Birdseye Jazz in progress

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Konquest, Feb 11, 2013.


  1. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I am in between furniture projects, and am at a bit of a standstill building my first bass:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/first-build-spalt-top-p-bass-940920/

    until my tax return comes in, so I decided to crank out another body in the meantime. When completed, the specs will be as follows:

    -Fretless Jazz style
    -chambered ash body, birdseye top with accent veneer
    -Grain enhancing dye job on the top (Dark brown sanded off on the top, then a caramel colored dye over the whole bass).
    -Pickguard either tort or clear plexi
    -Birdseye maple neck, fretless with lines pau ferro board (Warmoth)
    -Bartolini pickups
    -Either passive or Audere JZ3
    -Chrome Hipshot tuners and bridge

    Any thoughts or suggestions on the above specs would be appreciated, particularly on the tone wood combinations, electronics, hardware, pickups/preamp side of things... I am new to lutherie (but not to woodworking or playing bass), so I am trying to keep things manageable (proven fender-style designs and parts) for my first couple builds.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, north Texas
    Disclosures:
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    That's amazing. I love birdseye, and I love the layer of dark veneer. I'd kill to be able to find tops like you have.
     
  3. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I am spoiled in that I live within 45 min. driving distance of two outstanding sawmills. Most of their clientele is there for large slabs for Nakashima style furniture or rough lumber for cabinetry jobs. The real gems are the boards in the short bins with amazing figure, and you really only need a 7x21" approximate board and a bandsaw with the appropriate setup for resawing.

    I build contemporary furniture that uses a lot of figured woods, and now that I have made a few bass bodies, I start looking at my lumber stash quite differently in terms of envisioning guitar tops. For example, here are a few panels that were used in custom casework that would have made wonderful top laminates (pisses me off in retrospect):
     
  4. mikebpeters

    mikebpeters

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Location:
    NS, Canada
    I have to admit I thought I was looking at my own post for a moment when I looked at this ;)

    Here is a pic of a bass build that I have left stagnating for far too long. You might notice a bit of a resemblance!
     

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  6. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Haha...uncanny resemblance!
     
  7. TN WOODMAN

    TN WOODMAN

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Location:
    Smyrna, Tennessee.
    Suggestions?

    1.) Clear plexi pickguard to allow all the beauty of the top to show.
    2.) Personally like the John East Retro J preamp on my active fretless.
    3.) Not a big fan of Barts. Thinking of trying Joe Barden pickups in p and j builds I'm dreaming up. Love the Barden guitar pickups, expect good things with the bass as well.

    Keep us posted-you're off to a great start.
     
  8. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I am definitely not married to any one partcular pickup/electronics setup, but unless they go on sale for about 50% off, I don't think I'll be putting a J-Retro or Barden Pickups in this bad boy. Those two items alone would be the entire budget of the bass!
     
  9. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Been a long time since I updated, but at this point the bass is hanging up after 16 coats of lacquer. Here are the progress shots and I'll be updating in probably early October when it's polished and assembled...

    I went with a neck from Warmoth: Macassar Ebony fb/cream dots, with a curly maple neck in the vintage gloss lacquer. In the picture I had to glue a little sliver of the maple in to tighten the gap alongside the shorter horn...

    Also, I went with a hipshot "A" aluminum bridge in chrome.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I went with counterbored screws with the ferrules instead of a neck plate to attach the neck. I like the look and being able to have a comfortable roundover on the neck heel.

    Also, I used the stewmac template to do a rear-mounted cavity for the electronics, so as not to obscure the birdseye top with a control plate/pickguard.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I cut a control cover from the same birdseye as the top. This will look nice against the ash body when everything is dyed, lacquered, and fit together.

    For tuning machines I used the chrome hipshot ultra light tuners and a chrome string retainer. These are lined up and installed, then taken off to adhere a waterslide decal with my logo and lacquer over it...
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Now the fun really begins:
    I chose pickups and went with the Nordstrand Big Splits. These are going to be wired passive VVT. After routing for the pickups, pots, and side jack, I had a decision to make re: color and ultimately went with a orange/amber burst finish with general finishes water-based dye stains. There are a number of tutorials on this process on youtube. I feathered the orange and amber dyes together with rags. The first picture is after the dye process, the second is with about 6 coats of lacquer on it. I have been spraying about 3-4 coats a day of the Behlen stringed instrument lacquer and I am proud of how it's turned out so far...
     

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  13. JellinWellen

    JellinWellen

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    That color, DROOL. If fender would offer that color stock they would sell so many more basses than they already are.
     
  14. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thanks. I was going for the Lakland "cherry burst" look...
     
  15. djtecknick

    djtecknick

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    from my birdseye experience, most pieces that I cut into smell awful. I don't know why, but it just does. Bocote on the other hand smells like dill pickles, which is quite nice. build looks awesome so far! Keep going :D
     
  16. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Well, they used to offer it. Mine:
    [​IMG]

    Looks great!
     
  17. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Hard maple can burn if a blade has pitch residue, is dull, or if the fence is microscopically out of parallel, and yeah, it smells. The worst smelling wood I ever worked with was makore...
     
  18. Dean N

    Dean N

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Outstanding dye job! Did you notice any difference in dye absorption/behavior on the endgrain of either the BEM or the ash? Did you do any specific prep work to address it?
     
  19. Konquest

    Konquest

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Other than pre-raising the grain and sanding, no extra prep. I went back over it with the orange a second time to really saturate the end grain areas.
     

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