Monthly Archives: May 2012

Design Revisited, & Lessons Learned


This very moment is the first I’ve had in almost a month to pick up where I left off. This moment also marks a second attempt at building a bass guitar. In hindsight I needed some time to regroup, come up with a design I truly loved, and the ever critical decision of wood selection. As before this bass is made from multiple pieces of wood, starting with a body core, and neck of Mahogany. The top plate is still somewhat a question, as I’ve worked on a piece of book matched Tiger Maple, and this wood is definitely exhibition grade material. The only hesitation in employing this species is that Tiger Maple can be found on so many guitars, both factory and custom.

With all that being said, I spent the better part of the last hour gluing up the core blank, with two inlay strips of Maple/Walnut/Maple, that will fall on either side of the center line. Gluing up solid body guitar blanks is much for stressful with the race against adhesives that feature superior strength and little patience. The term “open time” is a myth, glue is glue as far as I can tell. In order to ensure a flat blank I clamped from every angle that matters, and since my vise has yet to find a home in my new home/shop, part of it serves as the perfect weight to hold everything down. Now that time is once again on my side, I’ll be able to consider the Tiger Maple as the top plate or is there a better choice? Chances are it will be the Tiger Maple as my checking account is boss in this area.

The Radio Silence


The month of April has been a busy one to say the least. My “Real Daytime Job” has been very greedy with my time, and I’ve not had much of a chance to work with my bass. Once again the world of  luthiery has thrown a curve ball.  My first attempt was plagued with imperfections in profile, shapes/curves, wood selection and presence. Knowing myself as well as I hope, I cannot cope with the “It’ll have to do” attitude. One of the biggest eye sores was the shape of the top horn. Not long after my last post titled, The Cats Eye is when the clumsy shape of the top horn revealed itself. I was very pleased with the result of the “Cats Eye”,  but it wasnt enough to compensate the hideousness of the top horn. So out came the rasps to try to polish up the curves. Shaping, and re-shaping the bevels, and curves is alot like applying icing to a cake. You can over do it and ruin everything instantly. So my almost first bass guitar was a casualty of my inexperienced hands. It’s back on the path of becoming a clock. Maybe it will remind me to slow down, there’s always symbols of our efforts, successes and even failures. In furniture you sketch 100 times, then sketch again. Why I didn’t apply this mentality to luthiery Im not sure.  So with fresh inspiration, and a double dose of enthusiasm I’ve already begun a full-fledged campaign from the start. Sometimes you just don’t know until you try.