A Pair of Basses

Building the Basses

Last summer while working on the previous build, “Maple-ene” I opened a message from a long time friend which included a link to a short video about a guitar builder, Randy at Wyn guitars. What an impressive story. The number of instruments he builds is staggering, at least to me. Randy builds basses, very beautiful and unique basses. I was immediately sure that after “Maple-ene”, a bass would be my next project.

Well, not one but two basses right? It’s the only way around deciding on 4 string or 5 string. For the woods I chose solid cherry for the 5 and a three piece body of Cherry/Walnut/Cherry for the 4. The tops are bookmatched Flamed Maple and Locust.

While sawing, shaping, routing and gluing the tops to the bodies I spent a lot of time searching for hardware, pickups, electronics etc. I settled in on Hip shot Quarter Pound bridge for each, Seymour Duncan PJ set up with 250k pots, Gotoh tuners and Grover strap locks. Long scale: 34 inches.

I had previously routed for wiring channel and some chambers for weight reduction but until I make a full scale drawing I can’t locate the pickup cavities, control cavities or bridge location. By making the full-scale drawing I’ll be able to locate the pickups to the bridge and scale length to achieve the correct string spacing at the pickups. I made a template for each of the four pickup cavities. In the end the string spacing on all came out well.

Armed with dimensions for pickup and control cavities and ready to rout I also have to calculate the neck and pickup planes on the body as with solid body archtops. Once these angles are done I rout the cavities and locate the bridges. I used a laminated neck design with Maple and Sapele, just a straightforward ‘set’ neck with huge tuning machines.

Finally I get down to wood finish and have decided to use polyeurethane except for the Rosewood headplates will have to be lacquered, or at least not anything with oil such as the poly. Usually with oily woods like Rosewood the poly will never dry properly.

These two finished up really nice, I enjoyed it and learned a lot and now it’s time to put on some Allman Brothers and play along.

Author: Rick

A life long woodworker, I've been building guitars for just over ten years. I build acoustic dreadnoughts, electrics, and the "Hambone", a Terz guitar. I am a North Carolina native and am currently located near Charlotte, NC.