The finish on the 5 string singlecut bass featured in previous blogs has been left to cure, so while I wait I'm making a start on my next project. I haven't done a great deal of building over the last year or two, so I'm looking forward to making some fresh sawdust. The new bass will be a 4 string, 32'' scale bass with a chambered Alder body, Ziricote top, Walnut neck and Ebony fretboard. It will feature a Hipshot bridge with piezo saddles connected to a GraphTech Acousti-Phonic preamp, along with a single pickup in the bridge position.
This week I've made a start on the neck which is being made from 3 pieces of Black Walnut. The Walnut was cut and planed close to final dimensions last year before going back on the shelf. Even with stable woods such as Black Walnut, I always like to prepare the wood I use in advance if possible.. wood movement can be unpredictable but generally speaking the longer the wood has had to acclimatise before use, the more stable it will be during the building process.
To cut the scarf joint I used a Japanese saw guide which I purchased recently. The guide is made by Z-Saw and is designed for making 90 and 45 degree cuts, etc. I removed the guide from the base of the jig and fitted it to a wooden base made from scrap wood, which is set to cut at a 13 degree angle. The jig is fitted to the side of the neck blank with a single F-clamp.
After making the cut, I clean the faces up on a stationary belt sander before reducing the thickness of the headstock and gluing it together.
The fretboard was cut from the Ebony billets pictured below (the same pieces which produced the wood for the hand plane in my last blog entry). This picture was taken last year shortly before the wood was cut.
Once the Ebony had been planed and put through the drum sander, I trim the excess wood (which will be saved for making into binding strips) and clean up the edges with a hand plane before the fret slots are cut on my slotting jig.
That's all for now.. more updates coming soon. I'll leave you with a video from Bob Taylor talking about the sustainability of Ebony and his purchase of an Ebony mill in Cameroon. The Ebony I'm using for this build comes from the Crelicam mill which Bob co-owns.