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Another New Bass Design...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by surge, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. Howdy folks,
    I am starting to do some desing work on my first bass, wondering whether anyone has any thoughts or advice on the look of it.
    I am thinking neck through with some tasty laminations (not too sure of sizes of lams etc, so they're not shown). I would like to use darker timbers if possible, though be a virgin run, I guess it would be sensible to use cheaper woods rather than high end exotics... any advice on wood selection for such a project?
    I dont mind the shape in its current form, though I feel it may be a bit Carl Thompsony or something... the hatched lines sort of show the top edge of the body countours. Also, would the curly horn be a major pain in the butt to do? I am starting to think it could turn nasty pretty easily.
    I was thinking of a 34 inch scale and using EMG's with the BTS system, possibly running 18v.

    Anyway, any advice and tips would be greatly appreciated!


    p.s. BTW, what is the method/equation used for marking fret lines on a fret board?

  2. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Some tips:

    The scrolled top horn should reach the twelfth fret for balance reasons, and I'd cut a little more out of the bottom for better access to the higher frets, but that's just me.

    As for getting the locations for fret placement, I'd suggest a program called wfret or using the fret calculator at StewMac.

    I'd practice on pine. A lot. But for the final project, use whatever you feel like it. Remember to get high quality of whatever woods you use. And make sure neck woods are stable. There are a lot of topics on TalkBass that cover this, all with differing opinions.

    Personally, I like maple bodies and maple necks. That's why I'm not going to use them for my project.

    As for the designs, it's no sin to take inspiration from your favorites. Once you make more instruments, your individual style will manifest. Heck, Carl Thompson's first bass was a take on the Jazz Bass.
  3. i like it, nice flowing lines.. but the scroll looks a little square..
  4. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Multiply the scale by the twelfth root of 2 (2^(1/12)). This gives you the distance from the first fret to the theoretical bridge position then multiply that by the twelfth root of 2 to get the distance from the second fret to the bridge. Then you can mark it out how you'd like. I imagine you'll want to do it from the nut.

  5. Thanks for the replies all... damn its good to have knowledgeable folk only a few keystrokes away...

    andvari7: with regards to making the first incarnation with pine, would it still be a semi-decent bass tone wise? (I realise there are many other factors which contribute to tone) I would hate to get to the end and have the bass turn out really nicely, only to be dissapointed my the fact it could be a looking bass, not a playing one.

    Godhead'sLament: cheers mate, the scroll does look a little boxy or something, I shall rectify that!

    Geoff St. Germaine: thanks for the equation!
  6. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Well, you COULD use pine. In fact, Bud "Budman" LeCompte has a topic devoted to his new Ponderosa pine bass. Ask him for any advice I cannot provide. There are some reasons not to use pine, such as resin and wood stability, but I am not 100% on those.

    But, I'm suggesting using cheap 2x6s (roughly 5cm x 15cm - I know Australia uses the metric system) you find at building supply stores.
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Pine is a nice wood for bodies, providing that it is thoroughly dried. That means thet the resins must have settled, which could take a few years. Then, optimally, you should raelly give it a beating, to shake the resident loose, because the playing will do that in time. If the tone of the block is OK then, it will be forever.

    Pine for the neck can work, but it has to be exceptionally superb, and definitely quartersawn. Nordstrand made a piece with a spruce neck, which is reported to sound good, and spruce is generally softer than pine.
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Horn length: the extension to the 12th fret looks good. Not only will it balance better, but it will bring the bass clser to you (les reach towards the nut).

    Design: Nice! how would it look if instead of the four points on the headstock, you rounded the largest, furthest out one to a curve, to tie in with the rest of the body?

    Fret calc: there are several tools on the web. The "fret calc" sheet of this spreadsheet has one:
  9. T-34


    Aug 11, 2005
    France, Paris region
    29 fret neck :eyebrow:
  10. nice looking scroll, but i am not a big fan of the bottom horn

  11. Ty_Boogie

    Ty_Boogie Bass, A way of life

    Sep 6, 2004
    Troy, NY
    yeah I noticed that too

    anyone know about hardwoods like poplar, red oak?
  12. LOL
    Yeah, I just kept drawing frets til I ran out of space! I don't think it'll work out like that once I position them correctly.

    Thanks for all your thoughts etc guys, much appreciated.
    I will post the last design prior to construction once I have finished buying my tools and wood.

  13. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    I second this. I'd make the bottom horn point more towards the headstock personally. Nice overall design though.