Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The VIKster homemade shortscale bass

Doug Thorsvik from Washington writes, telling us about a self-built bass he has just finished:
This homemade VIKster bass is designed to fit in a standard electric guitar gig bag. Your Blog entry on Tuesday October 6, 2009 featuring John Backlund Design guitars (I went to his web site) inspired the design which I altered with violin bass styled cutouts (I have a lefty Rogue Beatle Bass).

It is lighter than an electric guitar, very comfortable to play, and I’m very pleased with the tone. I’m primarily a guitar player, so I play the bass with a pick so the closer string spacing is not a problem since the strings are still spaced wider than a standard acoustic guitar.

I built this bass using the “no rules” techniques I learned from building cigar box guitars ( The scale length, 28.25,” is less than a short scale bass and has standard EADG tuning. I used Fender short scale electric bass strings. Neck is poplar, fretboard is oak, and a 1/2” x 1/8” steel bar runs the length of the neck. Body is from a 2 x 8 fir scrap, the cotter pin topped bridge is from a mahogany scrap (I’m still using the wood left over from each of my two sons’ Eagle Scout projects!). The string guide is Oak from a piece of flooring. Pickguard is 1/8” plywood with batik fabric covering. The tail piece is aluminum. Tuners are one half of a Ping Mandolin set. Bass Humbucker is EMG Select from Stew Mac. I did all the woodburning on the body and neck as well as the macramé for the strap.
Doug, this is fantastic. I like your "no rules" approach to luthiery. It's certainly a unique looking instrument. This is one of the things that fascinate me about self-built guitars and basses. They are created by the individual usually for themselves and so you can see some very interesting ideas. Mass-produced guitars do not cater for the individual, and so the designs tend towards being very "safe" and the tried and tested.

Also great to see a unique left-handed instrument. A while back I was trying to feature at least one interesting left-handed guitar or bass on this blog every week, but I really was having trouble finding them. I hate to think what it must be like to be a left-handed player who is severely limited by what the off-the-peg brands have to offer.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

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