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View Full Version : NUD (actually, NBD): Custom Tele style extra short scale bass.



kohanmike
03-09-2015, 07:07 PM
(I know this doesn't exactly fit in the U-Bass world, but I will be playing it with my uke group from time to time. I originally posted in the Bass forum, but thought others would get a kick out of it.) New Bass Day: 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

igorthebarbarian
03-09-2015, 07:49 PM
very cool. I want to learn to play bass some day.
I know Bruce makes some cool Kona Blaster's that some folks really like on here too. And made in the USA too!

kohanmike
03-09-2015, 07:55 PM
I just started playing bass a few months ago. Over the 50 years I played guitar, I was often told I should play bass, but I didn't want to be encumbered by a large electric bass, forget a stand up. Once I started playing ukulele 19-20 months ago and became aware of all the small basses out there, and prompted by Cali Rose, the leader of my uke group, I decided to go for it. Been a lot of fun and an interesting learning experience. Taking lessons from Denny Croy at McCabe's in Santa Monica, good teacher and good guy.

Camsuke
03-09-2015, 08:23 PM
Congratulations Mike! That's one cool looking uke.

DownUpDave
03-10-2015, 04:15 AM
Wow mike you are really stepping out. That is so cool, the flip down tuner stuck to the lower bout is really different, never seen one before. That bass looks fabulous, I love that natural look, what wood is it made from.

UkerDanno
03-10-2015, 04:31 AM
very cool, mike, you have UAS bad! :shaka:

kohanmike
03-10-2015, 04:52 AM
Wow mike you are really stepping out. That is so cool, the flip down tuner stuck to the lower bout is really different, never seen one before. That bass looks fabulous, I love that natural look, what wood is it made from.

I did that tuner setup years ago on my Telecaster guitar with a tuner that did not flip, but Planet Waves discontinued that model. When I went to NAMM in January, I saw that D'addario (who now owns Planet Waves) released this new style and I knew that when the bass arrived, I would use it. Love that it flips up and down.

The bass is poplar (note I show that in my signature). Bruce chose it because it's light weight, but compared to my GT MicroBass, still kind of heavy. I have nerve damage in my neck and shoulders, which makes it difficult to stand with a heavier bass too long, so I usually sit.

Now I'm just waiting for the custom fretless u-bass to return from repair to have a full complement. Like I said, I haven't bought anything in over 5 months, so for now my UAS (and BAS) has curtailed.

kohanmike
03-12-2015, 05:04 PM
SUCCESS, I replaced the nylon coated flat wound with steel flat wound and the hum is totally gone, YAHOO!

kohanmike
03-13-2015, 09:05 AM
Hey, not only did the hum go away, but the built in tuner is now working, double YAHOO!

kohanmike
03-14-2015, 12:44 PM
Was a little premature about the inserted tuner, still not working properly, so I'm back to the flip up one.

Here's a video sound sample (excuse the effort, only been playing a short while).


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

Jim Hanks
03-17-2019, 03:42 AM
Hey Mike, I know this is a very old thread, but I wanted to follow up on something you said above:

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.

I can see how that would be a huge advantage, both in the flexibility of string sets to try and the fact that the strings themselves would be thinner than, say the LaBellas designed for 23-25" scale.

My question is how does that work for tuning? If I'm understanding correctly, the anchors on the back allows the full string length to be under the normal amount of tension. So I kinda see how you get a normal E note. But then the vibrating string length is only 22" not 30" so how does that work going up the neck? Obviously it does and I'm just dense, but kinda scratching my hand on this one. Or do the strings have to be at a much lower tension to get that E note with the 22" vibrating length?

:confused:

kohanmike
03-17-2019, 07:54 AM
I've done that to a number of basses, now with the Gold Tone/LaBella 25" scale flatwounds (.049, .069, .089, .109) and it just works, I don't think about the tension, I just play and it sounds like any other bass I've ever heard. The intonation is good, especially because most of the basses have a fully adjustable bridge.

When I first tried it on an Epiphone Les Paul Express 22" scale junior guitar that I converted to a bass myself and realized I had to accommodate the extra length of 30" scale flats, I drilled string-through holes at the appropriate distance from the bridge for them to fit. It worked and I've done that accommodation one way or another ever since.

This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

Jim Hanks
03-17-2019, 08:27 AM
Huh. I honestly don't understand how the physics of that works.

When you say you "don't think about the tension" - are you saying the tension of the "22 scale with anchors" is the same as a "standard 30 scale" or that it is much less but still works?

kohanmike
03-17-2019, 12:41 PM
I didn't think about the physics of it, I just put on the strings, played, it sounded good to me, done.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/LP Gotoh.jpg

This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers