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First Build: Spalt top P-bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Konquest, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Konquest

    Konquest

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    After a few years of building furniture for people:

    http://lumberjocks.com/Konquest/projects

    and accumulating tools, I decided to venture into luthierie. I figured for my first build I would do a P-bass since plans were readily available, and the large pickguard is forgiving of any "slip ups". Additionally, my main bass is a Modulus Q5, so I figured I would make something that was completely different from a tonal and aesthetic perspective.

    Figured I would start posting here as this site has been an indispensible source of information as well as inspiration. I started with some 8/4 ash and cut the body on the bandsaw:
  2. Konquest

    Konquest

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    Since the body was way too heavy, I swiss cheesed it up on the drill press. Then I resawed a nice piece of spalted maple from my stash...as a custom furniture builder and wood-hound who lives right by a sawmill, I am spoiled in this regard vs. ordering a $90 drop top and having it show up warped.
  3. Konquest

    Konquest

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    I wanted to offset the top and make for a cool transition on the forearm countour, ala the "LEJ" basses from Brian Barrett, so I ordered a few sheets of the thicker black fiber veneer, as recommended on this site, from a place called "R. Cefalu", which was cheaper than LMII. Here are some pics that are before and after I flush-trimmed the top to the body. FYI I bought a KILLER new bit for that purpose (and many others)...it's a Freud 1/2" diameter 2" shear cutting flush trim bit. I cut my finger taking it out of the packaging. That's how I know it's good.
  4. Konquest

    Konquest

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    Derp. Here is the next photo:
  5. roberthabraken

    roberthabraken

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    Cool! The top and shape look good, as a perfectionist I can't follow your cavity shape approach, but it's hidden from now onwards anyway.. what weight did you save with this action?
  6. jmorbita

    jmorbita

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    Nice spalt!
  7. Konquest

    Konquest

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    Not enough I'm afraid...the body is well over 6 lbs! However, I still have forearm and belly contours, rounding over the edges, and neck and control cavities, so hopefully that takes it to a comfortable weight. Obviously a big difference is the heavy ash that I used here vs. the "swamp" ash that must be much lighter...
  8. Konquest

    Konquest

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    When I go through the bin of spalted maple at the sawmill, the main thing I look for is that the black line patterns go all the way through, otherwise you don't get the same bookmatch. The problem is that spalted wood is essentially rotten, so the boards that do have the spalt lines all the way through are often punky...very hard to find usable spalted lumber.
  9. roberthabraken

    roberthabraken

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    Yeah Ash can vary quite a lot. Although I've heard that regular ash and swamp ash can have the same weight. Usually it is lighter indeed and I may have found a very light piece myself.
  10. Konquest

    Konquest

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    Routed the roundover. Parts arrived today: Hipshot vintage bridge, SD SPB2 pickup, 3 ply pickguard, knobs, chrome cover, etc. I made a little mock-up of what it'll look like. What do you all think I should go with for a neck (I will be purchasing a neck for my first build from Warmoth). I am thinking a jazz neck, maple with black blocks, but if someone has another suggestion, feel free!
  11. Beej

    Beej

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    Never heard of R. Cefalu and I'm always looking for alternate suppliers to the big dogs, but I could not find this one. Could it be these guys? Seemed to be a likely match when googled... http://www.rctonewoods.com/RCT_Store/

    If this is them, were they good? Sorry about the thread hijack... :)
  12. Konquest

    Konquest

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    That's the one.
  13. Konquest

    Konquest

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    I carved the belly and forearm contours in the last couple days. Until I buy the neck this is probably where I will be for a little while. I really like the look of the fiber veneer accent line...
  14. Triad

    Triad Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Bass Builder
    Very nice! :)
  15. Konquest

    Konquest

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    Pickup and control cavities routed out:
  16. Konquest

    Konquest

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    Here are some pictures of the neck that I ordered for this bass: it is a birdseye maple with black blocks jazz neck. I had it finished by Warmoth with the satin finish, which I prefer to a glossy film finish.
  17. Konquest

    Konquest

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    When I went to start making passes to rout out the neck pocket, the template slipped a little. I have always believed an adage that "all woodworkers make mistakes, but the good woodworkers make their mistakes invisible". So I glued a couple strips of matching wood into the halfway completed pocket and re-did it. Everything seems to be covered by the pickguard but there is a gap on the treble side of the neck pocket that I may plug up with a little filler purely for aesthetic reasons.
  18. Konquest

    Konquest

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    One of the things about the Warmoth necks is that they have a fretboard extension that hangs over the top of the instrument. I had to perform a little surgery on the pickguard to get it to fit, but crept up on it with the spindle sander to ensure a nice fit. One note: power sanding a pickguard is about the worst smelling things I have ever smelled. Phew!
  19. Konquest

    Konquest

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    After aligning everything with the string trick, I was finally able to bolt everything together: I don't have photos but the neck attachment is recessed ferrules in lieu of the traditional chrome plate, since I wanted to round over the heel. Now that everything is put together, I strung it up real quick and monkeyed around with it for a few days. Now I have to take it all apart again for the tedious work: polishing frets and a waterslide decal on the neck; sanding, grain filling, lacquer, and sheilding on the body; and of course wiring the pickups and putting everything back together again and setting it up for my style of play! I will try to post regularly during those phases as well since I surely will hit some snags and need the collective wisdom of TB!
  20. roberthabraken

    roberthabraken

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    Are you sure the bridge is centered well? I see quite some extra space next to the E string, opposed to the minimal space next to the G...? (look at the 24th fret)

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