Few days before I finished this
bass guitar and about it I have a dream. In this dream, Les Claypool takes my finished bass guitar, play some, and said "Nice bass, but sometimes I would like to play on 4 string one". After that, my worries about, will this bass have a nice sound and stuff disappeared.
Long Story. At school, I want to create an 8 string guitar and play on it. It's done. When I studied at the University me and my friend played together and dreamed about a rock band. I decided that I will play the bass. I decided to buy some cheap 4 string bass. It hadn´t so good sound and I learned to play not enough. But I always dreamt about a 6 string bass.
After my first handmade guitar, and bass, I figured out that mostly all depends on the skill, but the dream about 6 string bass was not achieved. And, on Instructables, it's was going to be the first 6 string bass guitar.
So, I decided to make the 6 string bass.
Step 1: Drafting, Dreaming, Planing
One day, while I was taking my son from the kindergarten, I saw that
someone throw away cathedra.
That cathedra had very nice and tasty pieces of oak. I took it home and s started to think about the new project.
On my job sometimes I draft sketches of the new bass. The best sketch I have scanned, imported to CorelDraw and created a full-size schema.
And, I want to set on guitar squares, like on a chessboard. So I drafted it on paper. For this squares, I have wood from the previous project, rest of wenge fretboard.
scale length: 864 mm
26 frets (I plan 27, but make a mistake in calculation)
Step 2: Materials and Instruments
- little carpenter’s plain.
- a lot of sandpaper :)
- board with sandpaper
- chisel 6 mm
- clamps and bricks
- small hummer
- handmade drill-to-router converter
- chair leg (for frets instaling)
- wood from recycling bin ( oak, birch, beech)
- fretboard from recycling bin (probably it is ash)
- head machines, bridge, resistors, condensers, pickups - some noname from China
- carbon toss rods and adjusting toss from China to
- nut - VIP bakelite, perhaps from old iron, which I found not around recycling bin, but on the train rails
Step 3: Combining
I planned to make neck-through
bass, to do that I needed a long piece of wood. In the piece of wood needed for length, I have the only birch, but with bark. I think it's some like 4 or 5 level quality of the wood :). So, this wood can't be the mainframe.
Also, I have two beechen table legs. I decided to mount them together. They were of a rounded section, that's why I made some square in the section. After, I made them already squared.
After gluing together two pieces of birch and beech I figured out, that I need more width. I had two pieces of oak, and I calculated the trapezoidal shape of the neck. So I glued to my workpiece two pieces of oak write on the place, where I needed to.
I hadn´t enough width and deep of guitar head. Width I increased adding little pieces of birch.
Deep I increase, as for me in the pretty witty way. The guitar neck has to have some inclination. So I cut wood for incline and cut off peace glue on another side (unfortunately, I didn't take photos of this part of work).
Actually, It looks like I took every wood I saw until I glued all together to the whole guitar
Step 4: Cheesing and Shaping
For black squares, I use rest of wenge. For white squares, I
used mostly beech. There were many different pieces which I can glue together and make a few squares.
Step by step I glued squares to the surface side by side. Some squares have come out of the shape, I cut it.
When the main shape was done, I started the second part of shaping.
I took my drill, put on it sandpaper disk with the biggest abrasive I have and did a wrily smooth shape.
My masterpiece had a lot of little holes and bugs, I needed to make them. I made the mixture with glue and sawdust, and fill up all of them.
Little scratches I fixed up with super glue and sandpaper. I dropped a little drop into the scratch and sanding it
Step 5: Make Pickup Hols and Other
For pickups, I made holes with the drill. At first, I made many 10 mm
holes. After I use a handmade drill-to-router converter.
The same I did with electronics niche.
Step 6: To Paint or Not to Paint
I want to make the guitar darker, so I decided to use black wood stain. It
looks like an experiment.
I bought a black wood stain, put hold gloves (I understand that these gloves have holes later when I look to my hands :) ).
After painting the guitar has a strange grey color. I don't know, did I lose or win with this decision.
Step 7: Install Toss Rod and Carbon
I had made grooves for toss rod and carbon rails with the chisel. For
carbon rails, I have used 8 mm chisel sharped to 6 mm. As you can see in the photo, the groove for toss rod is symmetrical enough and for carbon rails not. I made this because of some reasons.
As I wrote earlier, I used some birch of very strange quality, central beech is tough enough. So I have this not parallel, perfectionist hate, the wood and I decided to strengthen the construction by losing the week wood.
When grooves for carbon was done, I glued carbon rails with epoxy.
Step 8: Fretboard
When it was a turn to the fretboard, my contract on my job was
broken. I dropped away from the idea to make palisander or some else exotic wood.
So I started to find alternatives. I had remained that I found nice white wood, it looks like an arch, from the old sofa. And I know that sometimes use the arch for the fretboard. I decided to make the fretboard by myself.
I took the board, and slitted it. I got two not way flat pieces of wood. And this workpiece was not wide enough. I had no way out, I needed to make the fretboard with pieces. And I made it.
My fretboard wasn't flat enough. For flatting fretboard, I use my main instrument: desk with sandpaper.
When the fretboard was flat, I round it with my round block, which based on 26" bicycle rim.
After I have covered all with a layer of flaxseed oil. After two weeks I marked frets, cut grooves for them, end installed with glue.
Tip for future: better use some polymer based lacquer for a fretboard, like that, set layer of lacquer, after drying sand it. Your wood fiber will be glued together, and you can polish it better.
I had hoped that flaxseed oil does made this, but it didn´t happen.
Step 9: Finishing and Installing All
After clean grinding, I figured out that I needed to think down the bridge.
So I do that, and I
needed clean grinding again.
Then I covered all with flaxseed oil. It needs a long time for polymerization. After I covered all with yacht lacquer, 5 times.
Then I polished guitar and installed all furniture and electronics.
For shielding, I used the food foil. It is the efficient and cheap method. One wire without isolation connected to ground, strings, through the bridge, pickups reostats.
Step 10: Look and Sound
So I finish it. I have 6 strings bass guitar. It is a childhood dream :)