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12 String!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Dadagoboi, May 18, 2014.


  1. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    I've been wanting to build a 12string ever since I finished this 8er last year.
    P1020780_zpsaf2ca0ea.

    As "research" I bought a Hamer Chaparral on the TB classifieds a while back. It played and sounded so good I put the project on hold. Someone contacted me out of the blue asking if I wanted to sell it a few weeks ago and offered me more money than I could refuse, so the project is back on.
    hamer12-05A_zpsbf535af5.

    Before shipping the Hamer I took measurements for the headstock, nut and bridge. Around six months ago I was looking for a neck strong enough to take 12 strings. Warmoth's 8 string is what I used for my Eighter but IMO it's too chunky and I don't like the huge headstock, that's why I modded it and shaved the neck down. I decided to give one of their deluxe 5 angled paddle headstock necks a try. Was going to go for the graphite rods but they had this one in their showcase for ridiculously cheap. No rods but birdseye maple shaft, black ebony fretboard, stainless 6105 frets. Suppposedly left handed but that only means I have to side dot it. Here it is with the fretboard taped off so I could narrow it down to standard 2.5" heel.
    P1050985_zps3fbc4e3d.

    Headstock drilling template with centerlines for transfer punch.
    P1050986_zps0340949c.

    Drilled and preliminary nut installed, Hamer spacing. Headstock trimmed just enough to clear the tuners.
    P1050990_zps1d1feac3.

    Mounted on 'the Plank' using a bridge/tailpiece from a Carlo Robelli Eighter. Much wider spacing than Hamer which is good IMO. Will a single trussrod handle the stress? My '92 Hamer had two. If not, there goes $125 and a days work down the drain!
    P1050993_zps7d1c3886.

    Glad I waited to narrow the neck. Gonna leave it the way it is. Now for an actual body.
     
    gmjhowe likes this.
  2. Love your plank for testing. Great idea really.
     
  3. Splods

    Splods

    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    Can you get low tension 12 string sets?
     
  4. nofretdave

    nofretdave

    Jan 28, 2010
    Oconomowoc, WI
    Subscribed!
     
  5. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    subbed
     
  6. This is an intriguing thread! I'm in!

    Marc
     
  7. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    I make up my own sets, lows from D'Addario EXL nickel and tops from Rogue singles from Musician's friend The set I'm using is 45-65-85-105 lows, 20P-25-35-45. Very similar to Hamer's 45-65-80-100 lows, same highs. Making a 12er set this way costs me around $15 (I buy my EXLs in twin packs, end up costing less than $12 a 4 string set). The high Gs are Rogue guitar strings and a dozen of them cost $2.19. High D, A and Es are Rogue bass @ 3 for $5-6. I think they're made by D'Adddario. But if you wanted to make up low tension sets you could do that.

    So far the neck is holding up. I'll lighten up the gauges if necessary. But 'the plank', which is 3/4" pine, has a bow in it. Works fine for 4 strings but the 12er produces a lot more tension. I use a 'Snark' clip on tuner.
     
    Splods likes this.
  8. Splods

    Splods

    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    EXL's cost me $40 in Australia.
     
  9. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Wow, that's crazy!

    I'm using a Schaller 471 8 string bridge, same one used on Tom Petersen's aluminum 12ers
    P1060034_zpsc9c362eb.
    P1060033_zps980aa7fd.
    Cheapo Allparts low strings. I used a collar made of a bass string end so the guitar G's don't slip through the holes.

    'The Mule' is made of 2x4s, helps me get an idea of what needs work. The swimming pool route is so I can determine best placement for different pickup options. It actually does an amazing job of reflecting sound with no pickup in it.
    P1060047P_zps4f743865.

    The neck will be one fret into the body more than on the Mule to help combat neck dive. The headstock gets cut down for the same reason. The neck pocket route needs to be shallower to work correctly with the Schaller, so I shimmed it with 2 pieces of 1/16" thick basswood. The actual bass will be set neck and I don't want any surprises. With the neck pocket at this depth the action is .1 inch (2.5 mm) at the 12th fret on E side with no buzzing and good room for adjustment. I switched the high G's to .017s. Neck is straight.
    P1060048_zpsb4675b4d.

    Next is finalizing a body for easy playability, good balance and light weight. Warmoth makes heavy necks! Counterbalancing it won't be easy.
     
  10. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    That Mule body shape is amazing!
     
  11. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Thanks! It's something I started working on a few years ago combining elements of Reverse and Non Reverse Thunderbirds. It ended up looking like this.
    RNR_zpsba11eb3d.

    This one will have some changes to balance out the neck.
     
  12. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010
    Oh man, I love 12 string basses, cool build man. There are not a lot of models in current production out there anymore, there's certainly a small but strong demand for them. I've never pulled the trigger on one because I didn't much like some of the giant headstocks on Hamers (and that they're out of production and hard to get parts for) or the hollowbody imports that seem to be the only games in town for currently made 12 strings outside of high dollar custom builds. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
     
  13. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I use the 4 string 3D version w/roller saddles on a couple of my basses and think it's a great design. I didn't know they made this model. Was it designed to be used as an 8 or 12 string?). I'm guessing you file your own slots? With the angles/bends do you have any issues w/strings slipping off their channels/slots?
     
  14. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    The Hamer Chapparal USA 12er is a great bass, especially the '92 I had: light, great balance even with the huge headstock, decent sound and great playability. They guy who bought it from me had to make what I considered a crazy offer for me to let it go.

    But yeah, not a lot of options these days. IMO the best one might be the Dean Rhapsody. There's a return on Ebay from ProAudiostar for $585 and other vendors are blowing them out for $699. I have a Dean Edge 8er. Nice neck, dual trussrods and good sound. But dorky looking (the Rhapsody is only a little better).

    As far as custom builds it's important to make sure the builder knows what they're doing. I think the best example of "what could go wrong?" is the first Rickenbacker 8ers where they decided the low strings should go on the top...or Warmoths 8er neck with huge headstock drilled for 8 GB7 tuners and tree trunk profile. C'mon guys, the high strings are GUITAR guages!
     
  15. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    It was designed as an 8 string but it gets a lot of use as a 12er bridge. Schaller 471-8. You can buy them from Warmoth. I special order mine through Allparts, better price when I buy 3 at a time. Yep, you have to slot it yourself. No slippage problems. Hint: the low strings DO NOT go in the middle of the saddles!
    EGC-TP12a_zps4fd55a82.
     
    JIO likes this.
  16. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I can see how the initial lining up of this bridge on the body would be really critical w/such close tolerances using 12 strings. On the example above it appears the (main) G string is barely on the inside edge of the small outer saddle.
     
  17. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    This is a great body style too!
     
  18. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010

    I had a Rhapsody 8 for a few years. Really well made, but definitely not to my taste for aesthetics or pickups/electronics. The only octave course instrument I still have left right now is a little 3 string bass (lowest 1/4 of a 12 string) that Kevin at Krappy Guitars made for me. Just because I wanted something to noodle on with that sound and I didn't have the dough for a 12er at the time. I have no clue what practical use I'd have for it at this point, but I still crave a nice 12 string bass. There are a lot of little details that certain manufacturers could have done better functionally, especially the bridge and balance. Those Warmoth 8 string necks are definitely weird. I thought about buying one, plugging the holes, redrilling them for a 12 string, putting a veneer on the headstock and using the same Schaller bridge you are. Once I started figuring it all out I realized I didn't want that big of a project. The 5 string paddle headstock seems like a good idea. I like the wider spacing you're going with. The Hamers are a bit too tightly spaced for my comfort.
     
  19. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    This is the one downside of the Luthier's Corner. Every time I see an inspired build like this one, I start getting gas. I found myself looking for 12 string bass bridges on line. I have no idea what I'd use a 12 string bass for, but I know I want one now. This is a very cool project. I'll be watching with much interest.
     
    coughiefiend likes this.
  20. coughiefiend

    coughiefiend

    Nov 12, 2013
    Virginia
    This is awesome!
     

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