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Experimental 5-string build

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

  1. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    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.
  2. Bass-Adrenaline

    Bass-Adrenaline

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    I like it a lot so far, keep it up!
  3. LGT

    LGT

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    This is whacky!
  4. Big B.

    Big B.

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    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.
  5. Shifty eyes

    Shifty eyes

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    bahaha whacky build subbed
  6. THIRSTYGUMS

    THIRSTYGUMS

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    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!)
  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    Thanks all!!

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

    Stealth Supporting Member

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    Certainly unusual, and I like the general body shape and the laminating materials.

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

    Spas

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    Subscribed. I like the look of things already! :)
  10. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    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.
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    ........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? :)
  12. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Gold Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Wow... that's a lotta markers, down there at the end of the fingerboard... :)
  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    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!
  14. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    This is going to be an awesome instrument
  15. Thumpin_P

    Thumpin_P

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    Very cool, sir! Anxious to see this take shape. Subbed!
  16. TapyTap

    TapyTap

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    [​IMG]

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

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    Oh wow - I swear I've never seen that before. I guess there's nothing new under the sun, huh?
  18. jmorbita

    jmorbita

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    I love that fingerboard!
  19. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the kind words, folks!

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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  20. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    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...

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