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Über-Jay 5. Maple/Purpleheart Complete Build.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by miziomix, Jul 14, 2014.


  1. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Here's another super-fast thread. This bass was build concurrently with a few others and in many ways it shares some similarities with the Über-Jay Funk Machine which I built to Jauqo III-X.
    The main difference is in the neck which is not as super thin as Jauqo's FM. Electronics are different too.

    Here are the specs:

    34" scale, 21 frets, 16" radius.
    Chambered Ash body
    Figured, quilted Maple top. Matching headstock front and back and block inlays.
    Maple/Purpleheart/Maple neck; Gabon Ebony fretboard.
    Purpleheart cavity cover.
    Two Nordstrand Big Singles. Nordstrand 3 bands preamp with p/a and mid freq switches.
    ETS and custom chrome plated brass hardware.

    I was planning to end up with 7lbs total weight. Eventually I decided to do less chambers and the final weight is 7.6lbs.

    Here's the top. It's big enough for all the parts I need and then some.

    IMG_4165_2.


    IMG_4236_2.

    Routed out the profile with templates and sanded the profile on the belt sander. After a few years of working on this model I have all templates so it takes me about half a day (or a full day if I take it easy - which I often do) to go from this to the next picture.

    The cavities are painted with shielding paint. But I don't do this anymore. I use copper foil now. I just had too many issues and disappointments with paint. Copper works fine. Copper is good. Little surprise the world is running out of it.
    IMG_4901_2. IMG_4903_2.
    Here is the detail of the area under the tuners. I don't do this on every bass. In fact it's a custom order. But this bass is a for a shop in Singapore. They sell only very high end basses (yes, very intimidating) so I though this bass could use a bow tie.

    IMG_4895_2.

    And a tuxedo.

    block inlays. IMG_5233_2.

    There is something especially rewarding in doing inlays. For me at the very least. It's as close to painting as woodworking can get. Now these are just block inlays. Easy, basic stuff. But when I can do inlays that require conceptualizing, sketching and crafting an actual image then it's really something else. In time, I might invest in a laser cutting system to free up my creativity from the limitations that come from doing it by hand.

    End of the digression and of Part 1. Part 2 will be up in a few minutes.

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  2. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Part 2. The neck.

    Usually I build the neck first. At the very early stage both body and neck develop concurrently. But when it's time to route, then I do the neck fist. Routing for truss rod, CF spars, fretboard, matching neck extension, headstock, side dots - all are done before I start working on the body. The only thing that isn't done at this stage are the neck screw holes, which are done when the neck is committed to the routed pocket.

    BTW - Those who follow my builds on the MÜB page (Maurizio Über Basses) on Facebook are already familiar with this build and most of the others. I did posted more comments over there as the build was evolving - and more pictures too. But I think these pictures are enough to illustrate the process. Those of you who wish to see more will find the link to said page in my signature. Thank you.



    IMG_4454_2.

    The nut width is 45mm. Pretty standard on a fiver, I believe. The large tapered Purpleheart center laminate is not that standard instead. But I like it this way. It has a lot of pros and only one con - cost. LOL.

    IMG_4538.

    I have no idea why I did not take a picture of the headstock face. I should check on the FB page.... I should... Anyway, I remember spending quite sometime on this rather intriguing though: is it better to put the best you've got where it can be easily seen? Or is it better to keep something hidden, as a surprise element. With me, the second option always wins. That's why the back of the headstock sports such a pretty Maple laminate. Way prettier that the one on the front.

    IMG_5316_2.

    IMG_5443_2.

    Next up: the little things.

    I wanted to use Purpleheart for the cavity cover. Had the neck been fully Maple I would have gone with a matching Ash cover.
    In this case a little color seemed to add to the surprise element. In the end the whole bass is basically Ash, Maple, Quilted Maple. You take out the Purpleheart from the equation and all you get is a pretty classic combo. For me, that's a bit too classic.

    IMG_5434_2.


    And so we quickly get to the check-everything-works stage before spraying.

    Seen side by side the two headstock Maple laminates are quite different. Won't you agree that the one on the back is far nicer than the front one? Actually there is also a more practical reason to using the better looking one at the back. With strings and logo it would have had much less chance to shine. The not so striking one on the front gets an ebony M logo inlay though.

    IMG_5678_2. IMG_5679_2.

    End of Part 2.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  3. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Part 3. A good story.

    And so we went, through layers of lacquer and wet sanding. Pretty uneventful. The finish I chose for this bass is satin for the body and semi gloss for the neck.

    Fret dressing, you know the drill. Boring, unless you want a super low action. The it gets interesting.

    photo 1_2.
    If there is on thing I have learned in many years of writing and directing TV commercials and MTV it must be this: A story isn't a good story without drama.

    And so I got drama. Not that I wanted it.

    The bass was assembled and ready to ship when I found that one of the knobs wasn't fitting the way it was meant to. So I removed all knobs and carefully took out the pots. I protected the area with masking tape. When all was done - I believe it was next day, in the morning - I reassembled everything and took out the masking tape. I was rather puzzled when I noticed some kind of transparent tail attached to the tape.

    In a split second I saw the correct masking tape still sitting on the shelf and next to the bass the one I had mistakenly used - one of those with a very, very strong glue. The 'tail' was simply a long strip of lacquer. A few layers of it.

    No way that could be repaired. It had to be re sprayed. Not just one layer. I had to go back almost to bare wood. Instead, I finished the coffee and went away for a week.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  4. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

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

    photo 4_2. photo 4-1_2. photo 1_2.

    photo 2_2.
    photo 3-1_2.

    The bass weigh 7.6lbs. It's quite light for a fiver. Then again weight per se doesn't mean much. Weight distribution does. A bass could weigh 5lbs and neck-dive in a heartbeat. Some basses weigh 9lbs and feel as heavy as a house. I make it a point to keep the weight to the minimum. But what really matters to me is that whatever that weight is, it doesn't fall fully on my left shoulder. That's actually why I started building basses. I had enough of thinking about my aching neck more than the tune I was playing. Being on stage should be fun.

    The bassist in me thinks this: The tone is very snappy and articulated with a lovely mid voice when adding even just a bit of bridge p-up. I like playing it like a classic guitar. I can hear all the notes and nuances clearly at any volume. Compared to the Ü-Jay I built for Jauqo, this bass is probably not as snappy and aggressive. Then again, Mr. III-X is a Funk Machine so he needed that extra edge. This one has slightly more bottom and growl.

    If I manage I will do a sound clip. But the bass will be with me just a few more days, so I'm not sure. Maybe Reginald of BassFreq will do a video clip. He does some really cool demos of the basses he sells. Follow him on his FB page or website, he always has something cool and GAS inducive to share.

    Here is the clip he did for another bass I build for his shop.

    There. The end :bassist:

    Thank you!
     
    yinghock likes this.
  5. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    You are the master, Maurizio.
     
  6. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    And you are always so very kind my friend. Thank you.
     
  7. wraub

    wraub

    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    As usual, that looks excellent. But...
    I don't know, 7.6 lbs? For a 5 string? Might as well be firewood. :D

    Seriously, That sounds like a pretty ideal weight, even for a 4.

    Congrats on another success!
     
  8. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Actually this bass is on the heavier side. 7lbs for a fiver is more like it. This one has a White Ash body that is not extensively chambered so that's where the extra weigh comes from. Here is a picture of the chambers while I was working on it. I did just a bit more than this. Oh... and the channels for p-ups wires. Which probably shaved off, say.... 20gr? :D

    Thank you so much!

    IMG_4138_2.
     
  9. I love the bass. However I keep thinking that black hardware would suit it better?
     
  10. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    :) I hear you.

    I gave black a serious thought earlier on. Indeed it would have worked very well. The reason why in the end Chrome won is two folds. I was leaning towards a more classic look for this bass. Also, I wanted to bring out the cool hue of the Purpleheart at the back. Chrome seemed to deliver better on both. Black would have given the bass a very bold, modern look which is cool. Just not what I was aiming for.

    Thank you!

    ps: Now you got me looking at the bass again....... :D
     
    joeyl likes this.
  11. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Beautiful work! What is the hardware holding the string ends in the headstock? Are the strings double or single ball?
     
  12. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    The string anchors are my own design. I currently use three different models, depending on the look I'm after - one more is pictured below. And I keep on producing new designs to add more personality to custom orders. It's only the shape that changes though. They all work with normal strings. No double ball end.

    Thank you!

    IMG_3635.
     
  13. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    So the string feeds through the top, a set screw in the side secures it, and you clip the excess of the back?
     
  14. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Precisely
     
  15. Justice4trance

    Justice4trance

    Sep 20, 2013
    Singapore
    Dear Maurizio

    If you are reading this....

    I drool on this bass and your ubeR jay basses ever since 2 days ago.
    Didn't know of your basses existence before this. What have I been missing!

    I got in touch with Reginald and was making him bear with my indecisiveness of which bass to purchase for the past two weeks. I made a minimal sum deposit actually meant for another bass after a few initial talks with him.

    Fast forward to only two days ago (and not earlier due to me not checking out thoroughly his list of available basses), I stumbled upon your basses . Beautiful work!
    Just about 5 hours ago, I confirmed with him that I want the 'Myst' And I will be paying the remaining amount to him just in a few days time.

    Ive been googling all i can find about this bass since then. Managed to find more than enough information already!
    The big singles, the Pre amp, the ebony fretboard, the puRpleheart ....that headstock, those tuners at the bridge, the whole bass, the meticulous building process...I really believe my GAS has been sorted out for.

    Thank you so much for building this Bass!

    Now, what's left for me to do after purchasing this bass will be to practice and get a bass guitar teacher as I will be having a God sent bass guitar but I ain't got the skills

    Thanks once again!

    Faizal
     
    yinghock likes this.
  16. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

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

    That's awesome! I am so glad you like the bass and that the Ü-Jay Myst has found a place to call home. Thank you so much for writing this. I'll wait to hear from Reginald and get your personalized owner's manual ready. Now that we are in touch - I see you on the FB page ;) - you won't have to search the net any longer. Just hit me whenever you have a question about the bass.

    have fun!! oh, and since we are neighbours, if you ever come over to KL gimme a buzz.

    Hey Reg, if you are reading this.... thank you so much for believing in and supporting my work.

    Mau
     
    Justice4trance and yinghock like this.
  17. Dude, stop being so awesome, you are making the rest of us look bad.
     
  18. GregBlach

    GregBlach

    Mar 5, 2009
    Denmark
    W-A-U-W!!!
     
  19. 2funkyfinger

    2funkyfinger

    Feb 1, 2004
    Hi Mau, I'm really happy that we have a new owner for the Myst! Can't wait to pass this bass to Faizal, and hear him play on this bass. You are making amazing stuff, and it just keeps getting better.
     
    Justice4trance and yinghock like this.
  20. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

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

    thanks Reg! I guess you need more basses now hahahahahah
     
    Justice4trance and yinghock like this.

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