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  1. #1

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    okay this is my first post in the bass section. I'm a guitar player. But I just had a question about bass. Why are there no electric bass sized double basses? I'm assuming it's because the electric bass size scale may not be long enough and/or the big double bass strings might rotate too much to make it feasible on a regular electric bass sized instrument? Am i accurate in my assumptions or are there other reasons? Or is it being done?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    so what do you mean? are you asking if there are fretless electric bass guitars with a full hollow body?

    here is something, but it's not fretless.
    Welcome to Ribbecke Guitar Co!

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by steves3972 View Post
    so what do you mean? are you asking if there are fretless electric bass guitars with a full hollow body?

    here is something, but it's not fretless.
    Welcome to Ribbecke Guitar Co!
    No, I'm asking if there are electric bass guitars, that you can play with an over the shoulder strap, that are double bass? That means tuned 1 octaves below a standard bass guitar. I know there are full hollow electric basses. Doesn't Sir Paul McCartney play one of those a lot? That's very cool but I'm actually asking about a double bass you can sling over you're shoulder like a standard electric bass. So the bass I'm inquiring about doesn't have to be hollow or stand up variety, rather just a double bass. I'm a guitar player but I figure bass players should know what I mean when I say double bass.
    Last edited by Bobalou; 01-06-2016 at 11:00 PM.

  5. #4

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    a double bass is not an octave lower than an electric bass. That would be ridiculous.

  6. #5

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    There are piccolo basses used for soloing Ron Carter and Percy Heath both known for playing them. They basically are cellos strung like a bass.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  7. #6
    Okay if that's the case then cool. Like I said I'm guitar player so I don't know everything about bass. Other than I prefer the sound of double bass over electric for jazz. I have listened to countless recordings with electric and double bass and to me there's just something extra and cool about stand up bass with guitar. It just has a certain cool "character" that standard bass guitar or even hollow bass guitar can't quite duplicate. Plus I really like the fretless thing on bass, of being able to slide up and down smoothly without frets. That's such a cool sound for bass. For a more pop take on it listen to "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground.

    It's a really cool thing with guitar. I've read articles where other top pro guitarist's voiced the same opinion. So I know I'm not alone in that. But me, hey even if I was alone in that, too bad. I'm a really good musician and like what I like.
    Last edited by Bobalou; 01-07-2016 at 12:09 AM.

  8. #7

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    If you have time, click on electric upright basses at this link for the most comprehensive listing of what's available.

    Double Bass - Upright Bass - String Bass - Bass Viol - Bass Fiddle - Electric Upright Bass - Links Page, Courtesy of Gollihur Music - Upright Bass Specialists

    There are some 34" scale basses but most are scaled to normal upright spacing.
    Many builders will create to specs for a price.

  9. #8

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    Cool, I guess the other thing out there is the upright electric bass without the big body. Like this:
    BSX Bass Allegro Acoustic-Electric Upright Bass Nutmeg | Musician's Friend

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by steves3972 View Post
    Cool, I guess the other thing out there is the upright electric bass without the big body. Like this:
    BSX Bass Allegro Acoustic-Electric Upright Bass Nutmeg | Musician's Friend

    Basses like that go back to Ampeg Baby Bass and Rocket Bass and there are many who make electric uprights, most have a full size neck/scale, just the body has been eliminated. They are very popular in Latin bands.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  11. #10
    Wow IMO more of you electric bassists should take advantage of the cool options that going fretless makes possible. Even if you have to get faux fret markers inlaid into the fretboard. If I played bass I would do that for sure. I'd At least have a fretless bass on hand as part of my bass arsenal. It's such a cool thing.
    Last edited by Bobalou; 01-07-2016 at 02:29 AM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobalou View Post
    Wow IMO more of you electric bassists should take advantage of the cool options that going fretless makes possible. Even if you have to get faux fret markers inlaid into the fretboard. If I played bass I would do that for sure. I'd At least have a fretless bass on hand as part of my bass arsenal. It's such a cool thing.

    I have a fretless and it's my least used bass, I treat it more like a special effect. I found playing upright easier than fretless electric bass and it definitely has it's own sound and vibe.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  13. #12

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    I have gladly been corrected, and it's good to learn something new. Double bass and 3/4 size bass share the same 41" string scale.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 01-08-2016 at 04:54 AM.

  14. #13

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  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    75% of upright basses in existence are 3/4 scale, almost all full size double or 4/4 size basses are for symphonic use. The good news is that a Fender Precision, or most full scale electric basses are the same scale lenght 33-34", as 3/4 size bass as used in jazz, bluegrass, etc.

    I played both for awhile a 3/4 double bass scale length is 41" and a Fender bass is 34".
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobalou View Post
    okay this is my first post in the bass section. I'm a guitar player. But I just had a question about bass. Why are there no electric bass sized double basses? I'm assuming it's because the electric bass size scale may not be long enough and/or the big double bass strings might rotate too much to make it feasible on a regular electric bass sized instrument? Am i accurate in my assumptions or are there other reasons? Or is it being done?
    An electric P-bass style bass with an additional 5-7" of string length to make it about the same as a 3/4 double bass would make it a pain to play I'd guess. I have fairly long arms and I'm holding my Squier electric right now.
    There doesn't seem to be a need for an electric string length to be more than around 34 inches.
    String material and thickness has a lot to do with new designs these days. String length- not so much.

  17. #16

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    Jaco used to take the frets out of his electric neck so the feel and sound would lose its tingingness, (not really a word but I like it). Using a deep reverb or a slap echo and it may just start to emulate a double bass. Another trick is to tune down a half step and tie a sock around the first fret, (like a capo), this will increase the resonance, and dull out any more tingingness.

    Damn, used the word twice in one paragraph. I want it added to a dictionary.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by GingerMojo View Post
    Jaco used to take the frets out of his electric neck so the feel and sound would lose its tingingness, (not really a word but I like it). Using a deep reverb or a slap echo and it may just start to emulate a double bass. Another trick is to tune down a half step and tie a sock around the first fret, (like a capo), this will increase the resonance, and dull out any more tingingness.

    Damn, used the word twice in one paragraph. I want it added to a dictionary.
    The early Precision basses had small frets (I had a '64) to reduce the frettiness and some would refret them with tiny mandolin frets for more contact with the fretboard.

    Even before Jaco I remember a kid in my high school the hot musician type who could play anything he laid his hands on. Well his neighbor was a cabinet maker so together they removed the frets from an old Japanese bass and planed down the fretboard. Being a dumb rocker I thought it wouldn't work anymore, dam that was cool sounding bass.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  19. #18

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    I'd grab a junky neck off ebay, rip out the frets and use some kind of filler(epoxy?) to experiment with a fretless. If I wanted to get fancy I'd make some ebony dust to mix with the epoxy.
    Taking frets out is a lot easier than putting them in properly. If I remember correctly Jaco might have covered the neck with something after that.

  20. #19

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    I am pretty sure Jaco just ripped the frets out and played as is. He was such a technically proficient player that he always played behind the openings so they would not muffle the sound in any way. I would really like to know for sure if I am right about this before I try anything as daring.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobalou View Post
    ... I prefer the sound of double bass over electric for jazz...
    Well if that's your motivation, have you looked at mini basses? Some of them sound more like uprights than electrics.

    The Fender Ashbory is probably the best known. They're out of production but common on eBay. Some folks love them, others not so much, but they're dirt cheap so doesn't hurt to try. Other mini basses still in production are made by Kala and available at all the usual music retailers.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    I'd grab a junky neck off ebay, rip out the frets and use some kind of filler(epoxy?) to experiment with a fretless. If I wanted to get fancy I'd make some ebony dust to mix with the epoxy.
    Taking frets out is a lot easier than putting them in properly. If I remember correctly Jaco might have covered the neck with something after that.
    You don't even need to coat the neck if you just want to experiment, the coatings are more about reducing wear on the now fingerboard and depending on the coating can change the tone.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  23. #22

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    I wonder if this is the real 'bass of doom';

    Electric bass sized double bass-bass-doom-jpg

    If not, I still like the look of the frets. Looks like filler was used but it's not color matched too much. Lighter brown against the darker rosewood.
    One legend is that he coated the neck with some kind of hard marine varnish. He liked the added brightness to the sound but naturally the varnish wore off.
    This kind of thing is really easy and fun to do. I'd take the frets out, carefully, I forgot the precautions you can take to reduce the small splintering. Then tape off close to the fret holes. Use the low-tack light green masking tape. It will greatly reduce the amount of sanding you have to do later. A cheap rosewood or ebony neck would be good. Avoid epoxy. No sense in making the gap material stronger than the neck wood. Let it dry and give the fretboard a light sanding.
    It's done. No big deal.
    What kind of glue/filler? IDK. A number of things would probably work. I'd make some dust, maybe maple, mahogony or walnut and mix it with slightly diluted carpenters wood glue. It dries fast with the dust in it so maybe do part of the neck at a time.
    As for sanding maybe a quick 220 to 320, 400 to 600 to whatever.
    I don't know of any filler that would be perfect to use. Everything is a trade-off.
    It's not like you're putting frets in the neck and having to measure, cut holes, etc... That's a job.
    regular wood filler might be best as long as it's not that stuff that comes in little cans. It dries like granite.
    I'd read up on what others have done successfully before doing this but it's just not a big deal.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by GingerMojo View Post
    I am pretty sure Jaco just ripped the frets out and played as is. He was such a technically proficient player that he always played behind the openings so they would not muffle the sound in any way. I would really like to know for sure if I am right about this before I try anything as daring.
    I read that Jaco removed the frets and then filled the slots with some sort of catalyzed auto body putty like Bondo. Epoxy would work as well but would be overkill imo. Also epoxy is SUPER toxic. None of this stuff is non toxic but epoxy is really bad. It's called the Silent Killer because it doesn't actually smell as bad as some other products or the regular polyester putty like Bondo. I suppose if you did the work outside with a fan you'd be OK. Epoxy is stronger. I would think that he masked off the fretboard with low adhesion masking tape so that no putty got on it. And probably kept the tape on while he dressed and sanded the putty so as not to scratch the fretboard.

  25. #24

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    If that pic is the real bass and it's Bondo then maybe that's the way to go. I like the look even though it's secondary.

  26. #25

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    This is the one tool you might want to have;

    Geetargizmos Fret Pullers Guitar Luthier Tool Immediate SHIP in USA | eBay

    They're cheap.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    Ithat pic is the real bass and it's Bondo then maybe that's the way to go. I like the look even though it's secondary.
    In the US Bondo, and other brands, usually come in red or grey. Sometimes in paint stores it comes in blue. Epoxy is usually grey. Bondo is just the name for one brand of polyester putty. There are a few other brands. There's also a non catalyzed finishing putty, made by 3M, in green or red that comes in a tube. It's too soft though and is only meant for shallow scratches and pin holes. It's good to shape and sand or cut off any excess before it's completely dry and cured because it's softer and can be cut or shaped like cheese. Then do the final finish sanding when it's hard. I would mask off the entire neck and not just the fretboard. And I would use a 1" flexible putty knife to apply the putty.

  28. #27

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    I've only used Bondo on metal and it had an earthy color to it. Looks good with rosewood. Bondo can't be reversed with moisture but there's no reason why you can't get it right the first time easily.

    fret puller
    1" flexible putty knife
    light green low-tack masking tape, the blue might be lower tack too
    Bondo
    asssorted sanding grits and blocks

    I put stick-on felt on a lot of sanding blocks and then attach the sand paper with tape to the top or side with duct tape. The felt seems to prevent the sandpaper from ripping or getting clumped. Been using felt that way forever. It just seems to work.
    That probably won't matter for this. If you're careful with applying the Bondo you might be able to get away with just folding the sheet of sandpaper.
    The stick on green or brown felt paper is what people use in jewelry boxes I believe. It's handy to have around.
    When you remove the tape and hit the whole fretboard lightly I think 320 grit might be about right to start. There shouldn't be much sanding at all. It's been my experience with micro-mesh that you move through a number of grits lightly and quickly. Since you're not polishing some kind of varnish and it's bare wood I don't see how anything beyond 600 to 1000 grit would make much difference.
    After each grit don't forget to wipe the surface down well.
    Last edited by Stevebol; 01-08-2016 at 05:09 PM.

  29. #28

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    The perfect filler is wood. Get some .020" thick veneer the color you like (Stew-Mac has it). Size pieces appropriately. Make sure one edge is straight. Insert the wood strips into the fret slots straight edge first. Make sure they protrude above the fingerboard and extend beyond the ends a little. Secure them with thin superglue. When dry, file flush, scrape if necessary. Then sand lightly the entire board to 400 or 600 grit.

    Now you will have to deepen the nut slots quite a bit. But that's all there is to it.
    Last edited by kenbennett; 01-08-2016 at 05:45 PM.

  30. #29

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    Bondo works great on wood. Painters use it all the time to repair dings in wooden trim. Epoxy is best for exteriors but bondo is OK for incidental small stuff.

    Blue tape comes in various adhesion grades. There's a large 4 digit or so number on the inside core. Some of the cheap off brands are pretty sticky.

    The stick on felt's a good idea but maybe for a guitar neck you may not need to use a block at all because of the fretboard radius. If you do all of the rough sanding before the bondo's completely hard it's really easy with just a small piece of 150 more or less. You might get 90% of they way there with just this. I wouldn't fill too many frets at one time so that the putty will stay soft enough to work. That's the secret to working with bondo especially on wood. do most of the shaping before it gets hard. Once it's hard it's a lot of work and creates more dust, etc.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett View Post
    The perfect filler is wood. Get some .020" thick veneer the color you like (Stew-Mac has it). Size pieces appropriately. Make sure one edge is straight. Insert the wood strips into the fret slots straight edge first. Make sure they protrude above the fingerboard and extend beyond the ends a little. Secure them with thin superglue. When dry, file flush, scrape if necessary. Then sand lightly the entire board to 400 or 600 grit.

    Now you will have to deepen the nut slots quite a bit. But that's all there is to it.
    Veneer would be excellent too but sure about the super glue? It would work of course but why not use something like Franklin's hide glue? carpenter's wood glue might look bad. Super glue can be useful. It's used for holes like on ebony violin fingerboards and also splinters from fret removal. Make some dust from ebony, put a tiny drop of super glue in the chip and drop dust on it.
    Whatever glue you use veneer would work great.

  32. #31

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    Wood seems like the way to go. Just dial in the right glue. And get the right little saw in case the fret slots need something. Gorilla glue is good. The brown one is probably too much. There's another light colored one that isn't
    so hard core.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    Bondo works great on wood. Painters use it all the time to repair dings in wooden trim. Epoxy is best for exteriors but bondo is OK for incidental small stuff.
    Bondo is what Howard Roberts used to reshape the neck of his famous Black guitar that he also added a small cutaway above the neck. I wonder what Herb Ellis thought of that guitar once HR was done modifying it.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  34. #33

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    An advantage of hide glue is you could wet down the slot just right and it will expand. The slower drying glue will also help give a tight fit. Barely any glue would be needed. Moisture would have nowhere to go.
    Super glue is messy to work with.
    I'd go with veneer and hide glue. At least until I change my mind again.

  35. #34

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    I think I would agree on the hide glue. Any carpenter's glue may be to much. The Gorilla glue is great but even the light colored one is hard to clean up. Although you would wet the slot first like the hide glue.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    I think I would agree on the hide glue. Any carpenter's glue may be to much. The Gorilla glue is great but even the light colored one is hard to clean up. Although you would wet the slot first like the hide glue.

    I thought hide glue was used because it was easiest to get to release to open up violins and guitars for repairs later on.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  37. #36

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    I wasn't aware of that use. It just seemed to me to be a lighter duty, easier to clean up glue for use where brute
    strength wasn't needed. A common but different use is for priming canvas prior to painting. It seals it and helps
    prevent rot. Especially with oil paint.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    I thought hide glue was used because it was easiest to get to release to open up violins and guitars for repairs later on.
    It is used for violin tops. I think it's also used by furniture makers to get a tight fight. Since it's a 'wet' sort of glue it will expand wood to some degree. I think there's a number of glues that would be fine for something simple like putting veneer in or on something. I wouldn't bother making fresh hide glue for gluing veneer to frets. I'd use Franklins. For neck resets and that kind of thing it's better to make the glue. Hot hide glue dries pretty quick but premixed doesn't.
    Regular carpenters glue would be OK. I don't know if it's available in darker colors.
    Nothing is under stress with filling frets so it's pretty simple.
    I think Franklin's might be common when you don't want ugly lines showing. It's dark amber but also kind of clear.
    For neck resets you have to get a good fit, use fresh made hot hide glue. The slight expansion and clamping gets good wood to wood contact. I've done about 5 violin and 2-3 guitar neck resets. They can be fun. Fire up the Goodwill cappucino maker, drill at the 13th (12th? I forgot) fret, stick the Stew Mac needle in and wait for a pop.
    Haven't done one in while but I think the idea is to get a neck to body fit that's solid with no glue. On violins that's not easy.
    Last edited by Stevebol; 01-09-2016 at 12:50 AM.

  39. #38

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    I think some people swear by regular carpenters wood glue for guitar necks and tops/bottoms. I'd guess they're more experienced and used to getting a proper fit and proper clamping. Hot hide glue is more forgiving. Might as well learn to make it. Forget those pots. A little beaker, pan and meat thermometer works fine. You have to have a plan because it starts to jell really fast.
    Last edited by Stevebol; 01-09-2016 at 02:15 AM.

  40. #39

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    this looks interesting

    Takamine TB10 - Thomann UK

  41. #40

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    Godin acoustic fretless

    Godin A4 & A5

  42. #41

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    Jaco's bass of doom mods have been documented endlessy, and a big factor was coating the fingerboard with marine resin epoxy to protect the rosewood from being destroyed by the roundwound bass strings grinding into it.

    Tech Bench - Fretless-ize Your Life! | Bassplayer

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Jaco's bass of doom mods have been documented endlessy, and a big factor was coating the fingerboard with marine resin epoxy to protect the rosewood from being destroyed by the roundwound bass strings grinding into it. Tech Bench - Fretless-ize Your Life! | Bassplayer
    Good thing Jaco never tried to sell that bass on eBay, he would have taken a beating on price with those mods ; )
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 01-09-2016 at 02:04 PM.

  44. #43
    just buy a fretless bass and go fretless. Jaco did it back in the day because there weren't nearly as many electric fretless bass options available in the stores as there are today. Just like EVH building a Strat because he wanted one with a humbucker in the bridge. Today they're all over the place. Back in EVH's first album days they were nearly impossible to find, if it all.

    it's a really really cool sound though, the sound of a fretless electric bass. So I can see why Jaco went to all the trouble back then. and also why after Bright Size Life Metheny recorded several albums with a bass player playing a fretless electric bass. It's just a really cool sound.
    Last edited by Bobalou; 01-10-2016 at 12:57 AM.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    Veneer would be excellent too but sure about the super glue? It would work of course but why not use something like Franklin's hide glue? carpenter's wood glue might look bad. Super glue can be useful. It's used for holes like on ebony violin fingerboards and also splinters from fret removal. Make some dust from ebony, put a tiny drop of super glue in the chip and drop dust on it.
    Whatever glue you use veneer would work great.
    Any other glue besides thin super glue would have to be applied before inserting the veneer strip. That just makes things more difficult and messy.

    You want the fit to be pretty tight so you don't really see a glue line, which makes the veneer even harder to insert.

    Hot hide glue which can be prepared as thin or thick as needed would work, but it requires a pot to cook it in and temperature has to be just right, so you need like a cooking thermometer.

    I've done this dozens of times, at first experimenting with different methods, different materials, different glues. The veneer/super glue combination is actually the easiest and looks the best in the end.

  46. #45

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    this is and interesting video checkout the bass at /5.28
    Colin

  47. #46

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    I was very interested in the Toby Chenell Arco Bass Guitar. I play cello often covering bass or rhythm section function.
    I thought it would be cool to have a companion bass playable in a cello fashion with a 34" scale length or shorter.
    I needed one that would sound equally legit playing pizzicato and with a bow.
    He offered the option of setting up the bridge and bracing either in the style of a bass guitar
    or with a sound post and small upright bridge and an endpin. At the time, I was in touch via email with Toby but there were no basses in the NYC vicinity to check out. This idea has since receded to a back burner.

  48. #47

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    That was quite interesting. I especially like the NS Design Basscello and the Adamovic in terms of tone.
    Last edited by targuit; 03-02-2016 at 03:16 AM.

  49. #48

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    Kala Ubass is great at copping an upright tone. I love mine.