A few weeks ago, an American Air Force serviceman named Ross contacted me to have a new body built for his Ibanez SR-506. He really likes the 506's neck, pickups, and electronics, but isn't all that stoked about the boring wood selection on the body. It's just a brown-finished African Mahogany (Khaya Ivorensis), while the neck is Jatoba and Bubinga with a rosewood fingerboard.
So what he wants is a new body shaped exactly like the old, but with more interesting wood. Specifically, he wants a wild Cocobolo top with a maple veneer layer underneath the Cocobolo. Then he wants a 1/8" thick wenge layer under the maple. Then he wants the rest of the body back to be Ash.
To complement the new body, he also wants a new Cocobolo headplate on the neck, and coco/wenge/maple pickup covers for the Bartolini Mk-I pickups.
Right. So first he shipped the bass to me. Ironically enough, the old body was damaged in shipping. It looks like UPS dropped a truck on it. The box was mangled and ripped. Most of the packing peanuts had spilled out. And when it arrived at my porch, the bass's body was visible through the box. The control area was crushed and caved in. Fortunately, the neck remained in tact and was completely undamaged.
First task was to get the bass disassembled, traced, and digitized. After that was done, Ross and I agreed that we should bring the lower cutout in a bit, to give better access to the 24th fret. I brought that line in by about 3/4". Of course, that change made the body look poorly balanced, so I had to tweak the upper strap horn. After a bit of tweaking and talking with Ross, this is what we agreed on:
Without the original body outline for comparison, it's pretty difficult to tell what was changed. So here's that.
Not a big change, but enough to make it look right.
Please note that the neck heel will not actually look like that. It will change based on the neck's actual attachment. That'll become clear later.
Anyway, so I found a truly astounding piece of Mexican Cocobolo.
Yowser. I also got a couple of Cocobolo headplates with matching colors with which to make pickup covers and...the headplate. Here's the pickup cover design.
The center will be Cocobolo, with maple veneer and wenge "walls".
I also got some really nice, lightweight Ash.
We decided that the sine-wave-ish look of the ash with the treble side reversed looked cooler than the alternative, so we went with that. If it looks backward, it's because you're looking at the back. The top will be covered with Cocobolo, so the most exaggerated grain is oriented toward the back.
I'm hoping to get this back to him in time for Christmas.