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Experimental 5-string build

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


  1. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    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

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

    LGT

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Location:
    North Carolina
    This is whacky!
     
  4. Big B.

    Big B.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    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.
     
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  6. Shifty eyes

    Shifty eyes

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    bahaha whacky build subbed
     
  7. THIRSTYGUMS

    THIRSTYGUMS

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    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 thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    Thanks all!!

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

    Stealth Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    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

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

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    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 thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    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

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    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 thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    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

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

    Thumpin_P

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

    TapyTap

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    [​IMG]

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

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    Oh wow - I swear I've never seen that before. I guess there's nothing new under the sun, huh?
     
  19. jmorbita

    jmorbita

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    buenos aires, argentina
    I love that fingerboard!
     
  20. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    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 thumper Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    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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