Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

   
Materials: Top & Back: Cocobolo Neck/Core: Maple, Macassar Ebony and Purpleheart
  Body core: Alder
Fingerboard: Scale Length 35", Gabon Ebony with custom Chinese Character Inlays
Pickups: Watson Hot Singles
Hardware: 5-string Hipshot - Gold Finish
Options: Audere 3-band 18v EQ package
Finish: Gloss
Other: Unique floating pickup system - 2 hot single coil pickups
  Custom inlay Chinese characters on fingerboard - Std WG Headstock
  LED powered side dots
  String spacing: Bridge 19mm & Nut 9.5mm

This bass will be a very unique instrument boasting not only many of the features of my single-cut basses but also a pickup system that allows the player to physically adjust two pickups in relationship to the strings so that the bass can achieve every tonal possibility.

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We are planning to do that last few dots in red to keep them more subdued than the much brighter character inlay.
(8/13/17) Left: Just did some experimental inlay work on the last few dots of the fingerboard which my customer wanted to see in a red shell color.
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Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.

Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.
(7/9/17) Left: Text and picture coming. (7/13/17) Right: Text and picture coming.
Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.

Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.
(6/29/17) Left: I have created scaled vector drawinge of the control cavity and the battery cavity and their lids. I'm now setting things up to get those features machined. (7/4/17) Right: Text and picture coming.
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Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.

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Back plates are looking really nice against the core section.
(6/17/17) Left: The two back plates have now been sanded down to the correct thickness and I wanted to show them up next to the core section. (6/22/17) Right: I'm refining the top and back plate profiles a little bit on the spindle sander. This will help in establishing the harvesting of the control/battery cavity covers.
Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.

Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.
(6/8/17) Left: I'm working on the area inside which the sliding pickups will be housed. A lot is dependent on the space between neck and bridge and pickup bobbin width. (6/12/17) Right: I have the two back plates cut to rough profiles and I now need to finish the sanding. Cocbolo is very hard on sanding equipment so going carefully.
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Back plates have been rough cut to shape and I now need to sand them down to final thickness. This material quickly chokes up my sanding paper so have to keep changing it out!.

Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.
(5/29/17) Left: The inlay on the fingerboard is now all but complete. My next challenge is to get the fiber optic cabling installed. This requires fixturing the fingerboard upside down. (6/4/17) Right: Got my fingerboard fixturing worked out and the board is now ready for fiber optic channeling. Program written and ready to go!.
Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.

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Tough material to saw on the bandsaw but I need to split it in two bookmatched halves for the back!.
(5/22/17) Left: I'm in the middle of getting this cocobolo sawn in half. It's very hard material and I'm being careful to try and split it in such a way that I retain the best bookmatching result possible. (5/24/17) Right: Finally got this stuff cut - it took a long time on my bandsaw but it's now in two pieces and I can start work on them!
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Cocobolo for the back plates has now been split - that stuff was gard to work on.

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I'm getting ready to cut out the pieces of Cocobolo for the back beody halves which will run both sides of the core section.
(5/15/17) Left: I'm getting started on the material for the back panels of the instrument. I need to clean up the material and get the surfaces drum sanded. (5/19/17) Right: Material for the back plates now sanded and rough cut for the body shape, I want to get them nice and square as I have to split this on the bandsaw (not easy!)
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Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.

Highslide JS
Inlay is looking really nice against the ebony board.
(5/6/17) Left: This photo shows some of the inlay I have already installed in the top of the fingerboard. I'll keep it all going to complete all the others. (5/11/17) Right: I have added some filler so that the top of the inlayed area is not only flush with the fingerboard curve but also securely sealed. These will look really nice!
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Inlay looks great on the black ebony board.

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Very painstaking work and delicate handling on these parts so I will be very glad to get them permanently into the fingerboard.
(4/28/17) Left: The substrate material in now down to exactly the right thickness and curved profile and I now heed to glue these into the fingerboard in preparation for the shell. (5/1/17) Right: First of the inlay assemblies to be secured into the fingerboard. It is set a few thousandths below the surface and I will fill that with a sealer.
Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.

Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.
(4/18/17) Left: I am now getting all the inlay ready for final fitting. I have a special way of blending the inlay support to the curve of the fingerboard. (4/24/17) Right: Each inlay character has separate pieces which I am in the process of very carefullty shaping to match the curve of the fingerboard. Shell comes next.
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Right now I am very carefully leveling all the substrate pieces one set at a time.

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Roughing out headstock thickness on CNC.
(4/6/17) Left: This is the core section mounted up on my CNC machine and I am in the process of cutting the back of the headstock parallel with the front and to the right thickness allowing for headplate. (4/13/17) Right: Post machinng shaping to create the volute that gives the headstock strength. Rough ground so far but sanding next.
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Back of headstock rough ground and will now be sanded to finish the shape.

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Doing some calculations for the back of the core section and getting body parts thicknessed.
(3/25/17) Left: I did some machining to the core section to bring it closer to sizes that will correspond to the side pieces which have cocobolo fronts and backs. (3/30/17) Right: Having established where body and neck meet I can now get to work cleaning up the back area of the neck and also will be getting set up to thickness headstock.
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Rough shaping the back of the neck.

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Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.
(3/11/17) Left: Inlay pieces are in the process of being cut. While I am doing that I'm also thicknessing the support pieces so that inlay will match the fingerboard radius. (3/18/17) Right: These are the inlay pieces cut from the gold colored shell. I will be installing these into their respective recesses as I prepare each area.
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These shell pieces are VERY delicate and easily broken. I will be installing them with great care.

Highslide JS
Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.
(2/26/17) Left: This fingerboard will have LED powered fiber optic side dots (color not yet established) and I have to plan out the geometry required for installation under the fingerboard. (3/4/17) Right: I'm working on the inlay components right now. They have to be set at just the right depth based on the curve of the fingerboard.
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Getting the substrate pieces ready for the inlay - the allow the inlay to adopt the curve of the fingerboatd.

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Working on the substrate material for the inlay.
(2/14/17) Left: I have to cut out some material as a base for the shell inlay and get these pieces carefully reduced in thickness to match both the recess depth and the thickness of the shell material. (2/20/17) Right: This is the fingerboard with the pieces inserted. I now have to spend a little time working on these for perfect thickness.
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Substrate for our inlay being test fitted in the fingerboard.

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Part of the way through cutting the inlay recesses. It's a slow job but I ant it to turn out right!.
(1/30/17) Left: Machining of the fingerboard inlay is under way. I need to use a very small cutter to yield the right amount of detail. Should look very nice when done. (2/6/17) Right: All the custom characters and position dots have been cut into the ebony board. Looking good so far - now I hav to start cutting some shell pieces!
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Chinese characters have been recessed, now to cut the shell for the inlay.

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Prepring for carving on the core section.
(1/24/17) Left: I have been working on the pickup geometry with the plan that they will be mobile inside a recessed area between neck and bridge. (1/28/17) Right: OK - getting to work on the inlay on the fingerboard which will be in gold shell. I have some interesting Chinese characters that I am trying to optimize for inlay!
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Optimizing the Chinese characters in Illustrator and then using the dxf output from that to get my CNC programming done.

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Top plate has some amazing color - it's going to look good.
(1/10/17) Left: I started with a board of Cocobolo which had some really nice figure on it and I wanted to do all I possibly could to preserve the best parts of that board for the top of the instrument. (1/16/17) Right: I'm going to do the inlay on the fingerboard before I do the fiber optic cabling so I am getting the board ready for that.
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Getting the fingerboard ready and set up for machining of inlay recesses.

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Prepring for carving on the core section.
(1/4/17) I'm taking some measurements now based on where certain body features connect with the core section. With these marked I will be doing some material removal on the core section to better establish the extent of the back of the neck and where the body to neck transition needs to be. I want to get the top and back plates ready also because we have some calculations to do to place the recessed pickup area relative to fingerboard and bridge!

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Chinese characters which will become inlay on the fingerboard.
(12/21/16) I received these Chinese characters from my customer which we plan to add to the fingerboard of the bass. I will be working on these to get them correctly scaled and positioned on the fingerboard. Right now we have two concepts in mind, one being using white shell directly into the black ebony fingerboard. The other interesting possibility is to inlay them in white shell onto Cocobolo rectangles which are in turn inlayed into the fingerboard!

Highslide JS
Body halves have been rough sawn - moving on.
(12/16/16) Body halves have been rough sawn and cleaned up to just slightly over the finished profile of the body shape. It's helpful to keep everything oversize until we have decided on control cavity size and a few other body-related features. Next task is to get some measurements down and rough machine the thickness of the two pieces and then sand them to final size. I may need to do some work on back plates for contunuous wood covers too!

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Alder components of the body halves ready to be sawn up.
(12/11/16) I need to get the body parts done so that I can get them attached to the core section. First task is to mark out the profile for the Alder center of the body halves. I marked them out slightly oversize and will now go ahead and get them sawn out. I'll need to machine and sand them down to the correct thickness based on top and back material and our desired thickness for the instrument body. Will look more like a bass soon!

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Fret Slots are in!.
(12/5/16) The cutting of the fret slots went well and I now have a fingerboard with fret slots established for 35" scale and I also cut the nut slot in the process so that task is also completed. I will be moving back to the body parts now as I want to get the body halves ready for attaching onto the core section of the instrument. I have the materials on hand and will post photos and text updates based on that process very soon.

Highslide JS
Compound Radius has been machined onto the fingerboard.
(11/28/16) This photo shows the fingerboard after the compund radius was generated. In the process of doing this I brought the board down to its final thickness so it is now in a condition where I can get it prepped for the fret slots and nut slot to be machined. In the meantime I need to do some sanding just to get the machining marks off the upper surface of the board and then I will get on with the rest of the work!

Highslide JS
Got the fingerboard machined down to finished dimensions.
(11/25/16) This is the fingerboard after I cut it to its finished widths and length. It was actually quite a lot of work because the blank was oversize on length, width and also thickness and that Gabon Ebony is hard stuff. I had to take numerous passes just to rough it out and then worked my way carefully into the finished dimensions. Happy with it so far - next I have a different program and cutter to generate the compound radius.

Highslide JS
Ebony fingerboard blank is now ready for machining.
(11/20/16) Our fingerboard is now set up on the CNC for the sizing, compound radius, nut slot, fret slots and inlay recesses. I will first cut the perimeter to its final dimensions and then generate the compound radius on the top. Next I will establish the fret placement and cut all the fret slots. I will also cut the slot for the nut. When all those features are established I will then cut the recesses for the inlay pieces and once done - the board can come off the machine.

Highslide JS
Ebony fingerboard blank is now ready for machining.
(11/16/16) In this photo I have the ebony fingerboard sanded both sides and attached to a substrate material that will help me keep it restrained while I machine the blank into the finished fingerboard. I will be cutting the outside profile first to finished dimensions, and will then generate a compount radius on the top surface. There will be some sanding to level off machining marks and then I will cut all the fret slots. Lastly, nut slot and inlay.

Highslide JS
I'm in the middle of the messy process of sanding the rough-sawn fingerboard flat.
(11/11/16) This is the fingerboard in the process of being sanded flat. The rough-sawn blank needs to be leveled carefully so that I end up with blank that is naturally flat and doesn't have any inherent stress. To that end I have to be careful to progressively remove the high points from both sides as I work towards cleaning the whole board up. I actually only need one side completely cleaned up because my CNC will do the remaining side.

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This is the Gabon Ebony blank for the fingerboard. Hard to get the good stuff these days but my supplier came through!.
(11/6/16) I am about to take this very clean and dense piece of Gabon Ebony and get it sanded down to a suitable thickness for our fingerboard. The fingerboard will be a big fature on this bass because we have some lofty plans for inlay and the end result should look very impressive! First task is to get the fingerboard machined so I will sand it flat and get it set up on my CNC machine so that it can be cut to final size and shape!

Highslide JS
Machining the back surface of the core.
(10/29/16) Now it's time to get the rough back surfce of the core machined parallel to the front face which as a small amount of neck angle built in. When this surface is machined it will be the back of the bass and I will be aligning the backs of the body halves to this surface when they are glued on. All these angles eventually work together to ensure that the bridge is at the correct height and the strings lie correctly on the fingerboard.

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On CNC again to establish joint faces for body halves.
(10/22/16) I have the core section up on the CNC to allow me to machine the joint faces on the sides that will meet with the body halves of the instrument. Aside from being square and flat, these faces I am machining have to be exactly parallel to the tapered shape of the core section so I have to be fairly careful with the initial alighnment. I will set up separately for each side but I will end up with a core that's ready for further assembly!

Highslide JS
Just finished leveling the top surface of the neck after gluing the CF rods in place.
(10/14/16) I just finished the rather unpleasant but necessary job of leveling the top of the neck. After the carbon fiber rods are glued in there's always a certain amount of bleed-out glue and a little carbon fiber to level with the machined wood surface. I hate carbon fiber dust so I have to wear goves and mask and I'm always happy when this job is done! The top surface is ready for truss rod and fingerboard but want to get the side attached next!

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Machining some neck profile.
(10/5/16) In this photo I am machining both sides of the core section of the instrument to final dimensions so that I can machine nice clean joint faces on which to join the body halves. I use a surface gage to measure the taper of the neck as a reference to set the assembly at the correct angle. That way I can guarantee that the body joints are in line with the natural taper of the neck. Next I will be getting the Alder body halves prepared for assembly!

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Got the headstock rough cut and partly shaped.
(9/29/16) I marked out the profile of the headstock and rough-sawed off the extra material. I had left a good amount of extra "meat" on the headstock so removing the excess certainly made the neck feel a good bit lighter! I also was able to start filing and finishing the top surface of the neck where the adhesive had squeezed out of the carbon fiber rod joints. I will be refining the headstock geometry on the spindle sander to get it close to finished shape.

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The two carbon fiber rods have been secured into the neck of the bass.
(9/23/16) I made sure the final fit of the two carbon fiber rods was as good as possible and went ahead and mixed the aerospace grade epoxy and secured them into the two machined slots I had previously established in the top of the neck surface. This adhesive takes a little while to fully cure so I will be leaving it overnight but it will yield a remarkably strong neck assembly that will resist both string tension and the possible impact of humidity changes.

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Two slots now cut along the length of the neck for the carbon fiber reenforcing rodas.
(9/14/16) Next job on this project is to get the two carbon fiber rods cut and prepped for installation into the slots we cut in the neck. I'm always keen to make sure these are a good tight fit although I do glue them in with a very high grade epoxy so they become a very solid part of the neck construction! Once they are both fitted I will set up a gluing station, collect numerous clamps and other tooling and supplies, and get the job done!

Highslide JS
Two slots now cut along the length of the neck for the carbon fiber reenforcing rodas.
(9/9/16) Truss rod is now fitted into the neck and I have also run a program to cut two slots into the neck surface to contain the carbon fiber rods that I will embed into the neck assembly. I will be gluing these two rods into the core section pretty soon. I have some machining to do to the sides of the core now and also I can now mark out and cut the shape of the headstock pretty close to the finished dimensions. Also need to work on top plate and body!

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Truss rod slot now complete.
(9/6/16) The truss rod slot is now fully established in the neck. It had to be cut in three different steps relative to the geometry of the rod itself. These are very high quality rods, the best I have come across in many years in the business so they are tried and tested. My next step will be to cut two slots along the length of the necki into which I will be gluing carbon fiber rods to add rigidity and stability to an already very strong neck construction!

Highslide JS
I generated a nice flat surface for the headstock angle.
(8/27/16) Left: I decided to go ahead and machine the headstock angle based on the available time I had. Next up will be the body angle and the perimeter. (9/2/16) Right: This is the core section after I have machined the entire core perimeter to its finished size. I'm almost doen with this section - just have to cut truss and carbon fiber slots.
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The core perimeter has been machined to finished size. Next is truss roda slot and slots for carbon fiber rods.

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Machining already under way on the core section.
(8/25/16) I have the machining under way on the core. I have already machined the top surface of the neck to the point where it is ready for truss rod and carbon fiber slots. However the neck operation I need to do it going to be the machining of the perimeter of the entire core from nut all the way back to the end of the body. This will take into consideration the string spacing at both nut and bridge so I will be double checking those numbers.

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Ready to start cutting some of the features on the core section.
(8/21/16) Just about to start the first machining task on this core section which will be cutting a flat and clean face on the upper edge of the neck. This will be my reference datum surface for all the machining operations to follow. Once that is established I can make a few measurements and then procees to machine other surfaces. I will probably machine the finished profile of the core section nest then generate the headstock and body angles.

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Just getting the core section ready for several machining operations.
(8/19/16) I have been marking out critical points on the neck/core blank so that I can get this piece ready for some machining on the CNC. I'll be setting it up in two vices and will have it carefully squared up to the three table axes. I can then start by machining the top surface which will be the plane onto which the fingerboard will be attached. Then I will machine the headstock and body angles relative to that. More photos coming!

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Gluing on additional pieces of maple to headstock area.
(8/13/16) Before I set this core section of the bass up on the CNC for further machining I needed to add two pieces of maple on either side of the headstock area to allow for enough real estate to cut the full shape of the headstock down the line. As part of the upcoming machining operations I will be surfacing the headstock angle relative to the fingerboard surface and will need all the material width to get that done. Next up will be machining upper surfaces.

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Core Section is complete - looking good so far!.
(8/8/16) We now have a beautiful core section for our bass. Curly Maple, Macassar Ebony and Purpleheart all trapered to match the neck profile and separated by contrasting veneers. This is a high-end core for a beautiful bass. Next thing I will be doing is adding a little Curly Maple to the headstock area so that we have enough real estate for the headstock. Once that's done I will get this up on the CNC and start several machining processes!

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Gluing the last laminate.
(8/3/16) Last of the core gluing sessions is happening now. The last of the five is the Maple stringer (at the bottom of the gluing stack) and when this has all cured I will remove clamping and clean off the extra material and we will have a complete core. This will then be ready for several machining operations to establish final surfaces for the ongoing assembly process. This will be a nice string neck and we'll have plenty of string sustain!

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Last of the core laminates about to be glued on.
(7/29/16) Moving right along - I'm just about to glue the last of the 5 laminates together (the maple one on the bottom). This will give me a completed core section which I can start machining so that we can get the rest of this unique bass together. Once I have it complete I will be machining it to some of its final sizes on the CNC. In the meantime I will be working on the Alder body parts to get them ready for upcoming body assembly.

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This is the core section so far - looking very nice.
(7/25/16) Here we have the center core of the instrument with the teo Macassar Ebony stringers attached to the central core piece of purpleheart. It might be hard to see in this photo but the triple decorative veneers between the woods looks really nice already. I have trimmed off the extra overlap material so that I have a cleaner sub-assembly to work with. I will now get things ready to attach the two outer Curly Maple pieces and we'll have our core done.

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Laminate number 3 getting glued onto the core section.
(7/21/16) In this photo I am gluing the third laminate (macassar ebony) onto the two pieces already assembled. I take care when initially clamping to make sure the alignment is correct, I then lock everything down with a few G-clamps so nothing can move and use cam operated clamps for the remainder of the space. I use a lot of clamps because I want these joints to have the best integrity possible. I usually leave overnight.

Highslide JS
First of the core laminates glued together - ready to get the remainder done asap.
(7/15/16) The gluing of the core section of this bass has begun. I have already glued one of the macassar ebony stringers to the center piece of purpleheart and I can now proceed to get the other pieces attached in sequence. This will be a very strong neck based on the materials and the multi-laminate constructionj. We'll also have carbon fiber indside for even more stability although this neck would stand on it's own!

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2nd of the two maple veneers being applied to the purpleheart.
(7/5/16) This is the Purpleheart center section of the instrument in the vacuum press having the 2nd side veneered in maple. Once I have done this and cleaned off the extra material I will be able to start work assembling the laminates of core section together. This will give us a very strong sub assembly which I will then have to get onto the CNC machine for several operstiond to establish critical dimensions affecting the whole instrument.

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The purpleheart tapered laminate is complete - now needs some decorative veneer.
(6/27/16) After some careful setup and quite a bit of machining (purpleheart is hard stuff) I was able to machine the center taper piece to its finished size. I have cleaned up the surfaces to the point where it is now ready for its own decorative veneer. I decided to add a little extra bling to this bass by using an extra couple of veneers on the center strip since we are pairing two darker woods together. The result will be impressive.

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Verifying and updating some of my 100% scale drawings to make ongoing plans.
(6/21/16) I'm referring to a vector drawing of the instrument's critical dimensions to establish the sizes of the available laminates so that they yield enough width together to suit the instrument. This helps me see ahead a little bit and takes most of the guesswork out of cutting the final tapered laminate that will allow me to build the core section. There are few second chances in instrument building so "measure twice - cut once"

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Four out of five laminates ready for assembly.
(6/16/16) I have much of the center core ready for assembly now - I'm just waiting for machine availability to cut the central prupleheart stringer to its finished tapered dimensions. Once I have that done it too will be veneered so that the resulting assembly will look very high class. It will also be a very strong and rigid neck and should produce very good tone and sustain! Looking forward to seeing the bass with the core together!

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Attaching maple veneers to the ebony stringers.
(6/10/16) The two Macassar stringers are now in the vacuum press where I am gluing some maple veneer to one side of each. Once the glue has fully cured in there I will take them out and remove the excess maple, trim everything down flush and cut two more maple pieces for attachment to the other side of each laminate. This will then allow me to start assembling the components of the neck/core of the bass!

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On the CNC to cut the tapers onto the three center laminates.
(6/5/16) Here we see the two outer core laminates in the vacuum press where they are having veneers of dark wood applied to the inner surface of each. The other laminates will get the same treatment (light on dark and dark on light) and when everything gets glued together it will look awesome! The vaccuum press is the bes way to apply veneer as it guarantees even pressure and a very nice joint integrity. Very important for an instrument neck!

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The two Macassar Ebony Laminates have been machined.
(6/1/16) These are the two Macassar Ebony stringers after the taper machining was completed. Fortunately my care in sawing the blank paid off and the two rough sawn tapers machined down nicely and are now a matched pair. I will now get them cleaned up and prepared for some veneer gluing. Their resulting thicknesses at each end will allow me to also calculate the proper taper for machining the purpleheart laminate.

Highslide JS
On the CNC to cut the tapers onto the three center laminates.
(5/29/16) I now have the center three laminates being set up on the CNC to machine the non-sanded side of the blanks to a nice flat surface and at the same time create the appropriate tapers so that the combined set of laminates will follow the taper of the neck itself. I'm running the 2 macassar pieces right now. This will create a very impressive look for the back of the bass. The five laminates will also be very stable, rigid and strong together!

Highslide JS
The two Macassar Ebony Stringers have been rough sawn and are now ready for machining.
(5/23/16) The laminates that will combine to make up the core section of the bass are bing surfaced and my mext move will be to get some decorative veneer attached to these pieces. This will add some really attractive pinstriping all the way along the back of the instrument. Following that I will be starting the assembly process to build the core. Looking forward to seeing what that will come out like - we have a nice combination of woods!

Highslide JS
Trimming off some of the extra purpleheart before machining the taper.
(5/14/16) My next move on this project is to firstly do some sawing to trim down the piece of purpleheart closer to its finished thickness. It's hard stuff to saw but still better to remove the extra meat by bandsaw rather than milling it. I also sanded the maple laminates both sides so that they are ready for further work. I'm going to use some decorative veneer between the joints to contrast with the woods, that always looks really nice.

Highslide JS
Curly Maple pieces for core section combined with the other laminates.
(5/8/16) This is the curly maple that will be the outer edges of the core section of the instrument. I have cut these pieces to suit my template for the bass and I am ready to run them through the drum sander to make sure i have nice flat and clean surfaces on both sides of each. I will then apply decorative veneers to the two inner joint surfaces to get the two pieces ready for assembly. These woods should look very nice together.

Highslide JS
The two Macassar Ebony Stringers have been rough sawn and are now ready for machining.
(5/2/16) I have now marked and sawn the Macassar Ebony laminates to their pre-gluing shape. This allows me to get these pieces and the Purpleheart stringer set up on the CNC so that i can machine them to their prescribed tapers. Once that is done i will clean them up and get some contrasting veneers glued onto them so that I can begin gluing the whole core assembly together. More pictures and text on this soon.

Highslide JS
In the process of splitting the two pieces of Cocobolo.
(4/26/16) Right now I am busy cutting both the top and back pieces for the instrument. The cocbolo is hard stuff and I have to make sure the saw blade stays as close to centerline as possible as I cut my way through. Even with a relatively new blade it goes fairly slowly just so that I can let the saw do the work. Since we hand only just enough material to get tops and backs out of this board I have to make sure it all goes according to plan!

Highslide JS
Top plate and back plate raw material have been cut. They will need to be split to bookmatch.
(4/18/16) I double-checked the various ways to separate the top plate piece and settled on the method where we can yield the most true cocbolo color and the best distribution of the grain pattern. The material was just barely big enough to allow for both front and back panels but it did work out OK. Furthermore, we have enough left-over material for headstock or other matching decorative features should they be needed.

Highslide JS
Got the sawing operation finished - took a little while.
(4/18/16) After some slow and very careful sawing I was able to split the Macassar Ebony board in such a was as to yield two tapered laminates with the minimum possible material loss. Next job on these will probably be cutting out the core profile using my instrument template. Now that they are two pieces I can also set them up on my cnc fixture and machine themso that they have identical tapers and clean and flat side surfaces.

Highslide JS
Sawing up one piece of Macassar Ebony into two reversed tapered laminates.
(4/16/16) This is the plank of Macassar Ebony I have for the laminates in the core section of the bass. I created a vector drawing of the instrument at 100% scale and I came up with the best dimensions for the two tapered Macassar laminates. The task then was to find a way to saw along an angled line so that I yielded the absolute maximum material from what amounts to two reversed tapered laminates. The saw cut needs to be very accurate!

Highslide JS
Selected grain pieces have been cut for the upper and lower body halves.
(4/13/16) The Alder has been cut to pieces that I can now mark and cut into the two body halves. This is very nice clean grained Alder and should look very nice on the finished product. My next task will be to mark out the upper and lower body half profiles and rough cut the two halves. That will allow me to get those pieces sanded close to the final profile and ready for assembly ontop the core section that we will be gluing together shortly.

Highslide JS
This is the Alder I just purchased which will become part of the body construction.
(4/7/16) I bought a nice piece of Alder today that I will be able to use for the body halves of the bass. This stuff had a beautiful even grain and none of the knots or imperfections often found in this wood. I will het these pieces rough cut and as soon as I cut up the Cocobolo I will also cut the body halves in the Alder so that I can start creating the sub-assemblies for the body parts. I expect we will have continuous grain cavity covers on the back!

Highslide JS
One of the cutting options for the cocbolo to create top and back plates.
(3/29/16) I have used the template to explore various ways to dissect this piece of cocobolo. This layout is the only way to not use the heartwood (lighter color) which is more extensive on the back side (not shown). We could make the heartwood a feature but I will leave that decision up to my customer. There is just enough material in lengtrh and width to squeak out top and back plates - it was very close but it can be done!

Highslide JS
Planning out the best way to cut up the Cocobolo for best end results.
(3/21/16) With my template now cut out I am looking at the material we have which I hope to use for both the bookmatched top of the instrument and the two back panels of the body halves. Before I start sawing anything up I wanted to look at a couple of different ways I could section out the body pieces based on the grain pattern. It will look good either way but I want to get the best out of this material - especially for the top plate.

Highslide JS
Body template has been established - now I can cut some material.
(3/15/16) Just for the record I am posting the template that has been developed and modified based on discussions with my customer. We started with the Single Cut concept and made a few modifications to the profile to end up with the right shape. Now that I have a 100% scale template I can apply this to the cocobolo material we are going to use and find the best way to map out the saw cuts so that we get the most out of the material.

Highslide JS
Using my template to prepare to saw up the Macassar Ebony for the neck assembly.
(2/19/16) I am using my template for core laminates to establish how I am going to cut the Macassar Ebony. I am also ready to trim down and machine the Purpleheart laminate so that I can start assembling the core section of this bass. The neck of this bass is going to be super-rigid based on the materials we are using. I'm going to do a custom cut on teh Macassar at an angle so that I can preserve as much usable material as I possibly can.

Highslide JS
Just rough-sawed a purpleheart laminate for part of the core construction of this bass.
(2/12/16) One of the laminates in the neck structure is going to be purpleheart. Today I located a piece large enouh for the neck-through part of the instrument and rough cut it to my template. Ove I develop a drawing that defines the various laminate thicknesses, I will re-saw it closer to its final thickness. Right now I am also working on a body template so that I can get the Cocobolo cut out for the top and back of the bass.

Highslide JS
Cocobolo and Macassar Ebony which we will be using to create this bass.

(2/4/16) Just getting this project under way.The body and probably headstock (maybe also inlay) will be Cocobolo. Neck/core will be comprised of Maple and Macassar Ebony with some Purpleheart in there too. Body contour is still under discussion but we should be able to pin that down soon. The bass will have a few really unique features which I will highlight as the build progresses. As usual at this stage, we have many ideas flying around!

Last update February 7, 2016