A few weeks ago, I was volunteering at our local Habitat For Humanity Restore fixing some chairs that had been donated. I used one damaged chair to repair two others for resale. When I was done, I had this nice solid wood chair seat that was about to hit the dumpster. I thought to myself, “This would make a great electric bass guitar.” So I brought it home with me.
I drew a curved body on the chair seat and cut out one side with my jig saw. I used the piece I cut out for the opposite side. That got rid of all but two of the holes along the edges.
It fit nicely across my leg, but the point on the top side caught my armpit so I cut it off. That worked very well. My belts to my belt sander separated so I did most of the sanding on the edges by hand.
When I got it smooth, I hung it up and spray painted it black and then began working on the neck. I needed a strong piece of wood that would be very hard so I used a piece from a hickory tree in my back yard. I cut it the year before and it had dried out nicely. With my table saw I cut off the bark and shaped the neck. Again I had to sand it by hand so it was a little rough, but smooth.
I found some old paint that I used to touch up a car I used to have and decided to paint it all burgundy red. It turned out very well. I then put several coats of clear coat over it.
When I bolted the neck to the body I found I had it too long and would not be strong enough to keep from bending, so I cut six inches off and reset the neck to a 34″ scale. In doing so got the end that bolt to the body too thin. So I had to find something to serve as a truss rod or the neck would bow forward.
In my collection of junk I found a clothes line tightener and by flattening an L bracket I was able to attach it to the bolt on the guitar and the neck, so when turned the middle it drew or loosened the neck. That worked and brought the neck down to about a quarter of an inch action height.
I forgot to mention I only had room for three strings on the neck, so I decided that would work. I ordered parts from amazon and found they had a three string cigar box pick up as well. When it came I discovered the four string bridge was too wide to line up with the magnets on the pick-up, so I had to redrill the string holes. By plugging in the jack and holding it over the strings I found where I was getting the best sound. That is were I mounted it onto the body. The pick-up had a very fragile wood frame so I used a couple of wooden toy wheels to shim it up. It ended up being the exact height I needed.
I drilled through the body and ran the pick up wire through to the back. I trenched out a space for the wire to lay in and used electrical caps to cover it. I bent the end one on and angle and used it to mount the the re-soldered jack.
When I hooked it to my amp it worked great. I could only turn the volume to a 3 or it would rattle the windows! I was thrilled.
I mounted the tuning knobs in the head piece of the neck and used wide head screws to keep the string tension in the grooves.
I used my guitar tuner to set my scale on the neck where frets would usually go. I wrote the chord roots on the neck so I could see where to put my fingers. Then I drilled holes in the neck to mark where they were also. It works great seems to hold tuning well. It tend to have a little feedback buzz if I pick to hard with my thumb.
Building this was the most fun I have had in a long time. Now I have to learn how to play it! I tried to load a face book clip of me playing it but it would not let me use it. You will have to use your imagination!
“A creative mind never sleeps! – Dwight L. Roth
I finally found I had to put the FB video on public to get it to load on here! We did a simple version of I’ll Fly Away, so you could hear a little of how it sounds.