Sunday, 29 June 2008

5 String Bass Guitar

5 String Bass Guitar

This was my first build of a 5 string bass guitar and was of my own design. A bass guitars strings are traditionally tuned to E, A, D & G notes (left to right as looking at the Bass face on). A 5 string bass guitar can be built by either adding a higher C above the G (right) or a low B (left). The low B extends the power of the bass as the foundation or base (no pun intended) of the band's sound. The high C allows the bassist to add a new dimension to soloing and take the lead role usually reserved for the 6 string electric guitar.

I love the deep growl and heart thumping, driving power of the bass so decided to add a low B string.

It has been observed that when a low B string is added to the traditional 34" scale bass guitar the low B can sound rather "mushy" and not as crisp or well defined as the other higher 4 strings. By extending the scale length to 35" and recalculating individual fret spacing, the problem is remedied. 36" is also an alternative but may be too challenging for smaller hands.

This Bass would be of my own design and constructed of Bubinga species wood with maple and rosewood again with an ebony fingerboard. The bass is a 'neck thru body' design in construction meaning that the body and neck are continuous and the neck is not attached to the body by screws or bolts.

Passive Gotoh pickups and bridge was used with Schaller tuning heads and straplocks.

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(L>R) Raw wood stock showiing rosewood, bubinga, ebony and more bubinga.
Maple stock for neck lies diagonally in front of exotic species.

Bubinga Species used for body is thicknessed in planer.

Thickness calipers measuring dimensions shown

Wood shown on table saw.

Partial assembly already completed
(see previous posts for details on steps)

Truss Rod in slot in neck shown.
THI Inlay Logo on paper above)

Carbon Fiber Rods glued and clamped into neck.

Assembled body with truss Rod showing.

Components placed on top of partially assembled guitar.

Neck laminates used were previously glued up and clamped.

Partially assembled body on left with another partially assembled body on right.

Another photo of partially assembled guitar with hardware components.

Ebony Fingerboard already slotted for frets sits on bass neck.
Fingerboard still needs to be contoured (radius added)

Body with Pickup cavities ready for final assembly.

Fingerboard being planed to required radius.
Radius is checked with templates (not shown)

Fingerboard Glued and Clamped to Neck.

Fingerboard attached to Bass, ready for final wiring and hardware.

Side view of bass in vice.

Fret wire being installed in fingerboard of bass guitar.

More fretwork with nippers in foreground.

Frets are leveled and filed then crowned and polished.

Getting Close.



Completed Five String 'Albany' Model Bass.
(I name my models after Rivers I've Canoed)

5 String Bubinga 'Albany' and a 4 string Cocobolo 'Abitibi' Basses
(designed and built by ThunderHouse Instruments)

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