Über-Groove V. Samarkand. Olive wood top. Complete build.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by miziomix, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    I swear, I did not want to start another thread while I'm already working on one. But then I saw the new TB layout and...... my-oh-my!! The much awaited 'UPLOAD FILES' option?? :hyper: Must. Abuse. Now.

    OK. This is one of two basses I recently built for a shop in Singapore. BTW, a great place owned and run buy a super nice guy who's so very competent. He's got to be. He's surrounded by the Who's Who in the bass building world. Yes. Intimidating. Very.

    Check them out on FB - Bassfreq

    So, specs:

    5 strings, 34", 24 frets.

    - Lightly chambered African Mahogany body.
    - Mediterranean Olive wood top. From Cyprus to be exact.
    - Matching headstock plate and fret inlays.
    - Wenge/Ebony/Wenge/Ebony/Wenge neck with accent lines.
    - Wenge headstock back plate.
    - Gabon Ebony board.
    - Evo frets
    - Nordstrand Dual Coil p-ups
    - Nordstrand 3 bands preamp with mfsw

    Weight target. 7lbs

    olive top.jpg IMG_4233_2.jpg

    Those familiar with my builds will recognize the Constellation Chambers ™®©∞. I am often asked why I do this instead of the usual way. Mmm... for one, not doing it the usual way alone is already good enough a reason for me. And it's fun. Fun is a good thing when we work, right? ;)

    IMG_4413_2.jpg IMG_4414_2.jpg

    Here's the first block inlays. It's OK. Kinda getting bored with blocks though. Olive top glued on, rough contour done.


    I'll stop here or the post might become too heavy to load. I will carry on posting pictures until it's done. Or until dinner is ready.

    See ya in a minute.

    ps: the 'upload files' option works very very well indeed :) Thank you TB. I can sleep without Photobucket induced nightmares.
    josiah goldfish likes this.
  2. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    OK.... next round.

    A bit of round over and Ebony cover for the electronics cavity.


    More round over.... Drill all holes before moving on.... Custom recess for the tuners.

    IMG_4906_2.jpg IMG_4907_2.jpg IMG_4897_2.jpg

    There are accent lines in this bass pretty much everywhere there can be one. Under the Olive top is black. Everywhere else, yellow. Under fretboard, between neck laminates, under neck heel plate and headstock back plate.

    IMG_5249_2.jpg IMG_5251_2.jpg

    getting heavy? no prob.

    see ya in a bit


    Attached Files:

  3. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Fret inlays. I suddenly wnated them to be oval. And with a little twist at the 12th fret.
    I am not going to cut oval inlays by hand. It would take me a two days to make them look crap. Laser cut. A few tests to get the right size and proportion among them. I decided to skip the first fret. It serves no purpose, it's almost a circle. It makes the area look too busy with nut and headstock plate.


    I also had the profile of each oval laser inlaid into the board. Ebony is so hard that I could not get them to inlay the whole thing LOL

    I used my Italian Dremel to inlay the ovals. The outline was barely 0.5 mm deep. That's how hard this thing is. As much as it was thin and shallow, it proved very helpful. Cleanest, most sharp inlay I have routed to date.


    Here's the 12th fret.


    And this is the final result, after sanding the excess wood and glue.


    Shaping the neck is a crude business. I route the sides, thickness the center with a safety planer, shape with a Shinty rasp, further shape with 80 and 120 grit canvas and add the final touch with a orbital sander 120 and 240 grit.

    Here's the beast next to the neck of the other bass that I was building er... neck to neck with this one. For the records, the other bass is a Ü-J 5, Figured, quilted Maple over Ash body; Gabon Ebony with matching block (this time) inlays over Maple/Purpleheart/Maple neck. Nordies Big Singles and 3b preamp with mfsw. 7.2lbs.


    And this is the neck ready for pore filling.

    IMG_5402_2.jpg IMG_5403_2.jpg

    Now there's one thing I hate about pore filling. No matter what you use, it will affect the look of the wood. Might as well turn that to my advantage. You will see what happens soon.

    Posting while cooking isn't in the best interest of either.....................
  4. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Round 3.

    One last check before hitting the spray booth.


    Logo inlaid, board masked. At this point I did not know that, eventually, I would have to respray this neck. I was in my usual happy go lucky mood, completely oblivious that planets alignment was plotting against me.


    So here's the bass after probably 12 coats of lacquer. Satin finish on body. Satin-into-glossy on neck. Done. Or so I thought.

    IMG_5528_2.jpg IMG_5530_2.jpg IMG_5533_2.jpg

    back soon.

    (this build marathon will make me burn my dinner...)
  5. Splods

    Splods Guest

    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    That thing is monstrous
    funkbass187 likes this.
  6. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I love what you've done with the inlays. That twelfth... OMG :woot: Also I want to note that your the only one I've ever seen put gloss on wenge and I love it. It looks so good. Keep up the stellar work.
  7. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Thank you Slopds! (I mean, Jaco)

    So. Well, to make the story short, when this Universe came into being all things started their journey, accidentally crossing path with each other, unaware. Among other creatures, my cleaning lady - all the way from Manila, The Philippines - must have taken a deviation, which had placed her at the exact point in time where the sharp blades of my ceiling fan were destined to meet the curing back of this neck, which she was holding high as a sword while dusting.

    In which direction I wanted my devote lady to continue her life long journey it's probably not for this elegant audience or our moderators to hear.

    Suffice to say, I had to respray.


    You are reading my mind.

    So I did. And because I always have to have the last word (always!) I decided single-handedly to respray the body as well. Not that it needed to be re-sprayed, you see the pictures, it's pretty good as is. Not out of spite either. I just felt that the whole thing looked a bit too ordinary- not the universe thing, the bass. So you see? Nothing in the chaotic Universe we inhabit ever happens by accident.

    All body edges are finished differently from the rest. And I mean, all of them. Even those scoops under the tuners or the edges of the screw holes. I call this - Denim finish. Because it reminds me of worn out jeans. The neck too, is a bit different. Most of it take almost a uniform color. One can hardly tell Wenge from Ebony laminates. But then, as the profile turns into the headstock and the neck heel, the grain becomes gradually more visible. Regretfully, I couldn't find a way to photograph that clearly. Satin-into-gloss finish to wrap the whole thing up and I had my revenge.

    At last, the Ü-G 5 Samarkand. I hope you'll like it.




    Wow, this is the fastest thread I have ever started - and finished apparently.

    I then delivered the bass to the shop in Singapore. It was great to sit with a few talented bassists and watch them play the bass. It might have been the good company. Or the fact that the bass was finished. Or that they - we - all seem to enjoy playing it. In the end I didn't feel so intimidated anymore.

    Thanks for reading all this.


    ps: If you are asking yourself why I did not bring both basses to Singapore, I will tell you. If you are not, I'll tell you just the same. Well, what goes around uh? The other bass was obviously ready head of this one. I was just checking that everything was OK before taking it to Fedex. It wasn't meant to happen. In a way i will never confess, I - yes, I! - ruined the body finish. Beyond repair. Again. It's being re-sprayed as we speak.

    Never test gods' patience.
    JackG and pilotjones like this.
  8. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Than you so much!

    I don't know whether I am the only one or there's someone else out there. But I never particularly liked the look of unfinished Wenge. I know, I am going to be crucified by all the Warwik fans. Might as well come clean and state that, I never liked Warwik basses altogether hahahahahahahahahha

    No seriously, I am glad you like the bass. Both body and neck are actually finished to a blend of gloss and satin look.

  9. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Beautiful, as always!

    The yellow veneers work nicely there.

    I'm not quite following when you say the wenge grain is hidden (darkened) toward the body but visible towards the headstock. Is this due to a transition from gloss to satin, or is it something else? I've got wenge that is darkening as finish is applied, and it would be nice if I could have it stay visible but still be finished.
  10. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
  11. Buchada Azeda

    Buchada Azeda

    Mar 25, 2009
    Great looking build! That neck pocket sure looks tite.

    The squiggly line logo reminds me of M. Laghus' logo (a Brazilian builder):

    GABRPASC likes this.
  12. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Aug 31, 2001
    Halifax, Canada
    Owner - St. Germaine Guitars
    Fantastic! (As always)
  13. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I can't say I blame you on the look of unsealed wenge. I've always loved the look of it but after seeing it with clear or satin its made me think twice.
  14. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    You always pick the best wood choices! I've been wanting to see something with an olive top. :)

    Same here. Mine just turns black with finish, but I really like the brown/black when it's unfinished. I tried doing a white wash/sand back on scraps and that was the only way I could get the figure to show with finish so far, but of course it's not the same color as before.
  15. another beautiful piece. I have not yet seen something from you that I did not like.
  16. Beautiful design,craftsmanship and finished instrument. Love the fingerboard inlays,and...well ...everything about this bass!! It's almost a shame to cover those constellation chambers never to be seen again,have you ever considered having them exposed on an instrument? Don't misunderstand me I'm not being critical at all I love the olive top.The chambers are just so unusual and impressive!
  17. Shedua511


    Apr 6, 2013
    Oslo, Norway
    Agent for Scandinavian countries: Stick Enterprises Inc.
    Love the olive top! I have a bass with that top: not only it looks beautiful, it also sounds really nice!

    blindrabbit and LowF like this.
  18. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

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

    Thank you!

    Wenge... lets see if I can explain this. Depending on what you use to seal the wood, you will get a certain degree of darkening of the wood. Even lacquer does that. Or it adds an amber hue. At the least products I can find over here. Usually I would seal and lightly sand so as the surface is even and evenly covered with the sealer. In a case such as this one, I do that for the areas where I want the wood to stay dark - the neck. Elsewhere, I sand down the sealer to the point that pores are filled and the rest of the wood is exposed. Then I spray lacquer and where needed I do spot filling with lacquer. Tedious but I like the result.

    Thank you!

    True. It's an M logo too.... can't sue him or Mayones because they did that first (maybe they can sue each other) hahahaha. But my M - unlike the others - is the shape of a bass frequency sound wave. That is, if one can see that. ;)

    Thank you so much. Very kind of you (as always).

    I was thinking, the only neck wood that I would leave unfinished is Purpleheart. Only because it feels great under my thumb. But it looks so much better with finish on ;) not to mention that it will darken faster.

    Thank you :)

    This is not the first bass I have built with an Olivewood top. In fact, this top came from a billet I got from the owner of this bass:


    The billet yielded three three sets. I only have one more left... :(

    Lovely wood. It smells great too.

    ps: my take on Wenge finish in the reply to PJ.

    Thank you so much!

    It's very kind of you. Exposed Constellation chambers: I share the same sentiment and have thought long and hard how to possibly do that in a way that doesn't end up looking wrong. A solution came to my mind recently and it looks rather nice. I just have to find the time to slot such a bass in the work flow. Or wait for the right order :)

    Beautiful bass you've got there!

    Thank again for your kind words. If any of you is based in Singapore or surroundings, do give Reginald at Bassfreq a buzz. He'll be happy to let you test the bass.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    lbridenstine likes this.
  19. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    It appears all of the photo links are dead (or blocked on the network I'm using). :atoz:
  20. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

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