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Thread: I'm at it again. BAS has replaced UAS.

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default I'm at it again. BAS has replaced UAS.

    I thought I was satisfied with the three basses I now have, but I was in Guitar Center the other day and saw a reissue limited edition Rickenbacker 21" scale 325 guitar that got me salivating to convert it to a bass, but not for $3400. So I mocked up a drawing of a Rickenbacker 360 guitar as a bass to send to my Telecaster bass builder Bruce Herron in Michigan when the right time comes.

    Then I was on the Talk Bass forum and a thread about the Hofner Beatles violin bass got me thinking about making one of those in sub-short scale, so I mocked up a drawing of that one too that I sent to my ukulele and u-bass builder in Vietnam, Bruce Wei.



  2. #2

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    Those look great. 22"-23" scale for a bass seems to be a sort of comfort zone for me, but other than a U-Bass SUB or Goldtone Acoustic none seem to exist near this scale.

    I hacked together a bass bridge, pickup and geared bass tuner for a 1-string bass rig on a raw piece of quarter-sawn Oak 1"x2" from Home Depot, in order to test the so-called 'short scale' bass strings, but found that at that short a scale length, the were either unable to achieve pitch tuned to a low-E (which is the most problematic) and had not nearly enough tension until tuned up to an A (in the standard octave for bass guitar).

    I tested over a dozen different single strings in all different gauges from 0.095" up to 0.140", and also a few 'high tension strings' and they were all too floppy.

    I am curious as to just how you got those La Bella black nylon tapewound strings (despite the through-body modification) to work on such a short scale for your converted Les Paul Express...my experience showed them to be quite loose and floppy.

    My next step might be to abandon the 'electric' strings and magnetic pickup, and go with a piezo UST pickup and try out some cello strings, which are more for a 24" scale length, but the cheapest set of these I could find were like $60, and an expensive one-shot test if it fails, so I'm holding off for now...
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Centennial, CO
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    Default

    the short neck will fix the hofner neck dive issues.
    You could try to use a set of strings for an ibanez mikro gsrm25 (contact basstringsonline) and use the low-b as an 'e' string. There's that pesky scale thing to deal with as you'd have 4+ extra inches of string.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default

    Booli, the Les Paul conversion with the nylon wrapped strings I did works very well, below is a video and construction details. Also, last night I was on the rondomusic.com web site and they have solid body 20.75" scale piezo Thundergut string u-basses for about $160 that I'm seriously thinking of buying.

    blue - http://www.rondomusic.com/ukbe22bl.html, sunburst - http://www.rondomusic.com/ukbe22sb.html, white - http://www.rondomusic.com/ukbe20wh.html, natural - http://www.rondomusic.com/ukbe22n.html

    Les Paul 22" scale conversion parts, prices and vendors:
    •Epiphone Les Paul Express 22" scale guitar - $99 - zZounds.com
    •Rotosound Tru-Bass RS88s 30" short scale black nylon coated strings - $31.99 - Amazon
    •Black Bass Bridge BA-1004BK L Shape Saddle - $19.99 - lotmusic (China) via Amazon
    •Four 3/4" steel pan head machine screws that fit the bridge - $1.24 - Koontz Hardware, Los Angeles
    •Tibesti 4 string black bass nut - $1.60 - Aaron Store via AliExpress.com (China)
    •4 Chrome Guitar String Ferrules - $4.20 - C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply via Amazon
    •4 Black plastic 3/8" hole plugs - $1.96 - Koontz Hardware, Los Angeles
    Total Cost: $159.89 US




  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    Booli, the Les Paul conversion with the nylon wrapped strings I did works very well, below is a video and construction details. Also, last night I was on the rondomusic.com web site and they have solid body 20.75" scale piezo Thundergut string u-basses for about $160 that I'm seriously thinking of buying.
    OMG. Mike, no matter what anybody says to the otherwise, you sir are just, AWESOME!!!

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    I seem to never have the funds when I see that these are available, and when I do have the funds, they are always sold out.

    But THANKS TO YOU, I got in before they were all gone.

    I *just now* bought the sunburst model:
    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    I am so excited now. I cant wait. I need one of these for a recording project, and while not a high-end unit like the ~$500 Kala models, it should serve my needs fine, even if it needs a setup or fret work (which I can do myself). If the preamp turns out to sound bad, I'll just replace it with a Mi-Si (since this Hadean model is so affordable).

    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    Les Paul 22" scale conversion parts, prices and vendors
    Thanks again for sharing all that info. I had started a similar project with an older 'beater' no-name strat copy (25" scale) that I had laying around, but never finished it. Now, I can re-use that projects parts for a fretless electric tenor guitar based upon a strat-style body. WOO HOO!!!

    SO Thank you very much. Mike, you're ACES in my book.
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bnolsen View Post
    You could try to use a set of strings for an ibanez mikro gsrm25 (contact basstringsonline) and use the low-b as an 'e' string. There's that pesky scale thing to deal with as you'd have 4+ extra inches of string.
    bnolsen - Thanks for the info. Tried a low-b string in many gauges. Still had problems with it being too loose. Also to note that basstringsonline.com no longer seems to offer the 'mini-bass' strings by Pyramid, nor the La Bella MB-23T black nor white nylon tapewound strings that used to be on their site like 4-5 months ago.
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Centennial, CO
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    Default

    you may need to call them directly and ask about the ibanez mikro 5 string set. Apparently they can be very accomodating and help you put together a custom string set if need be.

    I'm not sure what the gauge is on the mikro's low-b. I sure wish I could find one to test drive.

    For the price of the rondo music solid bodies I'd say "go for it!". The solid swamp ash ones look nice.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  8. #8
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    Sep 2013
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    Default

    Booli, you're very welcome, glad I could inspire you. I just ordered the blue Rondo Hadean and I'm going to see if I can have it modified, shortening the horns and coloring the head plate the same as the body, never liked the long horns on basses, then I'll change to chrome hardware (I got the last set of chrome HipShot fat spool tuners) and Road Toad Pahoehoe yellow strings, don't like the feel of Aquila Thunderguts.


    Last edited by kohanmike; 05-03-2015 at 06:21 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bnolsen View Post
    you may need to call them directly and ask about the ibanez mikro 5 string set. Apparently they can be very accomodating and help you put together a custom string set if need be.

    I'm not sure what the gauge is on the mikro's low-b. I sure wish I could find one to test drive.

    For the price of the rondo music solid bodies I'd say "go for it!". The solid swamp ash ones look nice.
    Thanks for the info. Not sure if this matters any more since the Rondo sunburst Hadean bass uke is on it's way (just got a notice that it's being prepped for shipping). We'll see.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    Booli, you're very welcome, glad I could inspire you. I just ordered the blue Rondo Hadean and I'm going to see if I can have it modified, shortening the horns and coloring the head plate the same as the body, never like the long horns on basses, then I'll change to chrome hardware (I got the last set of chrome HipShot fat spool tuners) and Road Toad Pahoehoe yellow strings, don't like the feel of Aquila Thunderguts.
    I've always been partial to the traditional tobacco sunburst, to me, it feeds my eye more than the other colors...

    The natural wood one was second and then the white third choice, but I was not liking the blue one, but glad that you like it and bought it.

    I too found the white Thunderguts to be undesireable in feel, having a texture to me that felt very much like silly putty or Fun-Tak.

    However I found the RED Thunderguts to not be too bad and so far my preference is for the Black Pahoehoe strings, but would consider another color set of the Pahoehoe (direct from Owen @ Road Toad Music). Were it not for USPS having their head up somewhere near Uranus, the Silver Rumbler strings I ordered off eBay would be here already...looking forward to trying those out too...

    also - FYI - I have an ebay search that sends me new auctions related to the Ashbory bass each day, and last week they had an item being sold by Large Sound (largesound.com) for the Ashbory/U-Bass tuners, the WHOLE set for $32 (but only in 2R/2L and not 4-inline). This is MUCH cheaper than getting them from either Kala or Road Toad for $20-$25 each tuner. I ordered not from ebay but direct from their web site 2 sets (of 4 tuners) [link below] and 2 Ashbory nuts. They arrived in a few days and after enlarging the holes in my Rogue( actually Savannah) Baritone with a 35/64" drill bit, and then thinning out about 1/8" from the front of the headstock with a dremel tool and sanding disc for the shaft threads to be able to meet the top bushing (headstock was too thick), have them installed now.

    Note that they are NOT reversible, and can only go 2 per side because of the housing that holds the worm gear and peg button.

    I then rough cut a new nut from some black micarta and replaced the nut, and then drilled out 4 holes in the bridge, right down where the existing string holes were and then painfully fed the black Pahoehoe strings through the body. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about a pickup yet. but thus far the instrument 'works' and sounds like a U-bass. before I do a full setup I am probably going to convert this to a fretless by de-fretting it, and then I will make final adjustments to the nut and glue it down.

    Thus far, this baritone conversion cost me:
    $42 for the Savannah baritone (ebay, musiciansfriend was sold out of the Rogue at the time)
    $32 for the large spool tuners (from largesound.com)
    $24 for the black Pahoehoe strings (Road Toad Music)
    $ 7 for the 35/64" drill bit (ebay)

    $105 total sans pickup...

    Had I to do again, I might have just bought the acoustic Hadean model, but they were not available for a long time, and the one that Rondo had last week looks like 1970's wood wall paneling and I detest it's appearance, but if other colors were an option, I'd recommend to others to just get the Hadean one, which appears to have an unbranded Fishman Kula or Shadow pickup and preamp already installed (I have not seen one in person, but I'm just going by the off-angle pictures).

    When I am done with the de-fretting of my converted baritone, I plan to strip the orange plastic paint off with acetone nail polish remover, which thankfully works well and leaves a nice shiny bare wood below, with little mess and comes off easily when you wipe it on, and then off with a paper towel. Oh but the SMELL - gotta do it outside and wear a mask.

    Once the color is removed, I may either get some redwood stain (think picnic table color-LOL), or just use some flat black spray paint, which will be real easy to touch up later on.

    One thing to note also, is that most 'bass tuners' need a 35/64" hole in the headstock and a standard drill has a maximum opening in the chuck of 1/2", so this drill bit will not fit unless you get a drill bit that has a smaller diameter shaft than the drill's cutting flutes...thus I had to use some vice-grip pliers @ a 90 deg angle, and VERY carefully turn the drill bit by hand, which only required about 8 total rotations before it had cut all the way through the headstock (VERY sharp tungsten carbide drill bit). Yes, I know I could have used a 'paddle' bit or Forstner bit, but it was 3am when I was on ebay and ordered the first and cheapest thing I could find...

    Once I get this conversion completed, and looking and playing how I want it, I will do a video and post here in case anybody else wants to see the project...

    And if I somehow manage to mess up and render the instrument 'dead', I'll probably just buy the Hadean wood-paneling colored acoustic one, de-fret it, sand it and then paint it flat black.

    Either way, I will hopefully end up with an acoustic fretless U-Bass and a solid-body fretted U-Bass.

    and in case you might ask, here is the link to the U-Bass tuners from Large Sound:

    https://www.largesound.com/buy/index...ass-tuning-set
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

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