Acoustic Bass Conversion


Tools/materials used:

How to:

2Step 1: Prepare the Guitar

Start by removing the strings and 2 of the tuners. Then give the whole instrument a good cleaning.

       

 

3Step 2:  Stain the Bridge

I decided to stain the bridge because I wanted a darker tone to the instrument. The bridge of the Indiana Scout consists of a wooden base with a plastic insert. Remove the insert, but make sure to save it because you’ll need it later!

To protect the body of your guitar, put some painter’s tape (the blue tape) around the bridge. Make sure to cover anything you don’t want wood stain on. The stain I used is red elm.

I typically use a medium sized paintbrush to apply stain. You’ll want to apply sparingly at first, until you figure out how dark you want the wood to be. Make sure to keep a paper towel handy to wipe off any excess, and to help apply an even coat.

When finished, leave the tape where it is and let the stain dry.

5Step 3: Attach the Tailpiece

Take the tailpiece, and center it according to the location of the bottom strap button. With an automatic punch, make an indent in each screw hole for alignment. Now take the smallest drill bit you have and drill out each hole. Screw on the tailpiece.

6Step 4: Finishing the Head

So the head still has 2 empty holes where the tuners were. I wanted to fill these holes somehow, and it could be done many different ways. To start, I took 2 small corks, and spray painted the tops of them white with many coats, at least 10. I then applied 5-10 layers of lacquer on top of the white. This left them with a glossy white shine, and you can’t really tell they’re corks once inserted into each hole.

I also wanted to rename this instrument since it is no longer a guitar. So I simply painted over the name, making this new bass a Sindiana Stout. It’s a quick and dirty way to do this, but it’s fitting for this bass and name.

The last part to finish on the head is the nut. Since we are going from 6 strings to 4, we need to make some new notches in the nut, and widen some old ones. This is where personal preference comes in. I measured the distance between strings on one of my electrics, and transferred those measurements to the nut. Once you have decided where you want your strings to lie on the nut, take a small file and cut some notches into the proper locations. Make sure they are rounded to fit the strings or you may get some unwanted rattling.

11Step 6: Attach the Strings

I’m sure at this point you’re itching to play this thing, right? Don’t get too excited, there is still a lot to do. While the bass isn’t fully done, put the strings on. Take each string, and feed it through the tail piece, then feed it through the appropriate tuner. Remember, the strings on a bass go E, A, D, G from top to bottom (assuming you play right handed). So the widest one on the top, thinnest on the bottom.

Tighten each string until they are somewhat taught. Now take the original bridge insert (if you guitar had one) and place it back on the bridge. Personally, I found the original bridge insert to be too short and all of my strings were rattling. If you don’t have this problem, skip the next step, tune your bass, clip the excess off your strings, and enjoy.

Step 7: Build a custom Saddle

9I started with pine (not the best, due to splitting) which ended up working pretty well. Cut out a small rectangular piece of wood of your choosing. Fit it to be about a half inch wider than your strings on each side. Mark where you want the strings to sit, and use files to cut grooves into each spot. Use a sanding block to shape the saddle how you want it. I prefer to have the E string the furthest from the neck, so my bridge has a slant downwards towards the G string.

8Now is where the original saddle comes into play. I used that as the template for cutting the bottom of my wooden saddle. This allowed me to mount the new saddle in the former location of the plastic one.

7Once you’re satisfied with your saddle, stain it, dry it, and install it.

 

The Final Product

Here is the finished piece! And a closeup of my custom bridge in action.

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The last thing I need to add is an audio sample, which will happen soon NOW!

Thanks for reading!