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Finished! Headless bass with a difference


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Bit more progress with this.  Apologies for the post being a bit pic-heavy. The pickups arrived.  The pickups themselves have a bottom multi-wire connector which, with the three way switch suppli

Forgive the self indulgence As always, thanks for looking, folks  

Yes - back to basses!    I've been asked by A to make a rather special bass.  It's going to be a mix of trad and modern.  And maybe a world first...? The basic spec starts fairly conventiona

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/13/2021 at 2:07 AM, curtisa said:

So, are those pickups or slate flagstones? ;)

No kidding. I think you could sell advertising space on those.

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And on to positioning of the tuners.  Other than the added dimension of the two strings being able to move independently, I do it similar to with a fixed bridge - I fit the headstock equipment (in this case the clamp) and then fit some 'sacrificial' strings to the top and bottom positions to line up with the scale length + intonation and with the fretboard/string spacing:

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Having positioned the two outer ones, I marked the front screw positions and then the two for the middle strings:

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Then fixing the tuner bases by these front screws, I could string up to get the splay angle, taking advantage of the individual tuners being able to follow the taper of the string runs, and mark the position for the back screws:

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Which then could be screwed in place.

It was effortless to tune the strings to pitch - in fact it was so smooth I ended up 5 or 6 semitones high on a couple of strings just in straightening them.  The last headless system I used would have involved quite a bit of effort to reach the same tightness!

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Such a nice top, shame the pickups cover half of the front :D coming along really nice, just a question about the tuners, how do you intonate them? You have to totally losen the strings, readjust them and tighten up again? Otherwise, love them, one friend is asking me to build him a headless travel-friendly bass, and I'll probably go with those or something like them. 

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2 hours ago, Gogzs said:

Such a nice top, shame the pickups cover half of the front :D coming along really nice, just a question about the tuners, how do you intonate them? You have to totally losen the strings, readjust them and tighten up again? Otherwise, love them, one friend is asking me to build him a headless travel-friendly bass, and I'll probably go with those or something like them. 

Yes - but it's very easy to do.  I'll do a post tomorrow showing how easy it is to fit the strings.  I did a full set, including trimming in two minutes total!

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5 hours ago, mistermikev said:

i somehow missed earlier post of bass with three fricking humbuckers?  "I like the cut of your jig sir".  that is going to have a LOT of options... v nice work.

I think it's around 120 options ;)

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You know how it is sometimes when you keep looking at a build and think, "I know something's missing, but I just don't know what!"...

Well, A had requested the offset head finial and we had agreed that it would have an ebony cap - which, once it was sanded to shape, would look fine:

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But, with the bass propped up in the room for a couple of days...what was it that was bugging me.  And I realised it was some ebony to balance the small cap and make the tuner blocks look like they were always supposed to be there!

I took a gamble because I didn't tell A that I was going to take my Forstner and chisel to the back of his expected baby!!

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The ebony block would be tapered to reflect the string taper and inset into the tailstock:

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And having also started the sanding - and using a quick coat of Tru-oil as my 'reveal' coat to spot more easily the scratches, dints, lumps and bumps - a quick mock-up confirmed, in my mind at least - that this indeed was what had been missing:

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Happily, A agreed :)

 

The reveal coat also showed A for the first time what colour this will be when it has been properly finished.  Here's the back:

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I think it's going to look quite nice :)

 

 

 

 

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On 1/24/2021 at 10:10 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

"I know something's missing, but I just don't know what!"...

I started looking at this from the body and let my eyes work their way up the neck...and it's oh! You've lost your head.:blink:

Headless builds always do that to me. They always jar me for a second, it's like, put a hat on that or something.

It's a very tasty looking bass, lovely timbers, excellent execution. The need of a hat and those giant humbuckers even disguise the fact it's a bass for a moment.

A should be very happy. And I totally agree, the lonely piece of ebony needed another to balance it. Excellent resolution to that!

SR

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  • 5 weeks later...

And this is pretty much finished!

The neck was carved with a combination of micro-plane and cabinet scraper.  Luminlays fitted too:

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The scary job drilling the wire access for the bridge grounding.  Helps to have a long drill.  Clearly the hole doesn't have to be that big, but a thinner long drill tends to be too flexible and can go wandering off.  Ask me how I know! :lol: 

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I do my normal method of soldering the wire to a piece of copper shielding - gives me a sure connection with minimal impact of the bridge/top joint.  Apols for the blurry pic:

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The other strings are grounded by the headstock clamp block.

Finishing was with Tru-oil slurry and buff to grain fill and get a decent basis and then, to aim for a light gloss, just a couple of coats of wiped on Tru-oil:

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And then all of a sudden it was the finishing off stuff!

First the jackplate inset:

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Then the wiring...no magnets are going to hold THIS hatch down!

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And then is was finished!

I'll post the arty farty shots in the next post but this is how it looks 'leaning up against the amp'.  Yes - those tuners are clear of the ground ;)

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17 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Yes - those tuners are clear of the ground 

Clever! I have a guitar with dual strap buttons but until now I couldn't figure out any real use for them. 👍

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Just before I post the finished shots, a few comments about two of the things fitted on it.

First the headless system.  And what a nice, great to use and looks good too is Andre Passini's Nova Guitar Parts headless system!  String fitting (2 minutes for a full string change - I timed myself) and tuning up is effortless.  The tuners are as smooth as silk and very accurate.  And it looks great too :)

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The only challenge I had was getting enough height adjustment of the saddles while still being able to clamp then in the normal way - but I have some thoughts how this could be easily and cheaply improved which I will bounce off Andre shortly.  But for 'best bang for the buck' - it absolutely gets my vote and I will be fitting them on all future headless builds :)

 

The other is the SimS Super-Quad system.  They are fully passive pickups - the 9v battery is simply there to light the LEDs to tell you if you are in 'Split' 'Single' or 'Humbucker' mode.  All the tech happens in that fancy switch, including some very clever work that means that there is NO volume change from the humbucking to single/split coil modes.  And this is fully passive - remarkable.

Here are the options:

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The three switches at the bottom are the SimS Tri-logic switches, then the 3 at the top are simply on/off toggles for each.  There is a master volume and master tone and that's it.

And this, to SimS's and my knowledge is the first bass in the world with three of these remarkable pickups :thumb:

Next post the arty farty pics and then I promise that I'll shut up! ;)   Or at least stop carping on :) 

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  • Andyjr1515 changed the title to Finished! Headless bass with a difference

really looks lovely.  with all the electronics and controls going on... pretty clean.  nice work.  leds - takes it over the top.  I bet it is super versatile.  lots of gotm potential there.  I do hope you'll do a vid?  would love to hear it.

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2 hours ago, MiKro said:

Enter it this month in GOTM, since there no entries, but you better hurry. :)

I think they carry over if there's only one entry - but I'll enter it in the morning just in case someone else pops one in before Feb end too :)

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