The Hossenfeffer Bass

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Alexander Higgins
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The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Alexander Higgins »

My second full build, this one entirely from scratch. This is a straight-up tribute build, a re-creation of my 1979 Rickenbacker Jetglo 4001 bass. As a clone build, it may not have much interest here, but I'll post it for the Noob contingent, among whom I count myself. To anyone offended by tribute builds, this is purely for my own use, and I have no intention of ever selling it or mis-representing it as anything but an amateur build. I've been working on it in 2-3 hour increments whenever possible, so progress has been Glacial, but here's what I've done so far:

Parts and hardware. Rock maple from Bell Forest Lumber
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Two-piece neck laminate glueup. Plain sawn lumber oriented for quarter sawn perpendicular to fingerboard.
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Full-size CAD templates pasted to 1/2" MDF
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Templates bandsawed out and sanded to line with Robosander.
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Truss rod channel and adjustment pocket cut, got a couple router nicks, but all will be hidden under FB or TRC.
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Full template set
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Slots for carbon fiber stiffeners cut and 5 degree headstock angle rough cut and set in router jig to clean up top face.
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Planing body wings to thickness with sacrificial pine board attached to catch the snipe.
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Body wings and neck beam set up for doweling
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Pup, bridge, and control cavities routed.
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Body wings bandsawed out. Dowels worked great to register everything correctly, nothing glued yet.
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CF stiffeners epoxied in
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Neck beam with pup and bridge routes, not sure "neck through" still applies with this much wood hogged out. I kept the neck pup route as shallow as practical to avoid weakening neck joint, a common problem on Ric basses with the big "swimming pool" oversize neck pup route.
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Templates set up to flush-trim body wings.
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Body flush-trim done except for some cleanup at the neck beam heel.
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Got some light tearout, not real happy with the quality of cut from my Freud 1/2" x 1" flush trim bit, done on the router table. I think next time I'll bandsaw to within 1/8" of line and use the Robosander to finish off. It's slow and tedious, but no danger of tearout.
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Looking for advice on filling tearout. A few options:
Minwax High Performance Wood filler (bondo with wood-dust is all it is)
West system epoxy with maple sanding dust mixed in
West system with high or low density filler added
Straight West System over the whole body as a grain filler/sealer

Headstock wings glued on
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That's where I'm at, next up is making the fingerboard. I got a really nice pre-slotted bubinga board from LMI. I am going to bind it and cut in sharfin inlays after copious practice on scrap. When it's done I'll use it as a template to cut the neck beam to taper width.

Any/All constructive criticism or suggestions on ways to improve work sequence, tools, etc. greatly appreciated.

Eric Baack
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Eric Baack »

with maple you really won't need the filler on the rest of the instrument so I'd probably go with more of a clear spot filler depending on how you want to stain/dye the wood.

Alexander Higgins
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Alexander Higgins »

Eric,
It will be a gloss black rattlecan laquer finish with clearcoat, so it's not a problem visually whatever I use, just wondering what other people use to fill divots under painted finishes.

Eric Baack
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Eric Baack »

then I'd just use bondo or wood filler.

Art Davila
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Art Davila »

I love it really very cool. great work.
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.

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Dan Smith
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Dan Smith »

Rock on Alexander!
Man, I'd love to build one since I cannot afford one.
Looking great!
Dan
Ever-body was kung fu fight-in,
Them kids was fast as light-nin.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Barry Daniels »

Divots, we don't need no stinking divots. Actually, you can steam out most of them, and it is best to try to avoid them in the first place. Filled divots will come back to haunt you at some point.
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Alexander Higgins
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Alexander Higgins »

After a long hiatus, I'm back on this project, the reports of my demise greatly exaggerated. Here's where it stands now:
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I got the binding/purfling channels cut with a Stewmac binding cutter set, did a nice job, but I'm a bit uncertain how to get the checker purfling bent to the tight radii at the horns. I posted to an older thread i started on checker binding fishing for advice. The mahogany fingerboard is just a template mockup I made to practice inlay technique, another first for me.


I decided on full-width faux MOP fretboard markers, so I practiced cutting a few with a Dremel and chisel method on the fingerboard mockup. One nice thing about a wedge-shaped marker, it's actually a wedge, so it can be "wedged" tight into the recess. This stuff is about 1/8" thick, so I should be able to radius the FB without sanding through it.
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Here's the checker purfling and outer binding. I had a lot of trouble bending the checker binding, almost .070" thick, around the horns. I heated it about as much as I dared, not sure how far I can go without breaking or distorting it.
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Barry Daniels
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Barry Daniels »

Plastic binding can usually be bent around very small radii if you heat it enough. But there is a tipping point when you get it to the melting point and it loses its shape turning into a blob. You should buy a few extra pieces of it in order to play with it finding out how far to go. Do you have a heat gun?

Edit: I see your other discussion on binding and posted a more complete answer there.
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Alexander Higgins
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Alexander Higgins »

Barry,
I do have a heat gun, and used it to bend the purfling. The stuff is something like $1.50/inch so I am loathe to ruin it. I noticed that it has a slight tendency to "cup" when you get it hot. I heated it so it was hot to the touch, but not unbearably so. Maybe not enough?

David King
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by David King »

I'm wondering if you could also soften them by dipping them in something, perhaps isopropyl or MEK? They would swell up but then shrink back down again.
I would just bend them while applying heat via your heatgun so as they bend you'll know whey are at the right temperature and can back off.

Alexander Higgins
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Alexander Higgins »

Gonna try a little more heat, a lot more patience, see if I can bend the checker a little tighter at the horns.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Bob Gramann »

The checker strip will look like it's made of separate black and white pieces glued together. If it can't be bent tightly enough, those pieces can be cut apart, tapered to fit the curve, and glued back together. You can practice and develop the technique on scrap cutoffs.

Chuck Tweedy
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

looking good all around. tribute or not
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice

Art Davila
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Art Davila »

Love the progress so far are using a modern truss rod? I would add a couple of carbon fiber rods to stiffen it up. if your doing the same neck dimensions as the original. Those neck are very comfortable but they are thin.
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.

Alexander Higgins
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:17 pm

Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Alexander Higgins »

After taking some very careful measurements, I realized that the ledge I cut for the checker binding varied slightly in depth, particularly a little shallower around the horns. I think I wasn't careful enough to keep the Stewmac binding cutter centerline perpendicular to the body edge while going around the tight radii, that's my theory anyway. After some agonizing, I re-cut the checker binding ledge .010" deeper, and everything seems to fit better. I'm going to try this technique for gluing the binding:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-6EEuJKIzQ

Having practiced on scrap, I started cutting the full-width inlays on my actual bubinga fingerboard.

Triangle inlays temporarily hot-glued to the fingerboard
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Inlay outlines scribed with a sharp utility knife
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First recess cut. The inlay stock is about 1/8" thick, so I'm cutting down with 1/8" dia downcut spiral dremel bit about 1/32" at a time. I've broken these bits before (very exciting when it bounced off my goggles!), but the more passes I make, the greater the chance to slip. Is it safe to cut the full 1/8" depth in one pass? I'm routing to within about 1/16" of the line and then paring up to it with a sharp chisel.
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The plan is to cut all the recesses, glue in the faux MOP, then rout the ledges in the fingerboard edges for the binding with the inlays in place. I'm hoping this will prevent any chipout on corners of the recesses, and effectively flush-cut the faux MOP in one pass. My only conern is that the bit may melt the MOP, have to try that on scrap first! I realize that watching paint dry would be more exciting than this glacial progress, but so far that's how I've avoided any horrific errors on expensive wood and materials.
Last edited by Alexander Higgins on Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Alexander Higgins
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Alexander Higgins »

Art Davila wrote:Love the progress so far are using a modern truss rod? I would add a couple of carbon fiber rods to stiffen it up. if your doing the same neck dimensions as the original. Those neck are very comfortable but they are thin.
Thanks Art. I'm using a double action trussrod and two 1/8" wide x 1/4" deep graphite stiffeners. I just hope it's not TOO stiff to get relief into. I wanted to match the "scary thin" dimensions on my long-lost 79' 4001, but that neck was always a little unstable. I kind of backed myself into a corner on the neck thickness. The depth of the DA trussrod plus 3/16" of wood under it to back face of neck leaves me with a pretty chunky neck profile, just over 7/8" at the first fret. Here's a section of the headstock area and neck profile. The Ric fingerboard is unusually thick to get it high enough off the body for the bridge to work without neck angle.
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Barry Daniels
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Barry Daniels »

I really dislike the idea of a thick fretboard. It makes the neck profile very awkward and it pushes the truss rod and carbon rods very close to the back of the neck. It is not fun to carve into the rods when shaping the back of the neck. There are better ways to control the string and bridge heights than using this method.
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Peter Wilcox »

If you want the thick fretboard, you could route a portion, maybe 1/8" to 5/32", of the truss rod slot into the back of the fretboard. Of course, then you might have a problem with the nut at the headstock unless you put a thickish veneer on it.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Alexander Higgins
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Re: The Hossenfeffer Bass

Post by Alexander Higgins »

Well, I haven't updated this thread in over a year and the bass is STILL not done. I think the term "Glacial" now has to be supplanted by "Geologic" to describe my pace. Anybody who wants to see all the minutiae of my various mistakes, false starts, and backtracking can check out the build thread I have going in Luthier's Corner on Talkbass
https://www.talkbass.com/threads/the-ho ... 35/page-18
but here's a few highlights to update to where it stands now:
Checker Binding going on
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Fingerboard Glue Up
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Craziness at the neck/body joint because I stupidly didn't use a continuous taper neck beam all the way through the body. Don't even ask.
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Neck carve using the "facet" method
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Neck carve complete except for for some sanding and cleanup at heel and volute. pretty happy with how it feels
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