Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How to make an electric fretless bass guitar

I wanted to make a bass for a long time now. I finally found a cheap bass pickup online and decided to make it.

My design is a hybrid instrument between an electric bass and a contrabass.

I begun by glueing and clamping two long pieces of wood.

After the glue dried, I planed the pieces as flat as I could using a hand plane.

I made a small mock up just to have an idea of what I was going for.

I used an electric bass as reference to take a few measurements.

I then made a few cuts on my bandsaw. The piece was to large for my small bandsaw, so I finished my cuts with my jigsaw.

I cleared the saw marks with my hand plane and a spokeshave.

I made the neck and body shaping, using mostly my spokeshave.

I used my coping saw to make a few round cuts.

I then sanded everything using several scrap pieces as sanding blocks.

I needed to make a mortise for the potentiometer and the input jack.

I removed most of the material on my drill press using a spade bit.

I then made a few stop cuts at the edges and used a chisel to clear the mortise. I repeated that process a few times, until I reached the desired depth.

Using a long drill bit I made a hole that connected the mortise with the pickup through the wires.

I used a wiring diagram from Seymour Duncan and soldered all the electrical parts of my bass.

I glued two wood blocks for the screws of the pick up. I predrilled a few pilot holes using my rotary tool and Screwed the pick up in place.

I cut a small plywood piece on my bandsaw, to act as a cover for the electrical parts pocket.

I screwed it in place after making a few counter sinked holes on my drill press.

I made the holes for the tuning pegs and screwed them in place.

I also added two rings to act as string guides.

I used my rotary tool and a cutting disk to cut a piece of metal for the bridge.  I used a file to clean it up. I rounded it over using a metal rod as a guide and a hammer to shape it.

On my drill press I made the holes for the strings. I screwed the bridge in place.

I cut a piece of bone on the bandsaw and filed two slots. That’s how I made the nut and the bridge bone.

I cut a wood piece on the bandsaw to act as a bridge.

I used an online fret calculator and measured the positions of my frets. Since I wanted to make a fretless instrument I just used my wood burner to mark the fret positions.

My base is now ready. It is played in a vertical position, just like a contrabass.

I hope you like it.