The positions of the top and bottom body wings were chosen by laying out the wing templates. The wing templates are made from
MDF (medium density fiberboard), and this particular piece had a fake oak print on the faces (therefore the red color). MDF is
usually used for shelving, but it is ideal for use in lutherie due to its durability, accuracy of manufacture (how perpendicular
the surfaces are), resistance to dimensional change, and ease of tooling. The only downside to using MDF is that cutting it results in a fine dust that invades
every corner of your workspace, tools, and lungs if you don't wear a mask.
The pictures show the large piece of bubinga glued to the back of the neck, several pieces of pine affixed to the front of the neck
with carpet tape, and an MDF template for cutting the head stock in place. The pine was used to allow work on the back of
the neck (trimming of bubinga) without marring the fingerboard on the work table.
The picture on the right shows a layout of the bridge and pickups. The compromise is between having the luxury of
space between the end of the fingerboard and the front of the neck pickup (for slap), and having the bridge pickup too close to the bridge
(the tone would suffer and playing at the bridge pickup would be difficult due to high string tension). The position of the bridge cannot be
changed. It has to be 34" away from the edge of the nut by the headstock. However, the amount of wood left between the end of the
bridge and the bottom of the bass can be played with. This determines how the strap rests on the player because I plan on putting one
of the strap buttons on the end of the bass. The closer the strap button is to the end of the bridge (or the smaller the distance between
the bridge and end of bass), the closer first position is for the player when standing and wearing a strap. Some players don't spend as much time in first position and might prefer a wider gap between the bridge and the bottom strap button. The position of the top horn in relation to the frets also affects which areas of the fingerboard feel most naturally accessible. The closer to the headstock the top horn is, the
closer first position will be (assuming a strap button on the tip of the top horn).
These pictures show the body wings fully cut out of Honduras mahogany and bubinga. Careful lines were drawn to line up the two body wings and the
neck. These reference lines will be crucial when gluing the body wings to the neck, and when planning the placing of the maple top and back.
Here the body wings were glued in their final positions. The extra neck-wood protruding from the bottom was cut to create a flowing line that meets both wings.
The last picture shows the edges of the bass taped off in preparation for gluing the maple top. The tape extends over the edge on the back, but not
on the front because that's where the maple is going. If glue drips onto the unmasked edge during glueing, I can't use the template router bit to cut
the maple top flush to the edges without first smoothing the wood free of glue. Also, glue will soak into the porous mahogany, and even after sanding for finishing,
may be visible as a stain.