UPDATE:013108 - Added Piezo transducer close-up of back side.
An electric bass is created using 1 broken bass string, 1 piezo transducer, part of a cheap wooden easel leg, and 2 metal rods from a bookshelf. A video is included to demonstrate the sound of the stick bass.
Step 1: The materials needed
In the corner of my workshop I spied the remnants of an old cheapy easel...the flimsy kind you can find in most department stores. It immediately looked interesting being that it had wing nuts and bolts and holes right where I needed them. Not to mention the trough on one side that I though might lend to some interesting playability aspects.
Step 2: Cut, drill and notch
To create the nut and the bridge, I used some spare bookshelf hardware pins. I wasn't worried so much about proper scale lengths than just a fast little project, so placement is up to you. I have a problem with getting caught up into details and never seeing things through, so let's not worry so much about technicalities of proper tuning and scale lengths just yet. You can either lay them on top or do as I did and drill (haphazardly mind you) through the walls of the easel leg to seat the pins.
On the other end of the stick, drill a hole, small enough to allow only the string through. Use a small washer to keep the ball end from pulling it's way through the wood.
Step 3: Wire it up
I then soldered my piezo leads to a female 1/4" jack. I didn't want to be limited to two feet of cable and then have to add an extension anyway.
Step 4: Fire it up!
I used a Line 6 Toneport UX2 to record everything into Ableton Live.
I've found the slightest grasp and the subtlest touch to the string gives the best tone. It can actually be fretted after a little practice. The improvements to it's playability can go a million directions, but this was just a fun project that yielded surprising results. Have fun!