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Build II - Paradox MJ5 - New design!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by roberthabraken, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. I've finished my new design! Again, it came out to be a lot of work to create a good looking and practical design. But I think I did it! I like this design a lot better than the previous one. It's unique, funky and a good one too. Special features are completely straight string paths, a multi-scale fretboard with exact fret distances for all strings and individual skewed string bridges that do not change the angle of the strings (and thus fret positions) when fine-tuning the bass. Also, the string distribution at the nut is an equal string-to-string spacing instead of center-to-center, providing a more balanced string distribution.


    Paradox is a 5-string bass with a scale length ranging from 34.5" for the low B to 33" for the G string. String spacing at the nut is like a classic Jazz Bass, while string spacing at the bridge is somewhat smaller with only 18.5 mm between the string's centers. The bass is especially designed for a DR MM125 string set. Pickups are from Delano: The Hybrid 5 combined with the JC 5 AL-H Jazz Bass neck pickup.

    For my second bass, I will probably use almost the same woods as the first time, but with a higher grade. Only difference is the body will be swamp ash instead of mahogany. I plan to dye the wood red with a transparent finish. The mother of pearl block inlays and pickguard combined with an ivory fretboard binding complete the classic and funky look of this design.

    It will probably take another month or two before I can start building this bass, but I will keep you posted. This bass sure is gonna rock!

    What do you think?
  2. I tell you what,man. THAT IS A SMOKIN'-ASS DESIGN!! I mean that!!: Do you plan on maybe takin' orders?? Wow.........
  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Very nice, Robert. I can't wait to see it born.
  4. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    What do I think? I think your specs are fantastic, and should make for a very playable instrument. Aesthetically, I think the upper horn is too bulbous, and I don't like plastic pickguards covering pretty woods, but I get the look you're going for. And I remember the fine craftsmanship displayed on your first build, so I'm looking forward to following this one!
  5. tanner


    Feb 4, 2007
    Austin, Tx
    that bass looks awesome, finally a J I'd like to have
  6. Glad you like it too :D, I'm pretty excited myself and I cannot wait to start, but I first have to finish my workshop and that's a lot of work.

    Taking orders will not be likely in the near future, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility ;).
  7. JoeDeF


    Apr 15, 2009
    I really like it! It reminds me of a caricature of a jazz bass, in an exaggerated, cartoonish way. I mean that as a compliment; very playful (and hopefully to be played to its fullest). It also calls to mind the old '70s "Keep On Truckin'" era. I guess that means I'm old....

    I look forward to seeing it completed,

  8. So, let's digg up this 'old' thread... I finally started with the build of this beauty! It will be a slow build, but since I've finished my workshop and I am really looking forward to building again, I decided to start anyway, no matter how long it takes :hyper:.

    I just made a few prints and tried to start with the body template, but the results were not good enough, so I will start over.

    I am also pondering over the multi-angle scarf joint I have to make... one big question mark as for now. I also have the option of doing a Fender-style headstock, but that's really not my preferred option.
  9. This week I made a new paper template for the body by printing out the CAD drawing on a bunch of letter-sized sheets and taping them together. I added straight lines on the drawing to check alignment and size.

    Despite the fact that this second try came out much more precise (I already cut it out and almost started cutting the wooden template...), I am not satisfied: I discovered my printer has a deviation of approx. 0.5% on one axis. So 10" comes out as 9.95".

    So today I ordered an A0-size plotted printout of my drawing online and I expect to receive it tomorrow! I'm curious if it is spot on and if so, I will build from those plans. Otherwise I will adjust all my drawings before printing them..
  10. Yesterday I received the A0 copy of the plans I've ordered. Quality is very good, no deviation on both axes. Nice to see my bass in the actual size for the first time. Little doubt about the body size, it still is a small body, but I think I'll proceed and see how it looks when I have the templates (and maybe MDF prototype):


    Last time I transfered my drawing to the wood by cutting it out and tracing its contours. But I figured that would be less precise, so having a good copy of the CAD plans, I cut them out and glued them to 6 mm MDF and started cutting. Works like a charm!


    This will be my master template. Because it is thinner, and softer than plywood, I can shape it better and it's easier to get things smooth:


    When this master template is okay, I will transfer its shape to a 9 mm piece of plywood, being the actual template.
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    And the template master begins the template frenzy!!! ;)

    Seriously, looks nice!
  12. lol :smug:
  13. Not a very exciting update, but I finished the master template of the body. I found that MDF is better material for a template because it is a lot easier to get the sides very smooth. But I will transfer the templates to plywood for durability (and the possibility of reuse without wear).

    So the sides are smooth:


    What's up next? I'm thinking of throwing together a small and simple router table from parts lying around the garage.. that'll make routing easier. But the oak table top I had lying around isn't perfectly flat. So more on that later.

    Furthermore I'm figuring things out concerning my design:
    • I have only room for three knobs but the Delano Sonar 2 has four. So I emailed Delano if it's possible to stack the tone knobs (tone / bass), but after more than a week and two emails still no reply. I found someone else on the forum with the same problem but no report of success.
    • I'm still in doubt about the headstock construction. Angled back or flat? How to shape the volute? Etcetera. I'm currently drawing things out but no satisfying result yet.
    • I am waiting for an offer from an exotic wood supplier.
    • I'm pondering over a way to ground those individual bridges. I'm thinking of routing a channel in the body, covering it with a wooden strip (so the glue doesn't get in) and then glueing the top on. When installing the bridges (and pups) I can drill into these channels from above and put the wiring in there. Any comments?
  14. devo_stevo


    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern Utah
    Builder: Brumbaugh Guitarworks
    You could use a brass nut and then you would only have to run the ground wire to one of the bridge pieces. Just a thought.

    Looks good. I like the shape. Sort of a Jerzy Drozd flavor to it. I'm looking forward to watching it take shape.
  15. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    My opinion: don't bother grounding the bridge(s). I don't. Just shield all of the cavities, and use shielded wire.
  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Are you using a zero fret? then you need only ground one bridge, to get all the strings grounded. If you ground them at all.
  17. Yeah I know, searched the forum and found several threads about this topic with those suggestions, but I don't like a brass nut and I don't dare to build a neck with a zero fret (with a conventional nut you have more tolerance in setup).

    I could omit grounding the bridge, but I did so on my first bass (shielded wires and shielded control cavity, no shielding in the pickup cavities), but there was a lot of hum. When I grounded the bridge it became very quiet. But I will get there :smug:.

    The biggest problem as I see it is the volute / neck construction and finance. Delano pups and active electronics are expensive ($520), and also individual bridge pieces ($215) and the light GB350 tuners from Gotoh ($215) are pricey... and then I have to buy the wood and all other small parts as well :eyebrow:.
  18. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    If you leave the nut cut high, you have more tolerance from getting buzzes - on the open strings only. And your intonation should be negatively affected.
  19. Maybe your right, it makes sense, but if I leave the cut 0.1 mm higher for example, therefore preventing buzz, I think it would be a negligible effect on intonation... but maybe it's just the idea :bag:
  20. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Another way to have the "nut" high is to do a zero fret with a higher fret wire.