When Phil from Taproot asked to take my single-cut prototype out on tour, I knew it was a golden opportunity.
It took a little longer than I'd hoped, but someone finally saw the bass in action, stayed after the show, and grilled Phil for the details. Here's what ended up coming out of things:
- Better Mousetrap Guitars Aurora single-cut body shape
- 35" scale, 24 frets
- Ash wings with purpleheart rail
- Maple and purpleheart neck
- Curly purpleheart fretboard
- Ash headstock ears with purpleheart rail
- Purpleheart knobs
- Purpleheart electronics cover with Better Mousetrap Guitars logo inlay
- Nordstrand DC pickups with Series-Split-Parallel mini-switches
- Aguilar OBP-3 preamp
- Vol w/P-P to passive with blend and separate bass, middle w/P-P frequency select, and treble knobs
- Black Hipshot Ultralite tuners
- Black Hipshot A-style bridge
27 May 2013
Aside from cleaning up the shop, I started work on this beauty to be. Put together the build box, thinned the body wings, and glued the purpleheart rails on the edges of the ash slabs.
28 May 2013
Pulled the wings out of the 4-way clamps and thinned them down to about where they need to be. I'll go back just before I'm ready to cut them out and thin them out the rest of the way. I think the purpleheart rail is going to really set of the wings from the neck once everything is all joined.
29 May 2013
I'm unstoppable! Smoothed faces of the neck woods to prep for gluing and laminated everything up. Hopefully I can keep this level of productivity up through the rest of this build.
30 May 2013
Joined down the neck blank and sanded both of the faces smooth. The three stringers down the center of the neck are really going to look great next to the rails on the wings.
14 June 2013
Finally back at it! Mapped out the neck on the blank, cut the headstock angle, thinned the headstock veneer, and glued that down.
15 June 2013
Today I was able to sand down the headstock veneer level with the rest of the neck, route the truss rod channel, taper the neck, and join everything to the correct width.
This one is really coming together well, I can't wait to see how she develops.
24 June 2013
Made loads of progress on the wings this weekend. Cut out, sanded to shape, electronics recess cut, electronics cover recess cut, and rounded over. The way the grain rolls on the front and the back is just killer. I really lucked out with routing things out, the only tear out I ended up with is where the belly cut will end up going.
I also was able to get the electronics cover ready, the inlay recess cut, and the inlay set in with some superglue.
29 June 2013
Got the inlay worked down in the electronics cover, cut out the cover, and thickness sanded things down to the appropriate thickness. I really like the way the ash in the circle around the b looks like it's continuous grain from through the body.
7 July 2013
Loads of progress today.
Started things off by cleaning up the shop; it pretty much looked like a bomb had gone off after four long days in the shop.
- Sketched out then roughed in the single-cut cutaway on the bass wing with my router table and moved it a little more toward the final contour with the angle grinder
- Routed the wiring channel in the treble wing
- Cut the back contour on the neck
- Biscuit jointed a few slots per wing to prep for gluing
- Thinned down, slotted, and thickness tapered the fretboard
Not bad for a long morning in the shop.
13 July 2013
Last night I routed the relief for the truss rod adjustment head, rough tapered the fretboard to width and glued everything up.
14 July 2013
Trimmed the edge of the fretboard to the edge of the neck, set in the 12th fret plug, radiused the fretboard, and set in the side dots. Drilled the control holes and checked fitment of all the controls... It looks like it'll be a little unwieldy, but, overall, the tie in shouldn't be too bad.
15 July 2013
Got the frets in, edges beveled, leveled, re-crowned, and polished up as well as starting in on the tightest pre-wire I've done to date.
19 July 2013
Got the ash headstock ears with pupleheart rails all glued up as well as joining the neck and the wings. I cannot wait to get this into one piece this weekend!
20 July 2013
Carved out the single-cut access on the back of the neck/wings, cut the neck through to length and rounded it all over, and glued on the headstock ears.
21 July 2013
Finished up the single-cut access, got the neck contours probably 90-95% finished, and finished the belly cut.
23 July 2013
Finished the electronics pre-wire tonight. As far as space-constrained installs, I'd challenge anyone to come up with something that looks this clean in the real estate I've got; it's tight, but it's turned out really great. I think I'm almost happy with the neck contours now. Drilled out the bridge mounts, string through body and ferrules, and the tuner holes as well as finishing the reveal. All in all, one hell of a quick night in the shop.
28 July 2013
Nothing really photo-worthy today. The neck is finished now (had a hell of a time with getting the treble side where I wanted it), cleaned up some of the body contours where they came into the belly cut, and did a quick final sand out before being ready to apply sanding sealer.
29 July 2013
Tuners mounted, nut slotted, test strung for pickup position confirmation. Awww yisss...
30 July 2013
Pickup slots routed, battery box cavity started, moving right along.
2 August 2013
Completed the battery box recess, did a final sand out on the body, and killed one last ridge on the neck. Sanding sealer would have been applied tonight if I had more than one glove left! Also able to cut the plugs for the larger knobs (volume, blend) and get the crowns all set on those. Even though I'll only need two, I've gotten into the habit of making spares because you never know what's going to happen as you're shaping or polishing things up.
4 August 2013
Rounded over the EQ knobs, improvised a truss rod cover from one of my logo dots, and got sanding sealer applied to everything. Almost there!
9 August 2013
FIrst coat of tung oil applied!
12 August 2013
Third coat of tung oil applied. It never ceases to amaze me how deep the grain gets when you put this stuff on.
24 August 2013
After too long since the last update, more progress has been made! applied some shielding paint to the pickup routes to dampen some electrical noise and black out the cavities.
27 October 2013
Entirely too long since last there was progress on this bad boy.
Finish is complete, all the hardware save the strap locks is in place, and I'm ready to do a final setup on her.