This weeks project is a retro look at a five string electric bass guitar I built in 1994. I documented the project in photos and put them into an album. I thought it would be interesting to make a Ken Burns style video with these photos using the two axis camera dolly from hack #7.
Back in 1994 I was living in Hawaii on the island of Maui. I was into RC airplanes and woodworking at the time, and I had just started playing the bass guitar. I wanted my own bass and, being the DIY person that I am, decided to build my own. I chose to make it a five string because that extra low B note is big and round, and it allowed bass lines below E.
The first order of business was to find some wood. I found a local man that had a sawmill and he sold local grown woods already cut into cured planks. I chose Monkey Pod for the front body wings, Tropical Almond for the back body wings and Golden Ponsiena for the neck. I chose Purple Heart for the fingerboard because of its hardness and density which closely resembled Ebony.
Now that I had a selection of wood, it was time to start designing my new bass. I did a few sketches and then went to work on a scale drawing in pencil on drafting paper, old school style. I didn’t have a PC or internet access back then. I still use pencil and paper a lot to this day to draw up plans and shop drawings. I like it’s simplicity. After about a week of drawing and design changes I had a final plan. The next step would be to do a full scale color rendering of my new bass to see how the woods would look together. I used some water color markers for this and soon had a nice full color picture to hang on the wall and look at. I liked it. Now it was time to get started with the build.
At this point I’ll let the video and photos tell you the rest of the story about the construction. I love this instrument! It’s become a part of me, an extension of my musical expression and I plan on playing it for years to come.
Enjoy the video, and keep on hackin!