When for Christmas I gave my wife Connie a voucher for a new Skipper bass, my intent was that it would be a stick bass -- something easier to haul around than her perfectly servicable plywood bass. Nothing doing. She didn't want a stick, she wanted a bass. In my 40+ years of marriage to this woman, I've learned that the best way for both of us to get on the same page is for me to turn mine. Shortly after the holidays, I started on her bass.
This bass has a red spruce top cut by a friend of mine from a magnificent tree that has also supplied most of my lutherie career. Of all the instruments I've built, this one has by far attracted the most attention. Connie plays bass for our band, and she's the best I know. Folks come to listen, and then the questions begin.
|Construction begins with the building of an internal form that holds the head and tail and corner blocks in place. The ribs are bent over a hot pipe and glued to the blocks.|
|I wanted neither a flat back nor a "bent" back that is so common on many carved basses, but one with compound curves that were carved into the wood, not pressed or bent. With no maple available of adequate size, I glued up a blank from good hard maple. Carving begins with first defining the edge, then cutting the outside, first with large planes, finally with smaller planes and scrapers.|
|The neck is likewise first glued up into a blank, then refined with first a handsaw, then with chisels and gouges.|
|The fingerboard is carved from a truly-hard-as-rock piece of maple. Kerfed lining and a bass bar are glued in, and the f-holes are cut.|
|The instrument is glued together with hot hide glue. The end pin is fitted, and purfling is installed, and the instrument is stained and finished with oil varnish.|