Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

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Matthew Lau
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Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:03 am

Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Matthew Lau »

Dear MIMF,

While I'd taken a temporary vow of abstinence from lutherie, I've been recently propositioned by a skilled dentist and teacher for a barter of an acoustic bass guitar in exchange for continuing education.

Translation: I may have an excuse to actually build something nice.

Here's my questions:
1. What is your favorite wood combination for an acoustic bass guitar?
2. What are important factors that I'll have to bear in mind?
3. What should I *not* do?

I'm planning on building a Tinozza bass guitar with the following changes:
Bolt on neck (modified Kif Wood; probably in port orford cedar)
Elevated fretboard
Side port (or possible Thurman ports)
Graphite rod neck block reinforcement (a la Rick Turner, Mark Swanson)
Drop through pinless bridge (like Mauro's)

I've read through the archives, but haven't found info to my satisfaction.
I'd really appreciate your input.

-Matt

ps. FWIW, I first referred him to Al as a vastly superior luthier near his area.

Dave Higham
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Location: Between Bordeaux & the Atlantic. S W France

Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Dave Higham »

I hope this post doesn't contravene the new forum rules.

I did a very detailed construction thread on The Luthier Community forum. It probably has one or two bells and whistles that you don't need (I made it for my own amusement) but does incorporate some of the features you mention. Read all my commentary (rather than just looking at the photos) as I tried to explain fully why I did some things and what sometimes went wrong.

For instance, the combination of the soundhole in the upper bout and the carbon fibre neck block struts meant that I couldn't get my hand through the soundhole. :oops: I found that the A-bracing wasn't enough for a fixed briddge. The top started to sink in front of the bridge so I added some braces.Fortunately I also incorporated an access panel which enabled me to solve those problems.

I don't think there's a magic formula for an ABG. It's just a great idea that doesn't really work. I imagine that R M Mottola's Tinozza comes nearest to a double-bass sound as it has a floating bridge and double bass strings. Have you seen the price of double-bass strings? :o

http://www.luthiercom.org/phpBB3/viewto ... 133&t=1487

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Mark Swanson »

Unfortunately you have to log in just to see it. Can't you post it here, too?
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

Chuck Tweedy
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

I don't think there's a magic formula for an ABG. It's just a great idea that doesn't really work.
That seems to be the inconvenient truth about ABG's.
I have never heard one that blew me away with it's thunderous power.

Nice to see you around again Dave!!
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Matthew - I'm just finishing up an acoustic bass using a variant of the Tinozza bracing. It has a 34" scale, but is larger than an ABG, so may not qualify for that name. It's my first acoustic build using more or less standard techniques, and is a product of my imagination, so it has some minor issues, mostly cosmetic. The tone is close to an URB, though not as loud due to size limitations and some construction issues due to my own ignorance.

If any further info would help you, I'll be glad to post it. It's essentially done except for some minor setup tweaking, final sanding and finish, and some strap buttons. The bridge is not yet glued on, but functions adequately held in place by the strings.

I too have never heard an ABG that I liked, but this instrument is part way there.
Attachments
For size comparison - it's the one in the middle :>)
For size comparison - it's the one in the middle :>)
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Darrel Friesen
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Darrel Friesen »

I built two archtops using Bill Moll's dimensions in the archive. The body is 20" across the lower bout and the ribs are 4" with a 34" scale. It's the loudest ABG I've heard yet and will hold it's own in an acoustic jam. It's still no upright though. This is one of them.
020.jpg

Matthew Lau
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Matthew Lau »

Those are some interesting builds!

Dave, it's great to see you again.
What have you been up to?
I still have to reimburse you for that silver somehow.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Bryan Bear »

Darrel Friesen wrote:I built two archtops using Bill Moll's dimensions in the archive.
Darrel, that looks great and your descriptions of the results is intriguing. Where in the archive is this discussed? Or are the dimensions you mentioned what was in the archives? Is there any more info for someone who has never done an archtop instrument? I don’t think I could have much success without more info. Though an AGB is fairly far down the “someday” list anyway. . .
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Darrel Friesen
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Darrel Friesen »

Here's a few discussions in the library that I drew on Bryan. I didn't do the scalloped bracing however. It helped a lot that I'd built a few regular archtops before doing these ones.

http://www.mimf.com/old-lib/archtop_bass.htm

http://www.mimf.com/old-lib/moll_acoustic_bass.htm

http://www.mimf.com/old-lib/moll_scalloped_bracing.htm

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Bryan Bear »

Ah, thanks! For some reason when I read archives, my brain thought about the plans and templaets section of the library. I didn't even look at the discussions, my bad. I'll look at the discussions, but perhaps I should put this off further. I don't think I have teh chops for archtops yet, I would be better off getting my feet wet in better charted waters.
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Michael Lewis
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Michael Lewis »

Brian, you get experience by doing. Start with some inexpensive materials and jump in. You need an archtop plan, and there are several available, some here by Bill Moll. Another way to get there is to make an A style mandolin, which is much the same architecture as an archtop guitar but much smaller and uses less material. I found that after making mandolins the guitars came very easily. I was making F style mandolins and will tell you the guitars are much easier.

Dave Higham
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Dave Higham »

Mark Swanson wrote:Unfortunately you have to log in just to see it. Can't you post it here, too?
Yes Mark, that is a bit of a problem. The Luthier Community was founded by people who had had enough of a certain megalomaniac tonewood supplier and his threats on his forum, so they started the LC and made sure that (a very small number of) people they didn't want there didn't get in. If you did log in you'd find a lot of very friendly people including quite a few familiar faces.

The problem with posting my ABG thread here is that it was a very detailed 'build' thread including 137 photos! Rather a gargantuan task to post it all again.
I did post finished photos here, but that was in the days when discussions used to fall off the end of the forum and disappear.

Darrel Friesen
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Darrel Friesen »

Definitely some awe inspiring workmanship in your build thread Dave. Some very cool concepts.

Bob Francis
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Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Bob Francis »

Darrel Friesen wrote:Definitely some awe inspiring workmanship in your build thread Dave. Some very cool concepts.
I agree I just spent the past hour or so reviewing it and what a great piece of work!

Dave Higham
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Location: Between Bordeaux & the Atlantic. S W France

Re: Acoustic Bass Guitar questions

Post by Dave Higham »

Thank you gentlemen. I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

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