Über-Jay 5 Buckeye Burl

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by miziomix, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Hi there! It has been a while. I don't know about you guys, but I've been missing my TB friends. I had to dedicate the last few months to family issues, then health issues, then relationship issues... in a word - issues.

    I have also been busy finishing a few basses, planning a few more and finalizing a new model. I also worked on making the production more streamlines so I can make more basses in shorter time and I am looking forward to the first solid colour bass.

    But none of these is the reason for a new thread. A new bass is. Work started last November...I think. Right now I am half way through.

    Now that the other threads are done, I can start this one.

    The order comes from Australia, which is not that far really. The owner had a name in mind - Nemesis. A very inspiring theme. What's you'll see next is the brainchild of that.

    After looking at a large variety of possible top candidates we came to the conclusion that Buckeye burl best interpret the Nemesis iconography.

    Especially a piece like this one.


    I am building two more basses right now, both sporting BE Burl top. Those are really great looking tops. But this one?...oh boy.....

    Then we looked at body and neck wood and found this:


    Black Limba. Body and three lams Limba/Wenge/Limba neck. Also rather Nemesis looking.

    Fretboard. The owner likes Ebony. So do I and so does the combo. Rather than a jet black Gabon E though, we decided to go with what is curiously referred to as 'second choice' Gabon Ebony. Because, you guessed it, isn't that black.


    I had these three boards ready and we selected the one on the right. The grey patterns add the right character to the board. If we were building a cello, tradition would impose on me the jet black rule and I would have to oblige. But hey, this ain't no orchestra instrument so, well.... we make the rules here LOL

    Finally, just to spice it up we added black and white veneers.


    So, here's the combo. BTW, I am not building a LP bass (and I never will LOL). The top came that way.


    And here's the mandatory sketch.



    The golden standard: 34", 5 strings, 21 frets.

    Nordstrand Big Singles in mid 70s FJ position.
    Audere Classic preamp. V, Bal, B/T, HM/LM, a/p.

    Black hardware.
    Matching BE headstock plate and BL cavity cover.

    Target weigh, 6.8lbs.

    I'll upload more WIP pictures ASAP to get you all quickly to where the build is right now.

    Thank you for reading this far.

    It's good to be back :bassist:
  2. 1dstoner


    Dec 20, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    Sub'd! One of these days you will have my money and make me one of these beauties! That I am sure of.
  3. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Same here!
  4. Looks goos
  5. TheJoshinator


    Sep 23, 2012
    Oh... Oh my... This looks mind-blowing already. Those woods are fantastic. True art, and I've only seen a pencil sketch! Following VERY closely.
  6. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
  7. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

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

    So, first thing first.... Glue the top. This is my favorite technique. And it's the only way that allows me to glue a top with such an irregular profile. The only one known to me at the very least.


    Then the Limba billet is prepared for gluing. A left over will provide for the electronics cavity cover.


    Here's the neck combo. It's actually quite nice as is. But we both felt that it needed a little something.


    We tested a few options:


    Curly Maple and black veneer. Not bad. It seemed too much though. So we went with the other one:


    Black and white veneers. The white contrasts with Wenge and the black underlines the Limba edges. The woods and veneers are simply arranged for the picture and not glued. Which makes the black veneer look so irregular.

    Here's the body glued and clamped. It is also sanded. I can't remember why I sanded it before gluing it. That's something I do after the glue has cured....:eyebrow: There must have been a good reason..... I'm sure .....LOL


    Till next time.

    Thank you!

  8. Afc70

    Afc70 Modern praise 4 The Ancient of Days! Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Northeast Arkansas
    Awesome! That'll be an incredible bass- truly a work of art. Sub'd
  9. excited about another Maurizio build :hyper:
  10. Jonny5bass

    Jonny5bass Supporting Member

    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Looking forward to seeing this come together! That buckeye is outrageous!
  11. Looks like a killer build Maurizio! Looking forward to seeing this one together.
  12. Funksoulbass


    Dec 9, 2008
    Veeeeeeery nice! Its going to look amazing! :bassist:
  13. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Thank you so much guys. I am glad you like the plan. Lets see how well we can execute it and how many serendipitous moments we find along the way.

    So, next thing to do is to have some fun with my chambers. The Constellation Chambers ™®∞ no less ;) This shaves off some weigh and never fails entertaining my neighbors.




    And then it's time to glue the two veneers. Black one first and Maple next. This is a bit tricky because yellow glue containing water, so one has to move very fast with thin veneers. I should probably start using epoxy for this.


    That's all for tonight.

    Thank you :bassist:
  14. do you know how much weight you save on average with the constellation holes (I love it)?

    just curious
  15. I like that you put the veneer on the bottom, glued the body face down and then applying the pressure to the back. Must make this a little easier. Why didn't I think to do that. I love the look of veneers but they can be a pain if, as you stated, one doesn't move fast.
  16. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Just about 10% off the body weight. If I need more I go deeper and shave another 5% off. It isn't much per se but it adds on. Glad you like it :)

    Yes, it makes things a little easier. I too like what veneers can add to a build. But they can be a PITA. Especially the very thin ones - like, 0.3mm. Very elegant result, being so thin. But they almost disintegrate if you stare LOL...

    And that's the body with veneers.


    The neck....



    Originally I though of using Ebony as a center laminate. I have done that a few times and I really like what it does to the tone. But I also like Wenge and it seemed to sit better with black limba.

    Next up.... glue the top onto the body. Quite straightforward. Especially with such a great looking top.


    Unless, the back didn't look even more intriguing to me. (First serendipitous moment).


    There is something about its non book matched look that I found haunting. It just seemed to go so well with the whole Nemesis theme. Sure it won't be a book matched look, which might seem a bit of a crime to some. Still, I was very excited and decided to ask the owner if he felt the same way and was OK with going the unorthodox way. He loved it right away. (Thank you!) And we went with that.

    With that out of the way, we can concentrate on how to deal with all those cracks, voids and missing parts along the edges......... much fun! But that's for another update.

    Thank you for your time.

  17. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    As you have certainly noticed, the Buckeye top is full of cracks and voids. Some of them find their way along the profile edge and there is a missing bit at the tip of the upper horn.

    I actually like this. It's what gives the top its character. So tried to imagine what the wood would or could have looked like. from the left over, I selected small pieces that seemed like a nice fit and used them to fill the voids.

    Now, IMHO, this is not the way a wood's look should be restored. It rather reminds me of the old way to approach fresco or oil painting restoration, which has been discontinued long ago and rightfully so.
    Preserving the unique character of a specific piece is to me way more important than giving it a prim and proper look. But in the case of bass building there are also some structural considerations to be made. Therefore I make an exception for the voids along the edge, where it's necessary. I will not do the same to those that fall inside the top.







    I made sawdust with some BE bark and filled the tiny voids along the edges. Right now the dark patches are quite visible. But there is a lot of contouring to be done, so this will change quite a bit.


    Till next time.................:bassist:
  18. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Looking awesome, Maurizio!!
  19. That's a great way to fill those voids around the perimeter. I had few that I took care of with Zpoxy and Wenge shavings and dust...to me the great thing about Buckeye burl is that it doesn't always have a consistent look. The patches of grey and yellow are sometimes very random and the voids can be anywhere.
  20. definitely subbed!