Archtop bass

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rocket
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Archtop bass

Post by rocket » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:54 pm

Hi all,, i've had an enquiry from a potential customer regarding an arch top bass build, i'm sure it can't be too difficult but never having built one before i am in the research mode, there are plenty of pics to gawk at on the web but i'm more interested in what's in the guts of the subject.
Any opinions, or directions to point me for some detail i'll be much obliged.

Cheers

Rod.
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by blackalex1952 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:12 am

Acoustic, electric, semi acoustic or full depth body?
Arching stiffens the top, so I think you have quite a challenge there...have a look at info on these flat top basses as posted by Graham Mc Donald:
download/file.php?id=8008
There are a few discussions on this forum, some good ones in the same thread as that post...
I'm not an expert on upright basses, but my impression is that the uprights with a lot of arching project more than the flatter arched ones, and have more upper harmonics.The ones I have played seem to have stiffer actions too. Due to the body size of an archtop acoustic guitar, getting good low end is the main challenge, I would think that the arching would have an effect on the clarity and projection.
A couple of mates have those old Maton electric arch hollow body basses. They are reminiscent of the Hofner Beatles bass. They sound unique, one friend, who I have gigged with many times, pulls a great tone. Nothing like a Fender bass sound though.
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by Nick » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:41 am

blackalex1952 wrote:They are reminiscent of the Hofner Beatles bass. They sound unique, one friend, who I have gigged with many times, pulls a great tone. Nothing like a Fender bass sound though.
The Hofners (and Matons I suspect) used a ply construction so would be inherently stiff and why pickups were used. Rod makes full bodied chainsaw carved archies so I'm guessing you are coming at it from that perspective Rod?
Never done a bass before so I would only be guessing from an observational point of view but I'm guessing the back would need loosening up a little bit more than you would on a six stringer in order to get the top's monopole working more, maybe also try the 'slash' type soundholes rather than the traditional f holes? My thinking is that you can move them out slightly and not have any 'corners' cutting into the centre thereby making a bit more top real estate available for that monopole work. Maybe also making the sides a bit deeper too? (Not to the same scale obviously but just thinking of those big arse mariachi acoustic basses that don't seem to lack volume!). These are only guess work based on what I know of Archtops so you can ignore it if you like Rod but just something to chuck into the thought pot. :wink:
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by slowlearner » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:03 am

This guy in the US is an experienced Mandolin builder. He's built a pretty great archtop, although no doubt it's shape is a little different than what you're thinking...

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/acoust ... r.1168209/

Sound clip here...

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/acoust ... t-17668741
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by rocket » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:32 am

Thanks Nick, very helpful comments there and yes it will be a carved job, a semi acoustic as he wants a top mounted pup, he also gigs a double and a semi hollow so is looking for another instrument suitable in a gig situation. I'm keen on the deeper sides and think that the top mounted pup and longer braces would assist in anti feedback measures.
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by kiwigeo » Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:37 am

slowlearner wrote:This guy in the US is an experienced Mandolin builder. He's built a pretty great archtop, although no doubt it's shape is a little different than what you're thinking...

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/acoust ... r.1168209/
Interesting how he uses an internal mold. Looks like more work went into the mold than the guitar...
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by blackalex1952 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:06 pm

I can't find the model of the Maton of which I speak. But they have quarter sawn spruce tops on them. The body width and depth are greater than the Hoffners. If I find out I'll post the details.-Ross
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by rocket » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:13 pm

Thanks Ross,,
Rod.
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by blackalex1952 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:41 pm

Rod, just to clarify things. Is this going to be a full body depth acoustic bass with or without pickups? If fully acoustic, will it be played into microphones mainly at gigs, and are you hoping to make an instrument which will stand alone as an acoustic with both volume and tight fat low end in a totally acoustic setting?-Ross
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by rocket » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:32 pm

Early days yet but i understand the customer wants a 17 or 18 inch Venetian cutaway style with a belly mounted pup, and when i said early days i mean EARLY DAYS""" so there's really no panic here, i just thought i'd put the feelers out and start gathering some information, but i really do appreciate everybody's willingness to help me out here.

Cheers

Rod.
Like I said before the crash, " Hit the bloody thing, it won't hit ya back

www.octiganguitars.com

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Re: Archtop bass

Post by blackalex1952 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:15 pm

Here it is! Semi acoustic. My friend bought his 55 years ago and has played it regularly at gig ever since...it's not a fully acoustic instrument, but it has a unique sound and is was made by Aussie legend Bill May. The one my friend has was the first series, the second lot was made by his son. I'm told those second series weren't nearly as good. Good luck with your build. I have keenly followed your instruments Rod.
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Re: Archtop bass

Post by rocket » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:39 pm

THanks for your effort,,, interesting looking piece,got some nice ideas there!!

Cheers

Rod.
Like I said before the crash, " Hit the bloody thing, it won't hit ya back

www.octiganguitars.com

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