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.Having a bad back, my bass has been giving me pain. Especially on Sundays when we have Church at the local Nursing Home and we play music for an hour. Recently I started researching lightweight, and/or mini bass guitars on the internet. I came across the little Ashbory mini bass that uses silicon rubber strings. And the Kala UBass acoustic and the Kala Solid body which use polyurethane strings. But some folks are using the polyurethane strings on the UBass and the Ashbory, as well as the Thundergut strings from Aquila. But what's the fun in it if you can't build it yourself?

Anyway... this build could be quite long and I hope I don't take so long at building it that this post gets boring.

I'm currently gathering info and gonna start buying some parts for a build. I actually ordered the wood for my soundboard today.

Below is a few of the specs and features I'm hoping for...... but...... I reserve the right to completely change anything and everything about this build before it's finished!

First, I want something with a little bit of acoustic sound. I don't have a room where I can leave an amp and other stuff out all the time, so I want it to be loud enough so that I can practice without dragging out the amp and cables. So with that said, I'm gonna make it a hollow body with pickup.

I'm gonna make something similar to Kala UBass. In my search I've learned the UBass and other Uke basses are built on the baritone uke size with different bracing. I suspect they had to beef up the bracing of the bass. I remembered seeing where a guy used the baritone uke size and made a low tuned mandolin but braced it like a guitar instead of a ukulele. So I will build my bass built on THIS set of plans. The exception being: my bass will be 20 inch scale and it'll have a modified bridge with the strings anchoring from under the soundboard instead of through the tail of the bridge like he has them. I may make the body deeper, but haven't decided for sure. And, of course, only 4 strings instead of 8.

I've read the fat strings and short scale can lead to intonation problems, so I'm gonna attempt 4 individually adjustable saddles with a mini 5/8" piezo under each one.

As I said above, It'll have a butternut soundboard. And I'm thinking I might use birdseye rock maple for the back, headstock, sides, and fretboard. And a 3 ply neck with the outer layer being butternut with a center birdseye rock maple strip.

I'm still trying to get information and see if I can modify a set of bass tuners like the P-bass uses to accept the huge strings. I believe I can, but will have to wait until I order a set of strings.

Which brings up my next problem.... I can't decide which set of strings. I've heard the Pahoehoe strings are more durable, have a huge sound, but a little harder to play due to the larger diameter, and, it takes a while for them to come to tune. While the Aquila Thundergut strings are easier to play, come to tune faster, and are more responsive for a piezo, but aren't as durable, and don't have the lows like the Pahoehoe strings have.

So in a nutshell........... there you go....... I'll be adding stuff on occasion as I get the build underway. I just wanted to get this info up here so I wouldn't have to set down and do it while I'm working on it.

Tags: Aquila, Ashbory, Kala, P-Bass, Pahoehoe, Thundergut, UBass, bass, birdseye, butternut, More…hard, maple, piezo, ukulele

Views: 1539

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Bobby. I made a little bass from an old guitar.  I used round weed-wacker strings, (.085, .065. .045).  I used three strings, (ADG), enlarging the two outer holes, and making a new middle hole. Removed the guitar tuners, plug the center guitar holes, and CAREFULLY reamed the four outer holes to accept Schaller type  bass tuners. I didn't want the big E,  One tuner is just for symmetry. If you want to use elephant ear tuners, then plug the holes with dowels, sand flat, and re-drill for the big tuners.  I have strings which I can send you, no charge, just postage.  Richard in TN

I have an old cheapo nylon string guitar Richard. I think it's about 24 inch scale or something. I believe it may have been a youth model.

Think that'll work?

That would give me something to mess around with until I get the mini bass built.

P.S........... good to hear from you.... long time no talkie with you...

It'll work. The nylon string body is pretty light, but reducing it to three stringer will help. Make a bridge, and use a tailpiece. The top will eventually sag a little, but you will gain some valuable info on conversions..

It's already sagged a little bit. My cousin put steel strings on it and sagged it.

How much can I send you for some strings.....

Hey.... the thing has the slotted type tuners.......... hmmmmm gotta do some ciphering......

I have made two mini bass instruments (Ukulele)  I started with Ashbory strings and they were a pain.  The first string broke for no reason at all over night.

I changed to the Pahoehoe strings and they are fine.  I bought proper ukulele bass machine heads as the ones I made were unsatisfactory :(

Oh yes.  I tried the weed wacker strings and really the ones I had access to did not work for my string length.

PS.  The Ashbory Strings sounded better in my opinion, but not better enough to put up with the inconvenience. (and Cost)

Brian

Just send me your address.  I think you have my regular email. I also took the slotted peghead and fit a piece of hardwood in, making it solid, then re-drilling. 

Highnoon said:

It's already sagged a little bit. My cousin put steel strings on it and sagged it.

How much can I send you for some strings.....

Hey.... the thing has the slotted type tuners.......... hmmmmm gotta do some ciphering......

THANKS Richard! I looked and can't find your email address. 

I don't mind to post my address here.

Bobby Ratliff
2355 Upper Mill Branch Rd.
Grundy, VA 24614

I'll start working on the old guitar shortly.

Strings ready. These three strings are ready.  I believe they will fit the guitar tuners. I will mail tomorrow.  Rich

Highnoon said:

THANKS Richard! I looked and can't find your email address. 

I don't mind to post my address here.

Bobby Ratliff
2355 Upper Mill Branch Rd.
Grundy, VA 24614

I'll start working on the old guitar shortly.

Thanks Richard!

Now, I have a question about my Mini Bass build........

I wonder what size frets to use? I have some of the big pyramid frets I bought from CBGitty. I use them as zero frets on my dulcimers, but I have plenty to spare. I suppose with the huge strings these should work OK.

Both of mine are fretless.  Probably any other I make I will put frets on, but they work very well as is especially as I am a beginner bass player.

I've done several short scale CBBasses from 21-14" scale... using both weedwacker line and polyurethane line.  With weed wacker line you can get A-D-B tuning... with polyurethane you can get true low E.  If acoustic sound is a necessity, then you need to go with trimmer line because it will handle the higher tension needed to vibrate the top.  It still will have a voice that will be "timid", but true and loud enough for practice.

 

hope this helps,

the best,

 

Wichita Sam

Thanks guys,

AS I said in the opening post, I sometimes go a completely different route................ which is what I've decided to do. Since I'm gonna convert the old guitar to use weedwhacker strings, that will give me something acoustic to practice with.

So I'm gonna build me a solid body one and use polyurethane strings.

What kind of tuning machines did you guys use for yours? I don't think I would have a problem widening the slots on a set of P-Bass style tuners....

Any suggestions?

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