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Thread: ESB-4 Build

  1. #1

    ESB-4 Build

    Hey All - I grabbed one of these kits after always wanting a hollow body bass. I'm a bass player first and foremost so I'm really looking forward to having this one in the herd!

    Out of the box it looks to be a great kit. The neck has a great tight fit in the pocket and alignment to the bridge is spot on. There is a 2mm gap between the body and and the underside of the fretboard where it extends aft of the pocket. I don't think that will pose an action problem on my initial measurements. I was fortunate to not have any major glue spots on the maple veneer - the minor ones that showed up on a wash of dye were easily scraped off.

    I wanted to go with a lemon type burst on this bass. I had a set of Ubeaut dyes that I bought over 10yrs ago at a timber show so I decided to give them a go. I'm sure there are others who have used these water based dyes and I have always had good results with them in the past. They are super easy to use so I thinned down some yellow in 2 strengths and then made another one with a touch of orange for the perimeter and the back of the body/neck.

    I gave the body a wipe over with a damp cloth to raise any grain then gave the lot a light sand with 240 grit to knock any nap that was standing up. Prior to applying the first wash of dye, I gave the surfaces another light wipe with a damp cloth to help the timber to evenly take up the dye and avoid witness lines. I started with the lightest hue in the center and progressively added the darker hues as I moved towards the perimeter of the maple veneer. These dyes blend really well with a bit of a circular rub so the transitions between the various hues can be controlled easily. I reckon it came out really great. There is good depth to the flame and that will only get better with the clear on top. Plan is to go either Nitro or ColourSpec Crystal Clear Acrylic. I've got a full can of the latter (as opposed to a 1/2 can of nitro left) so it most likely head in that direction.

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    The neck shows the more amber coloured tone I went for here. This matches the back of the body (I forgot to take a rear pic!). There is a really small glue line I need to scrape where the nut meets the face of the headstock. That's going to be a bit of a bugger but I should be able to get at it with a razor blade.

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    I didn't worry about masking the binding but in hindsight it would have saved me a good hour of scraping last night! Other than that, I think I need to trim and reshape the binding a touch where it wraps into the neck from the upper bout/horn. It's projecting into mid air a bit (ie has not timber support where it borders the neck pocket) whereas the same part in the lower bout has a smooth transition with good support. I also had a couple of tiny voids in the ply at the front edge of the pocket floor where it meets the binding. It looks like it tore out here when the pocket was cut. These are just visible with the neck in position so I filled them with a little Timbermate and will re dye the thin visible edge. I'll take pics of this area tonight!

    One question I have regarding the pickups - They have different height surrounds and I'm guessing that the taller surround is for the bridge pickup? That is the convention for 'flat body' basses but with this contoured top, I wasn't sure.

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Toowoomba, Qld.
    Niiice colour.

    Yeah taller ring is for the bridge. Might be worth sanding a bit of a contour onto the bottom to match the top. I did an LP kit with a carved top and I jsut screwed them down, but it didn't look very nice. If I was doing it again I'd lay some sandpaper coarse side up on the body and work the pickup ring back and forth to match the curve.
    Build 1 - Shoegazer MK1 JMA-1
    Build 2 - The Relliecaster TL-1
    Build 3 - The Black Cherry SG AG-1
    Build 4 - The Sonicaster TL-1ish
    Build 5 - The Steampunker Bass YB-4
    Build 6 - The Howling Gowing ST-1

    "What I lack in talent I make up for with enthusiasm"

  3. #3
    Cheers SM

    Thanks for the heads up on PuP's. I'll check the fit of those surrounds to the body and adjust if required.

  4. #4
    Another question - is there a reliable way I can attach a painting stick to this hollow body? I could potentially attach something to the side wall of the neck pocket but I'm not certain I can get a screwdriver in there. I prefer to spray onto vertical surfaces where possible to avoid the can splutter that happens when they are tilted to spray horizontally.

  5. #5
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Miami, FL, USA
    Will be interested in what you learn.

    I would not screw into the sides of the neck pocket. The wood is quite thin and not super dense. I would be afraid that it would not hold the weight.

    I attached a stick to the neck pickup cavity. Two screws into the side, and one attached to a piece of L steel to attach it to the floor of the cavity. The stick stuck out perpendicular to the body. Not super satisfactory as it turned out to interfere with smooth strokes across the body when painting.

    If I had to do it again I'd use one or two long, largish bolts between the pickup cavity and the neck pocket. The bolts would pass through a block of wood maybe 3" long. I'd attach the block to a longer stick, either round, or square.

    However I have not actually done this...and there may be a better tried and true method out there...

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Miami, FL, USA
    Your finish so far BTW is spectacular...forgot to note that ;-)

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Hi BD
    Made a hanger/painting stick from scrap timber, part of an old bracket and a large cup hook
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    No real need to have the hook end narrower, that's just how that bit of scrap was. Angle iron would be perfect if you had some at hand.
    And in use
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    Works, I'm sure you could make a prettier one if you wanted.


  8. #8
    Thanks fellas - that L bracket idea is the goods.

    I've manged to get it all clear coated with ColourSpec Crystal Clear without any mishap spraying horizontally. This paint appears to be really good.....3 coats about 15mins apart then scuff with 600. I did that twice. I have these plastic pyramid painting standoffs that I could locate in the neck pickup route and the F holes to spray the back. That did the job without any marring to be seen.

    The neck has been a bit more of a pain to get good coverage over the decal. I sprayed 2 coats before applying it and the next couple almost look like it may have tried to lift it.....I'm not sure that is the case but it looks like it has pooled around the edges of it a touch as it leveled. I'll know one I sand it back level. The TL I have on the go (nitro finish) did not behave the same with coats so I'm learning as I go here.

    I'm going to leave the body for a week before wet sanding and polishing. The neck will be sorted over the next few days hopefully!

  9. #9
    So I have the neck glued on, body polished and tuners installed. I whacked on a set of strings to see how the setup was placed and it looks like the nut slots need lowering at least 2mm each. I'll have to check what the 1st fret clearance is on one of my other basses to get an idea.

    I'm not quite sure how to setup the bridge action tho - never dealt with something like this before. I'm guessing I can tilt the bridge lower on the treble side using the rear 2 posts but what role does the front screw play in the setup?

    Pics to follow. .......

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