Friday, December 16, 2016

Fish Bass

Designing an ergonomic bass. The thing I don't dig so much about the bass in that article is that it's designed for your right hand to sit in the middle of the bass. And my interest is in playing near the bridge more comfortably.
Huh. In the early 70's Fender moved the bridge pickup somewhat closer to the bridge.
I found a piece of old pine in the dumpster behind my apartment building. I thought it would be funny to make, instead of a "tonewood" guitar, a trashwood one.
This graphic is relevant to my needs.

Allen Eden guitar neck. Pre-cut bone nut. Massive blank headstock. I need an 11/16 drill bit for the tuner holes.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Make a bass drum

So I've had this idea, after seeing the Turangaleela at the New York Philharmonic earlier this year and also having seen the Kachanov Singers, that the orchestral bass drum is actually the most expressive drum there is.
And honestly I'm not getting a lot of push-back from drummers on this idea. The drum can be quiet and round. It can make delightful little "canks." It can be muted, it can be resonant, it can be sharp, it can be LOUD. I mean freaking LOUD.

And if you're going to have a concert bass drum, it should be 40" by 20" deep.
Thing is, they cost around $2700.  Also note, though, one of the big tricks is that those come with a sweet stand which completely suspends the drum and lets you tilt it at any angle you want. Which kind of rocks.
But let's experiment with the mind for a while, shall we? Mind. Experiment.

There are some resources on the interwebs for building one's own drums. Thing is the pre-built easily-available drum shells don't get as big as 40".
But there's another way -- building a drum with staves instead of a bent shell.

Stave calculator by Uniontown Labs. It's cool but it doesn't actually go up to 40". And you know you need a 40-inch concert bass drum. But still, it does a lot of the calculations (even if there's a seeming limit in the numbers somewhere which make it output "infinity" in some fields.)

But. Again. Decimal inches? I ain't got time for that. I mean unless we really started making decimal inch rules. Which. I mean I guess I have to be able to find one. But. Ugh. Millimeters. I'd so prefer to work in millimeters.

Decimal InchesFraction InchesCentimeters
Rough Diameter42.1250"42 1/8"107.00cm
Finished Diameter41.8750"41 7/8"106.36cm
Shell Depth22.00"22"55.88cm
Number of Staves20
Joint Angle18.00°
Bevel Angle9.00°
Stave Outer Width6.672"6 11/16"16.95cm
Stave Inner Width6.434"6 7/16"16.34cm
Stave Thickness0.750"3/4"1.91cm
Rounded Thickness0.369"3/8"0.94cm
Board Length Required800"Infinity"Infinitycm
Staves per Width1
Staves per Length20
Board Feet RequiredInfinity'
Cost Per Shell$Infinity

Saturday, December 10, 2016


Among thing I am doing in my copious spare time is building a short-scale (30") bass guitar.

Not on purpose but it turns out I'm making a guitar that kind of looks like a fish.
It starts with a piece of wood I pulled out of the dumpster behind my building. I went to FabLab and planed it (the jointer there ain't working because it has an unusual 220v plug so it doesn't go into the socket. I really wish it only had a 110v motor -- or its own transformer. Ugh. I don't want to play with 220, but I'm an American, more on that later) and the piece of wood seems to be a piece of pine.
I thought that instead of making the bass out of "tonewood" I would make it out of "trash wood" and therefore the instrument would be a
Trashwood Guitar
Which amuses me but I don't know how that's going to turn out. I have this idea that the contours of the body will encourage playing near the bridge. Furthermore I (perhaps mistakenly) think this is a good thing.

I so wish we could just use the metric system here. Unfortunately all the rules at the Lab are Imperial and so all the detail work needs to be done Imperial. But adding and subtracting 9/32 of an inch from 4.183" (yes, we flop back and forth into decimal inches) is just too much for my little brain. I mean come on, if we're going to use decimal inches can we puhleeze just use millimeters?

Anyway, I get to go on a journey of discovery where I learn how to rout a Strat-style neck pocket. Also I have to figure out if the wiring all goes under a pickguard or if I rout from the back of the bass so that little holes poke up through the wood for the volume controls and jack. I dunno.

Two humbucking pickups. And they should be at 25.25" and 27" from the nut. Just like Ethan says.
I'll be experimenting with the MM 4 string bass humbucker by Warman in the neck position. The website says it is "Overall size, excluding the 3 mount holes is 90mm x 48mm and 20mm overall depth."
And the bridge position will be their Jazzbar.
So 25.25" is 641.35mm. That's where the neck pickup wants to be.
The bridge pickup wants to be at 685.8mm.
We will round these numbers off.
The neck is 762mm scale.

The ideal neck pickup position is therefore 121mm from the bridge.
The idea bridge pickup position is  76 mm from the bridge.

My calculations show they will just barely fit.