Back from hiatus with some new builds

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Geoff St. Germaine, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Well, after an extended hiatus from TB, I've got a few new builds on the go, so I'll document them here. I've looked around the luthier's corner and there's a lot of great work going on by the people posting here.

    The first is a fretless 6. Specs are:

    34" scale fretless 6
    set-neck construction
    acrylic impregnated wenge fretboard
    butternut chambered body
    flamed red oak top, red oak back
    walnut/maple/bloodwood neck
    ETS indi bridge
    Sperzel tuners
    EMG 45DC pickups with BQS preamp

    Shortly following that with some things done in parallel (mostly construction steps that I'm completely set on their order)

    34" scale fretted 6
    set-neck construction
    pau ferro fretboard
    cherry body
    flamed walnut top
    walnut/maple/bloodwood neck
    Hipshot indi bridge
    Hipshot ultralight tuners
    EMG 45DC pickups with BQS preamp

    Multiscale fretted 6
    bolt-on construction
    pau-ferro fretboard
    walnut/alder body
    redwood burl top (though I think more accurately the piece I have has birdseye figuring)
    maple/wenge neck
    Hipshot indi bridge
    Hipshot ultralight tuners
    electronics tbd, considering Delano Xtenders with Delano Sonar 3 preamp

    6 string guitar, jazzmaster shape with set neck
    25.5" scale
    macassar ebony fretboard
    bubinga top
    cherry body
    curly maple neck
    SD P90 pickups with vol/tone and 3-way switch passive electronics
    Gotoh tuners
    LMII bridge

    For the guitar I'm mostly just helping a friend on build it for himself, but I'll get some pictures up as things start going.

    Next post I'll get some images up of the fretless 6 progress.
  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I built a from and back template and removed most of the material with forstner bits. The chambering that isn't all the way through is 3/4" in from the back. The total body thickness is 1 3/4".

    A front shot of the chambering.

    A back shot of the chambering.

    Here's the body routed with the flamed oak top and neck blank. The body woods and fretboard are from Larry at Gallery Harwoods.

    Headstock with the flamed oak laminate. The headstock design is to be as small as possible. Inspiration on size/shape mostly from Brubaker. I love their small headstocks.

    Test fit with the Sperzels. These things are a bit of a pain with the locator pin instead of a screw. The instructions with the bass tuners are also incorrect. Fortunately I had a drill template from a previous build. With Hipshot ultralights being about the same price it's probably gonna be those from now on.

    The back of the body prior to carving in the neck pocket area. I got a fair bit of the area of the body and neck at the transition rough carved prior to gluing in the neck.

    Some progress with the rasp. I'm also trying out some gouges on this one to get some concave carving. The top and back will be fairly well carved, along the lines of Vadim Rubtsov's instruments.
  3. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    looks very cool Geoff and welcome back
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Welcome back, bud.

    Looks good so far. I'll be happy to see how that carving works up. I always guessed that Vadim uses some kind of bowl or ogee bit on a router.
  5. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Thanks guys. I've actually been lurking for a few weeks and have been admiring both your work.

    PJ, yeah, with how the carving looks I imagine you're right. Mine's gonna be pretty much entirely manual. My rate of carving will probably be limited by the endurance of my hands.

    The neck's glued in. Here's a shot with the rough cut top:

  6. sprocket123


    Feb 15, 2012
    Wow nice bass builds you got , back building basses , cool welcome back
  7. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    My electronics arrived late last week. I got the pickup cavities routed and it's slow going on the carving/contouring.




    My plan for the finish is a dyed red to black burst. I've been testing some grain highlighting using tinted epoxy grain filler to highlight the gram of the oak, similar to what I've seen on some basses (notably F Bass). I think the oak has far too many pores compared to ash for this to look good. There are so many pores in the wood that the tinted grain fill makes the wood look very dark. It's probably going to wind up being red to black burst with dye, epoxy grain filler and a urethane gloss finish.
  8. Awesome stuff ......
  9. Nidan


    Oct 31, 2008
    Duluth , Ga
    elegant , good work
  10. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I haven't update in a while. I'm into the finishing of the fretless 6 right now. I'm using aniline dyes and then I'm going to do an epoxy sealer before spraying the gloss finish. Here's some of the progress/steps in the burst dye that I'm doing.

    Black dye applied prior to sanding back:

    Sanded back for figure highlighting:

    Red dye applied:

    Red and black dye feathered for the burst effect:

    Headstock burst:

    I'm very happy with these results so far. I was pretty worried about achieving a good blend, but after watching a few videos on technique and trying it out it's pretty easy to achieve what at least appears to be pretty good results.
  11. Wow! That is some high quality work you have going on there. Love the color scheme too!

    Looks Great!
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Looking great. That thing is going to look amazing once you hit it with some clear gloss.
  13. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Thanks guys. Yeah, PJ, I'm excited to see how it looks once the clear is applied and is buffed out.
  14. ON the ONE

    ON the ONE

    Nov 20, 2010
    What a gorgeous bass! I would love to get some links or info regarding those analine blending videos? Your fretless is amazing and I'd like to get that technique down.
  15. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Any news?
  17. Spambusta


    Jan 11, 2012
    Wow! LOVE that burst!
  18. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I have been negligent in keeping this thread updated as to how things are going. I've been quite busy with a tactical flying course, so progress has been intermittent. The fretless is into finishing. I'm hoping to have it completely finished by mid July. I need to level the current clear that's on it and I want to spray a few more before buff out.

    I had a weird finishing occurence. My original plan was to use a Water based poly clear gloss finish. I used system three clear epoxy as pore filler for the oak top. The epoxy reacted with the water in the finish and turned some spots milky white. From what research I did this seemed to be where there wasn't a 100% cure if the epoxy. From reading system three's literature it seems that this is pretty common when their product is exposed to water as the cure is rarely 100%. Normally when the water dries the epoxy returns to clear, but with the finish sprayed on top of the epoxy it would not turn back to clear. This meant I had to sand off about 6 coats of clear, touch up the due in a few places where I had sand through and then apply an oil based poly instead. That added about 3 weeks to the project.

    I saw Dream Theater about a week ago and since I don't currently have a 6 string, this motivated me to get to work on the fretted brother to this bass.

    The neck is from the same blank. The body is a walnut and maple core with a flamed walnut top and bloodwood back. Fretboard is Pau Ferro, 24 frets and there is going to be two EMG 45DCs mounted like a Dingwall Z2 (I loved the growl of that bass).

    Here are a couple of photos. I'll endeavour to be more timely in my updates now that I should be a little less busy.



  19. Nidan


    Oct 31, 2008
    Duluth , Ga
    love the design, very elegant
  20. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Thanks, it's sort of an F bass/Vadim inspiration. The headstock is inspired by Brubaker, I love his compact headstock design.