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6 string headless multi-scale build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Dirk Diggler, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. I finally got around to updating some pictures in my build gallery. This is a 6 string headless "sex-scale" bass. The neck is pretty much finished, I'm working on the body now and am waiting for a friend to finish the brass string retainer on the end of the neck.
    By the way it looks like the body wings will be wenge, mahagony, purple heart, and with the wonderful Masser Birch top I got from Larry. I also got the Ziricote fretboard from him too.
    I'm really getting excited with this bass and just wish I had more time to work on it. Well also a better heated build space would be nice too. :)
    Oh yeah I suppose I should give the link:
  2. teacherguy


    Feb 21, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    So far, so good!!
    Now is this a personal instrument or a commisioned work?
    The reason I ask is that I read recently that since the fanned fret concept is owned by Novax, builders have to pay a licencing fee to use it (I think I read that right).
    Is this your situation?
    Also, is there a resource out there for calculating the measurements for fanned fret placement? Curious...

  3. Hey Jon,
    Thanks for the kind words. :) Yes this is a personal instrument so I don't care about Novax or licensing, they didn't tell me how to do it at all, so really there can be no claim. It was simple I figured a 36" scale for the low and 32" for the high side, the rest works itself out. LOL
    To be honest the only one I owe for the layout is Stew Mac, they offer a free calculator for layouts. I used the fret calculator from stew online, it's easy and great to work with. The hardest thing is getting a long enough device to lay it out that accurately. It even has zero fret if you want to do that.
    But then again I won't know how well it works until it's built, so wish me luck.
  4. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Last year I was speaking with a luthier about a custom headless 5er, fanned fret, but as I got busy and sidetracked, let the contact lapse. This week I've had the project in mind again and been mulling over some details.

    Do you have a pic for the body design for yours?

    I'll be watching how yours comes out.
  5. Hey Dharmabass,
    I haven't seen that combination yet so I figured I would try it. I have a few body shapes in mind and until I glue it up and get ready to cut it I haven't made the final decision.
    I've got it down to 2 shapes, 1 like my Frenz headless, the other like my hippo bass, and that one is my own design. I know a lot of people don't like that shape, but I do and it's pretty much my own.
  6. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Whether I agree with the Novak patent or not is beside the point, but you should really check that out. Last I checked, patent infringement didn't normally entail the patent holder telling the infringing party how to do it. Also, personal use is considered patent infringement. I would be careful about posting it publicly.

    Anyway, looks like it will be a great instrument. A good choice of woods.
  7. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    Are you sure about that? Because I really don't think it is infringement.

    Patent law is about protecting the competitive advantage of an inventor by allowing them to be the only one to market with their patented design. I'm 99% sure that if you're not selling something, or claiming it to be the patent-holder's product, you can do whatever you want.

    (I'm not a lawyer, but I do follow IP law pretty closely for a layman.)
  8. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    35 U.S.C. 271. Infringement of patent
    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without
    authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within
    the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention
    during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent.
    (b) Whoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable
    as an infringer.
    (c) Whoever offers to sell, or sells within the United States or
    imports into the United States a component of a patented machine, manufacture,
    combination or composition, or a material or apparatus for use in practicing a
    patented process, constituting a material part of the invention, knowing the
    same to be especially made or especially adapted for use in an infringement of
    such patent, and not a staple article or commodity of commerce suitable for
    substantial noninfringing use, shall be liable as a contributory infringer.

    There is a narrow "experimental use" exception in case law, but I don't see how that would apply. Regardless, it is unlikely that a company is going to take an individual to court over it. My only point was that stating that you're going to (possibly) violate a patent on a public forum that the patent holder could see is probably not a great idea. I know that MIMF has had problems with Novak and I really don't see the need to start it here.
  9. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    Hunh. Interesting and freaky. I really thought that homebrewing your own solution that happened to coincide with a patent was fine as long as you didn't distribute it.
    Le bummar.
  10. Biagio139

    Biagio139 Dealer: Hipshot Products, Inc.

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ithaca N.Y.
    his frets are spaced differently hes fine, and so far it looks great.
  11. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I'm not sure what you mean.
  12. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Regarding the Novax licensing thing, on Novax's site, it says that you only have to pay royalties if you sell an instrument with fanned frets within the united states. So us Canadians don't have to worry about that! :p
  13. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Beta Tester: Source Audio
    I was about to point that site out too as I remember reading that in the past.
  14. Well that is one of the reason I call it "sex scale" hey I took latin as a kid. :) And yes I had read that about the Novax specific info, I'm not selling it. If they want to chase me down for the $75 that's fine. It's hard to believe it would be worth their while. But also what you get from purchasing the license is their scale setup which I have no need for.
    I understand your concerns and appreciate that, but unless it causes issues for TB, I'm not worried. If it does cause an issue here then I'm happy to remove the link.
    Also Novax doesn't make 6 string basses do they? And headless on top of that? I didn't think so.
    I'm glad to help create dialog on this subject and hope this helps with others trying similar things. The idea of multi scale just seems to make too much sense, and from listening to all the kudos from Dingwall users I have to try it myself.
  15. Oh yeah I really dig the fretboard markers on those Kleins on the Novax site. :) Is that a patentable thing too?
  16. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I don't know that I've seen a six string bass from Novax, but I've seen a 4, 5 and 7 as well as headless. Also, the only mention of selling instruments is in the example of building an instrument outside of the US. For instruments built in the US it makes no mention of selling or not.
  17. Biagio139

    Biagio139 Dealer: Hipshot Products, Inc.

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ithaca N.Y.
    Just to stay on topic I love the idea of a sext scale bass. I think you should patent it as a bass that gives you a nice tight low end with a nice resonate feeling treble.
    But Iam still confused, why anyone is even arguing this with you it seem a bit trivial.
  18. teacherguy


    Feb 21, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    Hey Dirk,
    I know that whatever body syle you decide to go with, your project will turn out great BUT here's my vote for the Frenz design over the hippo! (Not at all a slam, of course ;) )

    BTW, if I'm not mistaken, didn't you acquire a Frenz (or two) from Ebay?
    Also, aren't the body wings attached at a slight backward angle? I know I've seen one like that but I can't tell from the photo if that's the case for that particular Frenz.
    Would you angle back the body wings too if you go with the Frenz shape?

  19. Hey Jon,
    No problem on the design preference at all, the hippo is afterall a mutation of another Frenz bass. Yes all 3 of my Frenz basses were Ebay finds.
    And yes you are correct there is a good 6-8 degree back angle on the wings, the hippo has that as well as the original. The new one will absolutely have the same. It really makes them fit ergonomically, I like to think of it as a belly curve.

    And Geoff I just looked and you are correct, it's an out of US thing.
    Well it also says I need to contact them before building it, oooops too late. I guess I just don't understand how I can be breaking any patents buy building my own creation, figured out by myself, for my own use. Why does this bother anybody including people here? I'm still amazed that this is even an issue with all the boutique fender-like instruments.

    I make my own instruments because I don't have enough money to buy what I want from others, is that a crime? I think not. If I was chased down for infringement what would they get, I have virtually nothing, would they put me in jail? If so I'd be getting more meals a day and cable TV. :) I can understand if I was selling lots of custom made fanned fret basses, and it was my day job, then I can see the reason to pay. $75 sure isn't a lot and it does say you can get help and support, but so far I was able to figure it out for myself thanks.

    Like I promised if this freaks out anyone here or causes any issues to TB it goes the way of the dinosaur, I'm just trying to share an hopefully inspire someone else to build and think outside the norm.