I really wanted to try to learn how to play the Bass fiddle so I bought a commercial Bass fiddle. I found it not difficult to learn but the Bass was extremely fragile and I just wanted something I could throw (well, not really THROW) into the truck and be on my way. So I did a lot of research on the internet and designed my own home made Bass and here it is:
I started with a frame made from common pine 2 x 2:
Then I made the bottom and side panels from common 1/4" plywood. I added some supports with 1/2" plywood across the bottom and added a soundpost from 3/4" poplar dowel. I glued the sound post in place which is a definite no-no on a commercial Bass but I think I found the "sweet spot' for it and it seems to work just fine. Now I don't have to worry about it tipping over and paying somebody $600 to set it back up. So the bottom assembly looks like this:
Then I made the neck support. I used three layers of 3/4" oak laminated together for maximum strength. I rounded off the inside corner with a router. The finished neck looks like this:
Next we move on to the neck. I made the neck from two 1 x 4 pieces of oak glued together to form a 1 1/2" neck with a 10" overhang on each end. Then I used my band saw to narrow the neck down to 1 1/2" and form the tuner section. At this point it looked like this:
This was followed by the use of a router to make the bottom of the neck as round and SMOOTH as possible. This is the most difficult part of the Bass. I had to buy a larger router to accomodate a 3/4" roundover bit. I do want to add at this point that using a router freehand with a 3/4" roundover bit requires your absolute 100% attention. On my first attempt I ran beyond the overlap part of the neck so there was only a 3/4" base and the guide bearing on the roundover bit lost its footing. That bit just about ate its way all the way through the neck before I could take lift it off! This is what it SHOULD look like:
After the routing is complete on the neck there is a lot of sanding. I used a 10" hand sander although a much longer one would really be better.
Now we can set up the tuner section to accomodate the metal tuning pegs. The hole size, depth, and placement are dependent on the tuners used. My tuners were only 5/8" deep so I had to burrow a little larger hole on the top to mount them properly as shown here:
The bridge is made from oak and wasn't a big deal nor was the tail piece to hold the base of the strings. The Tail pin is made from a table leg mounted on a pipe flange.
I sold my commercial Bass and when the guy came to pick it up he saw my home made and played it and said he wanted that one instead! The only way I could get rid of my commercial Bass was to sell both the commercial Bass and my home made one to him. Well then I had to make another one. I think you could make one in one week-end so its not a major project.
So, I now have an instrument that I can almost "throw" in my truck, drag it out to the camper with me, or whatever and never have to worry about paying someone to fix it if damaged. If something does happen to it I'll just turn it into firewood and make another one. If you or someone you know is interested in trying out the Bass fiddle, this may be the solution. This video shows much more detail: