A Bass VI for $200?

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MatthewK
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A Bass VI for $200?

Post by MatthewK » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:30 pm

I was just reading and commenting on a thread at the Fender Discussion Pages about building a Bass VI on the cheap. When I searched for a shorter scale bass neck, I found that SX do a short scale Jazz Bass - and a plan was born.
How about this? I start with the SX SJB62-3/4:
Image
- remove tuners, dowel headstock
- strip headstock and neck back to sealer (apparently possible with ordinary paint stripper)
- drill for 6 tuners (would standard Klusons work for VI / baritone strings? if not, what?)
- new nut blank, cut and file to suit
- new bridge - it's not string-through so I can just take the old one off - I am thinking either a Telecaster 6-saddle (if the saddles would be large enough) (top-load probably, or through-body?), or a Danelectro baritone tailpiece (a bit pricier):
Image
Pickups - either the Tele bridge with a pickup, and/or the MIJ Jaguar pickup I have spare. The SX has 8-pole Jazz Bass style pickups but I doubt they would be appropriate for the new string spacing.
Other cosmetics like Mustang knobs etc to follow; could also do a Jag switchplate and bass cut for the pickups.
So - it would be like a hard-tail Bass VI and I reckon I could do it under $200. Anyone got any advice?
If anyone wants to take the idea and do it, I would be really happy to see the results!

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Gordon
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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by Gordon » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:15 am

I've had the same idea for months... But I have already too many projects on the shelf. :D

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by boss302bass » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:31 am

If the SX is 30" scale you're good to go...
Klusons will work - you may have to file out the slots on the two heaviest string posts - don't do that till you've decided which strings you're gonna use - if you string it baritone gauge you won't have to.
Seymour Duncan Jag Antiquity pickups are among the cheapest of the vintage-style pickups and sound really really good - either with baritone or bass VI strings.
If you have router capability, you may as well whack in a neck pickup if you're gonna throw in a Bass VI 4way switch setup. I have a USACG bodied Bass VI I built for myself and it is baritone - and I invariably use the neck pickup only...it sounds so fat on its own.
Here's another option for you if you want 3 pickups - you could put a stackpot in the first control plate position to run the neck and middle pickup volumes, and the second knob would control the bridge volume. That way you wouldn't have to bother with putting in the 4way selector...
But ultimately, if you want to stick to the plan of a cheap type of Bass VI - I'd just get two Jag pups to replace the Jazz Bass pups and don't bother with any other switching...it'll sound awesome with just two pickups, will look super cool and clean and everyone will be mega jealous of your stylish one-off custom build! (If you go down this path - make sure you get a Paper in Oil 0.047 capacitor for the tone pot - you will be glad you did...they are the key to the sweet honey vintage tone)

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by MatthewK » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:24 am

It is 30.5" scale and I think the nut is 1.5" which is the same as a VI. Thanks for the tips on pickups etc - I am thinking the MIJ Jag will be fine since they are a little shrill on a normal Jag, so that's not likely to be a problem an octave lower.
Overall it will be about six inches shorter than a VI since the bridge is right at the back of the body, with no tremolo. I will try a mockup before I commit.

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by MatthewK » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:02 am

An incredibly rough Photoshop mockup:
Image

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by Snake Hips » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:38 pm

I thought about this as well, time and money is my only problem, I personally would round the bottom horn, but also see if you can find a picture of what the bass looks like in real life the body is real small

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljwKdwuCniQ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by MatthewK » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:05 pm

I tried the bottom horn rounding in Photoshop - still undecided:
Image
And thanks for the clip - that is a small body isn't it? Looks like the instrument would be pretty cool unmodified.

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by sookwinder » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:10 pm

Klusons will work - you may have to file out the slots on the two heaviest string posts -
No need... the labelle Bass VI flats I use, taper and I have no problem with normal (guitar) kluson style tuners
relaxing alternative to doing actual work ...

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by MatthewK » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:14 pm

Aha - thanks for the info. I'd have to dowel pretty well to ensure they were solidly mounted for that extra tension.

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by boss302bass » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:03 pm

Man it's gonna be killer! Look forward to seeing pics - we are all cheering you on!

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by MatthewK » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:26 pm

Kind words - thanks! However Rondo won't sell me the SX 3/4 bass because I'm in Australia, and the local supplier doesn't return my e-mail about 3/4 scale guitars. Anyone want to sell me one?

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by scott_va » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:39 pm

Weird; there must be somebody who will sell something like that down that way. You need to do this so that I can see that it's beyond my crappy skils, so I don't get tempted to try it. :)

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by MatthewK » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:43 pm

Oh it'll happen, don't worry. Maybe I can talk someone into accepting it shipped from Rondo, breaking it down into neck and body, and mailing it to me. No doubt postage would be fairly expensive.

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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by scott_va » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:45 pm

Maybe just leave a jazz bass out in the sun for a few months?

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MatthewK
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Re: A Bass VI for $200?

Post by MatthewK » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:48 pm

Clearly the genius switch has no "off" position!

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