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Experimental 5-string build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ctmullins, Sep 6, 2010.


  1. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    Here's another one, more or less concurrent with my 8-string build. This one is an "experimental" build, as it's something that I'm not exactly sure about, but, well, you never know until you try, right?

    Specs:

    Ash/purpleheart body
    3-piece maple bolt-on neck with ash/purpleheart headstock
    Pau Ferro fingerboard, 22/24 frets
    34" scale 5-string, 46mm at nut, 17mm spacing at bridge
    Electronics to be disclosed pending successful testing

    It started with an ash/purpleheart body blank that I scored from eBay for a song. It's two wide sections of ash, with a purpleheart stripe down the center, and two sections of purpleheart on the top and bottom. I bought it not exactly knowing what I would do with it, but it was too cheap to pass up.

    The stark contrast between the ash and the purpleheart finally began to suggest to me that I should pursue something of a rectangular body shape. So many people build organic bodies, and I certainly like them a lot, but for whatever reason I didn't think that the racing stripes would gel too well with a curvy shape.

    So I started with my own interpretation of the Steinberger Spirit shape, with some Kubicki thrown in as well:

    [​IMG]

    The neck started out as a single quartersawn piece of rock maple, with a nice large rectangle of purpleheart grafted on as the headstock. But I muffed up the truss rod route (bit slipped), so I ripped the center section out and grafted a new one in. This time I used some of the offcut of the body for the headstock.

    In keeping with the rectangular theme, I trimmed the end of the fingerboard to have 24 frets for the top three strings, and 22 for the bottom two:

    [​IMG]

    Likewise the headstock shape:

    [​IMG]

    The tuners are Grover wavy Titans, scored here and completely cool! There is just barely room on the headstock for them:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next steps for this one are radiusing the fingerboard, inlaying and fretting, and shaping the neck.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  2. Bass-Adrenaline

    Bass-Adrenaline

    Jan 23, 2010
    I like it a lot so far, keep it up!
     
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  4. LGT

    LGT

    Feb 9, 2010
    North Carolina
    This is whacky!
     
  5. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I am surprised to find that I like it a lot. I think it would look cool if you cut the neck pocket to match the square cutout of the fingerboard. And unless it is uncomfortable I think you should leave the neck square on the back. It looks great as it is.
     
  6. Shifty eyes

    Shifty eyes

    May 1, 2010
    bahaha whacky build subbed
     
  7. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE AND ADORE THIS... different without being "wacky" interesting take on aesthetics but with respect paid to functionality- this is the first build ive got excited about in ages! (hence the nerdy font-wankery!)
     
  8. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    Thanks all!!

    Haven't had much time to work on this, but hopefully this weekend...
     
  9. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Certainly unusual, and I like the general body shape and the laminating materials.

    Why a 22/24-fret fretboard, though?
     
  10. Spas

    Spas

    Jul 19, 2010
    Finland, Turku
    Subscribed. I like the look of things already! :)
     
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    Just 'cause. If I ever find myself up around the 24th fret (which so far has been never), I'm sure it'll be on the treble strings.
     
  12. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    ........and we're back.

    The original plan, about a year ago, was to make an 8-string (completed, or very nearly so), a 5-string fretted, and a 5-string fretless, all for my own personal use. This one was originally planned to be the fretted 5, but that's changed now. This one is now officially a fretless.

    So, since the fingerboard was already purchased slotted from LMII, I needed to fill the fret slots with some mahogany veneer I already had lying around.

    [​IMG]

    Then, after trimming and sanding the veneer, it was time for inlay. I've been mulling over my inlay options for a loooooong time, but finally decided with this plan. I love paua abalone, and these are 2.5mm strips of paua from LMII, inlaid into strategic "fret" locations. First the routing was done with my Dremel.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then the strips were laid in their channels, slathered with JB Weld.

    [​IMG]

    After curing for more than a day, the excess was sanded off - I radiused the fingerboard to 20" at this point as well.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Did I mention I love paua abalone? :)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  13. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Disclosures:
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Wow... that's a lotta markers, down there at the end of the fingerboard... :)
     
  14. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    Yeah... I had planned on putting them at every other position. But when I made my first cut, I looked down and discovered that I had made it at the 22nd fret... Doh!
     
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    This is going to be an awesome instrument
     
  16. Thumpin_P

    Thumpin_P

    Nov 26, 2006
    Limestone, TN
    Very cool, sir! Anxious to see this take shape. Subbed!
     
  17. TapyTap

    TapyTap

    Apr 26, 2005
    [​IMG]

    ...highest form of flattery. ;)
     
  18. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    Oh wow - I swear I've never seen that before. I guess there's nothing new under the sun, huh?
     
  19. I love that fingerboard!
     
  20. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    Thanks for all the kind words, folks!

    My best neck pocket ever, by far - a nice, tight press fit!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  21. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    Routed a recess for the bridge...

    [​IMG]

    ...which is that marvel of modern engineering known as the Kahler 7450!

    [​IMG]

    Still have some cleaning up to do along the edges of the route...
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014



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