Life does funny things to you sometimes.
It's been a really long time since I'd had the spark that I needed to get myself going and start building again.
This year (2017) ended up staring off with quite the bang. Through a spectacular series of ups and downs involving divorce, loss of a shop, getting engaged, meeting amazing people, buying a house, building a shop, and getting older, I can confidently say two things: 1] 2017 was the best birthday I've ever had (mainly due to my amazing fiancé/soon-to-be wife) and 2] I am more excited to build this bass than I've ever been to build anything.
- Better Mousetrap Guitars Aurora Single-Cut
- 4-string, 34" scale
- Wings: Granadillo faces with maple accent line over black walnut
- Neck: Maple with black walnut details
- Fretboard: West African ebony
- Hardware: Hipshot Ultralite tuners and A-Style bridge
- Electronics: Nordstrand Dual J Blade pickups and 3b preamp
29 January 2017
After finding out that Aaron wanted me to build him a bass (!), it was a mad dash home from Cleveland to take stock of what I had as far as materials were concerned, figure out what potential combinations I could turn out, and take some photos and send them to Aaron for approval. While the first one in the gallery was what he ended up going with, here are a few of the other options I gave him.
30 January 2017
Managed to get the front laminates glued onto the wing cores tonight. I'm really happy with how the bookmatch ended up coming out.
2 February 2017
Pulled the clamps off the glue up of the front face tonight, bookmatched the back set, and glued the back laminates up tonight.
4 February 2017
Made the first run to Armstrong Millworks in what felt like forever. It was really great to see Tom, Dennis, Adam, and Ted all there with big smiles on as soon as I walk through the door; I think that's part of the reason that I'll continue to go back there: you always feel welcome and well taken care of.
Enough sappy stuff, on to the photos! I was able to check out the glue up on the wings and found that, as I'd hoped, they turned out really well. In addition, I started working down some of the neck material and figured out what end was up with regard to what piece I might want to use for this bass.
6 February 2017
Laying out a neck one thing that changes each time I build a new instrument. With this build, I wanted to keep things fairly simple because both the front and back would have figured faces, but I didn't want the wings being the only ones doing the talking. On the left, just before glue up and the right just after jointing and planing down and wiped down with mineral spirits to bring out the grain and color.
11 February 2017
This weekend started off with a bang.
I was able to get the wings cut out, sanded to thickness, routed the electronics cavity and cover recess, and glued up the center headstock veneer. All in all, not a bad Saturday if I do say so myself. To top things off, the preamp got delivered, too!
12 February 2017
Finished the weekend's head of steam by rounding over the wings. I love the way the veneer pops on that edge.
18 February 2017
Started working on the neck some more this weekend. Truss rod and carbon fiber reinforcement rod channels routed out, neck tapered, and back contour cut out.
After working on the neck, I moved back to the wings and cut the biscuit slots to join the wings to the neck.
Because the sap wood transition looked so good on the granadillo, I wanted to make sure they found their way onto the bass somehow. I'm looking at doing the headstock ears out of the granadillo as you can see in the last picture.
19 February 2017
Continuing the weekend of productivity, I worked on the fretboard today. I was able to flatten, slot, thickness taper, and get it glued up to the neck. All in all, I'm going to chalk this one up in the win column.
24 February 2017
After a brief stint on the road for work, it was back to the shop this afternoon. Here you can see the fretboard trimmed to neck with hardware and pickups in their approximate locations.
26 February 2017
Got down to business bright and early this morning starting in on working on the neck. I was able to sand the radius into the face of the fretboard, set the side dot inlays, and (even though it's not pictured) get the frets pressed in.
27 February 2017
Frets are in and the single-cut relief roughed in on the back side of the bass wing.
28 February 2017
I was able to make a little more mid-week progress tonight. Wings are glued on!
4 March 2017
A little over a month in and still making all sorts of progress. Finished laminating the headstock ears today (it's really the little details that make a build sometimes), drafted a new headstock design (the reveal will favor the top right), and glued the ears on to the neck. I'm really happy with how the sap wood transition looks on the headstock.
5 March 2017
The original plan for today was to get the headstock unclamped, cut it out to shape, and then work down the neck to body transition a little bit. Once I started rolling on the transition, I just kept on going with it. I don't think it's perfect yet, but I'd say it's 80%~90% of the way there. Progress!
13 March 2017
After work whipped my ass last week, it felt really great to get back into the shop. Tonight I managed to finalize the neck contours and body heel transition and started in on the belly cut.
18 March 2017
Worked more on the electronics cavities this weekend getting both of them carved out, covers shaped and thinned, and magnets mounted to both. I had the good fortune of finding a coworker (thanks, Chase!) with a laser cutter that was able to get my logo dots cut out for me. After the electronics cavities, I moved over to my signature reveal on the new headstock.
19 March 2017
Worked on drilling some of the last holes before final sand out and did a test fit on the tuners, bridge, and string through ferrules.
20 March 2017
After the final sand out I knocked the dust off with some mineral spirits this morning and then applied the first coat of finish when I got home from work. Beyond excited to be this far on this beauty.