Watson Guitars
California, USA

WATSON Signature Series Bass 6-string (Serial 10B040S)
Active/passive, headless neck-through bass
. Angled frets.
951-468-4004 or email us here!

Materials: Top:Highly Figured Sycamore Neck: Rosewood, Mahogany, Sycamore and Bloodwood
Fingerboard: Bubinga. 35-32" scale.
Pickups: Watson Humbuckers switchable between single coil, series and parallel
Electronics: Audere 4-band
Hardware: ABM single string tuners.


Options: Magnetic covers
Finish: Polyester Resin Gloss

This bass will be another 6-string headless fanned-fret monster! I'm going to try and make it even more unusual than the previous one.

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Completed bass - looking awesome.
(12/20/11) The bass has been completely assembled and plays beautifully. The instrument also has a great punchy sound as we expected. It is very comfortable to play and the wood grains look great under the high gloss poly-resin finish. The Satinwood back reflects light because there is a slight iridescence in the wood.
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Back of the finished instrument.

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Back of the bass during final sanding.
(11/22/11) The sanding process continues. Much of the sanding time goes into the radiused areas of the body. The curves behind the horns and the joint area between the neck and the body are always the hardest areas to shape and sand so a lot of time goes into making these areas as smooth and even as possible. We're almost at the point where this bass can go to final finishing where it will receive a high gloss polyester resin.

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Almost readu for finishing.
(11/15/11) I did some more work to the pickup covers - they now have rounded edges and the counterbored holes for the adjustment screws. Most of the time right now is going into the final sanding process. I use increasingly finer grades of sandpaper to make sure that every surface and curve on the bass is smooth and flat. Since we are applying a clear lacquer to this instrument the quality of the surfaces is even more critical.

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Getting started on the sanding process.
(11/10/11) The bass now lives in the temporary sanding station I created for it. The sanding process can take a while since all edges have to be rounded off and all surfaces have to be perfect before the instrument can go to final finishing. I also have to make sure the frets are adequately dressed. I'm at the rough finishing stage here, using rougher grade sandpaper to get all the body geometry where I want it.

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Control holes have been machined.
(11/6/11) Next operation was to set the instrument up on the CNC and decide where the controls were going to be located. I'm using stacked knobs so I only needed 3 knob positions plus the two holes for the coil tapping on the two pickups. I got them placed where I wanted them and cut them out today - another operation done and out of the way! We're almost done but there will be a lot of final sanding to do in the near future!

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Fitting Pickups into the cavities.
(10/20/11) before I attached the top plate of the bass to the body I harvested the wood from the pickup covers. These two pieces of the top have now been glued to some base material and machined to house the pickups. In the photo you can see the two wooden pickups in place - they have perfect continuous grain match with the rest of the top of the instrument. Happy with the overall look so far, we'll be done soon!

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Top has been glued onto body.
(10/8/11) While work has been moving along on the fingerboard I have cut the two pickup covers out of the top plate and have also glued the top plate onto the body of the instrument. The Sycamore and Bubinga look pretty good together, even before the finish is applied! Next step will be to cut out the pickup cavities, which I hope to do in the next couple of days. I'll also have to assemble and machine the two pickup covers.

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Working on the fingerboard.
(9/30/11) This will be a very unusual bass all around. I decided to use crotch walnut for the inlay material. It makes a nice contrast with the Bubinga fingerboard and it will look quite unusual when the whole thing is finally put together. The walnut has a very nice grain to it also. The combination of woods should look really nice. The fingerboard has had side dots installed so it is now ready for fretwire!

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Top assembly is now complete.
(9/20/11) I was looking for a specific artistic feel for this bass where the fingerboard material continued past the neck and on through the body. It turned out that it wa stechnically a little tricky to achieve but I was finally able to cut the various pieces of the top plat and successfully glue them together. The lines on the top have to match the taper of the center core of the bass. Next step is to cut out the continuous grain pickup covers.

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Body wings are going to be Satinwood.
(9/5/11) I have looked at several woods for the back of this bass but finally decided that Satinwood might add a nice touch. This wood has areas in the grain that catch the light and I am hoping that with the right finish I might be able to make that a nice feature of the instrument. The two halves have been rough cut and sanded and with a little more work I sould be able to attach them to the core section and have something that looks like a bass!

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Gluing the carbon fiber rods into the neck.
(8/25/11) I took the opportunity today to glue the carbon fiber reinforcing rods into the neck of the bass. I was doing the same thing to another instrument so I was able to use the extra adhesive to get this one done too. The epoxy needs to cure overnight so it's good to get this task out of the way. I have material set aside for the body parts so I want to get the core section as ready as possible for further assembly.

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Bubinga fingerboard and extension on the body, Sycamore and Mahogany wings.
(8/14/11) After some careful thought about which woods I was going to use for the body and fingerboard, I decided to try something new. I am going to use Bubinga for the fingerboard, and also have a matching tapered section of continuous grain wood on the top of the body (as in an extension of the fingerboard). The two body wings will be Figured Sycamore on the front and Mahogany on the back. Some tricky stuff to follow.

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Core piece is set up on the CNC for some critical machining.
(8/9/11) Here we have the machined core section of the bass. The truss rod and carbon fiber slots have already been machined. The sides of the core section have been machined ready for body halves to be attached. I'm currently in the process of deciding which woods to use for the body and fingerboard of this bass. I have a few ideas, one of which is the birds-eye maple shown in the picture. We'll have to see what work's best.

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Core piece is set up on the CNC for some critical machining.
(8/2/11) We have mounted the core section of the neck-through bass onto the table of our CNC machine for several operations which will establish datum surfaces for the rest of the build. First task is to clean up the top surface of the neck which will ultimately be the joint face for the fingerboard. We then generate the neck/body angle on the body end. After that we cut the entire perimeter to finished dimensions and slots for carbon fiber and truss rod.

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All the laminates are now glued together.
(7/2/11) The core section of the bass has now been glued together as a rough and oversized blank. We now are ready to set this up on one of our CNC machines and start establishing machined dimensions. The core section already feels light for its physical size. We are hoping to keep this build as light as possible through our choices of wood, some chambering and the use of new lightweight hardware.

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5 out 0f 7 laminates are now glued together!
(6/19/11) The photo to the left gives you a good idea where we are in the construction of this multi-laminate neck. We have two more laminates to attach. The ones in the photo are East Indian Rosewood in the center, then two laminates of Mahogany, then two of Bloodwood. If I have time, I will be able to glue the two outer sycamore laminates onto the assembly tomorrow. Then we will at least have a completed neck blank and can move forward to the next stage!

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We are gluing the component laminates of the neck/body core together.
(6/18/11) Here we are gluing and clamping the 4th of seven laminates together. I use a lot of clamps because I like to get a nice even pressure on the joint from one end to the other.I also tend to leave a glue-up like this to fully cure overnight. we'll end up with a nice rigid and strong neck assembly whick will also be very lightweight! I have yet to decide on the back and top woods for this instrument, will have to do so soon!!

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Bloodwood laminates are now tapered.
(5/23/11) Here you can see the bloodwood laminates after they have been cut to the right taper on the mill. When all the laminates are ultimately glued together the resulting combined taper in the neck should match the edges of the fingerboard. The bloodwood will add some strength to the neck and also contribute a little bit to the sustain of the instrument. The other laminates in this build will be Mahogany and Sycamore.

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Just getting started cutting the first of the laminates.
(5/10/11) Here we have a couple of pieces of wood cut from my template which have been drum sanded flat and are now about to be secured to the table of the ornamental mill. I'll use the mill to cut the laminates to a pre-defined taper along their length. I will proceed to do that to all the pieces that will make up the core of the body. This will be a 7-piece neck for what will ultimately be a 6-string bass. Mostly lightweight woods.
Last update January 9, 2011