Black Walnut / EUB

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by 59jazz, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    After 20 yrs of building solid body basses, I would like to build a stick bass. I'm curious if anyone out there has tried black walnut for an EUB body?
    Thanks, Steve
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I can't think of a walnut-bodied EUB off the top of my head, although I think Karl Hoyt has probably made one with walnut as at least one of the ingredients. He made me a maple/walnut/maple sandwich bodied five string electric bass.

    To comment on the wood itself, I have an all-walnut 1982 Fender "Precision Bass Special" (that's slab to the rest of the guys! :bassist: ) that is a wonderful-sounding instrument. It is all walnut, neck and fingerboard included, and it is much warmer and darker if compared to a "normal" p-bass with the typical alder or ash body-- I have an 1983 that also has an onboard preamp, with alder (I assume) body and maple neck/fingerboard that is brighter and tighter-sounding.

    My vote: Go for it!

    '82 Fender Precision Bass Special, walnut
  3. I have a walnut Carvin fretless bass, which again is very warm sounding. I love it. I too would say go for it.
  4. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    Thanks guys! I was fortunate to get a 2"x16"x6' chunk of black wanut while living in Lake County. Ca. Plenty of walnut orchards! This piece has aged for 8's time to do something with it.

  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Just a little unsolicited input, so ignore it and I won't be hurt:
    • Check out with a luthier how Basses are put together as far as neck angle, string angles over the bridge, etc.
    • Consider building it using a standard double bass bridge, so replacements are simple. If you use a one-off bridge (ala Yamaha) you can't a replacement bridge when you need one in Central BFE.
    • Also consider building it so that the string length is easily adjustable by moving the bridge along the body.
    • Design it so that you have 'after string' and a real tailpiece.
    Most of the EUB's that I've played get all of the above wrong, and they tend to sound and feel like it. If the strings are too flat across the bridge they tend to sound like a fretless Fender.

    I'd also like to add that it would be worth your while to check out Alter Ego basses. These are the closest to a real bass that I've played.
  6. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    Ray, thanks for the info.yes, what you have mentioned, I will be including on this project. I'm curious about the "after string" :meh: with tail piece. I was considering using a tail piece similar to an Azola Bug Bass, thus making it a compact stick bass. I guess using a tail piece, would make the body larger, more for the tonal characteristics? Or for allowing beter angle when moving the bridge and scale length?
    Thanks for your help.

    Steve T. H2
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm not a mechanic, only a driver, so take what I say as only one opinion. I'd run this by a luthier as well. In answer to your question, I'd say that having the real deal after the bridge would do both, plus afffect the feel of the strings.

    The after-string and tailpiece both vibrate along with, and sometimes against, what is going on with the other side of the string. Yes, it would make angle differences more subtle as you move the bridge and change string height -- another plus to doing it this way. I'm also thinking that having more length between the bridge and the end of the after-string / tailpiece assembly would give the strings a different feel than just cutting them off dead as there would be a different kind of 'give' with the length of the afterstring, where the ball end of the string sits in the tailpiece, and the tailpiece cable.
  8. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    Good advice Ray! Thanks for your input.

  9. hoytbasses


    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    Hi :

    I've used walnut (as the esteemed Mr. Gollihur pointed out) for a many basses: most recently I built a solid walnut bodied 5 string fretless with a face of curly claro walnut. it has a nice fat sound and married to a cocobolo fingerboard, plenty of sizzle

    I've also built 3 EUB's using walnut as the core wood: my EUB design is a bolt-on neck with 3-1/2" high maple bridge and some back tilt: I also use 'faux' tailpieces...... that's a nice hunk of walnut and I'd suggest going for it. I would caution you against using the walnut for the neck: I don't think it has the tensile strength of maple.

    have fun

    here's one of my EUB's (I've built 9 to date)

    Attached Files: