Hi folks. Iíve been reading this corner of TalkBass over for the past week or so and, while I found a lot of very helpful information, Iíve got some questions. Iím planning out my first bass build and I wanted to run it past some of you more seasoned luthiers before I pull the trigger.
Before I get into my questions I'll explain the project. Iím planning on both a 4 and 5 string fretless bass (4 string first and if all seems good onto the 5 string). Neck-through, multi-laminated, steel reinforced, neck with a 34-36 inch Ebony fretboard. Iíve got small hands so the neck is going to have to be very thin (as in a 5string Ibanez pushes my hand to itís limits and maybe slightly beyond). Body will be Walnut with laminated strips of something else (probably purpleheart but itís mostly cosmetic so Iíll decide that later). Probably gonna custom design the pickups and/or pre-amp. If I end up buying some pickups I was thinking 2 EMGs would probably work best. Either active or duel. Pre-amps...well I donít have much experience with them so Iím not sure what Iíd choose if I end up buying them.
So, question number one: Ebony fretboard. I chose that because I want fretless basses that will survive without the wood getting gouged out too quickly. Frankly I could have way more fun with artistic design if I used more a more colorful wood or even a combination of woods. Everything Iíve read suggests that Ebony is far and beyond the strongest for a fretless fretboard. So the question is, are there any other woods that are just as tough or better than Ebony (and please, woods only. Iím a woodworker and Iíve little interest in branching out into other materials unless absolutely necessary).
Question B: Walnut body. Will laminating the body cause a loss/distortion in the sound of the bass? As in, do I need to find the biggest pieces of Walnut I can or will shorter pieces laminated together work just as well?
Question the third: Truss rods. I was thinking that with steel supports running through the neck and the fact that it is fretless I probably wouldnít need a truss rod. Is this a valid though or am I showing just how much of an armature bassist I truly am?
Last question: Pickups/pre-amp. If my friend bails on me about the custom pickups and pre-amp how does the EMGs sound? Maybe suggestions on a good quality pre-amp? Iím hoping to end up with a bass that will be able to produce something like the sound on this video (although in a perfect world itíll be able to handle an entire range of sounds for me) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1XaVcj_4k0
So, if anybody has thoughts or suggestions le me know. Once Iíve got the specifics on the requirements for this build Iíll start on the cosmetic designs. Iíll keep you all up-to-date on the progress.
P.S. Sorry for the long winded post.