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4-2-5 Conversion

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mapleglo, Mar 28, 2018.


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  1. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    So I had thought to take a bit of a break once the Winter Build-off came to completion. It's a sickness.

    Anyway, now that I'm in a country band (really country and pop/rock - the BL is calling it a variety band), I figure I probably need some kind of Fender-esque bass. I have a Precision, but it's a 4 string. I really don't play 4 string basses very much anymore. The Precision is an MIM, so modding it won't be too much of an issue.

    The victim:

    I saw this Roger Waters Fender Precision neck on the 'bay:
    which arrived today. 1.75" nut is perfect for a 5 string. And since I like a fairly narrow string spacing at the bridge, this 4 string precision would seem to be a solid candidate for conversion.

    I have a set of 5 black Hipshot Ultralites 1/2", and a suitable 5 string bridge somewhere.

    Did a quick mockup of the proposed headstock:

    Now I just need to wait until my left hand ring finger heals - I sliced the tip pretty bad cutting up some veggies for salad yesterday. That's also putting a damper on my playing and learning these thousands of new songs for the band.

    Will I paint the body black? Probably not - I dislike finishing. But we'll see. I'm thinking a Lace Alumitone pickup will work well for this. Unless I go with one of those new oval Delano pickups that seem to be all the rage :p
     
  2. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    Heh heh, yeah it's a sickness.... already planning my next two builds. And a pickup, and an amp, and a synth... and..
     
    chinjazz, Beej and mapleglo like this.
  3. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Sickness is right. I didn't even complete mine in time for the comp, but in addition to working on those two, I'm refinishing my 2017 build off bass (again :rolleyes:), working on another Steampunk guitar, three more driftwood guitars, converting a precision wide 5 to a narrow 6, and am planning out a walnut body for a seven string les paul style guitar neck I picked up for a song. I also have no doubt I'll start at least one more before these are all finished.:D

    Looking forward to watching this one... :thumbsup:
     
    chinjazz and mapleglo like this.
  4. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Its a Calling, not a Sickness. Would a 4 and 1 tuner layout not work on that headstock? Might have to add a second string retainer, but a lot less patching and filling, just wondering...I once had to play a gig with a cut finger, I'd read that Stevie Ray Vaughn used to crazy-glue his calluses back on so.... It worked, but that was long before sterile CA glue!
     
    rojo412 and DrummerwStrings like this.
  5. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    A 4+1 tuner layout would work, but then I'd have to move 3 of the 4 tuner holes to get the string alignment right. It's easier to just fill in 2 tuner holes, and drill out 3 new ones.
     
    DrummerwStrings and Gilmourisgod like this.
  6. GIG, you're in denial. It is a sickness. Bahahah! :smug:

    I agree with the 4+1 idea too. Less work and looks good I reckon.

    CA glue was used to stick people back together in Vietnam. They used it to glue wounds back together on the battlefield so people wouldn't get infections while they waited for surgery. It's so chemically potent, I wouldn't worry about whether it's sterile.
     
  7. dedpool1052

    dedpool1052

    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I saw a thread where a member overhauled a Fender Stu Hamm Urge bass and modified it to use small post tuners instead of the large post ones that came standard. That could net you some wiggle room for string alignment without having to fill and drill new holes.
    Here's the thread
    93 Stu Hamm Urge (MIM) rebuild
    Pics of the original tuners on page 1 and pics of the tuner mod on page 4.
     
    DrummerwStrings likes this.
  8. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Unfortunately, I already have the larger tuners.
     
    BassHappy likes this.
  9. I have a P4 bass neck that has been converted to a 5. The string spacing is really narrow at the nut end but I play it on occasion. It is also a 4+1 arrangement and the strings go straight to the tuners. The holes are the original ones on the 4 side with the one on he bottom having been drilled. Tuners are the open gear Fender style but with the smaller size plate. I'll try to snap a pic tomorrow and post it.

    BnB
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  10. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Is it a 1 5/8" neck, or a 1 3/4"? The latter tends to make a slightly more comfortable spacing. :)
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  11. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Thanks, I'd like to see it. Though I'd still be concerned with the tuners I have, the larger Hipshot Ultralites.

    Pretty much all the 5 strings I build are 1 3/4" nut width, which is why I got the Roger Waters Precision neck. I like a pretty narrow string spacing at the bridge as well. I have a couple that are wider, one with a Squier 5 string neck, and one I built with a 19mm spaced bridge. I never play them.
     
    Leiria, BassHappy and reverendrally like this.
  12. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    pretty much sums it up for me too. I always build the same, well, a tad wider because I do 45 mm. I also like a narrower spacing at the bridge, preferring 15 to 16 mm. The Wider spacings at the bridge I find to be too difficult to accommodate. I think it's because I also play guitar.:D
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  13. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    This sounds like a perfectly rational project......But the bigger question is:

    Why wouldn't a country band want to have you, in a cowboy hat, playing the Diva or the Walnut Devil? That's obvious crowd appeal. You'd be Ms. Mischief. Are they afraid you'd steal the stage show?
     
    Freekmagnet, JIO, Haroldo and 6 others like this.
  14. Here are some pictures of the head stock of mine. I measured the nut and it is 1 5/8 wide. And for the record I didn't build this. I got the bass it was on was built by our own Ric5.

    IMG_20180329_085027710.jpg
    IMG_20180329_085104902.jpg

    It uses a Schaller roller saddle bridge. I believe the spacing is about 16mm or so. At the nut it's pretty tight.

    IMG_20180329_085043589.jpg

    BnB
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  15. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Hmm, maybe I'll put in the 4 tuners, make a nut, and see how the strings align on mine. Thanks for posting the pic!
     
  16. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I'll be using the Diva as well - they added "These Boots Are Made For Walking" and I'll play that on the fretless.
     
    Freekmagnet, JIO and BassHappy like this.
  17. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Points will be awarded for wearing white gogo boots while playing that tune, but awesome tooled leather cowboy boots would also be acceptable. Always loved that tune, Nancy Sinatra was a bada**.
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  18. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Yeah, I've been thinking I'll need to do some shopping at some point before our first gig...

    We are doing Miley Cyrus' version of These Boots - it seems she brought this tune back from obscurity.
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  19. I'm a big fan of the Gotoh GB350 tuners. They are lighter weight than the hipshot and I think they work better too. But they only come in the smaller size - so I generally shim the headstock holes. I make a tube out of carbon fiber and glue in the hole
    Carbon_Sleeve.jpg
    But you could shim the holes eccentric to get the string alignment right for a 4+1 arrangement.
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  20. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    :eek:
     
    RĂ´ckhewer and mapleglo like this.

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