First Build - FJ Special ( Fanned Fret Content)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Cougmeister, Jan 31, 2013.


  1. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    This is my first thread over here in the luthier's corner, but I've been a lurker here ever since joining TB.

    This build is really a conversion, but it centers around a custom neck and bridge, both drop-in replacements.

    Some background on the build - ever since joining here, I've had GAS really bad for a dingwall bass. I'm a college student and a new father, so my budget doesn't have room for boutique basses. One of my main basses, a MIM Fender Deluxe Jazz V, has left me wishing for more when it came to the B string. After searching of ways to improve it, I never came up with an effective way to get the sound I was after. Then it hit me - why not convert my Jazz into a fanned fret bass?

    I began to talk to Geoff St. Germaine, and we have since come up with some rough specs for the neck. To really make this conversion effective though, I needed to come up with a new bridge.

    I'm currently a Machine Tool Technology major, so I have experience in metalworking and have access to the machines to make my own bridge.

    So now the adventure begins. Geoff will be sending me neck plans this weekend and I am in the process of designing the new bridge.

    Neck specs:

    Maple neck
    Indian rosewood fretboard
    Standard size fretwire
    Fanned frets - 37"-34" scales
    3 + 2 Fender style headstock
    Dual action trussrod
    Corian nut
    Gloss Nitrocellulose finish
    Pau abalone front and side dots - Dingwall style
    12" radius fretboard
    C neck profile, 0.75" 1st fret, 0.875" 12th fret
    1 7/8" nut
  2. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Neck Specs added to OP.
  3. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Here's the first bridge design. I have to say that this is my least favorite, as it leaves screw holes exposed and the bridge is only held on with two screws.

    Attached Files:

  4. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Here's number two. This one only leaves one screw hole exposed, which is more bearable.

    Attached Files:

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  6. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Here's the last one. It covers all of the holes and would probably be the most stable.

    So what do you guys think, 1, 2, or 3?

    Attached Files:

  7. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2001
    Location:
    Dartmouth, Canada
    I think aesthetically the first bridge is best, but obviously leaves the screw holes from the original bridge visible. I don't think there's much of a stability issue between the 3 as two wood screws have plenty of holding power.

    Once I get everything laid out we can see exactly the foortprint that the bridge will need to cover in order to hide all of the screw holes from the current bridge.
  8. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    That's good to know on the non-issue of stability. I still need to work out a saddle design. I'm looking at doing something similar to the Dingwall saddles, as there are less parts than other monorail bridges.
  9. Sni77

    Sni77

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    Very interesting thread, subscribed! I'm curious as to how this will turn out. What about a bridge with individual saddles? Otherwise I like the look of you design 1 and 3 best.
  10. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Thanks for the input! They will be individual saddles. Each slot on the bridges pictured are for a saddle that has yet to be designed. If you're meaning individual bridge pieces, that isn't possible, because I'm not doing any drilling on the body.
  11. suraj

    suraj

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Location:
    Mumbai, India
    It seems your designing your fanned fret bridge around the existing screw holes of your mim jazz v bass.. With this I have one thing to point out -

    The MIM Jazz V has a bridge with 5 screws, 3 on the back and 2 in the front. It seems that the g string saddle on these basses intonates somewhere between the screw rows. Since the g string on your fanned design will remain unchanged in length, your saddle slot for that string, in your design doesn't seem to have enough room for it to intonate.

    EDIT : Sorry for not reading the entire thread properly, I'm sure Geoff has compensated that length in the neck. I like design number 1. Just put screws in the other tow holes, it'll look fine.
  12. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    It's all good. Yes, I'm using the original screw holes for the bridge. I designed it that way for now because unfortunately that is the furthest back I can get the B string. We're modifying the headstock to gain more fretboard length. Instead of the straight 5 it has now, were looking at a 3+2 setup. Geoff is working on the neck layout this weekend, so a lot of the build will make more sense once I add them.
  13. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Here's a quick update.

    Geoff just sent me the templates for the neck and we are going ahead with the project.

    Here's the heel of the neck. The fretboard will hang over the heel some to allow for the frets to fit.

    1359833703545.jpg

    The new headstock shape. It is Geoff's take on a 3+2 fender headstock.

    1359833858284.jpg
  14. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Here's the full neck. I'm liking it even more every time I look at it!

    1359833944514.jpg
  15. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Neck blank is glued. It will sit and dry while all of the other parts come in.

    1359855157844.jpg
    1359855169774.jpg
  16. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Here's a somewhat final bridge design now that I have measurements from Geoff.

    What material should I use?
    1-Brass
    2-Aluminum
    3-Steel

    Attached Files:

  17. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    After some scrounging, needing to keep this build as low cost as possible, I bought some 3+2 black gotoh style tuners off of a fellow TBer.

    Time for some input - Should I go with an aluminum bridge that won't match the black tuners but will match the control plate, or go with a brass/aluminum brass and paint it gloss black to match the tuners?

    Here's some pictures the bass as it is right now. I may end up getting a new pickguard, but it would be a BWB one.

    Attached Files:

  18. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    Westchester County NY
    Match the control plate - maybe you can swap the tuners out later to match.
  19. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    That thought had crossed my mind. I got these for a steal at 45 shipped, so I will make do.
  20. Sni77

    Sni77

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    +1

    Do you have any estimate to what a total cost will be?
  21. Cougmeister

    Cougmeister

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    He's asked me not to post prices up. You can pm him if you want to for prices.

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