The Wing Bass

Half a bass that can easily travel, yet perform.

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After years of searching, I needed a travel bass that actually felt like a real bass (no silicone strings), yet didn't compromise in tone quality when called upon to perform. The instrument is (conceptually) exactly one half of a 33" scale bass guitar. However, it will feel as if you are just playing above the 12th fret of a normal full-sized bass. It will include an octave-down circuit to bring the bring the traditional tone back to life, or just keep it tuned as-is (one octave up) to perform chordal work.Being just 20" long overall, it will fit in a 21" carry-on which can easily stow in an overhead without an additional case.A guitar version is absolutely in the plans as well.

The "Wing" Travel Bass Specs

* 5-String (E-C tuning)

* 20" overall length with 16.5" scale

* Headless design using Hipshot hardware (black)

* Mahogany Body (one-piece), no top, hand-rubbed oil finish

* Rosewood fretboard with dots, 21-frets

* 17.5mm String Spacing at the bridge.

* Single dual-coil pickup in the "sweet spot"

* Passive circuit. Controls: Volume, Passive Tone, coil-tap, octave-down controls

  • 1 × Rosewood Fingerboard Slab
  • 1 × Mahogany Bass Body Slab
  • 1 × Dual-Coil Humbucking Pickup with tappable coils
  • 2 × 250K Ohm Potentiometer
  • 1 × Headless Bass Hardware Set

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  • Prototype 2 Delivered!

    andybrownri01/14/2015 at 15:12 0 comments

    Just got the new and improved prototype in... it is NICE! Feels comfortable, no issues getting to normal tuning with standard strings, and it sounds damn good. I'm just thinking where to go from here. I've got room in the control cavity to stick in an onboard octaver, headphone amp, etc.

  • Update... Prototype 1 Delivered!

    andybrownri09/25/2014 at 22:59 1 comment

    At a bass player get together I hosted last Sunday in Rhode Island, Chris Stambaugh delivered the first prototype of the wing bass. The good news is that it felt and sounded exactly the way I thought it would. The bad news is that Chris has to re-engineer the string clamp on the headstock because the tension in combination with the flat screw lockdowns broke strings. Chris will be making another one due in about a month. Overall everyone loved the concept.

  • Future Enancements

    andybrownri02/01/2014 at 17:38 0 comments

    ​Without a prototype in my hands, I'm already thinking about future tweaks and options for production:

    * MIDI pickup - I could either go with Graphtech Ghost system or with a Roland GK-3B option. Being tuned in a range that would provide excellent tracking, this is a no brainer.

    * Tweaks to the body design, depending on initial playbility. Could include a contour on the lower body to accommodate lap position, maybe with an adhesive strip for friction.

    * On-board headphone amp 

    * iOS interface for working with the ton of cool apps using Audiobus, without the need for an external device.

    * Different woods, depending on initial tone. I love the warmth of mahogany, which initially seems to be the perfect application, but Alder or Ash may provide desirable flavors.

  • Prototype Here We Come!

    andybrownri02/01/2014 at 17:24 0 comments

    The prototype is getting kicked off, so in about 5 months I'll have something tangible to report on. The wait begins

  • Specs are Tweaked

    andybrownri01/30/2014 at 05:25 0 comments

    ​To bring the cost down, we agreed on changing the body wood from ash to mahogany, without a fancy top. We also agreed to go with passive circuitry and a comparible pickup (to the Nordstrand). The fretboard will also be glued directly to the body without additional trickery which will necessitate the headless bridge/tuner to be slightly recessed more into the body.

  • Design Accepted

    andybrownri01/30/2014 at 05:22 0 comments

    ​The final design has been accepted by Chris Stambaugh

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Istantinople wrote 02/25/2014 at 01:16 point
Really cool project, I'm in the market for a travel bass myself and I've been disappointed too. Where are you going to source strings for this? Will the hip-shot work properly with standard strings at this length? Also, was the EADGC tuning for design purposes, or do you just prefer high C to low B?

  Are you sure? yes | no

andybrownri wrote 02/26/2014 at 15:00 point
This bass will use standard gauge strings. From what I am told, the Hipshot hardware will work just fine. Theoretically, it should be an identical feel to putting a capo at the 12th fret of a normal scale bass and playing above that.

I chose E-C because that's what I prefer. I normally use a D-tuner on all my basses to get to low D. I play rock, alternative blues and funk and I never have the need to go below that.

  Are you sure? yes | no

andybrownri wrote 02/20/2014 at 21:03 point
Hey Paul, I'm thinking it would be a chopped version of the Boss OC-2 octaver. The simple function would be either on (effected signal 100%, one octave down), or off (dry signal 100%, octave bypassed). The OC-2 provides a 2nd octave down and mix between the signals, but that's not required.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Paul Stoffregen wrote 02/20/2014 at 18:41 point
Curious about the "octave-down circuit"?

I've been working on an audio library recently, so I'm keeping an eye out for interesting projects doing unusual audio stuff.....

  Are you sure? yes | no

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