August 8 2023
Making an electric bass out of a cutting board.
I had a thought one day that it would be really funny to make a Boos Block cutting board into a guitar. It seemed like a relatively easy project, as guitar components are pretty standardized. I would only need to carve out the body to spec and everything should have slotted together…
I opted to buy all of the parts secondhand (other than the strings) off eBay. The total price of this project was probably around $100.
Routing and Chiseling
Test fit of the neck and bridge.
The neck pocket was routed out and then cleaned up with chisels. This was my first real project that involved a serious amount of chiseling.
I accidentally went 1/8” too deep and had to add washers underneath the neck to correct the height.
The cutting board was barely long enough; you can see the bridge slightly overhanging the body in order to reach the right scale length.
Making space for electronics.
This project took much longer than expected because I did a sloppy job routing the body and had to try to fix it up with chisels. I’ve learned it’s best to just take your time from the start. Also, it’s hard to control a hand router.
Carved body waiting for electronics test fit. Note the mistakes in the neck pocket, which luckily are covered up by the neck.
Wiring up the electronics was easy. I chose a simple two knob setup: 1 for volume and 1 for tone.
Applying polyurethane to the body.
I opted for polyurethane because we had it laying around the apartment. Doing multiple, thinner coats really makes a difference in how smooth and bubble-free the end result it.
Applying polyurethane to the neck.
Pre-finishing, I sanded off the logo on the neck.
Final assembly, with oscilloscope showing output.
Because of the washers I had to put under the neck, it ended up a tiny bit off axis. I was able to mostly correct for this by adjusting the horizontal positioning of the strings on the bridge. I adjusted height to be similar to a real bass guitar at a friend’s place.
It actually plays!
By the loosest definition, I can pretend I am now a luthier.
Overall this was a fun project. I am still amazed that it is actually playable.