3 Wood Challenge: natural red and white neck thru

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by lbridenstine, Jun 25, 2012.


  1. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    This will be my second build. I was talking to someone a couple weeks ago about a bass I made in my woods class in high school and he asked me to help him make a guitar or bass, so I decided now would be a good time to take another try at a bass for myself too, hopefully with better results this time. I came across this forum while searching for info and I figure I might as well join in on the challenge.

    I've ordered all of the parts I need aside from a truss rod and pickups/wiring kit. I found a lumberyard online that's within a reasonable distance, so I plan on going there soon to pick out some wood.

    I'm planning on using maple, red oak, and white ash. I'm thinking about staining everything except the fretboard with red mahogany stain (maybe sanding it back?), but I'm not completely decided on that yet.

    -Jazz bass
    -4 string
    -Neck thru
    -34" scale
    -24 frets
    -Chrome hardware
    -Maple and red oak for the neck (5 pieces)
    -Maple fretboard, control cavity cover, and faceplate
    -White ash wings with red oak on front and back, hopefully a thin layer of red oak under another thin layer of white ash under the top piece too
    -Red oak block inlays
    -Thinking about using an EMG 35 TW as a single pick up (thoughts on this? I don't know much about pick ups, I'd be potentially using this bass in a post-hardcore band)

    Question: my current bass has a 34" scale and 22 frets and the fretboard is 24 3/4", if I use a 34" scale with 24 frets, how long should the fretboard be?

    Another friend wants to build a bass cab with me when I'm done, so hopefully I'll have a natural wood bass cab to go along with the bass!

    I'll update with plans once I figure out how to use this software and pictures once I get the wood.



    Lisa


    ***If anyone sees me about to do something wrong, please let me know before I do it! All suggestions are welcome too.
     
  2. Big B.

    Big B.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Good to have you Lisa. This is the place to be if you want to learn about building basses (and guitars for that matter). My 34" template reads right at 25 1/2" from nut to the 24th fret. I would start with a board at least an inch longer personally.
     
  3. gitlvr

    gitlvr

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Location:
    No. Va., USA
    Sounds like a cool build. Some advice, if you don't mind?
    Firstly, if you are going to build, it would be a good idea to draw out a full sized plan. This will be invaluable because it will tell you how everything goes together, and answer questions like "How long should my fretboard be?". Not that it's wrong to ask questions. This is definitely the place for that. But it's a lot easier to build well if it's all well planned out on paper first. You can go down to Staples/ Office Max, etc, and for $5-$6 get a roll of what they call "banner paper". It's plain white paper that is used to make banners you see hanging from the ceiling in your local grocery store, etc. There's plenty of paper there to draw out a lot of full scale plans.
    Then go to Stewart MacDonald's site, to their fret calculator

    http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Reference/Calculators/i-fretcalc.html

    and enter your scale length, # of frets, and type of instrument. This will give you the location of each fret, as well as the bridge location. From there, drawing out a full scale plan, using the bridge and other parts for reference, will tell you how long your fretboard needs to be, as well as all the other measurements you'll need( like how wide the board needs to be at nut and heel, etc). YOU WILL KNOW.
    The first time I built a guitar, I built it from my head, not from a plan. It didn't turn out to play or sound bad at all, but it could have been a lot better as far as how it was actually put together. IMHO, it looked like crap. If i had drawn out a full sized plan, it could have looked great as well. That was the most valuable lesson i learned on my first build, and I will never work without a full sized plan again.
    Lots of builders use software to draw out their plans. If you're good with that, by all means use it. Me, I do just fine with good old fashioned paper and pencil, a 35" rule, and a set of good calipers. Doesn't matter how you get there, as long as you get there.
    Please take this advice for what it's worth to you. You asked us that if we saw you about to make a mistake to say something. IMHO, the biggest mistake you could make starting out is to actually not have a true plan. DRAW IT OUT ON PAPER AND MAKE SURE IT'LL WORK FIRST. That's the very best advice I can give you.
    The next best advice I can give is to go here

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/

    That's the Tele Home Depot section of the TDPRI(telecaster forum). Don't let the word tele fool you. There's a huge amount of talented builders building just about anything you can think of. And they love to show you how they do it. If you plan to build, that's the best place you can go to learn. IMHO, there are the equivalent of several college courses on building guitars and basses on that forum alone. Free to anyone willing to spend the time looking. Everything, and I mean everything, you need to know about building electric guitars and basses is there for the taking. You'd be making a mistake not to avail yourself of that knowledge.

    Good luck, and welcome!
     
  4. Big B.

    Big B.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Sage advice there gitlvr. I do work out of my head a lot but I work with wood all day everyday and I'm very good at it. (I dont neccessarily mean instruments just woodworking:)) That being said I still use drawings to solve many problems. One reason I draw is that I suck with computers but another is that full scale drawings let you see the instrument life size and helps spot problems. When I have to build radiused desks and the like at work I almost always start by laying it out (drawing) on my table or sheets of particle board. Really helps catch problems before they happen.

    In the end how you design is not as important as just doing it. I find it interesting how different people design and the execute their ideas. Many folks here make very detailed drawings and renderings and follow them religiously. Some like to use a computer layout and then adapt from there and then some (probably me worst of all:D) are lucky to get a full size drawing and then only use it as a starting point. As a new builder I would suggest leaning towards the former. Having room to play is fun but it always helps to know the rules before you decide to break them.
     
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  6. gitlvr

    gitlvr

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Location:
    No. Va., USA
    I'm sort of in the middle. I draw out a full scale plan, making sure that I have everything i need to build the instrument well. But you won't see me drawing every single fret location onto the neck, for example. I start with the location of the saddle for the D string, and measure the scale length(in this case, 34"). That gives me the nut location. Then i take the measurement from the SM fret calculator for the center of the 12th fret, and mark that location. From the 12th I mark the distance to the last fret, and then add whatever hangover past that fret I want(usually one extra fret distance). That tells me how long I want my fretboard. As long as i've got the location of the nut and the center of the 12th fret, and the string spacing of the bridge, I have everything i need to build the neck, fretboard, etc, as well as lay out pickup location, choose where i want the neck to join the body, etc. . I don't waste my time with stuff I really don't need. I'm gonna lay out the fret locations on the fretboard anyway before slotting. No need to do it twice, lol.
    But i do draw things like the spacing of the nut, the strings themselves(useful for getting the width of the neck at the heel, as well as getting the pickup situated correctly), and the full headstock, with the location of the tuners, to make sure the strings clear each other and the tuners themselves. Anything i need to answer any question i might have regarding the build, but nothing extraneous.
     
  7. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    Thanks for the advice guys! I will definitely be looking through that tele forum and this one a lot before I get into any of the actual woodwork. I can remember a lot of what I did the first time, and I know where I went wrong in some areas (like cutting too close on the sides of the neck! I used a template from a book, but I cut too close to the lines and ended up planing/sanding past the line so the strings hang over the edges), so I'm hoping I can learn from those mistakes and take a lot more time with this one and do more research before actually cutting into it. I'm also planning on getting wide enough pieces of wood for the neck that I can make two out of it if I mess up the first try, but hopefully I can just use it on the next build.

    I started drawing out a design on Corel Painter, but it's not to scale (I might upload that one later for a visual though), so I downloaded draftsight (I found the link in one of these threads a few days ago) and I just started trying to learn how to use that last night, but the paper and pencil method might work better for me. Knowing me, I'll probably end up doing all three. I think I might have some banner paper that I bought a few years ago with intention of painting something, but never used, so I'll look around for that or go buy some if I can't find it. I don't have any calipers, though. Just standard sqaure, ruler, and a little metric one, hopefully they'll get me by? Or would I need a caliper to measure the distance between frets?
     
  8. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
  9. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    I use a Mac and have no idea how to run bootcamp, so I'm not sure if I can use that unfortunately.
     
  10. gitlvr

    gitlvr

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Location:
    No. Va., USA
    If you're going to lay them out by hand, IMHO you do. But there are alternatives. You can go to a few places online that allow you to print your scale out on your computer printer, then either spray glue it to the fretboard and cut the frets, or transfer the positions. I don't know or have any links, but i know they are out there, and many of the builders here and on other forums use them. Do a search on this site or TDPRI and you'll most likely find a link to one or more of them. I don't use this for a lot of reasons, most of which are personal preference. Physically laying out a scale on the fretboard is one of my favorite things to do, and it's a skill i believe is well worth learning. But either method will work just fine.
     
  11. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    I'll have to look that up about printing them out. As long as I can get it lined up straight, I might have to go that route.
     
  12. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    Here's a pretty bad drawing (this is the one I did on Corel Painter) of the basic look of it. I traced a Warwick corvette for the shape, I'll end up changing the headstock somehow later on.

    I didn't intend for this to be pink, but red oak is kinda pinkish/red, so this is probably about as close as I can get for picking a color on painter.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. gitlvr

    gitlvr

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Location:
    No. Va., USA
  14. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    Thanks! I'm hoping it will turn out nice when it comes to actual wood and hardware.
     
  15. rjmsteel

    rjmsteel

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Location:
    Lake County, IL
    Another friend wants to build a bass cab with me when I'm done, so hopefully I'll have a natural wood bass cab to go along with the bass!

    I'll update with plans once I figure out how to use this software and pictures once I get the wood.

    Lisa




    Check out the fEARful DIY cabinets. Plans for DIY cabs from greenboy, (free). These cabinets sound killer & they are Lightweight! Look around here on TB and you'll find threads and links to the plans, or just google fEARful cabinets.
     
  16. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    Ah, thank you for telling me about that! They look awesome and lightweight would be really great (my guitar cab weighs around 100 and my head in its case is like 65 lbs, so it'd be nice to have lighter bass gear). That gave me the idea of adding on a rack case type compartment on the top maybe too.
     
  17. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    I've never encountered one but I've yet to hear a bad thing about fEARfuls.
     
  18. rjmsteel

    rjmsteel

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Location:
    Lake County, IL
     
  19. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    Oh, bummer. Yeah, I wanted it attached. Is the Durotex necessary? We're thinking about doing just natural wood cabs and laquering them or something (we don't have it really figured out yet, just a basic plan of wanting to do it).

    Yeah, I saw a few build photos, I'm still looking around their site and looking at speakerhardware.com for prices of parts.
     
  20. rjmsteel

    rjmsteel

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Location:
    Lake County, IL
    Natural wood is fine. Take a look at khedspeth's 12/6 which has an Eminence 3012LF driver and an 18sound 6" driver loaded in the cab, or Sundogue's 15/6 with custom rack-clasped case sharing colo/wood. Believe me these go Loud!

    The 15" driver is the Eminence 3015LF capable of handling 450w min. by itself. You can also check out the Faital drivers (also from Italy), which are also available as a Neo driver. Just need the correct crossover.
     
  21. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    I just found a picture of khedspeth's, it looks really nice. I'm searching for the other one now.

    So, as far as me not knowing much at all about bass cabs, what do you think would compare to a normal 6x10 or 8x10 cab as far as loudness goes? Keeping in mind that I'd be using it in pretty small "venues" locally, but I'm sure the rest of the band would be turned up pretty loud.

    As far as just looking at the drawing of the different sizes, I'm keeping the 1212/6 in mind (almost considering two, but I don't actually want two) while I'm looking at parts, but this is looking super expensive (as far as the kits go).
     

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