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Build progress

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Easy Rider, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. Had time again to work on my neck. Got the headstock roughly to thickness and did some more sanding. It's ready for routing the truss rod channel and rough shaping. Hopefully this week, if in any way possible even tomorrow.



    And now the piece du resistance: the fingerboard! It's sawn from a length of mac ebony, got it down to 5 mil thick, and it's insanely gorgeous! (IMHO, ofcourse)


    Obviously, in real life it's even sexier, it sure is worth the hours of sanding!
    BTW, is there anything you can treat ebony with to make it last even longer aside from laquering it?
    I'm totally in love with this piece and if possible I'd make it last forever.
  2. Cool pics! Looks to be coming along well... I'm very nervous about building the neck when I get to building my six-string bass. How has it been for you so far? Very hard, easy, a little bit of both?
  3. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    awsome. can you post some pics of the body design and specs. I'm curious to see what that neck will go on.
  4. Well... so far I'd have to say that for me it's pretty easy, except for the initial scarf joint scare and all the sanding and measuring and sanding and measuring and...
    But that's because I'm building this at my college's workshop, which has professional equipment, like a table saw, a jointer, a mill and a planer. That sure speeds things up, like sawing and trueing the blanks and sawing the scarf joint.
    The mac ebony was a pain though as it was too hard for the jointer and planer (it chipped on the leading end in the planer and just bounced off the jointer) so that had to be cut on the table saw and then sanded to thickness, which I did by hand :p Plus it's a fretless with no radius, which is also a lot easier.

    The body contour I copied from my Ibanez SR1000, which is a shape I really love, both esthetically and ergonomically.
    Also, because the body is a single piece of honduras mahogany (I'll post a pic when I get home) and there aren't going to be any magnetic pickups and no electronics/preamp in the bass (It's going to be super clean!) the quite small body keeps the weight down as well.

    So, all the specs/parts:

    -Wenge neck, hot rod truss rod
    -Macassar ebony fingerboard, no radius (with brass side dots, still to be made)
    -Honduras mahogany body
    -GraphTech piezo saddles
    -Gotoh 201 bridge to hold the saddles
    -Gotoh tuners
    -A jack

    Sounds a bit boring right? Well, here's the thing that moved me to build this bass in the first place: there's going to be wood figuring (is that the correct term?) on the body, but that design I'm not going to post, that's a surprise :D

    Oh, and the hardware is going to be.... gold! :bag:
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Fabulous fingerboard!

    Can't wait to see the "wood figuring"....:D
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Nice wood.

    Don't you need a buffer pre for those piezos?
  7. Paddy


    Apr 19, 2005
    Kent England
    Love the fingerboard - that's very nice.....
  8. Here's the body, already partially contoured before I figured out I needed a neck first to decide on the shape of the heel. This was done a few years back...


    Heh heh, I can't wait to see the wood figuring (I think it's wood 'carving') too! I'm no wood carving expert, but I do have a knack of getting shapes I want out of blocks of material. I'm going to use any and/or every technique ever devised :D and maybe invent new ones along the way.
    For a brief moment I was tempted to stick the whole shabang in 3D CAD/CAM and stick it in the CNC mill... but that's just so... 'sterile'. No good!

    I'm planning to eventually run the piezo's with a short lead to a belt clip preamp. But both my effectboard and the passive input on my amp are 1 Megaohm (I love Trace Elliot...) so in the meantime it'll sound pretty good without it.
    I currently run my double bass with a K&K Bass Max without a preamp as well, and it sounds excellent (or actually quite crap, as it sounds *exactly* like the bass :p ) even though it has about 4 or 5 meters of line to overcome.
    I'm still not sure which preamp to go for, the K&K preamps seem real nice, or perhaps I could build a belt clip version of GraphTech's preamp. Or maybe I'll cook something up myself... But that's of later concern!
  9. Very cool. Bit of a coincidence, because I'm going to be building my first guitar (starting next week hopefully) and I'll be doing it in my college's shop!
  10. Yeah, ain't college great like that?
    And another plus side: the shop is where the coolest and most interesting people are found! :D
  11. Made a lot of progress yesterday!
    The truss rod channel is now routed, and the neck got it's rough contour.


    And this is the headstock, of my own design.


    So far so good! :D
    The scarf joint worked out really well, there's still no glue joint visible, I'm very, very pleased.
  12. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    looking good! that is a beautiful piece of wood you've got there. the headstock kinda reminds me of a Bongo.
  13. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    I was thinking the same exact thing. But the bass looks like its coming along nicely, nice clean scarf j.
  14. Deffently bongoish. Other than that it looks like it is going along good. Woodchips start tomorrow for me.

  15. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    I really like your headstock design.
  16. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    That headstock is a real soother! Nice!:)
  17. It is indeed an incredible piece of wenge. You know, it's cut from a blank that's probably wide enough for a (slender) body... 1 pc. wenge body?? :eek: Wonder what that would sound like.

    Thanky you for the praise of the headstock design, I spent quite some time fiddling with the curvatures and proportions (as a good to-be designer should do) until I settled for this one.
    The headstock is indeed bongo-ish with it having a curvature on the left side. I did find out recently though, what the design most closely resembles is a Godin LG geetawr headstock. It's my brothers' main axe, which I've already seen thousands of times before, but only now noticed the headstock design!

    Begun shaping the back of the neck today. I'm taking it real easy, and it's a lot of fun. I feel like a sculptor :D
  18. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Benavente once made a chambered wenge-bodied bass.
    Those who played it, said it sounded wonderful, it was just very heavy...

    LeFay also makes wenge-bodied basses
  19. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Lefays are very 3D-contoured, so they end up thin over a broad area--suitable for wenge bodies.
  20. Yes, the weight could indeed pose a problem. Making it (very) thin or chambering makes a lot of sense in that case.
    But then there are of course people who don't give a hoot about the weight as long as it gives them that sound. Which come to think of it is actually quite a good (and probably the only) argument.
    A dense, heavy wood would give a great sound (IMO) and eons of sustain to boot.

    Those Le Fay basses are pretty slick!

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