Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

34" scale 5-string Neck-thru Bass (Serial 09B028)
New Body design, Waterfall Bubinga top.

Materials:

Waterfall Bubinga top - Spalted Alder back.
Neck:Curly Maple, Brazilian Cherry & East Indian Rosewood

Fingerboard: Highly Figured Mexican Bocote
Pickups: Watson Humbuckers - Split coil + Serial + Parallel. Continuous Grain Covers
Electronics: Audere 4-band
Bridge: ABM
Hardware: Gold with Gold Frets
Tuners: Hipshot Ultra Light
Finish: High Gloss Polyester resin

This bass is currently offered at a substantial discount. It is one of our signature models featuring multi-laminate construction, dual coil 3-way tapped pickups, shell inlay, 18v 4-band EQ, and many more high-end features all for $2250!!!!. Normal price would be $3700! The bass is a sleek-looking dark beauty. The Bubinga has a very nice grain which shows up nicely in the finished instrument. The Bocote fingerboard with the multi-colored shell inlay is also a great feature. This bass has a great tone and plays very easily.

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Added new gold stacked knobs for the 4-band EQ.
(1/6/11) I changed the knobs on the bass to gold stacked units which better match the hardware on the rest of the instrument. Tha bass is as beautiful on the back as the front. The tone is great - very punchy and growly, great presence in a live situation. It is a pleasure to play and will be a great asset for any bass player.
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The woods on the back are amazing.

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Finishing has been applied, now we have to start assembling everything.
(1/6/11) We are busy fitting and assembling all the parts onto this bass. As you can see from these photos we are almost done. The bass has a great tone and is a lot of fun to play. Body shape is comfortable and well balanced. The multicolor shell inlays look great in the light. This one will be with us at the NAMM show.
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Finishing has been applied, now we have to start assembling everything.

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Finishing has been applied, now we have to start assembling everything.
(12/25/10) The finishing on this bass has been applied - in this particular case we simply applied a clear-coat Polyester Resin to the entire instrument. The woods have enough inherent color to make this bass look spectacular. Time to start the assembly process and get the electronics installed. We;re hoping for a good punchy sound too.
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Finishing has been applied, now we have to start assembling everything.

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Back of the bass - almost ready for finishing.
(12/4/10) We're now in the process of sanding the entire instrument in readiness for the finishing process. The Bubinga is a pretty gard wood and by contrast the Spalted Alter is relatively soft, so the entire instrument demanded some very careful sanding. You can see that this one has matching (continuous grain) pickup covers.
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Fingerboard glued on and some sanding done.

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Frets and side dots are in.
(12/4/10) Left: I installed gold frets to match the hardware on this bass. They are much harder than their nickel counterparts. Pearl side dots are also in the fingerboard and we're ready to attach the board to the body. Right: The bass is in the vacuum press where the fingerboard is being glued onto the neck.
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gluing the fingerboard onto the body.

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Finishing work being done on the inlay.
(11/29/10) Work continues on the shell inlay for this fingerboard. The inlay is done and I am applying a hard and durable clear coat to the top surfaces so that the surface is perfectly flat and will withstand the wear and tear from playing the instrument. Next I will polish the inlay areas and we'll move on to drilling and inserting the side dots. Once that's done we can get frets into the fingerboard. Since hardware will be gold I will probably install gold frets too!

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Inlay pieces are being installed in the fingerboard.
(11/26/10) The Bocote fingerboard is going to have some nice reflective shell inlays. These have been carefully cut and fitted into the recesses on the fingerboard and we are no ready to glue them in permanently. The laterial is very fragile and requires care in cutting and shaping the individual pieces to just the right size to fit in the recesses. When the inlay is glued in I will also add a coat of finishing epoxy to seal everything in.

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Starting work on the inlays on the neck.
(10/27/10) If we are going to get this bass ready for display at the upcoming NAMM show we had better get back to work on it. The next job to do is to get the shell inlay installed in the fingerboard. First step to achieve this is to cut some spacer material on the laser out of maple veneer. These are cut to exactly the same size as the inlay recesses and I use them to control the height of the resulting shell inlay. We're going to use a light colored Mother of Pearl.

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We are now cutting the recesses for the clock inlays.
(6/15/10) While the fingerboard is still set up on the nmachine and square to the table I am running a program that cuts the rectangular recesses in the top of the fingerboard surface into which we put the block inlays. Once this job is done I will cut the nut slot and at that point the assembl can come off the machine and we can start thinking about what kind of inlay would look best on this bass! Nige grain on that bocote!

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The fingerboard is being machined on one of our CNC machines..
(6/8/10) As we find time between customer projects we try to move this project along. Here we can see that we have set up the material for the fingerboard in the CNC and have cut it to size and machined the compound radius along its length. The wood is highly figured Bocote from Mexico and has a beautiful figure that will match the rest of this instrument. Next we will cut the fret slots and recesses for the inlay in the fingerboard.

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Machining the headstock thickness.
(6/1/10) Since I had one of the machines set up for this unusual operation, I thought I would run this bass through the process too. I clamp the previously machines face of the headstock down on the machine table and remove material until the headstock is at the correct thickness (allowing for the headstock veneer). This is the best way to guarantee consistent thickness across the headstock profile and it's relatively quick and easy to do!

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Control cavity on the back of the bass has now been finished.
(4/11/10) We haven't worked on this bass since before the NAMM show, but I wanted to get the process restarted so that we get this one closer to finished. I set the bass up on one of our CNC machines and finished up the machining of the control and battery cavities on the back of the instrument. I also had to machine a special recess for the control unit of the preamp which will ultimately be installed in this bass.

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This is the highly figured Mexican Bocote wood we are using for the fingerboard.
(11/4/09) The fingerboard wood for this bass is going to be Mexican Bocote. This is a highly figured example of this wood and should look great against the other woods used. It's a pretty hard wood and will be perfect for this application. If we have time, we'll put some nice shell inlay in the fingerboard too. We're now ready to machine this fingerboard on one of the CNC machines and cut the fret slots and the slot for the nut.

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Gluing the bookmatched bubinga pieces together to cpmplete the top.
(11/1/09) Here we are in the process of gluing the two bookmatched top pieces of Bubinga together. The goal here is always to have an invisible glue line so the joint edges are carefully prepared on one of our CNC machines and we then use plenty of clamping pressure to hold the two pieces firmly together while the glue sets. Once this is done we'll cut out the body/neck joint and the two pickup holes from the assembled top.

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The back of the bass after both body halves were glued on.
(10/30/09) Both the upper an lower body halves have now been glued onto the core of the bass. The spalted alder looks very nice against the other woods and it has the added advantage of being very lightweight. It's nice to have all these separate parts glued together into one piece that is now starting to look like a bass guitar. The body is still somewhat oversized and will not be trimmed down to its final size until the top is glued on.

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Gluing one of the Spalted Alder body halves onto the core of the instrument.
(10/28/09) Time to attach body halves to the core of the bass. To do this we need to clamp the parts firmly together while at the same time clamping them to a flat, non-stick surface. This will be left overnight to ensure that the glue completely cures at which point we will repeat the process to attach the opposite body half. The body halves are Spalted Alder, very colorful wood and very lightweight.

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Today we glued maple veneer to the back of the top plate pieces.
(10/27/09) The top plate of this bass is Waterfall Bubinga. We have several operations to do to the top before we are ready to attach it to the body. First step is to sand the two halves flat and glue contrasting veneers onto the back of each, We do this in our vacuum press. Next up we will carefully machine the joint face between the two bookmatched halves and glue them together to form one top piece.

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We are using some awesome Spalted Alder for the body halves.
(8/1/09) I decided the spalted alder we had in the shop was just too nice not to use on a current guitar project. This stuff is very light and very colorful and will really enhance the back of this bass. Since the Bubinga we will be using on the front is quite dense, it will be an advantage to have such a lightweight wood on the back. This instrument will soon look much more like a bass guitar as soon as we have done some work on these body halves.

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Cleaning up the sides of the neck/body core in preparation for the body halves.
(7/21/09) The slots for the carbon fiber reinforcing rods and the truss rod have been machined into the top of the neck surface. Over the last few days we have also glued the carbon fiber rods securely into the neck assembly. In the photo to the left, we are in the process of machining the sides of the neck/body core so that they are ready for the body halves. This has to be done carefully as we have to maintain the tapered perimeter of the laminates.

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Machining has started on the core of the instrument. We'll be cutting the neck/body section to the finished size.
(6/9/09) Our neck/body core is now set up on the CNC machine. Firstly the top surface of the neck is machined flat. Once that has been cleaned up, the headstock angle is machined. Now that these surfaces have been established we will proceed to cut the finished perimeter of the neck from the nut to the end of the body. Once we have that established, the truss rod and carbon fiber channels will be machined.

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The seven neck laminates and 12 veneers are all finally assembled together. Now we are readyy to start machining!
(5/12/09) All of the seven veneered neck laminates have now been successfully glued together. The central core of the instrument has now been created. The Brazilian Cherry and East Indian Rosewood look very nice together. Now we have to get this core section up on one of the CNC machines so that we can clean up some of the surfaces and establish the datums for the other features. Should happen over the next few days.

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Here you can see the first two core laminated being clamped and glued together. All the clamps are becessary for a nice even pressure. I usually leave this to cure overnight.
(4/30/09) We have spent the past few days sanding the seven neck laminates to the desired thicknesses and cutting each one of them to a pre-determined taper. Following that - we glued light and dark veneers onto the sides of the laminates. We are now starting to glue these individual core pieces together. We start from the center laminate and progressively glue one layer at a time on each side until we have created the center core of the bass.

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Our new double-cut body design will have some nice new 2009 features.
(4/9/09) This bass will be one of two we are building this spring which feature a new double-cut body design. We wanted to retain an elegant look for the instrument but at the same time add some practical features such as more control cavity space, and a comfortable rounded upper bout for the player's arm. There may be some refinements to the final shape as we continue through the building process but the image on the left is our starting point.

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This bass is constructed as a neck-through instrument. It will be assembled as a center core of several laminates of Curly Maple and Bloodwood, with an African Padauk center laminate.
(4/7/09) The materials for the 7-piece laminated neck have been selected. They will be Curly Maple with stringers of Brazilian Cherry and East Indian Rosewood. These will blend well color-wise with the Koa top material and have excellent tonal qualities. We'll sand these laminate pieces down to a smooth finish and then cut them to the correct tapers on the ornamental mill. We'll have to make some decisions soon on hardware finish etc.
Last update August 22, 2011