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Cocobolo v.s. string wear + other questions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by atomiclab, Jan 4, 2014.


  1. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    I am trying to plan my first build. a fretless with a cocobolo finger board. I have several specific questions.

    #1. are roundwounds too damaging to a fretless finger board made of cocobolo. I have a very nice piece that has a nice high pitched long sustaining ring when struck.

    #2 Should I do a zero fret on my fretless?

    #3 what is the minimum thickness for the body? (it will be neck though) what is a common thickness for a body?

    #4 do I need 2 truss rods for a 6 string, or will one due? I plan on using 2 carbon fiber reinforcement rods. and the neck will be a 5 piece lamination of 3 pieces of Jatoba and 2 pieces of Padouk
    Any recommendations on body/ top woods to compliment these woods I already have?
     
  2. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Cocobolo is a very hard rosewood so I wouldn't be afraid of using rounds. Do not use a zero fret on a fretless bass. Generally bodies are 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" but that also depends on the wood you are using. You can get away with something thinner if you are using a real heavy hardwood like maple. One truss rod and 2 carbon rods should be sufficient. You might want to try a mahogany body with a real nice exotic cap like spalted maple or other highly figured wood.
     
  3. stevetx19

    stevetx19

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Location:
    Denton, Texas
    +1 I think mahogany with a spalt maple top and cocobolo FB is a wonderful combo, will look really good.
     
  4. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Location:
    Swindon
    If you go for a thick piece of cocobolo for your fingerboard and rack up the bridge saddles to compensate, there's lots of room for future finderboard re-profiles.
    Most truss rods are strong enough to compensate 6 string tensions. I've build a 7 string headless some years back and it's really stable. A single 2 way truss rod and a pair of graphite rods. If you use a laminate neck (multi strips of wood) then the neck will be a lot stronger and a lot more stable. Purple heart is particularly strong and stable as is maple.
    I like zero frets...but that's just me...I also like volutes too but I'm weird like that.
    Body thickness and size, it's really up to you. But weight is something to be considered too. Swamp ash is great for low weight....but many exotics are very heavy and should be used sparingly. I have an ovankol 1/4" top on an swamp ash 1 3/8" body and the ovankol is heavier than the ash! I designed a wenge body bass once...it was so heavy I decided to chamber it!
     
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  6. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    I also like volutes, and plan to use one.
    so I shouldn't worry about string type?
    So, I have one thumbs up on a zero fret and one thumbs down.
    I will be cutting fret lines and using a bloodwood veneer for the fret lines.

    my question about body thickness is really more specific to how much is required for the controls and the pickup ( im thinking of doing a single mag pup and a piezo pickup under all wooden bridge.
     
  7. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    I wouldn't do less than a 32mm (1.25") thick body.

    Swamp ash is great if you can find it, but without buying in person it's hard to be sure you'r getting light southern ash and not heavy northern ash.

    Honduran mahogany is light...pretty much always. And it looks fantastic. Also, there is no better behaved wood than mahogany in terms of workability. It sands, cuts, and machines with ease.

    As for a top...I am partial to using a tight curled maple with cocobolo. I think it sets off the color and patterns of coco quite nicely.

    I'd do a maple drop top (.25" thick) with a walnut or wenge accent layer (maybe 1mm to 1.5mm thick), with a maple veneer layer (0.6mm thick) under that, and then a mahogany back.

    A zero fret would be wasted on a fretless bass.

    If you're worried about excess wear on the coco fingerboard from roundwound strings, you could coat the board with CA or epoxy to provide an extra wear layer. I think it'll be fine though. It may require occasional sanding and polishing to remove scratches (every few years or so), but it won't be substantial.
     
  8. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013

    sounds good.
    wow, 1.25" thick body thats pretty thin. Is that easily do-able?
     
  9. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    mahogany body with with maple top sounds good. maybe a spalted figure.
    but im not quite there yet. I still haven't decided on body shape yet either. I have some drawings. nothing final yet
     
  10. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    I don't know about easy, but it's doable.

    Ken Smith basses are pretty thin:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Do you know how thin that Smith bass body is?
     
  12. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    1 1/4 would be pretty easy if doing a neck through. If doing a bolt on it wouldn't give you enough meat in the neck pocket.
     
  13. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    it will be a neck through 5 piece lamination of 3 pieces of Jatoba and 2 pieces of Padauk.
    I think I want to do a top that does not show the neck from the top side.
     
  14. Matteo Marziali

    Matteo Marziali

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Location:
    Florence Italy
    CT basses are 1 1/8, this is the reason they need "football" for the jack
     
  15. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Sutton, MA
    I have a cocobolo fb on my Roscoe. I love it. I love the look of it and I love the tone I get from that bass.

    I inquired about getting a fretless bass done with a cocobolo fb and was advised against it. The wood tends to be very oily and you can develop an allergic reaction to it. Do some research on it before making a final decision.
     
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    I am highly sensitive to cocobolo, but only when cutting/or sanding it. Its the dust that is bad, there isn't much to worry about just from touching it.
     
  17. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Sutton, MA
    That's good to know. I think it's a very beautiful wood.
     
  18. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    1 1/8" thats impressive.
    what exactly do you mean by CT basses need football for the jack?
     
  19. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    Me too, I will still use it, I just take the necessary actions to keep it from affecting me. I have a full face respirator, and tyvek suites.
     
  20. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    a pic of my cocobolo for the finger board

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
  21. atomiclab

    atomiclab

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    one of the pieces of paduauk for the neck in the background
     

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