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3 Wood Challenge: headless, multiscale, fretless 4 with Aussie timbers

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

  1. This is a build I semi started last year, however, a stack of things have changed in the mean time. Here are the new specs.

    Multi-scale fretless 4 string.
    34" E string (with 38" D extension)
    33" A string
    32" D string
    31" G string

    I'd have like to go 34-30, but the slant at the nut would have been too big for intonating the F on the E string, or the PU wouldn't have coped with the spread. I'm using a MM PU. I know the magnetic field is plenty wide enough.


    I'll be using these three Aussie timbers;
    Silky Oak - Top slab
    Victorian Ash - Neck and back slab
    Jarrah - fingerboard, nut and bridge

    The 3 timber thing is gonna make fret markers interesting... :meh:
  2. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    interesting, will look forward to the hornless build
  3. Praxist


    May 28, 2010
    British Columbia
    that is really cool I'm looking forward to it!
  4. Got some progress...


    Back angle for the neck done. Should be interesting to see how much difference this make in terms of playing. Went with 3.5deg.
  5. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Have you laid out your fretboard and bridge yet? Scale difference string to string of 1" can result in some very acute fret and bridge angles.
  6. Dave Higham

    Dave Higham

    Dec 19, 2005
    +1. Dingwalls look pretty acute to me and they are only 3/4" difference.
  7. basey

    basey Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    I'm not sure but it looks like he's doing an extension on the e like an x factor bass.
  8. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Dingwalls are the limit of what is comfortable for me. On my bass the string spacing is tighter than on a Dingwall, so I reduced the scale differential to 5/8" per string, ending up with about the same angles.
  9. Sorry they're crappy pics. The bridge is at about 65deg.


    The nut is a lot less acute... on purpose.


    On a fretless you don't have some of the ease of use of a fretted bass, so I elected to soak up some of the difference in scales in the area you most use the bass. Fret 7 is straight across the board if I remember correctly.

    But please tell me if it's still way too crazy. I still have time to change it now. :hyper:

    re the D extension, yes, it's like a Kubicki.
  10. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    That's odd looking - that'san awfully minor angle at the nut for a fan with the 7th fret perpendicular. My guess is either maybe the fourth or fifth is perpendicular, or the seventh is perpendicular but you have very wide string spacing at the nut.
  11. mmm, maybe it's the fifth. The headstock is tiny. The tuners are down on the bridge. Ie. headless.

    Do you think the bridge angle is too severe?
  12. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Do you plat with your thumb on the pickup, and are you slanting the pickup to make it respond "normally"? If so, and if your angle at the bridge is too severe, then you need to check whether as your hand reaches across the strings, you end up plucking right on the G string bridge.
  13. ftssjk


    Jan 3, 2012
    interesting you're using jarrah.

    will be a heavy wood!.

    i've read up on jarrah as a tonewood, and perry ornsby seems to be against it. (but he could be wrong lol)
  14. I only use it for the fingerboard.

    p.s. [can of worms] not that I actually believe the whole "tone wood" BS totally...
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    A multiscale fretless? You are a brave man my friend.
  16. thanx, I'll check that.
  17. A heap done so far today...

    Neck joint glued with basic shape.

    Neck pocket finalized. Gee I hate routers some times.

    Neck semi shaped and read for fingerboard (almost forgot to glue it on) with trussrod in.

    Board clamped up.

    I have to say, I've made a few silly mistakes today coz I was in a bit of a rush. With a public holiday today I want to get as much done as possible. Just got to make sure I don't stuff it by rushing and having to redo this and that. I've already forgotten to do one thing. Oh well. Have to do it another way later...
  18. Board attached and headstock shaped...

    The sides of the neck have also been planed down as straight as possible. I might be getting the hang of planing I think. Although I have to say, because of the narrowing of the neck, you can only plane one direction and it makes doing the body end of the neck pretty hard. I ended up using a rasp, coarse sanding block and then coming back to it with the plane. Next I have to get the body insert the right width. This too is proving to be a pain to plane down... and my disc/belt sander is in a bad spot for long bits. Kicking my self there... :/

    Cavity done.
    I know lots of people like to do recessed covers, but I don't. :lol:

    Also redid all the roundover after planing more than 10mm off the thickness of the body. This thing SUPER light now. :)
  19. Last update for today.

    Neck in... almost.

    As you can see it's about 1mm proud. For some reason it just won't seat properly. I'll have to figure out why later. But let me just say this. It's hell tight. I mean super snug. So there should be lots of transmission to the body.

    A quick pic of the backangle built in. I think it's going to make a lot of difference to comfort. Have to sort where the strap hanger will go now, but that depends on the weight of the bridge/tuners and pickup.
  20. Neck joint all done today. Still snug, but it actually fits properly now which was nice. So I got started on the nut and fingerboard.

    The nut is angled enough to keep up with the multiscale, but enough so I can reach the first fret on the E string.

    Then I started marking out for the fret markers...
    Frets 1-4

    Frets 5 and upwards. Fret 5 is straight across the neck.

    Top end of the fingerboard. As it stands it's 24fret (markers).

    To my eyes it doesn't look too extreme at this point. Course I'm always an optimist. :/

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