You are on Page 2
This is the design for the pickguard. I wanted something that would contrast with the body and
slim out the rounded bottom contours. First I drew the design with a flexible drafting curve and
laminated it. Then I transfered the design to shelving, and made two templates out of shelving, one
template out of acrylic, and one out of four-ply birch plywood.
This picture shows how I transfered the design to shelving. I chose shelving because it has a very
flat and regular surface that is smooth (doesn't grab the router base), and because it sands
easily. The rough shape was cut out with a reciprocating saw (for lack of a bandsaw). Then I sanded the
sides smooth, filled in gaps with putty epoxy, and resanded. It is important that the sides are
smooth because that is what the router is guided by. From this template, the other shelving template
was made with the router. More sanding and putty filling followed. From the second template, the acrylic and
birch plywood templates were made. These were also sanded. Acrylic melts easily from the heat of
the router bit; I almost ruined a bit. The clear acrylic template is useful for deciding
which parts of the bird's eye maple veneer will be used for the pickguard. The birch plywood is the backing
of the bird's-eye maple pickguard.
The bird's-eye maple veneer was bookmatched, then jointed, and glued
to the birch plywood backing under the weight of a car. The maple veneer is highly figured, which makes it highly unstable (warps when wet or in contact with glue). After the glue
had dried, the pickguard was attached to one of the shelving templates with carpet tape. A 45-degree
chamfer bit was used to rout the edge of the pickguard. This angled the edge of the pickguard, and you can see 5
layers of birch and maple. After much sanding, the pickguard was then placed on the guitar with carpet tape. The
neck pocket and p-style pickup cavity were routed out, and screw holes and holes for the potentiometers were
The bridge pickup cavity was shielded with conductive copper foil tape. The p-pickup cavity and
control cavity came from the factory covered in conductive paint. A hole was drilled from the bridge
pickup cavity to the control cavity for the pickup leads, and a small channel was carved under the hole
because the wire ran from underneath the pickup, and prevented it from being seated evenly.
Custom electronics were wired. The green things are the three tone circuit capacitors. The things on the upper right
are a resistor and capacitor wired in parallel on the ground wire headed for the bridge. This is a shock-limiter
that limits any shocks to 40 volts which is not likely to be lethal. If you are touching the strings, bridge, knobs,
switches, or tuners of your bass, and you touch an oppositely grounded microphone or another guitar that's incorrectly grounded,
you will get a potentially lethal shock that runs from your hand on the bass through your heart, and out the other hand on the mic. I got buzzed like this in high school. The two wires sticking out on the bottom right are the hot output, and
ground to sleeve; these will be soldered to the output jack. A new hole was drilled on the side of the bass
for the output jack, so that the hole on the knob panel could be used for a tone knob.
Click this image to view a wiring schematic