Cliff Bordwell Build ( - 37" Scale - Six String Fretless - Ball Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chuck Heuser, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019

    I thought it would be cool to share the progress on my latest Cliff Bordwell Bass build. This is my second bass by Cliff and we decided to go super long scale on a fretless six string ball bass..

    Cliff sent some pics today, so I figured I'd get the ball (no pun intended) rolling on this thread....

    Scale length: 37"
    Neck shape: Oval
    Thickness at 1st: .850
    String spacing at Bridge: 18mm
    Neck: Maple/Wenge/Maple (Modern)
    Fingerboard: Gaboon Ebony w/Bloodwood side stripes
    Fingerboard Radius: Flat
    Nut: Dymondwood
    Top: Full Faced

    Body woods
    Top: Gaboon Ebony(w/bloodwood accent to get extra width) w/Bloodwood center-block
    Core: Mahogany Bloodwood cats-eyes
    Back: Curly Walnut Bloodwood centerblock
    Cavity cover: Black

    Color: Black
    Bridge: Bloodwood and Ebony w/tail-stop
    Tuners: Ultralites
    Truss rod: two-way adjustable
    Fretless(24 position/lines) - Bloodwood lines
    Output: 1/4" Face mount

    Pickups: Nordstrand dual coils(for wood covers)
    Pickup covers: Walnut covers
    Preamp: Nordstrand 2b-4c
    Controls: (4) volume(pull passive), blend, tone, treble/bass (stack)
    Switches: (2) 3-way switch for each pickup

    First Look down the fingerboard and at body:
    zz38-1.JPG zz38-2.JPG

    She's gonna be a beauty!
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Welcome to Talkbass! Cool first post.:thumbsup:
    RyanOh and Chuck Heuser like this.
  3. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    Hey, I know that guy!
    TinIndian, Shaggai, Stumbo and 5 others like this.
  4. RyanOh

    RyanOh Gold Supporting Member

    Welcome and thanks for sharing your build photos. I was lucky to find a pre-owned CB 4 string D bass in the past year and absolutely love it.

    People come up to me every time I'm playing the Bordwell and ask about it. Only problem I have is they are drooling all over me as they ogle. Build quality and workmanship is among the best out there, but you already know that.

    Good luck with the build!
    Stumbo and Chuck Heuser like this.
  5. TapyTap


    Apr 26, 2005
  6. I love build threads. Subscribed!
  7. Beautiful start! Can't wait to see the rest!
  8. who


    Apr 20, 2007
    Washington DC
    Can I ask what made you decide to go with the 37" scale?
    Chuck Heuser likes this.
  9. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019
    I have been getting more and more use to 36" to 38" scale basses (super long scale). I'm a lanky guy, with long arms and fingers...I have a Carl Thompson 38" Scale 6 string fretless...Cliff built me a 32" short scale bass (fretted) about 2 years ago and was very helpful when I acquired the CT bass...the 38" scale has a saddle and string through body, which required custom strings => 41 inches from ball to taper. Between switching from 32 to 38, such a drastic shift...the 34" felt more and more uncomfortable.

    I wanted to build a similar bass with Cliff and see what his interpretation would be. I also notice my B string sounds a lot rounder and cleaner with longer scale basses, especially on the long scale 5 and 6 strings...the 38 just feels comfortable to me, so why not try a 37" scale...

    also, one less might make it easier to find strings...hahaha

    Thanks for the question!
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
    TinIndian, raal, who and 3 others like this.
  10. who


    Apr 20, 2007
    Washington DC
    Thank you for the in-depth answer. Sounds like a very well thought-out decision. On your 38" CT, do you ever play notes on the B string above the 12th fret? I find that area of the fingerboard to be fairly unusable on a 34" or even 35" scale instrument, and I'm wondering if the longer scale length helps at all with that.
  11. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019
    The B is extremely clean from open to 19, but because of the width of the neck, it can be really hard to reach 22 to 24 without shifting the hand and reaching inward, but it's pronounced and cuts through the mix...not muddy....

    I play a very light gauge string (.120, .100, .080,.060,.040,.025) on that bass, so that also helps. From what I understand (and have read here on TalkBass), it's the tension of the string on the longer scale, that makes it cleaner/clearer....

    I also had the fretboard sealed with a thin layer of epoxy (I play nickel roundwounds), so it minimizes the chewing of the board. It kinda gives the B a very nice elastic and rubbery sound as it "bounces" off the board when I slap it....finger style, it reminds me of a super heavy gauge "E" (like on a standard 4 string)....I work the B in the upper and lower registers quite a bit.

    You can actually see the penny reflecting off the epoxied board:

    50458235_10219057053963772_2560885674853007360_n.jpg 50498019_10219057054243779_2299365507041591296_n.jpg
    Thanks again!
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
    who likes this.
  12. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019
    Build Update...Cliff sent a pic of the fingerboard.
    Bloodwood lines and side stripes.

    The side stripes will be a bit less, they are just over sized for the gluing process...I'm digging it.
  13. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Chuck Heuser likes this.
  14. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019
    Start of the bridge...
    scottm likes this.
  15. scottm

    scottm Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2005
    Subscribed, congratulations!
    It looks like it’s going to be a killer looking bass!

    Chuck Heuser likes this.
  16. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019
    Cliff sent another bridge update...done on the mill today
    scottm and TolerancEJ like this.
  17. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019
    Latest update from Cliff....she's starting to come together
  18. scottm

    scottm Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2005
    Wow! Nice.

  19. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019
    Update from my man Cliff, he's got her all drilled out...
    Trouztrouz and scottm like this.
  20. Chuck Heuser

    Chuck Heuser

    Oct 1, 2019
    Thanks for the comments and questions! Quick update from Cliff, she's on the sanding table today...
    18090.jpeg 18091.jpeg
    scottm and Joshua like this.

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