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J J Burnel Signature Bass Lite

Signature Lite Model

March 2013 – J J Burnel Pbass Lite body

The body is made from two woods, a dense white ash and lightweight alder, six separate pieces of wood in total. There is a solid centre section and two chambered ‘wings’. The centre section is a sandwich of the ash and alder, the ash is the upper piece where the neck, pickups and bridge are mounted, the rear the alder. The reason for using the ash on the top is that all the main components are bolted to this dense wood, the theory being that the denser ash gives a more defined sound, stronger bass response and brighter trebles, overall a more aggressive sound with stronger sustain and more harmonics, using the alder on the rear keeps down the weight but also the alder has a more full range sound and adds an amount of warmth to the sound.

The wings are lightweight alder, the upper bout is chambered to lighten the body further. The chamber starts just forward of the forearm contour and stops just before the top horn and is routed to two depths so that the rear contour can be carved. Then a top laminate of alder is glued over the upper wing, this is 6mm thick, which is a fair bit thicker than a top would be for a bass that’s chambered for acoustic reasons, this is because it tends to get thumped often…..

The lower wing is also chambered but just forward of the waist and up to the lower horn, so that the cavity for the controls can be routed from the front without breaking into the chamber.

The wings are glued to the centre section and the bass routed and carved. The body is finished in a polyester basecoat then a gloss black polyurethane topcoat. So all in all quite a complicated build for a P bass, but when together this makes for a bass that weighs only 7 ½ lbs.

The other main change to the first model is the tuners, this bass has Schaller BML lite tuners, which are the lightest tuners available, made from lightweight alloy and cast resin.

We’re looking to develop the bass further, looking into the possibility of a carbon fibre cased neck with a maple board.

J J Burnel P Bass Lite Neck

The neck is made from rock maple, with a rock maple fingerboard. It has a truss rod that is adjustable at the body end, accessed behind a small cover in the scratchplate. Two lengths of carbon graphite rods are installed either side of the truss rod, these dramatically increase the strength and stability of the neck, making it extremely strong and solid, also the carbon graphite increase sustain and harmonics, eliminate deadspots.

The headstock is slightly thicker than normal, this increases sustain and neck strength. The frets are made from stainless steel, this makes the bass brighter, but the main reason is to reduce the wear as normal nickel fretwire is just not up to the job…..! The nut is made from brass, this gives a brighter sound to the open strings, a more fretted note sound, also it is pretty much unbreakable and brass is self-lubricating, so doesn’t pinch the strings.

On the Mk1 bass the headstock was fitted with Gotoh GB2 tuners which are extremely well made and will last a lifetime, one of the best tuners on the market. On MkII we went for Schaller bml lite tuners which are the lightest tuners available and are made by one of the most respected manufacturers of guitar hardware, not cheap because they are made from lightweight alloy and cast carbon resin.



Instrument Name J J Burnel Signature Bass Lite
Construction Bolt on
Scale Length 34” scale
Fret Amount 20 frets
Fret Type Jumbo stainless steel fretwire
Inlays Black face and side dotsmm
Headstock Slabmm
Nut Type 44mm brass nut
Neck Woods Rock maple neck
Fretboard Wood Maple fingerboard
Truss Rod Two way truss and carbon fibre reinforcement
Body Top -
Body Woods White ash and lightweight alder chambered body (as previously described)
Neck Finish Satin neck lacquer
Body Finish Polyester basecoat, Wet look gloss black polyurethane topcoat
Body Stain Solid colour finishes, burst and custom paint jobs
Tuners Schaller bml lite tuners
Bridge Gotoh 203 bridge
Pickups Custom wound P pickup
Electronics Volume and tone
Hardware Black neck hardware, Chrome body hardware, Black scratchplate


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