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ADFinlayson

build #11 - Snuffy's Billy Bongo bass

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I've got the carved roughed in on the LP, the thickness at the first fret is currently 19.9mm which did make my heart skip a beat when I checked - it is in the ball park of where I wanted to be (he wanted a thin neck) and I'm not too worried because the fretboard is only 4.5mm so I still have a good 3-4mm under the truss rod. But it was scary just how quickly those microplanes remove material. 

I could do with making a carving jig that will allow me to get a measuring calliper around the neck without having to disassemble it every time I want to check thickness. I need to sort out the final headstock shape and thickness now before I can finish the carve. 

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Also made a start on carving the bass neck. Very happy with how the veneer on the back fo the headstock came out but it needs a lot more sanding.

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6 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

when you oil beck... it's best to have him sing "loser".  also good to be drinking becks. 

fretboards are looking great.  doing some slotting myself right now... I hate this part.  I like it when it's right... but hate the work and constant fear of slip/scratch.  putting a pretty large rollover on my current and am really liking the feel but prefer the look of bound neck.  might have to try the thicker wood binding like you do to get the best of both worlds.

anywho, be careful... beck might take a liking to you if you oil him too much!

 

A beck that isn't oiled isn't a beck that's worth listening to frankly. 

The binding on my builds isn't think at all normally, I use the smallest rebate my router bits will do which is about 1,5mm, it just looks thicker because it's rounded over maybe? My rationale for thinner binding is that there is more fret with tang so it's easier to get the fret ends to stay down over the binding.

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Just now, ADFinlayson said:

A beck that isn't oiled isn't a beck that's worth listening to frankly. 

The binding on my builds isn't think at all normally, I use the smallest rebate my router bits will do which is about 1,5mm, it maybe just looks thicker because it's rounded over maybe? My rationale for thinner binding is that there is more fret with tang so it's easier to get the fret ends to stay down over the binding.

i think yer right with the rounded = looks thicker.  looks nice.

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3 minutes ago, Prostheta said:

Sounds like we're on the same page. I also advocate for oiling your Beck.

For me, once I played an oiled beck, there was no going back to a lacquered/poly beck, it's just not as comfortable. I am however toying with the idea of lacquering the headstock and heal but trying to fade at around the nut then oil the beck shaft. P J Eggle does it on his Macon models and they look great.

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Lovely build(s) coming along here, love the detail of the matching veneer on the back of the headstock - that's something I've always wanted to try!

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That must be one of the most lightweight thru-neck basses I've seen! 

How are you going to mount the pickups? Zip-ties?

Edited by Bizman62

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2 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

That must be one of the most lightweight thru-neck basses I've seen! 

How are you going to mount the pickups? Zip-ties?

ha, it's tempting, or I might just tell him his nordstrands got lost in the post 🤷‍♂️ it's surprisingly loud considering it's just a 1m length of wood, but probably has something to do with the strings being a lightyear away from the fretboard.

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I string it up for 2 reasons:

1. I'm too lazy to work out how much material I need to remove from the neckthrough taking into account the height of the top. I've got the saddles set to their lowest point so now I know that I need to remove the thickness of the top + the distance between the last fret and the bottom of the string

2. This is a one piece neckthrough (probably a dumb idea in hindsight) so I thought it would be good to see what it does under a few days of string tension.

 

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A bit more progress on the billy bongo. Started by cutting a recess in the body end of the neckthrough for the top to sit on. I made a cock up here and cut a bit too much away so the fretboard would have been a mile above the top and bridge sit too low, it also look daft having such a high neck to the body, so cut the offcut down to the correct heigh and stick it back on with a contrast veneer between to make a "feature" at the base of the neckthrough. Apparently the old saying measure twice is only valid if the calculations are correct 🤷🏻‍♂️

The wings are now glued on, over two evenings, again with a black contrast veneer between. This was harder than I anticipated - because of the design of the body means I can't get the bobbin sander close enough to the where the horns meat the body, or a router, I had to final dimension the inside of the horns perfectly with the top, which required dry fitting the top and wings, drawing round the top onto the wings in pencil then shape the horns on the sander. The bottom horn after glue up, is lined up nicely with the top, will see tomorrow if the top one is ok.

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Also got the top sanded tonight. I love the drum sander but it doesn't half leave some deep long scratches when it's loaded with 80 grit. I think the issue is unique to this Pheobe wood, but it took a lot of effort to get the scratches out, I had to got down to 60 grit on the random orbital to completely remove the streaks. I'll do more sanding once it's glued up but  I figured it would be easier to do the hard work with it off the body, especially around the neck pocket. 

This is it after sanding, wiped down with a bit of white spirit, it's a flippin' awesome piece of wood.

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wings glue up was a success, had to remove some material on the neckthrough as it was slightly proud of the wings but that was intention as I'd rather it's too high and need to be taken down than be too low and result in a gap. Notice how that clamp really stained the limba? I've never seen that before. 

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I checked the fit and it's spot on around the inside of the horns, probably a fluke but I'll take it. Then I decided to route a roundover around the horns prior to sticking because there's no way I'm fitting the router in there once the top is glued down. only a 3.2mm roundover here. 2 reasons - 1. I don't like massive strat style roundovers and 2. I still need to run the bearing of the router around the top to shape the limba to the top. 

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Glue up was a bit sketchy, the top didn't move around at all but squeeze out around the inner horns and end of the fretboard was a nightmare, had to do a lot of scrubbing in those areas with a toothbrush and hot water. 

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All that done before lunch 💪now I'd better go out and buy a new toothbrush.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that I put in a channel for the pickup wire prior to sticking, router wouldn't get close enough to the fretboard so I got the chisel and mallet out.

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Glad you found a reason to get a new toothbrush!

 

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17 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

This is it after sanding, wiped down with a bit of white spirit, it's a flippin' awesome piece of wood.

I'll say.

SR

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Bits and bobs from the last few days... I finally got round to turning my new workmate (which has turned into more of an assembly table) into a mini router table with a little katsu trim router and plate. I'm not keen on router tables; they terrify me, but it will be handy for cutting out control covers to templates and routing fretboard binding rebates on a flat surface instead of balancing the router on the top of the neck. Looking forward to having a proper go with it.

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A bit more progress on the Billy Bongo: shaped the body wings to the top, did the rest of the top's roundover then cut the forearm contour/reveal that was asked for. The black veneer came out better than I hope :)

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Got the control cavity routed too. If you look closely you will see my first major balls up on this build - The joint on the back of the top wing does not look as good as the other side (there is a veneer between them anyway). The joint itself doesnt seem bad when I look from the ends. it looks as if I've managed to create a slight bevel edge on the neckthrough. Anyway I've filled the area with CA and left it a while to make sure, then I plan to fill it with ebony just and more superglue, then so it doesnt look weird, I'm going to scalpel out a tiny slither from the other side and fill that with ebony dust and glue too so the both look the same. Hopefully that will solve it.

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Took it to the studio on Sunday to show Snuffy, he is very impressed. He did notice how light it was and asked me what it weighed. I wasn't sure so I pit in on the scales today. Pretty sure it's lighter than most of the guitars I've made to date 🤣

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It also got to meet it's brother by another mother while we figured out where to put the electrical gubbins.

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Last couple of nights have been spent on Adrian's LP build. I worked on a tester last night which I'm not happy with. This was using the purple alcohol base dye from Chestnut Products then sprayed with a coat of rattle can poly. It brings out the figure quite nicely and there is loads of chatoyance there, but the purple just looks wishy washy. One thing I did learn while doing this tester is that it's a lot easier to sand in faux binding prior to sealing the stain in, so I'll be doing that in future.

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I did quite like this though, it's Crimson's water-based cherry red sanded back to almost nothing, it has a nice faded coral sort of appearance. But he want's purple. So I've ordered some Angelus dyes after watching a few BigD vids, he knows how to stain purple, that's for sure.

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The tonight I got some more woodworking done. thicknessed the headstock on the bobbin sander and did final shaping of the moustache.

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rounded over the shape of the neck heal (there was too much meat at the top frets) then got the pickup cavities routed.

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He's having a pair of 58/15s, they fit nicely :) 

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Then finally I did a job that I've been putting off, and that is to reroute the pot recess for the volume pot because i managed to make the tone recess larger. You all know how rerouting pot recesses has gone for me before... So I cleaned and sharpened the round nose bit especially before hand and it came out much better, they're looking consistent now. There was also next to no burn this time, I still need to sand all the burn marks out of the others.

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I've still got a fair bit to do - route main control cavity, make mahogany covers, drill some holes and do a world of sanding. But I think there might be more hours behind this one than ahead of it now. Touch wood. I'm all good for the October deadline.

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15 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

I did quite like this though, it's Crimson's water-based cherry red sanded back to almost nothing, it has a nice faded coral sort of appearance. But he want's purple. So I've ordered some Angelus dyes after watching a few BigD vids, he knows how to stain purple, that's for sure.

Try dying purple right over the top of this.

SR

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5 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

I did also try purple over that, it looked dreadful.

Huh.

Well, nothing ventured nothing gained. Sometimes the right shade just jumps up and says here I am! right off the bat, and others require a lot of sweat and Shakespearean witch-craft.

Good luck with the Angelus dyes.

SR

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44 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Huh.

Well, nothing ventured nothing gained. Sometimes the right shade just jumps up and says here I am! right off the bat, and others require a lot of sweat and Shakespearean witch-craft.

Good luck with the Angelus dyes.

SR

you're not wrong, I'm also going to see what I can get with water-based concentrates while I'm waiting for the Angelus stuff to arrive. Hopefully I'll be able to show him a couple of options.

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for the record... the angela's purple is what I would call 'royal purple'.  Pretty dark out of the bottle.  angela's is great stuff... the teal on my avatar gtr is angela's.  the blue on my sweet spot was a mix of angelas and other.  I predict you'll be happy w it if you are looking for a more 'purpley' color (hehe).

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Yep, that’s definitely purple.  I’ve the crimson stains purple but haven’t tried it yet, looking at the angelus stuff, I might have been better getting some angelus dye as the colour BigD gets is pretty much what I’m after.

 

relly like the purple and rose, looks like it would be a great colour on that guitar.

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