Inspired by the work of Tony Cochran, I set out to do a complete, cosmetic, Steampunk overhaul of a bass belonging to k-robin V.I.P. Brennan Terry. I started with a used, Made in Japan, Fender Jaguar bass, in excellent condition – a very nice guitar.

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Then I took it all apart and made an outline of the shape and existing cavities, so I would know where I could cut and where not to, and how to plan my layout.

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I had a bunch of old airplane radio and altitude sensing parts to work with, so I hacked into them and set aside anything that looked interesting.

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The coolest looking stuff were almost all large electronics components, so it didn’t take long for a theme to emerge. I decided to showcase to biggest and neatest electronics stuff, and make it appear to be connected to the actual controls of the bass itself. Also, I wanted to use the metal housings of the radios, etc. to help create some of the busy, textural elements that are indicative of steampunk.

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Once I had done a little cutting and shaping of the metal, and honed in on the parts I liked most, I started toying with various layouts that would not interfere with the playability of the instrument, and that would incorporate some of its existing features.

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Once I had decided on a final layout, I prepared to cut some brand new cavities into the body.

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No turning back now.

I did some “relic-ing” to the finish, as well as the control covers. I cut and aged some copper, and damascened some of the control covers as well, all to add to the historic, lots-of-random-stuff-thrown-together aesthetic.

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I also installed a VU meter, and had to add an auxiliary battery to power it.

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The end result is a bass the plays great, with all its stock electronics functioning normally, and captures the spirit of Steampunk.

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To see some more steampunk instruments done by a true artist, check out Tony Cochran‘s website. I had a great time working on this project and I am proud of the end result. Please tell me what you think.