OK, this project might appear to push the envelope for some folks, especially those without a workshop and some machine tools, but I am putting up this Instructable mainly because it represents the belief that you should never NOT build something just because there's a big risk of failure.
After all, there are centuries of research and best practice, including highly sophisticated designs, world famous builders, critical selections of materials, glues, and finishes that go into building a fine musical instrument, and there are very exclusive guilds that carefully protect these secrets and techniques. So what in the world would any commoner in their right mind be thinking to even imagine that a good sounding, perfectly playable instrument could be designed and built by a rank -- well, lets just leave it at that.
I am attaching the actual original drawing for this bass. It is a little worse for wear. A classically trained friend with a very lovely traditional bass allowed me to carefully measure all of the critical details of his instrument. Distance from the nut to the bridge, bridge height, string spacing everywhere, fingerboard length and height, distance to and length of the tail piece, and on and on, were all carefully recorded. I figured that whatever I would end up building, it would have to feel normal to an experienced upright bass player.
The most important part of an acoustic instrument is the sound board, such as the top of a guitar. A traditional bass has a top, or sound board, constructed from a large, thick slab of spruce from one of just a few forests on the planet (which of course are running out of trees). The design of the top (and back) of the instrument are carved in such a way that the arch shape, important for strength, is shaped from the thick block of wood and given a somewhat uniform thickness -- a huge challenge but one that carves away most of the original slab. Arch-top guitars, cellos, violins, and some mandolins also are made this way. Nowadays large CNC milling machines are used by some folks to do this critical carving.
This design was based on the idea that a sound board and back could be created from a uniform thickness piece of wood that would simply be bent or curved to provide the necessary strength to support the massive downward pressure of the strings on the bridge, but at the same time have good acoustic qualities. The big job of carving would be eliminated, and much less wood would be needed.
It also seemed like a good idea to make the sound board bigger. After all, this is a bass, and a bigger sound board should help emphasize lower frequencies, right? This is the reason for the "teardrop" shape of this instrument. The music most frequently played at our house is bluegrass, so I wasn't worried about being able to bow the instrument, however it is possible even with the wide body. I do expect comments that in the construction photos it looks like a small boat.