Back from build hiatus, new Crazy Spalted Lonnybass in the works

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Lonnybass, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Hey gang-

    With a new(er) baby in the house, I've had to take a few years off from building. Now that I'm getting back to it, I'm planning on constructing my most ambitious bass to date. Most of my time over the past five or six years has been for customer commission builds, so it's time to make something really insane and over-the-top for myself.

    This particular bass is going to bring together some of the design, tone and construction elements I've been really digging on lately, chiefly, the Fodera Emperor, Fbass BN and MTD 535s. As I am on the tall side at 6'5", I really benefit from a larger body so this bass will have a continued evolution of my preferred body shape - offset waist, 11th fret extended upper horn, downward angled lower horn for maximum comfort and balance while playing seated.

    Specs will be a chambered mahogany body, master grade spalted maple top, flame maple and wenge neck, pistachio fingerboard, deep set neck bolt-on, dual coils and (likely) the Nordstrand 3 band preamp, and glow-in-the-dark side dots.

    A special thank you to Bruce Johnson for his great advice in prepping and stabilizing the spalted maple, which I've not worked with yet in my previous instruments.

    A shot of the boards:


    And a layout photo:


    I'm really excited about this bass!

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    That's a really attractive body shape. Understated elegance. Nice! And welcome back!
  3. Looking good.
  4. I also like the allowance for an electronics cover or similar on the left there. Great idea. :)
  5. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Thanks guys, glad you like the design. This shape is similar to some of my previous lines, but I spent a lot more time working out the proportions on this one to get the right balance and ergonomics where I want them to be. I was debating making this one a single cut, but I can't get them to balance exactly the way I like them to on a strap.

  6. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    Not sure if you like the Fodera Tom Kennedy Emperor II shape for single cut, it looks awesome.
    Copy of the FBass BN? that would look great using any wood.
  7. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Yep, I really love the Emperor shape, and will likely build more singlecuts in a future batch. For this one, I wanted something closer to traditional, but still unique. The Fbass BN is probably the design most similar to my preferred overall body shape, as it has the best ergonomics for my body and playing style.

  8. Jonny5bass


    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Looks good. Can't wait to see it come together.
  9. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Ready to go with milling the lumber.

    Got some beautiful tiger maple for the neck billets

    Mahogany body core

    And some really spectacular cocobolo for the fingerboard
    bass10bfb, CHaoZ, DarrenRV and 3 others like this.
  10. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Final blueprinting.


    Prepping the MDF master template and chambering.


    gmjhowe and BeeTL like this.
  11. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Finished making the MDF neck template and neck pocket routing templates tonight. Only one left is the headstock. I used the two straight edge / two ruler method to line up the neck and make sure everything matched up perfectly to the centerline.

    Here's the neck MDF template. 1 7/8" at the nut and 3 1/8" at the 22nd fret.
    IMG_0994_zps91d841a4.jpg [/URL]

    Positioning the neck template on the body template to get center alignment for routing.
    IMG_0997_zps49d6fb70.jpg [/URL]

    IMG_0996_zps1ea612f9.jpg [/URL]

    Setting up the neck pocket clamping jig. This is the most time-consuming and precision step of the entire preparation phase.
    IMG_0998_zpsb19ae367.jpg [/URL]

    Here's the routed pocket.
    IMG_0999_zps1d1fe6b6.jpg [/URL]

    And our two body templates. Note that the neck pocket template was not carved on the upper bouts to provide the router with more of a stable surface when the pocket is cut.
    IMG_1001_zps3966e5ba.jpg [/URL]

    Chambered template and neck mocked up
    gmjhowe likes this.
  12. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass XBass Cables Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    SUBSCRIBED! Can't wait to see it (and play it!) :bassist:

    Killer basses!
  13. tdogg


    Jan 17, 2001
    Brooklyn Park, MN
  14. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Making the neck billet tonight.





    ExaltBass likes this.
  15. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Great looking design and some beautiful woods.
    Looking forward to watching this project come together.
  16. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    After 24 hours of squeeze time, I've taken the clamps off the neck billet and run it through the planer to smooth out the glue lines and square up the entire lamination. I'll leave it to stabilize for a brief period, and then will get set prepping for the taper, truss and rods, and fingerboard. The rays in the maple really complement the wenge nicely and I'm quite pleased so far.

  17. Amazing work, and I really like how the different woods go together aesthetically. Excellent choices..!

    You mention, that Bruce Johnson has given you great advice in prepping and stabilizing the spalted maple. Can you let us in on that? I'm working on my first spalted maple project also, and would love to hear more experiences about how to work with this fragile stuff. What I have done is to load the wood with several layers of thinned epoxy before I started working it - just to get it more stable. Once I'm done cutting and carving I will do this again before final sanding and finishing.
  18. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses

    Great to hear from you. I have been following your spalted maple instrument build for a few weeks, really liking what I see in terms of the design and the way it's all coming together - we appear to have the same taste in top woods :) Loving the way the grain and color in laminates are coming alive with the epoxy layers you're putting on. Looks great!

    In answer to your question, Bruce suggested that I use CPES (Multi-wood Prime) as a first application before doing anything else to the laminates. I did some reading up on CPES and essentially it's formulated to form a chemical bond within the cells of the wood. It soaks deep into the boards and prevents the fungus that creates the spalting from continuing to decay the boards. Essentially freezes the fungus dead in its tracks and locks it out of the fibers. After that, the epoxy to harden the boards and give them strength.

    I wouldn't worry too much about not applying the CPES, as you've applied so much thinned epoxy to your bass that you've gotten a nice deep soak into the grain. I used the exact same two-part epoxy to refinish my kitchen table last summer and that stuff is like concrete once it's cured.

    My biggest concern with the spalted stuff is the area around the control cavity floor, as this is the thinnest single area on the bass. I really want to over-engineer everything nowadays as much as is feasible for durability, and had a nervous moment on a bass I made a couple years ago where the redwood top was so brittle that it the cavity area would have crumbled away on me had I not glued a thin strip of polycarbonate underneath. I'm probably going to glue a thin sheet of aluminum to the floor of the cavity on this one, to give the 3/16" cavity floor lots of extra strength for the control area.

  19. That is what I have done -see my thread- and a sheet of aluminum glued in with lots of epoxy should help. Actually I'm more worried about the top where the nut will be tightened into this fragile wood.

    OK, thanks... Never heard about the CPES stuff before, but I'm not worried. I got the thinned epoxy advise from others who has been working with this stuff, and it should be just fine.
  20. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses

    How did you cut the aluminum to fit the control cavity? And what is the total thickness of your cavity floor? I'm going to wire a pair of coil split switches to each of the two pickups and these switches all typically have very short threaded shafts, so I'm trying to take all this into account for routing the depth of the cavity.

    You should be totally fine with the epoxy. Are you thinking of doing any color tinting as you apply coats? I'm probably going to add some transtint amber as a toner to the epoxy to help make the grain pop as I go..