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5-String Aria Pro II SB1000/R150-ish bass


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This has been the worst of my transgressions with the pantograph, and another reason I wanted to work on the 12th fret inlay first. Alignment caused the oval to cut out terribly on the south edge when pocketing. The inlay was set using a mixture of Z-Poxy 30 and Ebony dust.

The slight depression in my transgression gives the impression it will disappear during the aggression of a radius sanding session. Wetted with a little linseed oil, those specks are just dust. This is a tasty burger!

IMG_20200617_143431.jpg

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The tight inlays can be done with CA instead of epoxy. I haven't got much Z-Poxy 30 left, so it's only necessary for real gap filling.

 

IMG_20200617_161021.jpg

 

Filed back, these are pretty much spot on. Once the board gets taken through the grits and given a buffing with linseed oil, the Ebony will darken to match.

IMG_20200617_171556.jpg

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Done. I hope that those light spots around the edges will sand out. No idea what that is.

IMG_20200617_191056.jpg

 

edit: It's nothing a bit of black spirit dye doesn't fix. A few drop fills need doing here and there, but it's back to re-slotting and then glueing up!

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4 minutes ago, komodo said:

Carl, those are super tight. Excellent work. Makes mine look like murder scene.

Thanks man, I appreciate that. Most of them are tight. A couple aren't because I had issues with centre alignment as mentioned. I decided not to keep the Ebony centres in the eyes and let the filling bring those back up. The general secret has been to centre punch locations, have the fingerboard secured in place and locate a 1,0mm cutter over the mark. The template is then adjusted in place according to where the pilot says it needs to be. The gridding is a little problematic, however I think that's height parallax error. The pearl could do with being cut on a backing board, maybe 6-8mm higher than the baseboard. All three axes need to be in a direct line from their pivot fulcrums. I'm just happy that the pearl cut cleanly as it did. Pockets can be filled.

I also discovered a weakness in the pantograph which allows for twist. The natural weight of the arm is enough to hold this in check, however lifting the arm can cause the cutter to skew slightly. We're talking tenths of a mm, but when that happens at full depth of cut, it can become annoying to get nicks along otherwise smooth edges.

I can see how the pantograph can be improved, however I'd like to see if this can be achieved without adding in complexity. This is a nice simple tool that does the hard work for you. Lighting under the cutter would be nice. Fantasy standard would be a laser line, achievable is an LED or two. As mentioned, the ability to raise/lower and lock the cutter in the Z axis would be sweet. That way the pilot can be left at a fixed depth with the arm parallel to the bed.

Maybe next year!

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No fretwire landed today, however the fingerboard was sanded and re-slotted.

Fingerboard being glued up with hide glue. I chose this for the grab and ease of cleanup. Squeezeout is no bad thing at this stage in anything other than how it gets everywhere! Rim clamps keep the board referenced whilst the F-clamps are providing the real force. As soon as I post this, I'm going to take it out of this initial clamping now it'll have set in place and flipping it onto a radiusing beam with a leather caul to chooch overnight.

IMG_20200618_181502.jpg

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Like that. At this stage, clamping is more or less a formality. Both surfaces were in good check and were set in place by rubbing to displace excess glue and ensure adequate wetting of both surfaces. It'll stay like this overnight. My leg vise is in the way of getting another couple of clamps at the body end, however it's pretty much already fully set and no lack of pressure will be problematic here.

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So, we've got a couple of weeks before the rental agency will want to come and photograph the place, so the workroom will need breaking down, packing up and cleaning. I doubt that much work will be done before that, but we'll see.

Upcoming jobs:

  • Fretwork and neck shaping
    The majority of this will be rasp and spokeshave work. Firstly I'll establish the profile I want at the body and headstock ends, then join the dots with a spokeshave. Most of the heel stock removal will be done at this stage, however I want to do that once the wings are in place in order to dial in the right balance of contouring. I'm really unsure whether I want to do "standard" fretwork dressed in place, or to do a full semi-hemi fretwork job. I'd like to say that the second option is most attractive, however time is completely against me with this choice. I might have to stay off the fretwork until late July.
  • Wing glueup
    The plan here is to glue one wing to one side of the neck, then use "bridge cauls" over the neck through step both sides to force the second wing into line when that is being glued up. A similar approach will be used to trim the excess material with a router bridged with reference to both wing surfaces.
  • Pickup rout
    The pickup will be set into a cavity that is in line with the string/fingerboard plane. This is easiest to do before trimming the neck, as the template can be set on the flat unplaned surface that that cavity is sunk at a slight angle with reference to the wing surfaces. The pickup is attached with four corner machine bolts anyway, however this will enable an even spacing around the pickup itself.
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Hyvää juhannusta! (happy midsummer)

It's too hot to do anything today other than drink beer and/shape the neck. I regret this now, since I'm sweaty as all hell.

I scrubbed off the corners of the profile using a spokeshave with a deep cut, then used a cabinet maker's rasp to shape in the contours at both ends. The final neck thickness taper needs to be 22mm at the 1st fret and 25mm prior to the heel contour kicking in. The current profiles read 24mm at 1st and 29mm at the heel. Once these are established, the profiles are blended into each other with long pull strokes on a spokeshave set to a very fine cut. It take a lot of strokes to remove material, and it's tempting to scrub off material. The problem here is that we want long smooth strokes rather than leaving torn-out sections, high and low spots. The next job is to dial in what I want for the headstock transition. The inner facing wings of the headstock are initially blended in towards a light "bee sting" profile. This is higher than the neck profile dialled in at the first fret, so this will lose its point as shaping progresses. At this stage, the shape could be turned into a shallow volute or a lightly square shouldered transition. I want to see what the demands of the neck are in terms of feel and make the decision later.

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Still lots of material to lose here.

IMG_20200619_135506.jpg

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Another hot day of nonsense.

Neck shaped a little closer to final, but not quite. This will be something I'll do later since there is more shaping to do at the heel contour, so I consider the current state of the neck as rough in terms of measurement....even though it's at 120 grit and mostly profiled.

Volute shaped in. Once the final neck profiles are done, I'll fine tune the volute for symmetry.

IMG_20200620_181121.jpg

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Just now, Norris said:

Lovely looking work

Thanks Norris. As it happens, I should have a 1980 batwing SB-1000 coming in for restoration work during July. It should be interesting comparing the "real thing" against my interpretation. My real world reference is the SB-1000 that came in a couple of years back and my RSB-600, which is a 4-in-line SB-600. Or to put it another way, a passive version of the SB-1000 with a different headst0ck and crapola zinc hardware. I think you probably already knew this, so I'm sort of doing some cheap exposition here!

Great seeing your SB-1000 in the background of the Toccata vid on YouTube, and that you have a focal point further than the 10cm that your avatar implies. Hard to believe that the bass lived a life being banged around the van as a backup dog or makeshift boat anchor.

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On 6/22/2020 at 9:47 AM, Prostheta said:

Great seeing your SB-1000 in the background of the Toccata vid on YouTube, and that you have a focal point further than the 10cm that your avatar implies. Hard to believe that the bass lived a life being banged around the van as a backup dog or makeshift boat anchor.

Yeah, it did get some abuse back in the day :) The years spent in the loft afterwards was probably cruelest. I've still not gigged it since it was restored - I really ought to do that when we're allowed out again 

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Yours is a batwing? I forget....

I'm going to make a comprehensive re-review of dimensions and geometry from this batwing when it comes in, however I doubt that there are any significant differences between the 70s and 80s basses other than the bridge position (and hence the neck) being slightly further forward in the 70s basses. Interestingly, it looks like the exact same pin routing template/jig was used for the cavities in the 70s basses as for the 80s, apart from the 80s basses being butchered a little for the LED. I'll do a full photo appraisal.

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Aha, yes! The same year as the bass I should be restoring as well, however this one has all-original hardware and electronics short of the pickup and preamp. I'll be taking it back to as near factory as is reasonable.

Fretwire landed today! I've decided that I'll be doing a semi-hemi fretjob which will need a lot of time and patience, a clear bench and good lighting. This won't happen for a few weeks yet....

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I'm going with non sealed for the Black Queen starfield. We'll see how it holds up over time.

I've seen some surgical stainless tubing of this size that wouldn't have the same sparkle, but may have nearly the same end effect.

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