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3 Wood Challenge: 5 string fretless

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by HaMMerHeD, Jun 1, 2012.


  1. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Hello!

    Here's my entry for the 3 wood challenge.

    I'm building a 5-string fretless bass. Here are the specs:

    Body: American Ash (Fraxinus americana)
    Neck: Chakte Kok (Sickingia salvadorensis)
    Fingerboard: Curly ambrosia maple (Acer saccharum)
    Scale: 34"
    Fingerboard range: 2 octaves, fretless with lines, 12" radius
    Pickups: 1x EMG 40TW twin-mode humbucker
    Electronics: Volume, Tone, Coil tap push/pull
    Tuners: Gotoh sealed
    Bridge: Carved Chakte Kok, 2 piece
    Finish: clear shellac

    It'll be a deep set neck. The neck pocket will reach down to the pickup route and the neck will be glued in place. I haven't decided 100% on the fingerboard wood yet. I have a bloodwood board, but I'd like for there to be some contrast between the neck and the fingerboard. I think curly maple would be awesome, but then I'd have to coat it, and I'm not all that confident with that process. I do have some surfboard resin, so I might give it a shot. Purpleheart would be cool too.

    The Design:
    Body:
    zealot_body.jpg
    Neck:
    zealot_neck.jpg
    Together:
    zealot_composite.jpg

    Edit: looks better at playing angle:
    body_cant.jpg

    The Wood:
    Ash:
    ash.jpg
    Chakte Kok:
    chakte.jpg
     
  2. dremy2006

    dremy2006 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    Miami Gardens, Fl
    Awesome....
     
  3. kris pung

    kris pung

    Jul 25, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Love the design.
     
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Cool design. And pretty non-traditional for a fretless.
     
  5. Sweet lines! I'm stoked to see Chakte Koke in a build, too- I've made some stuff for the house out of it... so pretty under gloss, and it smells great when you cut it.
     
  6. boethius

    boethius

    Sep 27, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    A wenge fingerboard is an option as it doesn't require the polyester resin. Depends what your tonal goals are. The polyester resin fretless fingerboards like on the Pedulas are very bright and an unfinished fingerboard of denser wood would end up sounding...woodier, or warmer. Either way, nice design...wish I had the wood skills to pull that off. I am shaping my first stick though this summer...although I may have someone else glass it locally in Wilmington.
    Love to hear how it sounds!
     
  7. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Wenge is a nice option, but I'm thinking I might go with walnut for the fingerboard, for a couple of reasons:

    First, I like the look of walnut.
    Second, I've never seen one before (I'm sure someone has, but I haven't seen it personally.)
    Third, it's pretty inexpensive and readily available.
    Fourth, I generally prefer darker fingerboards.

    I'd have to coat it with resin, but that's not a big deal really.
     
  8. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Also, I've been thinking about finishing the ash in black, like the Warwick nirvana black oil finish, like this:

    uBxb3.jpg

    I'm also thinking about popping a piezo transducer under the bridge saddle.
     
  9. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Very Cool Mark, this is going to be a cool build
     
  10. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Coil tap or coil split?
     
  11. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    The EMG TW pickup series has 3 coils. They are referred to as dual-mode, rather than coil split. Here's how it works, taken from EMG's site:

    40tw_coils.png

    Also, I found an old cocobolo fingerboard blank I forgot I had. It might do the trick.
     
  12. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Interesting design, I like it I've got to decide if I'm going to attempt a minimal power-tool build for the challenge this year.
     
  13. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Found a wicked awesome piece of curly ambrosia maple for the fingerboard.
     
  14. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Here's the fingerboard wood:
    fingerboard_wood_1.jpg
    And the curl:
    fingerboard_wood_2.jpg

    And what the wind does around here every spring..
    what_wind_hath_wrought.jpg
     
  15. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    So here are all 3 woods together, and some info on the finalized plan for this bass:

    all_3_woods.jpg

    The body will be ash, the neck will be chakte kok, and the fingerboard will be curly ambrosia maple.

    The neck will be finished in clear shellac.

    The fingerboard will have a polyester surfboard resin finish. It'll have black position markers on the side, but no lines and no dots on the fingerboard surface.

    To make the maple fingerboard contrast well with the ash body, the body will be dyed black and finished in clear shellac similar to Warwick's nirvana black finish, as shown a few posts above.
     
  16. dremy2006

    dremy2006 Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    Miami Gardens, Fl
    awesome stuff
     
  17. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    I decided to re-arrange the ash to get better matching grain:

    body_wood.jpg

    And jointed and glued:

    body_wood_2.jpg

    Also roughed the fingerboard out:

    fingerboard_rough_cut.jpg

    Going to thickness the fingerboard and body blank tomorrow, and cut the body out on the bandsaw.
     
  18. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Thinking about doing something fun with the headstock...

    headstock_concept_2.jpg

    Considering inlaying a piece of curly maple (cut off from the fingerboard stock). Then I'd inlay a circle of black dyed ash, onto which my logo would be attached.

    Opinions?

    Edit:
    Hmm. The more I look at it, the more I think the black dot makes it look too busy.

    Better:
    headstock_concept_3.jpg
     
  19. I really like your design. On my build I want to do a Warwick type finish as well as long as I can find some 8/4 ash, any suggestions?
     
  20. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    I've never done it before, so I really don't know how it's going to end up getting done. But it'll be an amusing learning process anyway.
     

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