Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

6-string headless multiscale bass (Serial 12B055)
Neck-through

Call
951-240-1666. or email us here!

   
Materials: Top: Beautiful Curly Maple stained to match Cocobolo
Neck: Bubinga, Bloodwood, Osage Orange and Maple
  Body: Satinwood
Fingerboard: Cocobolo with shell inlay
Pickups: Watson Custom hot singles
Hardware: ABM single string tuner system Gold
Options: 4-band Active EQ 9V
Finish: Polyester Resin Coating over Cocobolo Color tint
Other: AMB single string tuner/bridges

This bass is definitely a 6-string bass that will do almost anything. The B-string is at 35" scale and the C-string is 32" scale. This makes the instrument very comfortable to play. Between the color we chose and the gold hardware it looks awesome.

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Text Coming Soon.
(1/19/16) Left: Text and picture coming soon! (1/24/17) Right: I have been testing for a somewhat irritating ground connection which is why the bass is on the bench right now. Will have it resolved and tested very soon!
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Bass on bench again to locate a rogue ground connection - electronic things only happen when you are in a hurry!.

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Some detail of the wood laminates on the back of the neck and body.
(1/10/16) Left: I though that I should take a couple of glamour shots of the bass before I see it leave - it has so many nice features. Will take a few more while I can and post here. (1/14/17) Right: The hybrid case has been prepped with my logo and I have everything ready for packing and shipping to my customer.
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The instrument case (guitar size) with embroidery attached.

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Got all the wiring done and tidied up in the cavity.
(12/29/16) Left: Last details of the wiring have been done. Pickups are sounding great and wiring has been tidied up in the cavity! (1/5/17) Right: I have been working on the fret leveling, nut slots, intonation and a few other adjustments so that the bass is ready for its journey to my customer. Down to the last details!
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It is a really nice looking bass - should get a lot of attention ouut there!.

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Working on hooking up the wiring after the pickup refit.
(12/21/16) Left: Establishing the new pickup wiring so that I can test. Note also that the strap buttons have been added. Magnets also in cover plate and the plate fitted. (12/22/16) Right: OK - I never let an instrument out of here without a proper cat scan. Fortunately it passed so I can continue and get this project completed!
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This is what I sometimes have to deal with.

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Rewound pickups fitted back int their respective covers.
(12/13/16) Left: The newly wound and potted pickups are now mounted back into their wood covers and ready to be fitted back into the body of the bass. (12/15/16) Right: In this photo the pickups are fitted back in the bass body with their height adjustment screws and I'm back to the process of getting them wired up and tested .
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Bass is back together and I'm working on the various adjustments for neck and bridge.

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I rewound the pickups as they didn't quite meet the standards - had an unexplained signal imbalance - better safe than sorry!.
(12/10/16) Update: I found on final testing of the bass that I had an electronic imbalance between the two pickups and rather that let that go I had the pickups completely rewound. I just got them back so hurrying to get them re-installed and put the bass through its paces. I will test and adjust everythig so that I am happy with how it plays. This bass is going to be traveling a long way so want to make sure we are good to go!

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Installed the strings so that I could make some adjustments to the instrument.
(11/13/16) Left: The bass certainly looks good with strings on it! I am working on some of the initial adjustments to neck and bridge units. (11/19/16) Right: Text and Pictures Coming Soon!  

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Fingerboard done - ready for strings.
(11/2/16) Left: I have been working on the fingerboard to get it in a nice condition before I add the strings. Colors will go great with the gold hardware! (11/8/16) Right: I am working on getting strings attached to this bass.I am using only the best, Kalium Strings. Once the strings are on I will have numerous adjustments to make.
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Adding Kalium Strings to the formula.

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Fitting the completed string retainer and plotting holes for locking scresa for the assembly.
(10/20/16) Left: Re-engineered string retainer/headstock assembly has been completed. Now to wrap up the remainig work on this bass and get if off to its owner!! (10/25/16) Right: I have been working on both the nut and the fingerboard surface getting those ready so that I can get the strings on and give this bass a real test!
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Cleaning up the fingerboard and addin a final coating.

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String retainer ready for six tapped holes and set screws.
(10/9/16) Left: Now that I have everything on the headstock completed I need to drill and tap six holes in the string retainer to get this part completed. (10/14/16) Right: A lot of my time is going into getting this bass ready to play and ship. Here I am fitting the retainer and plotting out holes for location screws (new design element)
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Fitting the completed string retainer and plotting holes for locking scresa for the assembly.

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Putting metal sleeves into the string holes for added protection.
(10/3/16) Left: I am now opening out the string holes and inserting gold plated metal sleeves so that the strings have something solid to bear upon. (10/6/16) Right: I had to shorten the potentiometer posts to get the stacked knobs to fit just right vertically. You can also see the Neutrik jack socket in the side of the bass. Looking good.
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Got the stacked knobs fitted on the pots.

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All the control cavity wiring is complete.
(9/29/16) Left: In this photo I am working on the nut getting the outer strings to rest in just the right place and then distributing the other four evenly between those. (10/1/16) Right: I got the slots filed into the nut and we are ready for the Kalium strings which are very high quality and should work very well on this instrument!
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All the control cavity wiring is complete.

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Cleaning up the fingerboard with steel wool and sealer.
(9/19/16) Left: One of my tasks today was cleaning up the fingerboard, and giving it a few coats of sealer. It matches beautifully with the rest of the instrument. (9/25/16) Right: As far as I can tell I am now completely wired up. I will be putting strings on so I will know if things are working as they should be! So far so good!
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All the control cavity wiring is complete.

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Almost done with the wiring and electronics installation.
(9/13/16) Left: Battery holder is installed (it has a clever removal system) pots are in, pot wiring cleaned up and I'm getting ready to wire up pickups and jack socket. (9/15/16) Right: Nut has been installed and I am now carefully shaping it to the correct profile. I will then establish the string slots and get them filed in to depth.
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Nut has been installed and I'm getting it shaped and establishing the string slots.

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Besy getting all the electronic hardware and wiring installed.
(9/10/16) We are now installing the electronics into the control cavity. Right now the challenge is to get all the wires organized so that I can have them arranged and tied together neatly and logically. I just attached the preamp and I'm in the process of getting the control pots installed and finding the neatest way to consolidate the sets of wires. I will also be installing a neutrik locking jack socket and a bettery clip. Fortunately it will all fit!

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The hard stuff is done on the tuner installation - moving on!.
(9/6/16) The six bridge/tuner units are now alighned with the string spacing and opartially mounted onto the bass. My next task is to carefully mark the 6 positions for the front holes, remove the hardware and set up all the ground wires. Once that's take care of, these tuners can go on permanently! I'm also working now on the wiring of the control cavity, and I will be adding a nut onto the fingerboard. Lots of little tasks at this stage!

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I'm installing the bridge/tuner assemblies onto the body.
(9/4/16) I have now done all the necessary machining operations to optimize the bridge/tuner mounting and I am now in the process of installing this hardware onto the instrument. I am starting my securely locating the back of each tuner unit to the instrument and letting the front ends float in the meantime. When I have all six units installed I will then work on the alignment and spacing of the front ends and the secure those down too.

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Adding some small bridge supports where the body radius meets the tuners.
(8/26/16) In the process of setting up all the hardware I decded after some careful thought, to extend the location of the tuner/bridges by a very small amount to better guarantee placement and adjustment options. Basically I am just going to machine out six small recesses where each of the bridges sit, then add a little Cocobolo plug in each location for the end screws of the tuners. Based on the body radius and scale length it will be a good enhancement.

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Working on the headstock area.
(8/20/16) In this photo I am working on the end of the neck to remove some overspray in the nut slot so that I can get the nut blank installed. I will also have to carefully re-drill the string holes as the lacquer gets in there too! I'll be working also on the fingerboard to coat that with some fingerboard finishing compounds to bring out the colors of the wood and the inlay. I also have to get all the tuners attached which requires some care!

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Getting started on the control cavity .
(8/16/16) I decided that I will add some copper shielding to the control cavity so I removed the preamp so that I could get a layer of copper in there. I will then replace all the preamp components and move ahead from there. I will also be reaming out the control holes to suit the diameters of the control potentiometers. Lots of little tricky jobs but you never want to go back an re-do anything once the parts are permanently installed. So far so good.

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Getting started on the electronics.
(8/12/16) I'm working on the back of the instrument to get everything prepared for the installation of the preamp and all the associated wiring. I reamed out the holes for the potentiometers so that the unit fits inside and will start by making sure all the components fit comfortably with enough space around each piece. Once I'm happy with that I'll give the pocket another coat of shielding and then get all the hardware installed.

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Getting ready to mark and locate the outer tuner assemblies.
(8/9/16) I need to get the tuners placed very accurately on the back end of the instrument so that I can get these grounding wires cut and start assembling. The task here is to mark out the positions of the two outer tuner/bridge assemblies and once they are attached in their matematically perfect locations. I can fairly easily distribute the remaining four within the remaining space. Will post more on this soon!

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Ground wires from bridge/tuners to control cavity have been established.
(8/6/16) First part of getting the whole bringe and tuner assembly done is to run grounding wires from each piece of hardware (since they are individual) through the body to the control cavity where they will eventually be connected to a common ground. These wires connect with the metal body of the tuners and in turn with the strings themselves so it's very important that these all be grounded to prevent noise. Now to mark out screw holes.

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Pickups are in - now moving on to the bridge/tuner assemblies!
(8/3/16) I now have both pickups installed and set for height so I can now move on to the task of setting up and installing the six tuner assemblies. This will require some precision so that each bridge/tuner unit is places in exactly the right place according to string width, scale length and also the tapered aspect of the entire instrument. First job will be running grounding wires, then I will plot out locations for the hardware.

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Pickups being installed!
(7/30/16) Pickups being installed and we are moving along to other assembly tasks to get this bass completely assembled. I make sure the pickups are exactly centered in the two recesses so I use small spacers to guarantee that alignment. I then mark out the hole positions, remove pickups and drill the holes for the eight adjusting screws in the bottoms of the cavities. I will then add surgical tubing as counter pressure and install the pickups.

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Doing some work on the control cavity top remove overspray from the finishing process!
(7/28/16) In this photo the surface upon which the cavity cover sits has been scraped and flattened to remove the overspray that typically bathers in that area. The removal of this allows the cavity cover to sit flat and flush with the back of the instrument so it is a necessary job. I can now continue to finish up the electrical shielding so that I can get the rest of the wiring underway. I will need grounding wires and pickup wirges next.

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Working on the assembly of the pickups and electronics!
(7/26/16) I'm gtting the electronic shielding established in some of the internal areas of the bass before I start installing the electronics. I have some grounding wires to run from the individual bridge assemblied through to the control cavity. Once I get that done I will install the pickups into the front of the bass having run their cabling into the contol cavity too. When all that is in place I will be able to cut the wiring to length and get the preamp installed.

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Got th pickups fitten nicely into the continuous grain pickup covers!!
(7/24/16) I achieved one of the more challenging tasks in the final assembly which was making the perviously manufactured pickup bobbins fit inside the recently lacquered pickup covers. I strive for a nice snug fit and there is always interference due to some anticipated overspray, however after some time filing away at both the pickups and the covers everything ended up fitting really well! Now I ca get these fitted into the instrument body!!!

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This is how the bass looks with its super custom pickup covers.
(7/20/16) This photos shows a good example of how nice continuous grain pickup covers are. Thegrain in the cocbolo runs through them in a really nice effect and the pickups themselves blend nicely into the rest of the body of the instrument. I'm getting the pickups fitted into the covers and applying electronic shielding in the pickup holes and control cavity right now. I need to add a nut on the fingerboard and get the bridge ground wires installed.

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The beauty of continuous grain pickup covers.
(7/17/16) Here's a photo of the back of the instrument with the finish applied. As per my customer's wishes we wrapped the Cocobolo brown color around the body to meet at the core section in the middle. It's a nice effect. It creates a really nice continuity around the whole instrument from the front to back and from one end to the other! It shoul dreally look good when the pickup covers are installed as they will perfectly match the top wood materials!

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Instrument just back from finisher - looks awesome.
(7/16/16) This is the bass very shortly after I took it home from the finisher. We asked him to stain the two maple upper and lower bouts to a colour that matched the center strip of Cocobolo. The photo really does not do the actual instrument justice. It looks and feels great and I can only imagine the effect with the gold hardware attached. I will also take a photo of the back of the instrument which looks amazing, stay tuned!

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The bass is off to get some high-tech finishing applied!.
(5/28/16) Well - the instrument has now been transferred to my trusty finisher who will surface, polish, tint, lacquer and polish again to create a beautiful coating on this bass. The white woods will be tinted to match the darker woods and the whole thing should look really impressive. I will be out of town whil this is happening but I very much look forward to picking all the parts up when I'm back and getting this monster assembled.

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Final sanding stages on the body, cover and pickup covers.
(5/13/16) I did some final fitting of the cavity covers and truss rod cover and made sure all the surfaces are ready for the finishing process. The finish on this bass will be Polyester Resin with a tint on the maple portions to match the color of the cocobolo core section and fingerboard. This will bring some really nice comtinuity to the instrument and also bring out some of the beautiful figure in the curly maple. It will be going to finishing soon!

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String retainer almost completed.
(4/29/16) This the brass string retainer I manufactured which will be embedded in the wood at the headstock end of the bass. I have 6 more holes to drill and tap into it. The strings are threaded through the holes in the upper wood face of the headstock, through the brass string retainer and out the back wood surface. I have yet to find a suitable string retainer hardware solution for a bass like this in the marketplace.

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Final sanding stages on the body, cover and pickup covers.
(4/15/16) The control cavity cover has been machined out of a pice of the same stock I used for the back of the bass (satinwood) and thicknessed and sanded to fit in the recess of the cavity. I'm working around the entire instrument to get it sanded down to 320 and possibly 400 grit so that it is ready for the finishing tint and polyester resin work. It should look awesome whan that is done! I have all the gold hardware waiting to go on.

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Working on a custom recess for the WG Logo.
(4/8/16) I have been working to get the headstock end of this bass finished off. Last thing I have to do is machine a little recess in the back of the headstock and design and cut an inlay for the Watson Guitars logo. That will be the last machining process I need to do to this instrument - everything else is look and feel, meaning that it's mostly final shaping and sanding to make sure it feels right and is ready for the finishing process.

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Serial number has been inset on the back of the body.
(4/1/16) I inset the serial number on the back of the body on the center laminate at the back of the bass. Nice to get its identity established formally! I have a little headstock work to do and some final sanding next. Also want to get the Watson logo on the bass without disrupting the color and continuity of the instrument. I'm thinking of doing that on the angled back edge beloe where the tuner knobs will be. More sanding then off to finishing.

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Back of the bass with the cavity cover inserted.
(3/24/16) Just a quick photo to document a few more things happening to the bass. I have cut the cover from some material I kept back from when I cut the body halves. I wanted to do that so that the grains matched. I have also been sanding all the surfaces on the bass and have shaped the headstock area and the transition from neck to headstock. I have also drilled all the necessary holes for the string retainer. Want to get this out for finishing soon.

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Machining in the recessed holes for the stacked 4-band EQ.
(3/17/16) I wanted to check all the control hardware (preamp, battery, potentiometers etc) before cutting the recessed holes for the knobs. I have everything mapped out for the control cavity so I am establishing the holes on the CNC. Creating a recess allows space for the potentiometer retaining washer and nut so that the knobs sit nicely flush with the top surface of the instrument. I'll be back to sanding after this!

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Working on control cavity cover and the headstock area.
(3/11/16) I did some machining to the control cavity cover plate and I am nowgetting it fitted and also establishing locations and holes for the neodymium magnets that will hold the plate in place. I'm also busy at the other end of the instrument preparing the string retainer and the related recess in the headstock for the assembly of the top plate. I just spoke to me finisher about the colors and finishing strategy for the instrument - should look awesome!

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Preparing the pickup covers for their trip to finishing.
(3/3/16) I am getting the pickup covers ready for final sanding and finishing as they will be getting some of the color tint treatment and surface finish that the rest of the instrument receives. I just want to make sure the pickups fit comfortable inside them before they get treated and become much harder to handle! I have also been working on the body sanding, cavity cover, and fitting the string retainer at the headstock end.

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Machining has been completed for the string retainer recess.
(2/27/16) This is the end result of a couple of machining operations I had to do to finish off the seat geometry in the headstock area. While I was working on this ai also checked the resulting length of the instrument against the available length in one of my classy little ProTec guitar cases. I was happy to note that with this material removed from the headstock area the bass does indeed fit into the guitar case! A very important goal in my opinion!

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Setting up to machine the seat for the string retainer.
(2/25/16) I am setting up the bass in the CNC for a trick operation that creates a seat for the string retainer block. The hard part is that due to the multiscale configuration this surface is offset from the top plane of the instrument so I have to compensate for that in my setup. Once I get this area machined I will have the instrument pretty much ready for going to get its finiah applied. A few small operations left but we're close.

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Cutting out the truss rod access cover from the curly maple headplate.
(2/16/16) I have a very nicely figured headplate for the headstock and I have added a couple of decorative veneers to the bottom to match the pinstriping on the rest of the body of the instrument. I am now machining the truss rod end cover out of the plate. When that is done I will be able to attach this piece to the flat area at the end of the neck to complete the look of the bass. This area will be stained to match the body color - should look really nice.

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Getting the headstock area wrapped up - some quick machining required.
(2/12/16) One of the last couple of machining operations on this instrument is leveling off the area at the headstock end so that I can glue the curly maple plate onto the end and in doing so finish off the end of the instrument. At this stage the bass is very difficult to constrain for a machining operation like this but it is still quicker than soing it all by hand! I machine the face and the radius that blends the face with the end of the fingerboard.

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Getting the instrument prepped ffor finishing.
(2/5/16) Body is sanded smooth all over and frets have been filed and dressed on all 48 ends. I am working on getting the pickups assembled and the cavity cover completed so that they can be bundled together for the finishing process. I gave three recessed holes to machine for the control knobs and I have a small cavity to machine at the headstock end for the string retainer assembly. Finish will be a color treatment that will match the natural color of the cocobolo.

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Potting the pickups - in other words letting then soak in a wax solution to stabilize the copper windings.
(1/18/16) In preparation for getting the pickups mounted in the continuous grain pickup covers I realized that I had not yet potted the pickups themselves. This is a necessary process because bare copper wires tend to have space between them, and resonance in the instrument causes the wires to vibrate. This results in a thinner sound and can lead to feedback. The wax gets into all these spaces and prevents these bad things from happening.

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Working on pickups and also getting ready to establish counterbored holes for controls.
(1/9/16) I am now happy with the geometry of the neck and the neck joint - instrument feels good! I'm now working on a couple of other areas of the bass. One is getting the pickup covers completed and drilling the adjustment holes. The other is machining in the counterbored holes for the controls. I have spoken to my finisher about the polyester resin coating and the awesome tint we will be applying. Looking forward to seeing this beauty complete!

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Fine tuning the back of the neck - especially important on a 6-string.
(12/27/15) The neck of this bass is made out of some very hard woods, particularly the bubinga and bloodwood. I picked the bass up today and felt that my left hand was telling me that a little more material needed to come off the back of the neck. I want this to be the best it possibly can for my customer and it seemed like it still felt a little bit thicker than it could be. I filed and sanded for a good part of the afternoon and now it feels just right!!

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Shaping the body/neck interface.
(12/2/15) One of the hardest areas to shape is the interface between the neck and the body. In the case of this instrument it is more challenging still due to the hardness of the wood laminates that need shaping. Because of its location access with big tools is restricted so most of the shaping work and subsequent sanding is done with hand tools. I'm pretty close with this area now and it will be ready for finer grit sanding.

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Audere 4-band preamp ready to be installed as soon as finish goes on.
(11/20/15) I ordered a 4-band Audere unit for the control cavity of this bass, it will be a very nice compliment to the pickups I will be installing and we should be able to yield a great range of tone, further enhanced by the rigidity of the multilaminate neck and Cocobolo fingerboard. Just waiting for my gold stacked knobs now and I will have all the necessary hardware. I already did a test fit of the electronics and everything looks fine.

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FSanding and radiusing body parts.
(11/9/15) I have removed a little more material from the back of the neck to get the best out of the neck profile and I'm radiusing the edges around the body. Getting most of the surface area nice and consistent with 150 sandpaper and moving on to 22 grit now. Took a little more off in the belly cut area to the point where it feels like a really nice fit when I sit or stand with the instrument in playing position. More pics to follow!

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Fine tuning the neck thickness and profile for the best playing experience.
(11/1/15) I'm doing some rough sanding and shaping on the back of the neck just to get it down to the right playing thickness from the nut all the way up to where it joins the body. With a 6-string it's important to have an easy reach across the strings especially at the body end so I am working cautiously with the material removal so that I can get the profile and thickness just right. I also spent some time sanding and shaping body contours.

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Creating a belly-cut on the back of the bass.
(10/21/15) I will be doing a lot of sanding to this bass in the coming days and to that end I needed to get started on the "belly-cut" at the back of the instrument. I roughed it out so that I could test it for fit and comfort and will be removing more material before it feels just right. At the same time I will be cleaning up the rest of the surfaces on the instrument with a goal to get it ready for finishing as soon as possible.

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Pickup cavities machined and starting on some shaping and sanding.
(10/16/15) This is the bass with the two pickup cavities milled out. I'm also busy sanding the body and neck so that I can get this instrument ready for finishing. In order to get these I need to do some final carving on the back of the neck and at the body/neck transition. Also need to finish up the string retainer assembly and fit that. Pickups are ready, electronics and bridge units are on hand so it's all systems go!

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Setting up to cut the pickup recesses.
(10/7/15) I have the bass set up on the cnc so that I can machine out the two pickup recesses to get it ready for the two pickups we will be installing. Once I get this done I will machine out the covers I made for the pickups and get those ready for final finishing. Beyond that a lot of the upcoming work will be shaping and sanding so that I can get the body and neck of the complete instrument closer to its final shape.

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One of the beautiful ABM gold tuners.
(10/1/15) This is one of the sexy gold plated ABM tuners I will be putting on this bass. I am anxious to see these on the finished instrument because I think they will look great with the inlay and the colors we choose to finish the instrument. I'm currently working on getting parts of the body closer to final dimensions and I'm also working on a string reatiner for this bass. Once these tasks are done things will look pretty good!

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Doing some shaping and sanding on the back of the neck.
(9/26/15) I spent a little time on this bass today taking more material off the back of the neck and in the area where the neck joins the body. I want to get this area moved ahead from a rough shaped state to very close to finished sizes. It's rare that I ever have 9-piece necks on a 6-string and this one will look really nice when complete. Most of the immediate work will be carving, shaping and sanding to get closer to finished sizes.

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getting this bass prepped for completion.
(9/23/15) Time to get BUSY with this bass. I'm planning to get it finished up and to incorporate a very cool sunburst finish on the maple top that will bring in the color of the cocobolo and the gold shell that was used in the fingerboard. Also planning to add gold hardware which will really work well with that color scheme!. If we do things right this will be a spectacular looking bass. I will start by working on some body shaping.

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Machining the recess for the jack socket.
(11/16/14) Bass is up on the CNC to get the recess for the Neutrik jack plug machined in. I am now ready to do some more shaping on the body and typically, most of that is focused on the back of the neck which usually requires a lot more time and attention that the rest of the instrument geometry. I may go ahead and machine a battery compartment, I was intending to make this one passive but I think I'll make it active instead.

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Back of the bass where I am starting to carve the joint area between the neck and the body.
(10/21/14) A shot of the back of the bass. I have started to do some rough carving at the body/neck joint area to remove excess material and get a little closer to the finished size and shape. I plan to do the belly cut pretty soon and get the machining done for the output jack. Lots of shaping and carving still ahead also but I'd like to get this beauty closer to a finished condition. Still can customize color and hardware for a buyer.

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Machining brass bar for the string retainer.
(10/9/14) I haven't worked on this bass for some time since it was intended for myself and I have had too many customer priorities to attend to its production. I was machining the brass bar for another instrument to create the string retainer assembly and decided that I should also create one for this headless bass while I had the setup in place. I need to machine this round bar into a reactangular section first.

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Hot single-coild pickups have been wound for this bass.
(3/12/13) We just wound some pickups for this bass. It will be the first time I have tried hot single coil pickups in a fanned fret bass. The nice thing about doing this is that due to the angles pickup geometry I have plent of room for copper wire in the pickup bobbins so these have been wound to perform at a fairly high output level. I already have the matching wood pickup covers ready for these pickups.

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Getting the shell inlay ready on the fingerboard.
(12/25/12) While the fingerboard was on the CNC we cut all the angled fret slots and the slot that will accommodate the nut. Then we continued to cut all the angled recesses for the shell inlay. The fingerboard was then removed from the machine and we fabricated the shell inlay pieces to accurately fit the recesses. Those are then glued into the fingerboard. The end result will be a very custom-looking fingerboard with peral shell markers.

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Cocobolo fingerboard ready to machine.
(12/4/12) Left: This photo shows the fingerboard on the CNC machine where it is in the process of having the compound radius machined onto its upper surface. This is generated with a ball end mill. Right: After the board has been machined to the correct shape and size the surface is carefully sanded to a smooth finish.
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Cocobolo fingerboard ready to machine.

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Cocobolo fingerboard ready to machine.
(11/30/12) We have chosen a nice piece of Cocobolo for the fingerboard of the bass. This piece is a good match for the center section of the body so we have rough sawn it and prepared it for machining. The fingerboard is attached to a piece of MDF during the machining processes to guarantee that nothing moves during the various operations. I hqave programmed our CNC machine to cut the fret slots, nut slot and recesses for all the inlay pieces.

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top pieces being fitted.
(11/25/12) This is a quick mock-up of the top assembly before it is glued up. The various pieces will have decorative veneer attached to the joint faces. when we join the three pieces together it should have double pinstriping between plates and match the taper of the back section exactly. Before the assembled top plate is attachec to the body I have to harvest out the two continuous grain pickup covers.

Highslide JS
Machining the center section of the top plate.
(11/24/12) The top on this bass will be a 3-piece assembly. The outer sections will be a very curly maple and the center will be a piece of cocobolo that continues the neck material and geometry through the center of the body. Purely a visual effect but difficult to achieve because the center section I cut has to match the tapered core exactly. Here we are milling the center section to its finished geometry from a cocobolo plate.

Highslide JS
Body halves glued on.
(9/4/12) We now have both the body halves attached to the center core. This gives us a chance to do some final shaping around the body perimeter and start thinking about what cavity geometry is suitable. Since this bass is wound with passive circuitry we can get by with a slightly smaller control cavity and lid. At this stage I am also able to do some rough carving on the back of the neck to remove some of the obvious excess material.

Highslide JS
Gluing the upper bout onto the center core.
(8/25/12) I have added contrasting veneers to each of the joint faces so that it will create a decorative pinstripe effect along the joint. Now that those have been cleaned up I can glue the top body half onto the center core of the instrument. I glue both pieces onto a reliable non-stick flat surface so that it forces both glued parts to set in such a way that it yields a perfectly flat surface on the back. Then we'll do the top half.

Highslide JS
I cut a couple of pieces for the back of the body.
(8/23/12) After giving the wood choices some thought I decided to use Satinwood for the back of this bass. It's relatively lightweight and looks very nice when finished. I'll get these two pieces prepped so that they can be attached to the body of the instrument - it will feel good to see it at that stage - looking more like a real instrument! I will put a couple of decorative veneers between the woods at the joint - just for extra bling!

Highslide JS
Machining of core complete.
(8/10/12) Finally managed to get the machining of the core of this bass completed and off the CNC! I cut slots for the carbon fiber re-inforcing rods and a slot that will accommodate the truss rod. Now I can start thinking about what materials I can use for the body halves and the top plate. I'd like to make the bass as visually appealing as possible so I will look at all my options for top woods and subsequent tints and sunbursts!

Highslide JS
Ready to machine the core section.
(5/30/12) The neck/core section has been successfully glued together. The rough blank has been cleaned up and mounted on the CNC machine for several machining operations. Firstly I machine a top face to clean up the material and generate the surface onto which we glue the fingerboard. I then machine the neck perimeter and the body and headstock angles. We are now ready to machine in the truess rod slot and channels for carbon fiber.

Highslide JS
Gluing tapered laminates together.
(4/18/12) The gluing process has now started. We begin with the center laminates and work our way out from there. I let the glue cure overnight for each joint because i want the quality of the joints to be perfect so that I can yield the stringest pssible neck when the instrument is complete. I'll continue gluing until I have the two bubinga outer edges attached. At that point I will do some rough cleanup and prep for machining work.

Highslide JS
Laminates are now tapered.
(4/7/12) All the laminates except the bubinga edge pieces have now been carefully machined to their own unique tapers. Next step is to glue veneer onto both sides of each tapered piece. Once that is done we will be able to start gluing the pieces of this core together. I'm using double veneers because we have alternating light and dark woods in this assembly. It's laborious but I like the way the combination looks when we're done.

Highslide JS
All the laminates for the neck are rough cut.
(4/3/12) Here we have the various woods which will combine to make the neck-through body part of the bass. We have a center laminate of Osage Orange, then Maple, Bloodwood, Maple and Bubinga outer edges. We have to sand all these to aven thicknesses then machine them to pre-determined tapers so that they will all combine at just the right collective angle. Quite a lot of gluing because there are veneer pinstriping accents between each.

Highslide JS
Sawing up some of the components for the neck.
(4/1/12) I have used a template to saw up several blanks of different materials which will combine to make the multi-laminate core of the bass. These all have to be drum sanded for consistent thickness and finish. The maple and bloodwood in the neck will definitely yield a snappy tone and lost of sustain! I will probably wait until the core section is complete before I decide what materials to use for the back pices and the top of the body. Should be interesting!

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Setting up to cut a taper on the center laminate..
(3/29/12) Time to start another 6-string fanned fret headless beast. I'm using materials I already have in the shop so I can get this project moving quickly. I located some Osage Orange from am old project which I will use for the center laminate in the core. I rough sawed the blank, sanded it and set it up on the CNC to cut the strip to the right taper. I'll locate some other materials for the rest of the center core very soon.
Last update April 1, 2012