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View Full Version : NBD: Custom Tele style extra short bass.



kohanmike
03-08-2015, 09:32 AM
Just received the extra short scale bass I had custom made by Blue Star Guitar, Bruce Herron in Michigan. All in it cost $717.14. Beautiful craftsmanship, came out great, with a couple of caveats.

It's a short 22" scale, 34" long total. I had it done natural with chrome and white (I even bought a white strap). I ordered all the hardware from China, and sent it to him along with LaBella TruBass 30" nylon coated flatwound strings. To allow the 30" strings to fit a 22" scale, he made string-through holes under the bridge and a chamber on the back with anchors, covering it with the pickguard material. Now I can use any 30" strings I choose without modifying them. One problem I didn't foresee, I asked for white fret markers, but in lower light they are pretty much invisible, especially on the side, so I ordered aftermarket stick-on markers.

http://www.kohanmike.com/images/Tele bass NBD 1.jpg

He custom made the bridge plate and had it chromed. I also asked for a removable thumb rest that matched the pickguard, which also came out great. Caveat here is a substantial hum that goes away when I touch the bridge or control plate. Bruce suggested either using strings without the nylon coating, or reversing the polarity of the pickup, or maybe replacing the cheap Chinese pickup with something better.

http://www.kohanmike.com/images/Tele bass NBD 2.jpg

Another caveat is the insert Chinese made tuner I sent him. I didn't want to use a headstock tuner and took a chance that inserting this tuner in the side of the body would work, but being that the tuner was made for acoustic instruments, it just doesn't pick up the vibration. So instead, I bought a new D'addario headstock tuner, pulled off the bottom clamp, drilled a small hole in the corner and attached it with the lower pickguard screw. It flips up to turn on and works perfectly.

http://www.kohanmike.com/images/Tele bass NBD 3.jpg

Croakie
03-08-2015, 01:40 PM
You really do have an illness.
That is mighty fine.
Unfortunately for me, I am looking at it and thinking about how I would like one customized.
Darn you.

kohanmike
03-08-2015, 01:58 PM
I think for the time being this is my last purchase, it took about 5 months and I haven't had an urge to buy anything since, and that's a long time for me. I've settled in with 4 ukes and 3 basses, more than enough now, selling the rest. Hopefully my signature will prompt some interest.

LDS714
03-08-2015, 05:36 PM
Very nice!

I know what you mean about the pearl/pearloid position markers on the maple neck. I use to play a Gibson L6S with them and they were basically invisible.

Booli
03-09-2015, 06:35 PM
You really do have an illness.
That is mighty fine.
Unfortunately for me, I am looking at it and thinking about how I would like one customized.
Darn you.

UAS is strong with Mike! Don't mess with the Kohan! :)

That new custom bass is just awesome. I'd love to see/hear a sound sample when you get some time...

kohanmike
03-09-2015, 07:03 PM
Yes, I have to set up my cameras and shoot. I'm actually waiting for a set of non-coated nylon strings by suggestion of the builder Bruce, if that will eliminate the hum, we think it's a grounding problem.

Haven't had many eyes on this thread in the bass section, so I'm going to post it in the talk section too.

Booli
03-09-2015, 07:16 PM
Yes, I have to set up my cameras and shoot. I'm actually waiting for a set of non-coated nylon strings by suggestion of the builder Bruce, if that will eliminate the hum, we think it's a grounding problem.

Haven't had many eyes on this thread in the bass section, so I'm going to post it in the talk section too.

One other way to eliminate/reduce hum is to line all the body cavities with either copper foil tape or aluminum foil tape and make sure the underside of the pickguard, as well as the back cover are not only lined on the inside-facing surface, but you need to leave a bit sticking out of the edge from the body cavity to make a completed circuit, a small 'tab' if you will, and then you connect that also to your ground wire....(with solder)

Stewmac is one source for such foil tape. Not sure if the builder has done it already, but to do it yourself takes a very short time and a 60- yd roll of tape can be found on eBay for ~$8. You just have to be careful when you seperate the tape from the backing as the foil is fragile and can tear and crinkle easily - GO SLOW and it will go well.

kohanmike
03-09-2015, 07:47 PM
A video review of the archtop steel string Chinese ukulele I bought when I spearheaded the group buy last year mentioned that he had a hum and got rid of it when he ran a thin wire from the pickup adjuster screw to the bridge.

Booli
03-09-2015, 08:25 PM
A video review of the archtop steel string Chinese ukulele I bought when I spearheaded the group buy last year mentioned that he had a hum and got rid of it when he ran a thin wire from the pickup adjuster screw to the bridge.

Yes, makes sense.

It's common practice for makers of electric guitars/basses to ground the bridge to the output jack, as well as shield all of the internal cavities and their covers, and also connect that 'circuit' to the ground. Not only does doing both of these procedures help with a ground loop, but also helps to reject some (if not all) EMI/RF interference like from wifi/bluetooth/microwaves/cordless phones and various computer equipment that tends to be nearby our instruments these days.

If the hum goes away when you touch the strings, it's because YOU are acting as the earth for the ground when you touch them, instead of the circuit having a proper shunt out the 1/4" cable via it's ground connection...

Stewmac has MANY videos on these procedures...:)

P.S. - does your Les Paul 'modified' bass have a hum problem with the nylon tapewound strings?

kohanmike
03-09-2015, 08:49 PM
No, the Les Paul is clean. I kept the original guitar pickups and it seems to me that Epiphone makes a good product, even with that low price line.

I'll look at the shielding as well.

kohanmike
03-12-2015, 05:05 PM
SUCCESS, I replaced the nylon coated flat wound with steel flat wound and the hum is totally gone, YAHOO!

Croakie
03-12-2015, 05:07 PM
Well...............................Lets hear it.

kohanmike
03-12-2015, 05:15 PM
Friday I'm planning to make a couple sample videos, with this and the mahogany mandolele in which someone is interested.

LDS714
03-13-2015, 05:29 AM
SUCCESS, I replaced the nylon coated flat wound with steel flat wound and the hum is totally gone, YAHOO!

Makes sense, the strings are now grounded instead of acting like antennae.

kohanmike
03-13-2015, 09:06 AM
Hey, not only did the hum go away, but the built in tuner is now working, double YAHOO!

kohanmike
03-13-2015, 09:29 PM
Guess I was a little premature, the inserted tuner is still not doing very well, only works sometimes. Going back to the flip up.

kohanmike
03-14-2015, 12:44 PM
Here's a video sound sample (excuse the effort, only been playing a short while).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ctC9wmfEN4