Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

Custom Acoustic Bass Guitar - 7-string (Serial 16B078)

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

   
Materials: Sides & Back: Palo Escrito Neck/Core: Maple, Padouk, Sapele
  Top: Cedar or Redwood
Fingerboard: Scale Length 34", Material TBA - likely Gabon Ebony
Electronics: TBA - possibly K&K Audio
Hardware: Hipshot
Options: Inlay under development.
Finish: Satin Semi Gloss
Other: TBA
   

I have never seen a 7-string acoustic bass, there may be one or two out there, but nevertheless we are building one. I'm working on specifications and will add to the list as things develop.

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I'm building more pieces onto the neck assembly.
(4/25/17) Left:Text and picture coming. (5/1/17) Right: Text and picture coming.
Highslide JS
I'm building more pieces onto the neck assembly.

Highslide JS
Gluing maple to the darker Sapele pieces. All this will look beautiful when done.
(4/14/17) Left: I'm just about to glue some maple veneer onto the Sapele laminates and that in turn will allow me to get them glued onto the neck assembly. (4/20/17) Right: Text and picture coming.
Highslide JS
I'm building more pieces onto the neck assembly.

Highslide JS
Center core of the neck taking shape.
(4/1/17) Left: The center three laminates are now together and I have cleaned up the joint edges around the perimeter. Next job will be adding the two Sapele laminates. (4/7/17) Right: This is the back panel for the body and the existing components for the neck. I need now to add decorative veneers and get the next two pieces attached.
Highslide JS
I'm building more pieces onto the neck assembly.

Highslide JS
Getting the core of the neck laminates glued together.
(3/20/17) Left: Stating with the assembly process on the neck and in this photo I have the first two laminates being glued together in the vacuum press. (3/26/17) Right: Now gluing laminate #3 onto the core section of the neck. Can't see much in the picture but will post a better view of the result once the glued edges have been cleaned up.
Highslide JS
Gluing lamnate #3 onto the neck assembly.

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All seven laminates of this part of the instrument are assembled.
(3/13/17) Left: Just a quick photo to show the glued section which will become the center secton of the back of the instrument. (3/16/17) Right: I'm now getting the neck components ready for veneer application to match the body panel. I'm starting with the central maple component and the two neighboring padouk pieces.
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Outside maple leminates about to be attached.

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First five laminates glued together and working on last two.
(3/4/17) Left: I am gluing dark veneer onto the outer two curly maple laminates for the body section. In the foreground you can see the first five laminates assembled. (3/8/17) Right: Next task is to glue are the two outer curly maple pieces, which have already had dark veneer applied, to the inner joint surfaces.
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Outside maple leminates about to be attached.

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ready for the sapele laminates after I get some dark veneer on them.
(2/26/17) Left: This photo shows the assembled portion of the body core and the two sapele laminates that are going to be attached next. (2/29/17) Right: Gluing the second of the two Sapele tapered laminates onto the little sub assembly. When this is done I will level it off and add the outer curly maple pieces to the outer edges.
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Mor gluing - this time the sapele laminates.

Highslide JS
Assembly under way - getting some of these veneered laminates glued together.
(2/21/17) Left: Getting the first two veneered laminates glued together for the back section of the body. Once I get this rolling I will also start on the neck and heel. (2/24/17) Right: I'm now gluing the third laminate to vreate the center section. Will probably drum sand the sub-assembly then I will add the two Shedua laminates.
Highslide JS
Gluing laminate #3 onto the body core - more to follow!.

Highslide JS
Center section of the body core ready for gluing together.
(2/19/17) I am just about to glue these three center laminates together. The maple center lam has dark veneer attached and the two padoul lams have light veneer attached. This will result in a very impressive looking double accent when the pieces are seen in their final locations. I will continue these accents throughout the instrument as the visual effect is quite impressive. Once these three are glued together I have more pieces to attach!

Highslide JS
Gluing veneer to the various laminate pieces.
(2/14/17) This is one of many gluing operations where I am applying decorative veneer to the laminates of the neck, body center and heel of the instrument. It will be well worth the effort for the impressive end result this will yield. I will post some additional photos soon of the laminates as they combine and show off their pinstriping. In this photo I am adding dark veneer to the center Maple laminate of the body section.

Highslide JS
five of seven neck laminates getting ready for gluing operations.
(2/9/17) In this photo you can see the maple, padouk and shedua laminates together and ready to be glued to create our neck component of the bass. Some of these still have dark veneer to be applied but I do have all the veneer on the center three laminates so I will be moving ahead to get those assembled as soon as possible. I also have the laminates for the center section of the instrument back in the same condition.

Highslide JS
Just about complete on the sapele laminates.
(2/1/17) I am basically done now with the Sapele neck laminates. I do have to move the clamps and machine off the tabs underneath those clamps but that is a very quick operation. As soon as I take these parts off the machine I will run the two body laminates to create the matching tapers on those. THis goves me all the laminates necessary for neck construction and I only have to machine two more Maple laminates to complete the body center laminates.

Highslide JS
Working on machining the Sapele laminates.
(1/27/17) In this photo I am in the middle of machining the Sapele laminates to their tapered dimensions. It's not the fasters operation in guitar building but I should have it all done fairly soon. The tapers for the neck parts and the body parts are very close to those of the Padouk laminates I recently machined. I have so far roughed the laminates down to about .050 of their finished size so I should have ne last final cut an dthe these will be done!

Highslide JS
Padouk laminates in the vacuum press.
(1/21/17) While I was working on the other veneers I got some of the maple cut so I was able to get the two Padouk laminates started in the vacuum press. As soon as these are done I will remove them and clean up all the edges where I left a little extra material. I will then repeat the process to get veneer applied to the other side of these laminates. Once they are cleaned up again they will be ready for assembly with some of the other laminates.

Highslide JS
Cutting up the decorative veneer.
(1/18/17) My next step is to cut veneer to suit the various laminate pieces so that I can achieve comtracting pinstripes in the finished product. I will rough cut veneer for both sides of each of the neck and body pieces and get them all ready for gluing together. It uses quite a lot of veneer given the shape of the neck/heel geometry. Once these are cut out slightly oversize I will apply adhesive and clamp them in the vacuum press.

Highslide JS
Setting up for the sapele laminates.
(1/13/17) Now that the Padouk laminates have been machined I can get the next pair of Sapele laminates set up on the machine and get them cuy to their tapered dimensions in preparation for assembly. The dimensions I need to yield are pretty close to those of the Padouk set so I should be able to get these started pretty soon and although there is a lot of material to remove I should be able to get this done over the coming day or two!

Highslide JS
3 center laminates of neck and back are machined to their taper sizes.
(1/7/17) Just a quick shot of the combination of the maple and padouk stringers placed together. I am currently working on the sister laminates in Sapele and the two outer pieces of curly maple. My next step for these pieces is to cut decorative veneer and get the veneer glued onto the sides of each of those components. I will do this in the vacuum press and will post pictures of that. When veneer is on I will assemble the neck and back plate.

Highslide JS
Machining completed on the Padouk components.
(1/1/17) I was on and off this machine over the Xmas period in order to get all four of these Padouk pieces completely machined. They are now all ready for ongoing assembly with the maple parts I had previously machined. We will start to see the core of this bass come together as the laminates are progressively assembled. I'm already getting the next and last set of laminates ready for machining and they will be ready when the initial gluing is done.

Highslide JS
Almost done with the Padouk laminates.
(12/26/16) The machining of these parts takes a little time and I'm still chewing away at thicknessing the padouk tapers. The good news here is that I only have one cut left to make and I will have them completed and this will allow me to get some of these parts glued together! They should be off the nachine soon and I will get them cleaned up and have veneers attached to both sides which will create decortaive pinstriping between the laminates.

Highslide JS
Machining tapers on some of the padouk laminates.
(12/22/16) I am now machining the padouk laminates on the cnc. They are set up as a pair so that I can guarantee that their tapered profiles will match nicely. Each set of tapers is slightly different based on how I wanted the end result to look. Once these pieces for the neck are machined I will also do the same operation to the corresponding laminates for the body section. I have the next set of laminates sanded and ready for the same operation!

Highslide JS
Doing some sanding to get ready for cutting tapers.
(12/16/16) This is the set of four pieces of Padouk that will combine to create the next two sets of neck and body laminates. I sanded them to bring them to common thicknesses and now have to run them through the CNC to establish the combined tapers that will make them look amazing on the finished instrument. Once they are cut and cleaned up I will apply contrasting veneer and get the forst three laminate sets glued together.

Highslide JS
This is the tapered pair of laminates for the center of neck and core.
(12/11/16) It's been a lot of set-ups and machining process but things are moving along and I now have a set of tapered pieces that will be getting assembled very soon. I have to do some surface cleanup and apply some contrasting decorative veneers onto the individual laminate sides and then we'll see the neck and part of the back plate come together. I'm looking forward to seeing the component pieces come together.

Highslide JS
Busy with a lot of laminate machining.
(11/29/16) I'm in the middle of cutting the tapered neck and body sections for the construction of the bass. This involves quite a lot of machining but I'm keeping things going so that I can get the first few central pieces machined and prepared for assembly. I want to assemble the neck and body core concurrently so that I can make sure the tapers and the overlap create the best possible transition from neck to body. So far so good.

Highslide JS
I'm now set up with a physical layout of nut, headstock and end laminate geometry.
(11/18/16) The critical laminate layout is at the heel end of the bass, and with that established I can look at a few things at the headstock end. I established the laminate thicknesses and distribution based on the string spacing at the nut and from that have all the dimensional data I need to finish cutting the 7 neck lams. This neck, backplate and heel will be a beautiful looking combination when assembled with contrasting decorative veneers.

Highslide JS
Just resolved all the taper geometry for the back of the bass plus many other details.
(11/14/16) The maple center laminate is almost complete. I wanted to double check all my laminate taper dimensions as each laminate as two sister laminates that have to share the taper dimensions for everything to work out correctly. To that end I will be machining the corresponding back plate laminate on the same taper setup as soon as this one if off the machine. It will make more sense when I post further pictures! So far so good.

Highslide JS
First of the laminates being set up so that I can machine their tapers.
(11/11/16) This is the center laminate for the neck which I have set up on the CNC. I will adjust the settings to match the dimensions on my 100% scale drawing so that I can machine the part to the correct taper and then I can move ahead to the other 6 laminate pieces. I need to be careful in this process that I do the neck and body tapers in sequence so that they match perfectly when the neck and body are ultimately joined together.

Highslide JS
Getting the laminate pieces drum sanded so that I can then get them machined.
(11/6/16) Time to get all these laminates for the neck, back and end block sanded so that I can then machine them. I'm going to run everything trhough the drum sander to establish reliable and flat datum surfaces. Once that is done, the neck and back pieces have to be machined to their specific taper dimensions. I will try to get started on the machininon the CNC as soon as possible so that I can start assembling components!

Highslide JS
The pieces I will be using for a tailpiece assembly.
(10/29/16) I kept aside all the offcut from the body laminates so that I could use them as matching grain pieces for the back plate assembly which will continue the tapered laminate look from the back of the instrument up to the top plate at the heel end. This will look very impressive when completed although it's hard to imagine from the photos of the rough cut material! I will glue these together as a blank assembly first.

Highslide JS
Setting up laminates in sets for grain continuity.
(10/22/16) I wanted to set up all the laminates in the right consecutive order so that the grain structure and direction matched across the centerline for bot the neck components and the back of the body components. It is important that this continuity exists in the finished product. I also have to do this with the pieces that will make up the block at the back end of the body. We will be seeing all these parts sanded and machined down for assembly!

Highslide JS
Getting started on the drum sanding of the laminates.
(10/17/16) In this photo you can see the seven laminates that will be assembled together to create the core section of the back of the instrument. They are all much larger right now than they will be when done but my goal here is to get them all with good flat and square edges so that I can fiture them for machining. I'll probably glue them all together into one bog tapered piece before doing final machining and sanding to the finished thickness.

Highslide JS
The collection of wood laminates that will come togeher to become the core of this bass.
(10/13/16) This is the entire collection of laminates that will come together to create the neck, center section of the back and the tailpiece of the instrument. It looks like a lot right now but as they are sanded and shaped and assembled it will become much more apparent how each of them plays an important part in the construction of this bass. My next task is to get them all drum sanded so I have flat reference surfaces to work with for fixturing.

Highslide JS
Padouk pieces for body qand neck rough cut.
(10/10/16) I am cutting a couple more Sapele laminates both for the neck and the body sice we are planning for a 7-string instrument and I want to make sure we have the structural integrity in the neck to allow it to be comfortable to play but at the same time strong and rigid under the tension of seven bass strings. To that end not only will we have a 7-piece laminated core but I will supplement that with three carbon fiber re-enforcing rods as well.

Highslide JS
Some of the Maple and Padouk now ready for some machining.
(7/21/16)I decided I should cut out the set of tailpiece woods sooner rather than later as I didn't want to misplace any of them mainly because each piece matches it's corresponding neck and body laminate. I will be referring back to my 100% scale drawing of the bass to establish sizes for this tailpiece and using that information I will go ahead and get it assembled into one piece for later use. It needs to match the back of the body core exactly.

Highslide JS
Some of the Maple and Padouk now ready for some machining.
(7/12/16) These are some of the neck and body components of our bass as we move towards creating some of the sub-assemblies. I have sanded both sides of these laminate pieces and my next move will be to set up for machining them all to a consistent taper so that I can get things glued together. I also have a collection of Maple and Padouk for the tailpiece which will also become part of the overall body assembly.

Highslide JS
In the middle of sanding numerous pieces of neck and body parts.
(7/1/16) Right now I am busy drum sanding all the components for not only the neck but the center section of the back and also the matching tailpiece. Since they all have to be cut and assembled from matching material (from the same boards) I have to be careful that I am marking the pieces according to their placement in the various sub-assemblies. I will ultimately be assembling 21 different components so I'm doing this methodically!

Highslide JS
Adding a central curly Maple laminate for the entire instrument.
(6/22/16) I need to add another laminate for the neck, body and tailpiece since this will end up being the center laminate in the neck assembly. I will post a cross-section of the neck to show the wood distribution but most likely the Maple will be in the center and on both outside edges. The nice thing about maple is that we will always have an option to tint it to match anything on the finished instrument that we want. The curly stuff always looks good!

Highslide JS
Padouk pieces for body qand neck rough cut.
(6/10/16) Cutting up more of the material for both the neck and the center section of the body. These are Padouk pieces which I will be combining with the maple pieces I have already cut up. I do have some other woods that will match the Palo Escrito so I might suggest incorporating a couple of laminates of that too. I'd definitely rather do a 7 laminate neck than a 5 laminate for a 7-string instrument anyway. I will see what I have or can get hold of.

Highslide JS
Getting ready to cut out the Padouk pieces.
(6/2/16) Time to get the Padouk components for the neck, body core and tailpiece cut out. I have marked out from my template the neck laminates that need to be cut and I will be cutting these very soon. I'm leaving enough material between the two marked out areas to allow for the pieces of material needed for the body and tailpiece areas. It's important not only to have these cut from the same plank, but to cyt then as close as possible from the same plank area!

Highslide JS
Some of the Padouk I bought for the core section laminates.
(5/25/16) I just purchased some really nice grained Padouk from which I will cut some of the remainig laminates for the neck and body assemblies. I will use my templates to rough cut all the core material so that I have all the components for these sub assemblies. Once they are cut I will be working out their respective tapered thicknesses so that I can get them machined to their final sizes. It will be a very nice wood combination.

Highslide JS
First of the neck and body core laminates have been cut.
(5/19/16) I wanted to show a photo of the core woods being cut for both the neck section of this instrument and the back of the body too. In this photo I have cut out the initial blank pieces for the neck and the back so that I can start the assembly of the various hardwood laminates that will combine together to create the core of this instrument. I will also be cutting corresponding pieces of padouk to add to the assembly. More photos coming!!!

Highslide JS
Preparing everything to cut some neck and body laminate blanks.
(5/16/16) I am measuring out the blank neck and body laminates ased on the best yield from the material. It is important to use the same material in the same orientation when you have a separate necl and body assembly so that when the pieces go together the look and color and grain of the woods are continuous from one end to the other. For this reason I have to think ahead when rough cutting the material for each set of components.

Highslide JS
Vector drawing of some of the basic dimensions for the bass.
(5/11/16) I now have created two very important tasks for this bass. I spent some time working on a 100% vector drawing of the neck and body of the bass which will remain in my computer as a very important reference document which I will use for verifying all the future machining work ahead. I also created paper templates of the neck and body which I will be using to cut out the raw material blanks for ongoing construction.

Highslide JS
I got hold of some nicely figured maple for part opf the core assembly - more to come!.
(5/5/16) I was out shopping for wood and I was able to pick up some curly maple which had nice figure on the faces but more importantly, had well defined figure on the edges. This is critical for me because the core laminates in my basses are cut from boards that exhibit nice figure at 90 degrees to the front face of the board. This maximizes the curly effect on the finished product. I have some solid feelers out for a batch of Palo Escrito too!

Highslide JS
Using one of my templates to establish the center laminate in the neck and body assembly.
(4/25/16) I happen to have a little curly maple on hand to get started on one of the neck laminates - I'm ordering more along with the Padouk we will need for the neck assembly and the center area of the back plate and heel block. I'm working on a vector file that will represent the build at 100% scale so that I can make sure all the features we build into this 7-string bass will be pre-qualified to scale before any machining is done.

Highslide JS
This is an example of the Palo Escrito wood that will be used for back and sides and headstock veneer.

(4/19/16) I am currently shopping for material for this project. One of the main woods I will be using is called Palo Escrito which has a beautiful warm grain and color as shown in the photo on the left. I am working on a 100% scale drawing which will be my reference throughout the project and I will use it to quantify the sizes and amounts of wood I will need for the rest of the assembly. I will be adding Maple and Padouk to the formula very soon!

Last update April 21, 2016