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completing the spec for a design

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Skywalker83, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Ok so i've started designing my first custom single cut 5 stringer and whilst i'm very sure about alot of the aspects i would like about it there are a few areas that i would like some information/advice/help on.

    The spec so far:

    5 string - Single cut - Bolt on

    Body - Bookmatched flamed maple top with honey violin

    Flamed maple back, natural colour no stain.

    Neck - Ovangkol with a Wenge fingerboard

    As i player i play a whole range of styles from , pop through to jazz, funk, blues, reggae etc. So i'm looking for a combination of woods that would allow a good range of tones. I have used the flamed maple because it's good for bringing out the lower tones, but i would like to add another wood to the body (a dark wood) that will bring out some of the mids and higher range that i need for when playing slapping and popping lines.

    Can anyone suggest a good wood to go between the flamed maple front and back of the body?

    Hardware wise im going for gold hardware, Hipshot tuners, gold fret wire.

    Nut...im not sure about, i dont want a brass nut, it gives off too much of a "clanky" sound in my opinion.

    Can anyone suggest a good Nut? I was thinking of just doing a hardwood nut.


    My way of thinking for this project is the same as Michael Tobias' way of thinking, that the electronics should be as transparent as possible to allow the natural sound of the wood to come through.

    Something simple with perhaps a mid and bass boost/cut control.

    Any suggestions?

    All input , suggestions are appreciated and more than welcome.
  2. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    is this your first neck build?

    what's your woodworking skills?

    I ask simply because you're noting a 5-string single-cut bolt-on - quite possibly one of the most difficult neck builds to get the rear contours correct on.

    not to knock the wind outta your sails, but I'd wait to build a single-cut bolt-on neck until you have a few double-cut necks under your belt. with this experience you'll have had opportunity to build your spokeshave skills to the place where the significant challenge of shaping the neck to body join will be of reasonable difficulty.

    all the best on a successful project,

  3. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    I would agree with Rodent on the difficulty of the neck contours. Of course, if you have plenty of woodworking experience and/or are very confident, go for it.

    In my opinion, the wood doesn't affect the tone/sound nearly as much as playing style, pickups/electronics and scale length do. Again, just my opinion...

    You should be fine with a hardwood nut. Rosewood, cocobolo, ebony and pau ferro have all worked well for me.

    Not too much to recommend on the electronics. I think making them simple/"transparent" is a great idea.

    The only other thing I would recommend is to use quartersawn wood for the neck. You can prevent a lot of potential twist and bow with good quartersawn wood, especially with five strings and above.

    Enjoy your build!
  4. Hey guys thanks for the replies.

    I'm not planing on doing the build myself, i'm just planning on doing the designing. Then giving the design to a luthier to build.I have spoken to a couple of local(ish) luthiers who have said that if i want i can be "involved" in aspects the build as i do have woodworking skills, upto a point.

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