Cocobolo Bass

I was going to radius the fretboard this evening but I got distracted by filing out the cutout on the top where it fits over the fretboard. After an hour or more of careful filing, it now fits reasonably well, which allowed me to take a picture of the whole thing, with all of the major wood components in place. I also made the cover for the control cavity on Sunday, which is an offcut from the top

In case you notice the body peeking out from under the top around the edges, that's because it will be cut down to fit the top. I decided that it was easier to shape the top and then use that as the template for the body, rather than the other way round, since the top is only 9.5mm thick and the body is about 32mm.

Anyway, here's a piccie of the front and back. Again, it's not glued up yet and there's still a heck of a lot of work to do, but it's very nice to see it taking shape!
Guitar mockup Jan 16.jpg
Small update...I've been working on the neck, mainly radiusing the fretboard but also adding the side dots and front inlays (the dots on the face of the fretboard are brass tubing filled with resin with some blue sparkly stuff in it). Today I installed the frets and then decided to glue the neck into the body, which is an exciting step!
Body + neck gluing.jpg

I need to do the fretwork before I can glue the top on, so that I've got space to work and I won't risk damaging the top, but it's making progress. Slower than I'd hoped, but then I've been a bit unwell recently so I haven't had the energy to work on it much during the evenings.

In case you wonder about the headstock, I just taped some paper over it to protect the veneer because it's too thin to be able to sand away any damage.
Four weeks since the last big update, I hadn't realised it was so long! *

Quite a lot has happened in that time, and this bass is not far from being finished. I spent most of last week on the frets, which are now finished, having sorted out the top and carved the neck etc. etc. I decided not to go for the freaky inlay design, but kept it relatively sober with dots and an oak leaf on the 12th fret. The dots on the face of the fretboard are filled with epoxy resin with some blue powder, although because they are small the effect is subtle.

I'm really pleased with the way that this instrument is turning out, it's generally been one of my best builds so far. The neck joint is the best one that I've done on my own, and I think it's going to look stunning. At this point, I'm just waiting for some pickup routing templates that I ordered in order to finish routing those out, but then all that's left to do is sand the whole thing (several times) and then finish it and install the hardware. It should be finished well in time for my Ambler course, which starts on March 17th.

Here's a quick few pictures of the progress in that period. First, here's the back. This was just after the last update, and since then I've carved the heel into a smooth join with no ledges or anything, but you'll have to wait to see that!

Back 16 Jan.jpg

Secondly, a few photos showing some of the stages of making the fretboard dots. They are made out of a thin brass tube; I drilled out the holes and then glued the end of the tube in, then cut that off.
Fretboard dots 1.jpg

Those were filed down close to the fretboard, and then I drilled out the centres again because they were full of glue.
Fretboard dots 2.jpg

That left me with some nice, clean holes to fill ** so I mixed up the blue epoxy and made a mess with it. This is before sanding it all down again - and you can also see the oak leaf inlay at the 12th fret.
Fretboard dots 3.jpg

Lastly, here's a look at the whole guitar - this was actually a few days ago, and now I've started rounding over the edges and partially drilled out the pickup cavities. The headstock is wrapped up to protect the veneer, but you've seen that in the photos in the last update.
Body 4 Feb.jpg

I've decided to finish it with shellac, because cocobolo is a very oily wood and apparently doesn't take well to some other finishes. I've never used shellac before so that's going to be another experiment - I'm waiting for the flakes to arrive with my pickup templates. The next update will probably be of the finished instrument, perhaps in about three weeks' time. I'm really looking forward to playing this one!

End notes
* That's what she said
** Oo err missus!