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Blood Brothers Custom Guitars Dueling SingleCuts

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SaintMez, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Hi TB friends! With the New Year approaching I'm looking forward to a bit more time in the shop. With one build winding down, I've been looking for a new project. I hope to challenge myself and continue to learn new techniques. This project will be simultaneous builds of a Single Cutaway design. They differ slightly and as the builds continue I hope to try different things on each of them.

    One will be a 5 string, one a 6. They will both have Swamp Ash for the body substrate, and black accent veneer of differing thickness. One top is Flamed Maple, the other Buckeye Burl. The neck materials are Birdseye Maple with a Ziricote fingerboard and a Wenge Neck and Wenge or Birdseye Maple Fingerboard. Hardware will be Hipshot, pickups and preamps and are yet to be determined. I haven't decided the scale as of now but am leaning towards 34 inches, and will probably use medium gold evo Fretwire. Finishes are also undecided. I'm open to suggestions so please fire away if you care to share an idea. As always, thanks for watching!

    I've had a few moments over the last couple weeks to get started on the bodies. Here is the progress so far.

    Boards for the bodies getting squared up and planed to thickness. (I just changed the blade on my table saw in case you're wondering why it's so high)



    A template for the bodies.

    One body, and the Ziricote FB

    The Maple top is from North Ridge Hardwoods


    The Buckeye I picked up from ebay. I've had it for a while. It has plenty of big voids and bark pockets. Those will be filled in the usual fashion.


    The veneers were first on the glue schedule. The buckeye top received the thicker veneer (2mm fiber veneer from LMII). This choice was made because I believe I will be contouring the BEB top a bit more than the flamed maple.


    The Flamed Maple bass received a much thinner black maple veneer.


    The veneers were glued on to the ash first using a large piece of MDF as a caul. I did this before running each side over the jointer. The Buckeye was then glued down (with epoxy) to each side. Then passed them over the jointer again a few times. Also I wanted to reduce the size of some of the larger voids. Much of the center seam will be removed (by the neck pocket and pickup cavities) or hidden under hardware and possibly a ramp between the pickups. I'm also considering pickup covers on one or both of them...decisions, decisions.


    Then the two sides were joined.


    The Maple top was jointed and joined before gluing to the body. I cut the top down a bit closer to shape in order to see the center line so I could match them up.


    A couple clamps later...


    ...and voila!



    After routing away the excess with the body template and pattern bit.


    As of now I'm thinking of doing the Maple bass with a smaller round over. I still used a 1/2 inch RO bit but didn't cut as deeply so its a little more subtle with the thinner veneer.



    My apologies for the length of this first post. This is the progress up to now and wanted to get it documented for you before I got too much deeper into these builds. Please feel free to chime in with criticisms, and suggestions. I'm looking to push myself further with these two. Thanks again for watching!
  2. These look like they will be awesome builds!

  3. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    Subbed..!! cool body shape and elegant selection of woods
  4. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
  5. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Thanks lowsound, Suraj, and GKon!

    I'm looking forward to getting further into these. I have to button up my last build thread but it won't be long before these two builds are in full swing.
  6. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Happy New Year everybody!

    A small update... I have the necks started. The Flamed Maple bass will be the 5 string. It will be getting a 9 piece neck with laminates of Wenge, Mahogany, Maple, and a center strip of Rosewood.
    First step for this was to true up the stock with a jointer and planer. Then to cut it into suitably sized stringers. This blank is just over 3 inches wide.

    The pieces after being cut close to size and run through a planer (double sided taped to a larger backing board) to get them to their final width.


    Glued and clamped with cauls. I did this neck in stages so I could control the pieces and keep them from slipping.


    The result after a final a final clean up of the squeeze out. I ran it over a jointer and back through the planer.


    The 6 string neck blank is a lightly figured Birdseye Maple.


    The 9 piece neck gets a Wenge FIngerboard.


    The Birdseye neck gets the Ziricote board.


    That's it for now...thanks again for watching!
  7. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    Those are some nice looking woods. The neck looks great.
  8. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor

    I've done a couple 5 piece necks before this is my first 9 piece. I've always liked the look of necks with alternating light and dark woods. Seemed an appropriate fit for the maple build.
  9. paradog


    Dec 25, 2011
    Central NJ
    Oh man I think I just drooled all over the laptop! You make it look to easy, but I'll leave the skill to you. Well done!
  10. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Thanks Paradog! I've learned a lot from my fellow builders here and try not to repeat the mistakes I've made on prior builds.
  11. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Well, after a bit of a hiatus I'm back at these. Life and work have kept me busy along with the birth of a 4th child for my wife and I. To quote comedian Jim Gaffigan about what it's like to go from three to four kids, "it's like you're drowning, and then someone hands you a baby". Sums it up pretty well :). I'm lucky my kids are pretty well behaved and the baby only eats and sleeps...for now.

    Back to the build...

    I've since changed necks for these. I bought a plain maple board for the Flamed maple Bass and switched the 9 piece neck over to the Buckeye Burl build. I didn't want to use the Birdseye maple neck with the flamed maple...seems to much like wearing stripes and plaids together.

    After cutting the headstock angle to 13 degrees the headstock portion (which is a Wenge piece) is cut to 13 degrees as well. I did this on my table saw with a jig from Rockler. Before glue up I made sure the angle were correct by routing them in the jig I've used on previous builds.


    After the glue up, additional Wenge was added for ears to accommodate the headstock shape. the buckeye veneer is glued on and run over the jointer to true everything up. Then truss rod and cf rod routes were done.





    Headstock roughly cut to shape. I use a template to draw on the shape and cut outside the line with a jig saw.


    Later I will add veneer to the back of the headstock to hide this part of the scarf joint.


    I slot the fingerboard on a table saw with the Stewmac fretsaw blade and 34in scale template. A cross cut jig with an index pin keeps everything where it supposed to be.

    After installing the cf rods and truss rod the fingerboard is glued on with a couple of tooth picks in the waste area to keep it from sliding under pressure.


    I use a bit of tape to keep glue out of the TR channel and to show me where to stop. This neck has heel end TR access so I don't want glue down in there, or anywhere near the rod for that matter.


    When its all said and done the neck is rough cut to shape, routed to final dimensions and the neck end routed down for space for the TR access cover.

    The next step for me was to do the round over on the top and back. I clamped it to a table and did one half at a time. I used a 1/2 inch round over bit but only lowered it partially. I like the look of it not going all the way over.




    That's all for now...thanks for watching.
  12. Not sure if you have come up with your choice of pickups yet, but have you considered anything by Delano? Their Xtender series get rave reviews and I have heard that they are a breeze to rout for.

  13. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Ron, I do like Delanos a lot and would love to use them. Perhaps in a future build. I have a set of Delano 7 string pickups waiting to be used. The Buckeye 5 string will be getting Bartolini quad coils and an Audere or Aguilar Preamp. The maple is a 6 string and is yet to be determined... It may be possible to make that one a 7 string and use the Delanos I've been hanging on to. I'd have to check the dimensions of the stock I have for the neck and fingerboard. Thanks for the suggestion.
  14. That's a good use of the waste area!

    If you don't have waste area for toothpicks, you can also put a strong staple halfway, then using cutting pliers and remove the U part to get some sharp points for the other piece of wood. Wilser Ramirez was the first person I saw doing that
  15. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Yes I've seen that... its a Stewmac Tip as well. I'm sure it works. I may try it some day on s guitsr build where I wont have waste on the sides to use. The tooth picks fit snug and do their job and then are completely removed so I'm happy as long as everything stays put.
  16. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Working today on new electronics cavity templates for this body style. My older ones are too big and would run into the pickup cavities. I wanted smaller cavities for this style as well because the preamps I'm using on them are much smaller and don't need a huge cavernous space.


    Got this one routed out and ready to route for the cover recess. Had a little tear out at the bottom. Must not have hogged out enough with the Forstner bit and got too deep a cut with the router. I will patch that and am considering glueing on small blocks for "ears" in those positions to have plenty of space for screws or magnets.


    Here's a little mock up of where this one is heading.

  17. Benberg

    Benberg Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2011
    that burl ... hnnhnhnnnggg
  18. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    The neck pocket on the BEB 5 string is done. Made a new template for this one as it was needed. I didn't take any pictures during this process but I'm sure you've seen it before.

    Double side tape the neck to a long piece of MDF and screw down perfectly straight scraps along the edges. Countersink the screws and sand any bumps off the surface. Then remove the neck and cut and route the pocket to follow the outline of the scrap pieces. Next I removed the screwed down scraps and used the new template to draw the radius of the corners onto a neck template to get them to match. Belt sanded the neck templates corners carefully to get the correct radius and now I have two matching templates.
    Attaching the template to the body and checking the alignment was next. Hogged out a fair amount of the pocket with a Forstner bit before routing the pocket to the needed depth.

    The neck was attached to its template and the corners were sanded to match the radius with a bearing guided sanding drum. The neck fit nicely and was ready to have the truss cover shaped to fit. I chose a scrap that I had thinned down to about 1/4 inch in thickness. Clamped it to the end of the neck and drilled/countersunk two holes for the flat head screws. Then inserted the screws and removed the clamp. Flipped the neck over and cut the cover close to the perimeter of the neck on the band saw. Again I used the bearing guided sanding drum to sand down the edges of the cover to match the end of the neck.



    Next up will be the pickup routes and rear cavity cover.
  19. Harry Cahyadi

    Harry Cahyadi Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2013
    Clayton, VIC, Australia
    C Basses Owner & Builder
    Man!!! I really wish that Buckeye tree grew in Australia.:scowl::scowl::scowl:

    That is a seriously nice looking bass!!! Great work.
  20. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Hey Thanks Harry! I got this set on Ebay a few years ago. You can still find some Ebay deals on Buckeye burl sets if you can find an auction. It appears to me the Buy It Now selection of BEB on there seems a bit overpriced.