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Über-Groove 32" Primavera/Purpleheart

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by miziomix, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    What can I say... I've got two active threads on TB and I really should not start a new one. But... Keeping three threads up to date is almost as much work as building another bass. But...

    Sharing a build with you guys makes it so much more fun. I can't stand boredom. So, I'm sorry. But you'll have to put up with me yet again.

    This build is special in many ways. The first one is that, for a change, it has been commissioned by a guy who lives not only in the same continent where I live. Not only in the same country. Heck, he lives in the same city! How weird is that!? :D

    In fact, he's the first person who played two of my basses in a non-virtual way. No Skype, no FB, no messenger. Gee... I still can't believe this!

    He's a really cool guy and a very knowledgeable bassist. Talking with him about basses is a pleasure and fun. Oh well, he's got I don't know how many boutique basses (envy is a sin, Maurizio).

    And he will be able to drop by from time to time to check the progress. That is also kinda new to me. I'll have to clean up more often.

    Another new feature is that this bass doesn't have a top. It has a back laminate instead. And it's a 32" scale. And it has a pick guard.

    So, without further ado, let's look into the specs.

    Über-Groove 4 strings. 32" scale

    Primavera body.

    Purpleheart back mid laminate. Some of you might remember that I did this first on the Ü-Jay Mark 2 and then on the Ü-Jay Ragnarök.

    Curly Maple neck. Three piece laminate.
    Carbon fiber reinforcement spars.
    Gabon Ebony fretboard.
    Custom inlay.
    Matching Primavera headstock veneers - front and back.
    Purpleheart pick guard.
    Evo frets with zero fret.
    2 Nordstrand Big Singles
    5b3b Nordstrand preamp
    Black hardware.

    Here's the dude. His name is Kalahari.



    And here is the wood porn


    The owner wants it to be as light as possible and he likes a thin neck. Not as thin as the Funk Machine but pretty close.

    The build has already started. I will upload progress pictures soon.

    Thank you for reading this. :bassist:

    ps: The goal is to get these three builds to completion at the same time. Before end of June. Crazy uh? Lets see how it goes.
  2. Wil_Couch


    Mar 12, 2013
    Love that primavera. Sign me up!
  3. Yes! I like following Mizio's builds more than any other on here. They're a BIG break from the ol' cookie-cutter builds. Not to mention the craftsmanship.....
  4. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Maurizio is going Uberboard on the builds....LMFAO:eek:

    I just couldn't help myself.....LOL:D

    Looking forward to it Maurizio!
  5. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    You must either be naturally hyperactive or hyperproductive or a caffeine master, Maurizio. Either way, I'm going to follow this one as well! :D
  6. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    Sign me up for another...
  7. Lol!!! subrscribing! :hyper:
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Nice - I like the pickguard idea.

    I'm guessing there's a story behind the angled flat in the outside envelope, down by the knobs?
  9. metallutca


    Dec 18, 2004
    Sub'd! :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:
  10. Splods


    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    Hate to be a critic, but the lower horn is very far back from the upper. Looks a bit off to me.
  11. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Thank you everyone. Glad to find you here guys!

    Hey JC... I know right? It's like Stealth says "hyperactive AND hyperproductive AND a caffeine master" .... It's actually a pain LOL

    That is a bit exaggerated in the sketches - especially in the one with the back view. It's like on the other Ü-G, the one with graphite neck.


    There's not much of a story behind it. But there are a few reasons.

    I like to feel with my fingers where the jack is and that slight change in the profile helps.

    A more radical solution to that, which is also protecting the jack, is shown in the picture below.


    I've done that on the first prototypes and a few other basses, like the one above. But I now offer it only as optional (it's a pain to get the finish smooth in those tight corners...) and it is not part of this bass specs.

    Finally, a flat profile makes the jack sit better and tighter than it would on a curved one and the angle shortens the gap between profile and cavity.

    As a by-product of all the above, it breaks the continuity of the profile which I personally like.

    It does look a bit much, true. I sketched the bass free hand, without a template so it's bound to be imprecise. I'll upload pictures of the actual body soon. Maybe it will look less extreme.

    Anyway, the idea is indeed to go a bit extreme in the horns placement. The upper horn is very slightly longer than usual. The lower one is placed clear of the 24th fret. This is a design that I plan to use with 24 frets boards and above as well as with ERB. In this position playing the 24th fret is very comfortable. Hopefully it also contributes to an overall classic-with-an-edge kinda look, which is what I constantly try to achieve.

  12. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Most of the hardware on this bass will be black plated brass. That's a bit on the heavy side. But this bass will be so light that adding a few gr. should help keeping it firmly anchored on the owner's shoulder ;)



    I've had two Purpleheart sets for quite a few years. I knew I wasn't going to use them as tops. Back perhaps. The thing with Purpleheart is that the colour is terrific. But the grain isn't much to write home about and if (or when) the colour darkens to quasi-brown there will not be much left to look at.

    So a mid laminate like on this build (I have yet to find a better name for this thing I do LOL) is to me the perfect solution. I do feel a bit guilty at hiding so much of it. But the overall look is what matter and something's got to give.

    First, I had to find a way to make the most of it. That meant tracing the outline of all parts - top, veneer and pick guard.


    Not too long ago I tried this way of gluing a top. I liked it and have used it ever since. Maybe you do the same? If not, it's worth trying. You need bike tire rubber and tie them to length of wood just a few inches longer than your standard top width. Mine is 14".


    Glue the two sides as you normally would. I clamp them at the two ends. You're better off using a scrap of acrylic instead of wood. Wood will end up glued to the top. It'll come off easily if you knock it off sideways with a hammer. But why take a chance? ;)


    Then place the stick at the back of the top and pull the rubber around it, wrapping it as shown in the picture. It doesn't have to be too tight. Just hand tight will do.

    I start with one end and then do the opposite one. Then one in the center and finally two more to fill the gap.


    And here is the final result. Sanded and cut. Sanded first ;)


    Thank you for following this build :bassist:
  13. metallutca


    Dec 18, 2004
    Wasting wood is a sin :D
  14. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    That's what my mentor says..... :eyebrow:

    Sawing the back laminate off the body was quite a pain because it's one piece and I wanted to keep it that way. Usually I do this before gluing the body halves. That's just about the maximum cutting length of the blade. One piece body is way beyond that.

    I saw as much as possible on the table saw and by hand the central area that the blade couldn't reach. :rollno: Thankfully the body is Primavera and not Purpleheart.

    Here's the combo. Primavera body, Purpleheart mid laminate and Primavera back laminate.


    The end result will be as shown in the picture below.


    And here's a detail of the Primavera grain. It's a lovely wood. Light, easy to saw/sand and I love the colour. That little darker yellow patch shows pretty much how it's going to look once lacquered.

    I acquired a large board long ago and have one more body blank left. Not sure when and if I will have the heart to use it :eyebrow::D


    Till next time

  15. Sub'd!
    I like the wooden pickguard. What kind of wood is Primavera?
  16. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
  17. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Thank you Matteo.

    Like HammerHed says, Primavera is a tree from Latin America. Some call it White or Blonde Mahogany. This is probably due to the fact that it shares some similarities with Mahogany, even though it is not from the same family. It's as easy to saw, sand, route in spite of the fact that it can have interlocking grain. It's medium weight, somewhat similar to African Mahogany. At the least the billets I have of both woods are - AM being the lighter one. It's usually yellowish. I have seen some pale yellow billets and some much darker. The one I'm using is fairly dark.

    What else.... It doesn't smell when sanded. I wish all woods smelled like Olivewood and Camphor Burl. But this one doesn't.

    I come across a billet or two from time to time. They don't always look great to me. But some are just gorgeous.

    IMO, it's one of those woods that has the chromatic qualities to keep your combo visually well balanced while adding a unique flavor to it. And it's a refreshing change from the usual Ash and Mahogany ;)

    There. I got carried away as usual. :D
  18. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    deviated prevert
    Btw, I love the "mid laminate" thing, it's a good look and distinctive enough to be a hallmark of your work. Particularly like how the mid line helps define a second body shape within, and the through-grain of the re-attached back unifies the overall grain of the whole.
    Also digging that primavera, I've never seen it before.

    Definitely watching this.

  19. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Thank you. I'm glad you like the mid laminate. As you say, the initial intention was to define a second body shape within. Back then I didn't like the fact that, after working so hard on deep contours they were not that visible. So I did this:


    It wouldn't have been much different from the classic top and back laminates with accent lines had I not, quite serendipitously, decided to use the same wood as back laminate instead of a contrasting one and match the grain. Ironically, I was never a big fan of back laminates, even though sometimes a build really screams for it. Then I end up not only adding one, but also hiding it in the middle.

    It's a lot of work and it's costly - the black mid laminate in the earlier picture is a 3mm thick Asian Ebony.
    My mentor never fails to remind me that good wood should be used well. But then, later on, he also whispers that it looks good ;)

    I am glad every time I can do it and the fact that you could see all that is great!

    That was a long winded way to say that you made my day. Thank you!

  20. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Some progress pictures.

    This week I have dedicated more time to this build in a bid to get it up to speed with the other ones.

    Actually I am already at a fairly advanced stage. The body is almost done... the drilling, routing.... I will start shaping the neck next week. Regretfully, I had no time for updates and there are far too many pictures and little details to share. So this thread might take a little longer than the build itself.


    One last minute addition to the specs is a purple veneer for accent lines. That's mostly for the neck. It will be used between the three Maple laminates and under the Primavera matching veneer on the headstock face.


    This is how I glue the veneers. Each side gets glued and clamped to the Maple for about 10 minutes. The veneer must be clamped under a thick enough acrylic strip to press down the veneer evenly. As much as it sounds obvious I shall say it just the same - don't use wood.


    After 10 minutes you can unclamp them and quickly glue the two sides to the center laminate. You might just have the time for a TB picture. There.


    The neck is a bit different from my usual necks. For a change this one doesn't have a tapered hardwood center laminate. The owner was very keen on having a fully white neck.

    This goes well with the combo actually. I didn't see any reason to make a tapered center laminate with the same wood. IMO it defeats the very purpose of having a tapered laminates. So this time around we'll go straight. I don't mind. It makes my life easier as far as sawing the parts and routing the channels goes. I'll take that, for a change.

    It looks pretty good and quite understated - we'll take care of that soon enough ;)


    A very very stiff neck always tops my list of ideal specs, hence the ubiquitous extra hard center lam. Since this neck doesn't have one - albeit Maple is not exactly soft - it will have reinforcement CF spars instead. A 7mm thick Ebony fingerboard will seal the deal. This neck will be fairly thin - somewhere around 20.5mm at 1rst fret and 21.5mm at 17th fret.


    Till next time


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