Handcrafted basses

Building the E-cello

It begins with a few pieces of wood: tulipwood, zebrawood and maple for the body, lemonwood and coromandel for the neck and fingerboard

The sides and front of the hollow body. An electric cello could also have a solid body, but i chose to have a small hollow body to have at least some accoustic volume during practice.

The roughly shaped neck. The yellow lemonwood is very hard, chips tend to fly off when it is sawed, so very careful..A piece of zebrawood is placed behind the headstock.

The hardboard templates for measuring and placement of the body.

The templates enable sneak preview where the bodywings will be placed. On top lies a piece of coromandel wood (related to ebony, so just as hard), that is meant for the fingerboard.

Progress with the neck, the holes for the tuners are drilled. Bass tuners are best for a cello, guitar tuners would be too small for the thickest strings on a cello.

The lower part of the body, with a cavity for the endpin mechanism. Those who ever took a closer look at a drumkit might recognise the chrome part. The endpin and adjusting mechansim where originally meant as a rack mounted cymbal stand.

The upper part of the body. The left side rests against the chest while playing, and the right part is smaller for beter reach of the high notes.

Further progress on the neck, the rounded fingerboard is attached. The fingerboard has a compound radius, that means the radius at the end of the neck is smaller than near the body. In this way, a natural cone shape is achieved, and the strings will run evenly above the fingerboard. On the bass side, the fingerboard has flat angled surface, just like a normal cello.

The hollow body, and the bodywings attached to it. They have the contours of a standard 4/4 concert cello. The most important dimensions, like neck width, angle, scale, string spacing etc. are according the Stradivari standards.

Front of the body.

The body with adjustable endpin.

The lower part of the body, the hole is for the endpin.

The neck pocket. It is routed at an angle, so that the neck wil make an angle of 8 degrees backwards.

Again the body, now rounded en sanded smooth. I can't remeber when i produced so much dust!

Back of the body, nice piece of wood, this tulipwood. It is a softer, lightweight kind of wood, to keep the total weight of the cello at reasonable level. The open part will be covered with a "maintenance hatch", so that the electronics can be reached later on.

The woodwork is ready, neck and body are glued together.

Polyurethane finish applied. Applying the finish is one of the best parts of building an instrument. At first, the wood is not very exiting to look at, and then the structure of the wood will emerge in full splendor. This is particular the case with exotic woods, the contrast between unfinished and finished can be huge.

Done! Hardware mounted, strings placed, electronics built in, tested, adjusted and polished the cello for a last time.