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Building the uber-J

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by miziomix, Jan 21, 2010.


  1. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Hi there, here is a question that puzzled me for long time: How come I have owned many basses for years but never a Fender Jazz for longer than a few months? I keep on coming back to it and yet I never actually stick with it.

    Over the years I've come up with a list of (very) personal like/dislike points:

    Like: Look. P-ups position. 22 frets.
    Dislike: Lack of contour. Neck shape and feel. Neck/body joint. Heavy.

    It's a love/hate thing as you can see. So, a couple of weeks ago I finally decided to stop whining over this and build one. If I succeed I'll call it the Uber-J, which in German means Super-J. How about that? ;) (and no, I am not German) :bassist:

    I am not a professional builder, this is the second bass I build - a third one is in the making too...talking about greed uh? :D So please bear with me :) And it goes without saying...any comment from you guys would be more than appreciated! Thanks

    So far I have concentrated on choosing the woods, shaping the body and gluing the neck.

    Since I live in South East Asia I wanted as much as possible use local wood. So the body is made of a wood referred to as Asian Mahogany over here, with Macassar top - another SEA wood.

    this is the body after a first rough shaping and sanding:

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    Here is the body after more shaping and with the top glued on:

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    Here's the the body at the final stage of contouring. As you see from the drawings I am planning to make a very deep neck pocket - right up to the neck P-up. Electronics are rear mounted. I have two options in mind and I will decide as soon as they arrive and I can test them. P-ups will be Bartolini 4X J model.

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    these are the Neck parts waiting to be glued - it's a 3 piece Rock Maple/Macassar Ebony/R Maple laminate and the fingerboard is Birdseye Maple.

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    BTW, I am keeping more detailed records of the work in progress on my blog, where I elaborate on my loooong-winded motivations and rantings ;) Feel free to check it out at http://bassaxe.blogspot.com

    thanks for listening :)

    Mau
     
  2. This looks like its going to be one sweet Jazz bass. I'm really digging your choice to use local woods, and that top is beautiful! can't wait to see (and hear?) the finished product!
     
  3. I thought uber meant over. *facepalm*:p
     
  4. Zombbg4

    Zombbg4

    Jul 15, 2008
    Olympia,Wa
    Digging those contours!
     
  5. Very, very nice. You mentioned your other bass was heavy. In my opinion, the best sounding Jazz basses are rather light, like 8 to 9 pounds. Something about light weight gives them a certain snap and feel that heavier ones don't usually have.
     
  6. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    hey guys, thanks! I'm glad you like it so far!!

    dmusic148, I agree with you in that the best ones are lighter - I've come across all sorts... Be as it may every time I play one I invariably walk away with the feeling that something's amiss. Perhaps it has more to do with balance and feel - my strapping it high maybe? - then it does with actual weight. I have no ideas :)

    EAdanikDG, you're right... a quick search confirmed that uber means over, above. It indicates superiority and excellence. So I'm safe for now. Unless this one turn out a lemon :eek: then I'll have to change name... Thanks for pointing it out :bassist:

    Anyway, I'm dying to go on with this. but I'll have to wait a few more day for parts coming in. especially the ABM bridge - that one is from Germany indeed ;)

    ....meanwhile, the woods for the other one have just arrived - my eyes are waaay bigger than my stomach :bassist:
     
  7. Stealth

    Stealth

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Hell-o. Looks awesome even now, can't wait for the result.
    Subscribed.
     
  8. No problem, i actually intending to point out my error, but seems i was right all along.:D
     
  9. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    ...and since you guys are so nice why don't I pick your brains? ;)

    This picture shows how the lower horn has been reshaped.

    bodycontour0001.jpg

    I did this to facilitate the left hand's action around the 18th-22nd fret - one of the problems I have with Fender and other basses, especially when playing on E string.

    It is also an aesthetic one because it doesn't change the shape of the body as seen from front.

    Now that is done I start thinking...should I leave the core wood exposed as planned - beautiful flames, nice contrast with the dark Ebony front.

    Or should I instead apply a facing to bring out the unusually shaped contour. It might look quite different....tempting... What do you guys think?
     
  10. Bocete

    Bocete My E string is 36 1/4" long

    Sep 30, 2006
    I think the back, as is, might work as a great new front design. Make sure you make plenty of scetches before you decide, though.
     
  11. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes the tree Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    Well, if that happens - just call it "der Unter-bass."










    "under"
    Looks good now, though!

    Dan K.
     
  12. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    ahhahha... I like that!:bassist:i I hope I won't have to use it though ;)

    "I think the back, as is, might work as a great new front design. Make sure you make plenty of scetches before you decide, though".

    Good idea Bocete! so a third bass is already lining up - and I haven't finished this one yet...:ninja:
     
  13. HogieWan

    HogieWan

    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    Love that top wood!
     
  14. vbasscustom

    vbasscustom

    Sep 8, 2008
    i wish ebony was local around here.
     
  15. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes the tree Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    I also hope that you don't have to use it! Nice work on the build but keep in mind that a UBER-Jazz has to be REALLY red! (or some other color :D).

    Dan K.
     
  16. Nice work so far!

    You can make that neck joint even more upper-fret friendly by rounding it off, no need to have the end square-cornered like you have it now, especially if you're using individual ferrules for the neck screws (which you can place wherever you want).
     
  17. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Funny thing is, I'm a lefty and I thought that was the front until I read that like three times
    I was thinking to myself, "If the controls will be rear mounted why has he drawn them on the front?"
    :rollno: the whole world is backwards....
     
  18. bronzehydra

    bronzehydra

    Oct 14, 2008
    Mukilteo, WA
    Man, that ebony top looks good!
     
  19. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Hey erikbojerik, yes that is my plan exactly! The neck joint will be rounded and thin at the top - I'm planning to achieve an almost heel-lees effect. I have left more wood until I'm done working on the neck...screws will be placed more freely too if I can - a la Ritter :)

    Dan, red would be nice... I ain't gonna paint that top :D but I really dig the idea. I had in mind to make the knobs in Camphor Burl instead of the plastic ones I ordered - they both arrived yesterday...that wood is the reddest thing I have ever seen! Now that you mention it, I wonder why did I not think of switching woods??...too late now. But you got me thinking...mmm...Q-tuner p-ups maybe... :bassist:
     
  20. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Commercial User

    Sep 28, 2009
    Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Paris.
    Bass builder @ MüB.
    Question of the Day: Is it OK to work on the neck without having the bridge?
    I mean, the actual bridge placement should be determined by the J design and the rest should work according to the 34" scale template, right? Or am I missing something?

    The ABM bridge is still maybe a week away...and if I don't start working on the neck soon I'll surely die ;)
     
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