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3 Wood Challenge: Esquire!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ShiftyShift, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    So, to participate in this 3 wood challenge is a challenge in itself, but I decided to put up a build thread to remind myself to do it. I'm currently frankensteining a bass, but after that I should be ready to start this build. I'm thinking of doing a 30" scale, but I don't want ti build a neck, so I may go for 34" scale for price choppin. Here's the specs chart:

    Body style: Esquire
    Woods: Oak. Fingerboard wood is up in the air.
    neck: 34" 4 string
    pickup(s): Whatever I pick up on the cheap.
    wiring: Vol/Tone, then the old Esquire wiring
    LET THE BUILD BEGIN! (later) :D
    EDIT: Body will be oak, donated from a local tree.
  2. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    Okay, made some progress. I sketched out (then applied) my template. I sketched my stratocaster onto posterboard then modified it until it looked suitable. I then enlarged the whole thing by 2-3mm, and added aboot 1 cm to the overall length. I also got my wood, which I was told I was going to come pickup walnut, but it turned out to be oak. I am very happy with the wood though, a very pretty looking piece, and quite workable so far.


    You can see the rough outline here. The wood has only been planed, so it is not very uniform. Its a bit over 2 inches thick, so its going to be a tank of a bass.


    Theres a picture of the back as well. There is a few very shallow surface cracks, but I'm not desperately worried about those.



    Theres a few picture of the neck. I can only use half of this as there is a long, deep crack on the other side. This is two inches thick as well, so might be spending a bit of time sanding. :D


    The headstock is modeled after a Fender-esque style, but has the 3+1 assembly (ala Music Man) I was going to do 4 on a side, but it looked cramped, so I went with this. Necessity is the mother of invetion, I believe.

    More progress soon.
  3. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    I am very undecided on what to use as a fretboard here. I was going with puprleheart, but then I wanted to use black palm, then ebony, ect. Anybody have a guess on hwat would look/sound best? It will be oil finished, for reference.
  4. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    Purple heart looks killer all oiled up, I used it on my build
  5. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    I was leaning towards it, but I think I may want to use Padauk. Have you (or anybody) have good/bad experience with Padauk?
  6. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    The bass I'm building and my 1981 Pedulla both have padauk fretboards. No problems yet.
  7. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    Padauk is in the wenge family I believe. It's a really nice wood to work with from what I've heard. Plus it sounds good. But it's 6 and 1 half dozen of the other between padauk and purple heart. They are about equal in densities
  8. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    Hmm....Would I need to treat Padauk for a fretless? And do I need to finish it?
  9. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    It's a pretty hard wood, u could oil it. Or if you're feeling really set on a super hard finish, use a clear epoxy. The only downfall with epoxy is that the wood expands and contracts and it could cause the epoxy to crack. I just have an oiled purple heart fretboard and it's fine. You just need to learn not to use vibrato sideways, but instead sliding along the string
  10. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    If I'm fretting it do I still need to oil it?
  11. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    If your fretting it just go with rubbing in a coat or 2 of teak oil. Should be good after that. You can do more if you want
  12. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    In ten years of following builder's forums, I have never heard of this happening. Do you have an example? Personal experience?
  13. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    Progress, she Comes!


    Got the cutting done, and a little bit of the roundovers.


    Theres a picture of the treble side. The body is a bit over 2 inches thick.


    Theres a picture of the wood filling going on. This is straight from the tree, so the far treble horn was pretty shabby, as it was bassically bark. I'm attempting to build up some wood filler, but it may go under the knife.


    A back pic.


    The bottom of the lower back, some slight burning from a 20+ year old skil saw.


    The neck.


    The back of the neck!


    Some headstock shots.



    More soon!
  14. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    My best friend had it happen. While its not very common, it is possible.
  15. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    I'm planning on using the StewMac Hot Rod truss rod for this. Do you guys think just that would be okay, or would graphite rods benefit this as well? The neck feels pretty solid, but I'm not an expert, this is the first neck I've ever built.
  16. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    The stewmac hot rods are nice, but in my opinion, they are un-necessarily "tall". They require a 1/2" deep route, whereas LMI and other rods are only 3/8". That 1/8" of an inch can mean the difference between a slim feeling neck and a fat feeling neck, simply because you can make the neck slimmer with a shallower rod.
  17. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    This is my experience as well. Though with a file I usually get the hot rod to fit into a 7/16 opening. I just recently ordered more rods from LMI because of the size difference. Best Bass Gear also offers an affordable double action rod that is reasonably sized but I havent tried one yet. Probably my next buy.
  18. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    The bestbassgear or grizzly rod is what I would use, they are basically the same rod as lmii sells just at a much better price.

    IMHO stiffening rods are unnecessary for a 4 string.
  19. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    Okay, some progress made, but not any pics yet. I routed the bridge pup, and I'm using the middle pickup from a Starcaster strat for the pup. I also routed the neck pocket, and attached the neck, which I screwed up HORRIBLY and I now decided to use a solid finish to hide all of my mistakes. I think I'm going with either a Seafoam Green or Shell Pink (both with matching headstock) I really can't choose, any opinions would be appreciated.
  20. rocmonster


    Oct 31, 2011
    This looks like a Flintstones Bass! ;)
    Gotta love watching a hunk of raw wood become a useful instrument. I'm subbing this thread - Keep it coming!:hyper:

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