I recently finished my latest project, which was this short-scale bass guitar.
For this commission, I received a piece of box elder burl that had been roughly cut into the shape of a Hofner bass body. It has several large knots on the back of it, one of which is open and intersects the edge.
My sense is that this chunk of box elder had been cut a long time ago and shaped only very approximately, probably just to “give the idea” of what was wanted. I did not have access to the original template, so I ordered Hofner plans from JAGuitars in London, England. Upon receiving the plans, I found that my body blank was an inch shorter than the one in the plan.
I found that I could still use the scale length from the JAG plans if I compressed the layout a bit. That would spare me the hassle of recalculating frets. So, the neck pickup is closer to the upper bouts, while the bridge gets pushed slightly closer to the tailpiece. This arrangement called for a long neck tenon, which intrudes quite a bit into the neck pickup cavity in order to provide as much gluing surface as possible.
The Hofner bass guitar is traditionally a hollow-body guitar, constructed after the manner of a violin. Sometimes it’s called a violin bass for that reason.
My version is a solid-body bass, and it’s not arched at all. I left all of the asymmetry in the body, not wanting to further reduce the size of it by trying to even everything out. All I did was to clean up the edges and put it through the thicknesser a couple of times.