Finally finished my 3 string CBB. What a learning curve! Started with a 20" long bulk cigar box, built a steel rod reinforced red oak and mahogany neck, through the box, corian nut, jumbo frets, and laid it out for a 30 1/2" scale. So far, so good. Oops, even long scale bass strings won't run from the tail ferrules to the tuners. Drat! Muddled my mind through various redesigns - from a hard tail bridge (top just too thin), to a shorter scale (nope), to starting over with a different box (not a quitter!). Ended up buying some "take off" stand up bass strings, .105/.085/.065. Plenty long! Had to open up the slot in the 105's bass tuner peg, but it went in. O.K., we're back in the game! Built a bridge from a 1/8" scrap of birch plywood, mounted a skeleton key, filed in three string slots, and tuned 'er up. Oh oh. Not loud enough! Pulled 'er apart, installed a three piezo harness and jack, screwed 'er together again and Bang! It's good! adjusted the bridge to intonate, and I can play on. Success! Nice easy playing flat wound strings, easy on the old fingers. An awesome experience, with some interesting challenges to keep Grandpa's mind sharper..or at lest less dull. Uncle Tommy is coming over tomorrow, and we'll start on his. I believe the first build's hiccups will make numbers 2 and 3 go much smoother, but we'll see. Uncle Tommy is older than me! We'll probably find some ways to go to head scratchin' on them, too.
Thanks Kigar. The next ones, I'll lay out the strings, scale, tuners, and tailpiece before we start cutting wood!
Very nice. Love the Skull motif and the paint. I'd love to hear it played with a CBG. I'll stay tuned for the video. Very nice job!
Sweet looking base, maybe one day I'll tackle making one, on a side note, using plywood for the bridge in lieu of hardwood might be the reason for some of the volume lost acoustically, wood that sandwiched together like that probably absorbs a heck of a lot of the vibration from the strings
Thanks Richard. Good tip on the bridge. If I need wood on the next ones I'll use some red oak. Lord knows, I have a pounds of scraps around the garage.
plus oak and cherry are easily found in pallets, along with a few other hardwoods
You might consider a trapeze tail piece so you don't use up 1/4 of the string between the bridge and the anchor point, like a orchestral bass uses.
Oh, I went there, JL. I bought a fine Chinese bass guitar trapeze tailpiece. But....it was just a hair too long. It was just about butted up to the bridge, as I laid out the scale length to the bridge. Upon setting the bridge to intonate the strings, the bridge moved forward enough to allow the trapeze to be used, but by then the die was cast. I'll use the trapeze on the next build. Thanks for the tip!
I was thinking about the metal ones Gitty sells, I'm thinking its easy enough to string one as a flying trapeze instead of bending it for a solid mount tail...
Very nice Grandpa and if anybody gives you grief, you can wack em with it.