Progress - Converting a classic guitar to bass

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Nigel
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Progress - Converting a classic guitar to bass

Post by Nigel » 10 Apr 2013, 15:07

Hey guys, I've decided these holidays to take on this project. The 5 string set of u-bass strings will stretch an extra inch to fit on a classical guitar and I can fit them at the bridge.
The strings are quite wide the B is about six mm wide. I know this sounds silly but I'll need to keep the string spacing between the strings even rather than the distance between the string holes?

I'm looking at this piezo pickup, will it be. Ok?

I can't find any under saddle pickups at 80 mm I'd prefer one of those anyone know where I'd get one? CAn they be cut if too long? Sorry I have no idea about them.

I'm also stuck on how to affix the strings to the classic guitar winders I don't think I can drill a 6mm hole for the B? Any ideas?
Last edited by Nigel on 13 Apr 2013, 19:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Nigel
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Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by Nigel » 10 Apr 2013, 15:10

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Re: Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by basshack » 10 Apr 2013, 17:59

I wonder whether you could knot or tether them to the post with fishing line so that they can grip enough to get a few wounds on. On the U-Bass I have they fit through a slot in the tuner like a standard bass and then wind as normal. It's only the thinner ones that have a fancy knot. Which then leads me to thinking why not just change the tuners to ones that work for you?

Edit: Oh that's right you have a U-bass too so you know about how awkward the stings are to put on.
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Nigel
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Re: Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by Nigel » 10 Apr 2013, 20:37

I see what you mean, in my mind I was thinking of drilling another small hole in the post and using something like a U shaped nail to hold the string as it wound round but your fishing line is the same concept but less work, I wont need the second hole. Good thinking I'll try that first.

Yeah the re-stringing of the kalas is a pain, especially as the strings constantly loosen and you have to re-tighten them. I'm doing it every few months now which is better than when I first got it.
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slowlearner
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Re: Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by slowlearner » 10 Apr 2013, 21:19

Interesting idea. What's your thinking behind it? Why a classical guitar body?

Personally I'd still be a little concerned about extra string tension without a trussrod of some sort.
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Nigel
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Re: Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by Nigel » 10 Apr 2013, 21:43

A classical guitar because the width at the bridge and the nut seemed better than a 1/2 sized cello and the classical guitar cost me $50 and half size cellos are about $300-500 second hand. The string tension is a mild concern but 5 poly strings should be less than the classical strings (I hope). For less than $100 in parts including the outlay for the guitar its worth the shot.

What can I use to file the nut? Any cheap suggestions
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slowlearner
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Re: Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by slowlearner » 10 Apr 2013, 21:56

I'd set up and experiment and find out the string tension on the guitar and then the string tension of the Kala strings. I reckon the poly strings would be measurably more from the classicals I've had come through here.
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Bill Paulin
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Re: Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by Bill Paulin » 10 Apr 2013, 23:04

I'm researching Kalas at the moment.
Chainsaw files come in a few sizes and are cheap, around $2.50. I'm thinking of a small rattail file for the E string.
A Kala is 21in scale and a 4/4 classical is 650mm, around 26in I think. That will the increase tension on low tension strings. If that means anything, as far as string performance goes, I don't know.
I'm making a dummy neck to find out what I need as far as relief goes. My mandos and box tenor have only carbon fibre, no truss rod. I had to shave the necks to get relief.

Ebay disk piezos should be fine. I will shield them and use shielded wire to keep them quiet.

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BassLine
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Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by BassLine » 10 Apr 2013, 23:07

My first though Nigel was a paper clip like metal loop through the single machine head hole to anchor string.... A bit like a needle threader.

http://sewing.craftgossip.com/how-to-us ... 007/09/10/


I saw a lot of damaged classical guitars come in for repair in dads music shop: bridges lifting off, necks bowing and tops of bodies buckling. And that's only with acoustic or electric strings on a classical guitar.

I'd compare the total tension between all three sets for a rough guide. A 4-banger might be more feasible. :(
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Re: Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by basshack » 11 Apr 2013, 08:13

BassLine wrote:My first though Nigel was a paper clip like metal loop through the single machine head hole to anchor string.... A bit like a needle threader.

http://sewing.craftgossip.com/how-to-us ... 007/09/10/


I saw a lot of damaged classical guitars come in for repair in dads music shop: bridges lifting off, necks bowing and tops of bodies buckling. And that's only with acoustic or electric strings on a classical guitar.

I'd compare the total tension between all three sets for a rough guide. A 4-banger might be more feasible. :(
I was surprised at just how much tension is on the Kala. It takes quite a bit of effort to pull those rubber strings to tune before tieing them on the post.
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Nigel
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Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by Nigel » 11 Apr 2013, 13:52

Yes paper clip type loop was my idea too like a u shaped nail.

I looked at chainsaw files too I might order a few on the bay.

Yes, string tension is an issue but I'll still give it a crack and see how it goes. Parts can always be recycled. The scale on the classical is about 25 and the 5 string sets are a bit longer and recommended for 24 inch and I know they will stretch about 4 to 6 inches in the first few weeks.
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Nigel
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Re: Converting a classic guitar to a u- bass kinda thing

Post by Nigel » 13 Apr 2013, 19:21

OK, busy day.
So I started with the guitar and realised that while i could get my hand in there it was a very tight fit, so I got out the trusty mini hack saw and created room. You may want to look away now, if you're actually a luthier.
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I needed to work out how to get the right sized holes and made use of some wood hanging about.
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The strings come up from inside the guitar and I felt I needed something to spread the load. A bit of alloy metal strip kinda stuff did the trick.
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That metal strip is now inside the guitar and the guitar is now ready for stringing.
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I went with a plastic covered wire tie to hold it in place. A good 3 or 4 inches of rubber string left over too.
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The finished job, not too shabby!
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Big problem was tuning it. The B is about 6mm wide. Some of the strings slipped through their plastic covered wire ties. I'm off to bunnings in the morning to seek out some mini cable ties I think they might be the answer. A shame I need to cut and use a new one each time I re-string.
I had to buy a cheap pack of files today. Build price so far is: Guitar $50, Strings $25 ( I think), files $14, piezo pickup $20 (ordered today not yet arrived). I broke my $100 budget but price is still low.
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Bill Paulin
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Re: Progress - Converting a classic guitar to bass

Post by Bill Paulin » 14 Apr 2013, 08:33

Nigel, you're an animal but at least you're fast. :) Keen to hear it.

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Re: Progress - Converting a classic guitar to bass

Post by basshack » 14 Apr 2013, 08:36

Bill Paulin wrote:Nigel, you're an animal but at least you're fast. :) Keen to hear it.
That was the phrase I was looking for too Bill. There are some people who shouldn't be allowed near tools and I think we've found another one. :rollno: But the proof is in the pudding! Get some sound bites up and the use of a hack saw on wood will be excused.
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PilbaraBass
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Progress - Converting a classic guitar to bass

Post by PilbaraBass » 14 Apr 2013, 09:34

The solution for large hands... Hack saw...

LOVE IT!

stay AWAY from upright basses, Nigel.

LOL

Can't wait to hear it.
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