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7 string multi-scale

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wilser, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. I plan to start this bass early next year and have it done maybe by summer '07 (depending on if I get more custom orders or not). I still have to work out the details but so far I plan to use hipshot individual bridge saddles, ultralites, audere pre, a single custom 7 string nordstrand DC ...other specs to will be detailed as they are finalized. It's 36" on the bass side and 33" on the treble side and the parallel fret is the 7th from the nut. It'll have 28 frets. Zero fret, of course.

    Here's the design, it's a slightly modified version of my D shape:

    I contacted Novax a couple of days ago about licensing the fanned fret. Mary B told me that their patent expired back in august, so I guess it's every man for himself now.
  2. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Hee Hee Hee (rubs hands greedily):eyebrow:
  3. I forget where I read this (prob. here)....but there's another patent pending, from someone different, trying to patent the method that I think most people use to do this, that of laying two scales side-by-side and connecting the dots.

    IIRC, the Novak method has all the frets emanating from a single point, which does not quite give you the same thing.
  4. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    I read somewhere also that the systems been around for ages long before Novak. I dont know, I just dont see how they can patent that.
  5. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I did hear about another patent pending. That patent had some interesting features in that it wasn't simply laying out two scales and connecting the dots. I don't recall right now exactly what it was, but if anyone is interested I am sure that a search on Novax will bring up a thread with a link to the new patent.
  6. yeah, this one uses the Novax method, so I guess I should be ok?

    Is there something I should be considering specifically on neck construction being that different scales will probably apply pressure in a much more uneven way than regular scale length ....hint hint to those who have built multiscales (JP, thirstygums, budman, etc)
  7. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Yes, you can go through the whole thread, but to summarize the major points:

    1. The Novak patent method, if it were followed, would result in wrong intonation (unless the strings happened to be parallel instead of spreading apart).

    This has been confirmed by several other people than myself. (Some luthiers you know well!) It is even stated in the Booker patent.

    2. No one follows the actual method that Novak patented anyway. His own instructions did not not follow the patent method. They follow the method immediately following:

    3. What people do is lay down two proper, different length scales at the outer two strings, and connect the dots. Like the Fretfind version. This works.

    It was mentioned, parenthetically, in Novak's patent, but was not part of the actual patent claims. This is probably because this had already been done since the sixteenth century.

    4. The Booker patent describes two unusual ways to lay out the board, using two different scales. But if you use the "normal" two scales on the outer strings method, you will not be infringing. (IMO, for legal reasons, of course!) Booker also mentions, but does not claim, this "normal" method.
  8. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Looks nice, Wilser. I think I like f*nned fret basses best with smooth, somewhat conservative body designs. At least this week!

    I'd mock it up in full size lumber or cardboard or something, to test what that 12th-fret-perpendicular feels like to play. Just because I think Sheldon Dingwall probably came up with 7th-fret-perpendicular after some testing, and it's been well received, so... some ergonomic testing would be my approach if I were to change that.

    Are you planning to do a compound-angle scarf joint to go with the angled head end of the fretboard? It would scare the crap out of me, but it seems like the best approach.
  9. I have been burning brain cells like crazy trying to figure out how to do that. I haven't come up with a good alternative yet, but it's what I'd like to do. If I can't figure it out, I'll do a stepped headstock like budman does.

    You're also damn skippy about the 7th fret being the optimal for the perpendicular position. I have edited my template and original message to reflect this change. THANKS!
  10. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Hey, please don't get me wrong. I wasn't saying 12th fret is wrong, and 7th fret is right. I was just saying that I'd try it out! Who knows, Dingwall could have missed something even better, or the two could be equally good.

    You could look at it as trying to have not too much angle at the nut or bridge; while having a comfortable angle at the middle. Or maybe look at it as trying for the most comfortable angle throughout. The 1904 Edgren patent had all the frets converging to a point which was intended to be at the player's elbow, although this makes no sense for a few reasons, both body-mechanically, and intonation-wise (which Novak never figured out).

    Please define "skippy".
  11. DigthemLows


    Oct 10, 2003
    Sacramento CA
    now you have me thinking, mine is designed with the 12th, I'm going to change the mockup to the 7th and see. I'm also struggling with the angle of the headstock. I'll let you know if I come up with anything that makes sense. I love the look of yours Wilser, your designs are always great! The rest of my parts come in today!
  12. My 4-string fretless has the 7th perpendicular, and it's 33-35 scale. I find this a little extreme at the bridge end. I'm thinking my next one will have the 9th or so perpendicular.

    Edit: here's a pic. Not to steal your thunder, but to show the angles. My idea is to shift some of the slant to the head and make the bridge a little more perpendicular. (It is fretless, those are just aluminum lines)
  13. it's not just dingwall, but all of the 'pro' builders I've seen use it at the 7th fret. I've also seen many guitars and most have used it on the 7th fret as well. I think it would be the best bet for a first one. Maybe I'll experiment on the future.
  14. That's why I did mine the way I did. I did a more extreme fan than you're planning, and found it a little too much at the bridge end. That's MY personal preference, and that's all. Looking at your 2 plans (thanks to PJ's quote), I think either would be nicely playable.

    By the way, what do you use to draw these up?
  15. I have a trial version of this nifty little mac drawing program called eazydraw. It's very nice and 'eazy' to use. I think I'll dig up the $100 bucks it costs.

    I generate a PDF with fretfind, import that and then use bezier curves to draw up the body and headstock. Those are full scale so I can print them collage style on 8.5x11 and tape them up, or take them to kinkos and have them plot it for me.

    Maybe I should finish some of those other basses instead :meh: ...I wish I had more time to dedicate to this stuff.
  16. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - PerĂº
    Never saw multi-scale basses before until got in here. I asked myself then how comfortable and playable they are supposed to be. Maybe one of you guys can give a few comments about this.

    Wilser ...maybe I shouldn't say this but there are little programs for trial software called cracks :bag:
  17. Ah, ok. I've been using Photoshop as a glorified MSPaint, nothing fancy like curves. I should try to figure those out.
  18. yeap, you're right. you SHOULDN'T say that ;)

    this is a vector drawing program, similar to the stuff Adobe Illustrator allows you to do, but in a more simplified manner and without all the bells and whistles. There are many available, even free, but this is the one I like the most so far.
  19. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - PerĂº
    The curves with photoshop are pretty easy... draw them with polylines. You don't have to actually dra a curve but several lines close to what it's supposed to be the curve. On Edit Polyline option theres an option that makes photoshop smooth that squared lines into a nice curve!!!

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