye.
     
  19. bcarter_1

    bcarter_1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I like #2, only slightly more... they are both cool.
     
  20. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Afflicted

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    Number 2
     
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