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Some Bass Design Ideas

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I'm not even sure where the inspiration for this came from. Normally, i'm a guitar guy, but for some reason i got thinking about basses a few weeks ago.

I think my brain just got started doing sort of a mutation of a Conklin body style with hints of an Ibanez Ergodyne EDA and some Ergo Instruments in there somewhere, along with a few of my own twists. I didn't do my usual hand sketches on this one at all. I went straight into Illustrator and started creating a scale drawing, and after a couple of revisions, this is what came out:


I envisioned this as a neck-thru bass, with stringers of wenge and purpleheart (or maybe wenge and bubinga) and body wings of walnut. I'm also exploring the idea of using some alternative/composite (but still natural) materials. Its shape will be very three-dimensional, blending crisp edges with flowing, organic forms.

Today i came up with a fretless acoustic variant, inspired by bassman's burl fretless hybrid. This one i think would be built as a bolt-on, with a hollowed-out mahogany back and either spruce or some exotic top, with nothing but a piezo.


I have no idea when i'll be able to build these, as i don't have access to a workshop right now. But they're here in my brain for now, and will probably get refined a few more times before i get to the point where they start becoming reality.

Comments and critiques are welcome!

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Thats a nice looking design! The upper horn out to be just about right and the lower horn is out of the way. The headstock looks like it will be nice and lite and flows with the bodys curves really well. The only thing that IMO would keep that from being totally comfortable is the lower frets on the board. The one thing about the Ibanez bass you refered to that makes it feel nice to me is the way the body is carved out under the strings. If you play bass w/fingers not a pick you can really feel the difference if something is too close (pickup, body is too close, or in this case fret board protrudes). Two methods I have found that make a big difference are to use a taller board (which would complicate the problem here). The other way is to move the body away (carve body out like EDB, roll the body away like a Thumb, or neck angle to raise the strings from the body). The bass will look killer! Big fat MM pickup too make that monster growl would rock. Maybe even MM + Piezo in the bridge (nice blending of both worlds). You need to build it!!!!


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You need to build it!!!!

Oh, believe me... i know i do! :D

Thanks for the input. The contours will probably get some refinement and tweaking once i start carving the real thing and i get a sense of the ergonomics on it. I'd definitely consider putting a piezo on the solidbody one... i'd just like to find a piezo mono-rail bridge.

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Reminds me, in a strange way of BassLab basses. Maybe it's the top horn or something.

Either way, killer designs. I'd like to see the second one with a LightWave optical pickup, though.

I also agree on the MM pickup for the first one. Was the one in your drawing modeled after any particular brand? It looks strangely like the pickups on a G&L L-2500.

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I was loosely basing it on a Seymour Duncan MM replacement, but nothing really specific.

Those BassLab instruments are really... interesting. Most of the designs are aesthetically kind of "off" to my eye in terms of their overall visual balance, but there are some interesting shapes and contours. I really wanted my bass to look like it had a skin stretched over muscle, tendons and bone.

I'd love to do a bass with the Lightwave system. I wouldn't even bother making the bass hollow, since the Lightwave apparently already sounds very acoustic and open like an upright bass.

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