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Thread: HB-4 The Hobbit

  1. #1
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    HB-4 The Hobbit

    I was recently gifted an HB-4 kit by my three older brothers as a belated 60th birthday present. Nice surprise! As alluded to in my intro (https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ad.php?t=12054), the "Beatle bass" choice was suggested by the 40+ years ago theft of my first axe, an Aria solid body violin-shaped bass.

    Since I have not planned this "unexpected journey" into luthiery, it'll take me a while to get up to speed. With a flame top, I'm thinking a sunburst finish. I've also made enquiries about obtaining a small extra sheet of flame veneer (support said that might take awhile, but no rush) with the aim of gluing it onto the head to add a matching sunburst finish to the headset. I might also look into the suitability of a piezo bridge if any are available to suit this body.

    Rome wasn't built in a day, and this one's gonna take me some time!

    Peter

    PS. Titling my intro "An unexpected journey" then stumbling upon the "Gollum Bass" build (https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ead.php?t=2227) kinda forced my hand on naming my HB-4 The Hobbit!
    Last edited by bassdude; 27-04-2022 at 09:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Considering the idea of a bolt-on neck, using threaded inserts. Given the wedge shape of the neck seat, bolting on through a neck plate will require the neck holes for the threaded inserts to be drilled at a slight angle. I'm not sold on the idea yet, but we'll see.

    Looking for likely neck plate candidates, I found this Beatles neck plate on offer via Etsy. Seemed appropriate as an homage to the original Beatle bass. Won't arrive down under until end of May, and even then might not get used. But if I go down this route ... this is the way.

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    Peter

  3. #3
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    I also hinted in my intro page about exploring a possible "narrow-5" conversion for this HB-4. I guess, if successful, I might technically then have an HB-5. (see https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ad.php?t=12070).

    So, just wondering if any of you local Wollongong/Illawarra peeps might perchance have some headstock scraps just laying around from recent projects where the headstock required shaping? To accommodate 5 strings, I'd need to plug at least one machine head hole, maybe two, so I could have three on one side of the headstock. Rather than do the usual dowel filler, I was hoping I could use a plug(s) of the same wood & grain orientation. The most likely source would, of course, be headstock scraps resulting from shaping of a headstock blank, none of which I have in my possession as this is my first build.

    Besides headstock mods, I'll also be turning the 4-string tailpiece into a 5-string one.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Peter
    Last edited by bassdude; 04-05-2022 at 10:26 PM.

  4. #4
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    I guess it's about time to share a dry fit pic. I ordered a brass block from which to fabricate a "narrow-5" string mount to replace the standard 4-string one in the tailpiece - it finally arrived today. I also ordered a replacement nut blank to do likewise at the other end. I won't be altering anything, though, until I've first had a go at shaping the brass string block. If that works out, then I'll organise to have it chrome-plated and consider tackling the more invasive mods (nut swap, & extra machine head which I'll have to order at some point, too). The length of fret wire is for saddle adjustments, & if/when I replace the nut I'll consider adding a zero fret.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Peter

  5. #5
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I'd be a bit wary of adding a zero fret as you've got currently no fingerboard to add it on to. You'd need to fabricate maybe 5-6mm of extra fingerboard with a matching wood to fit the zero fret on. That moves the nut back by a similar amount, which exacerbates any string splay and also makes it awkward to fit the nut as the headstock in that location is both splaying out as it widens and sloping down, so the base needs to be angled. It can be done, but it's quite hard work to do well and is pretty much an aesthetic issue. I'd certainly make any zero-fret from stainless fret wire so it doesn't wear out so quickly.

    I'd keep it simple and just replace the nut as-is.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    I'd keep it simple and just replace the nut as-is.
    Thanks for the good advice, Simon.

    Over in the Decals/Graphics topic I shared some doodling for the logo I intend to put on the headstock. It captures the name of this build, a possibly (hopefully?!) enduring brand name - HobbiTone - and may also be interpreted as the serial # of this build, Hobbit One.

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    Peter

  7. #7
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    A minor mod to the logo concept after some suggestions:

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    Peter
    Last edited by bassdude; 21-05-2022 at 10:03 PM.

  8. #8
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    I also roughed out the brass block, still have to grind the ends to round over before attempting to drill into it.

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    Peter

  9. #9
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    Holey block, Batman, I got the drill press to work! 2nd hole punch there just needs a slight shift left. Otherwise, this one's shaping up nicely.

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    Peter

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bassdude View Post
    Considering the idea of a bolt-on neck, using threaded inserts. Given the wedge shape of the neck seat, bolting on through a neck plate will require the neck holes for the threaded inserts to be drilled at a slight angle. I'm not sold on the idea yet, but we'll see.

    Looking for likely neck plate candidates, I found this Beatles neck plate on offer via Etsy. Seemed appropriate as an homage to the original Beatle bass. Won't arrive down under until end of May, and even then might not get used. But if I go down this route ... this is the way.

    Name:  NeckPlate.png
Views: 191
Size:  22.6 KB

    Peter
    Tracking info says the neck plate landed in Oz yesterday, so looking good for arrival next week sometime

    Peter

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