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Custom 5 String Fretless Build Thread

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mfbolton, Mar 24, 2013.


  1. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    I sold off a few basses that I was no longer using/needing, and have decided to pursue a 5 string fretless. I contacted a friend of mine who is a local tech/luthier, and he agreed to help me build a custom bass. (His blog here: Wire & Wood)

    After discussing timing and pricing, we decided that a handmade neck was not our best option. So I ordered a Wenge/Ebony, unlined neck from Warmoth, with their 3+2 headstock shape. It should be here in another 3-4 weeks.

    I also ordered a TransTone bridge from Hipshot in black and it came in this week. Looks great!

    IMAG0214_zps4337add1.

    I am still debating some of the other hardware and electronics. I am thinking Gotoh tuners, with maybe a Hipshot detuner (depending on which tuning I decide to use). I have also been leaning towards Delano pickups, and maybe a Glockenkang preamp. Other passive is not out of the running either.

    For the body, Grant is going to build me a custom single cut shape. Most likely partial hollow. We are currently discussing various woods, but he has some nice Goncalo Alves I am liking for the body, with some beautiful quilt Maple for a top.

    I will continue to share progress as it happens.

    Thoughts and comments are always appreciated!
     
  2. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    Ordered a few more items for the bass today. Some black Gotoh tuners, a pair of Delano SBC 5 HE/S pickups, a Glockenkang preamp, and some black knobs for it.

    Very excited about this electronics setup for my fretless! Should sound amazing.

    Will post more pictures as items arrive.
     
  3. Ian_Flash

    Ian_Flash

    Jan 17, 2013
    Glockenklang/Delano combo is exlt choice. THE MOST transparent pre-amp I ever heard. Will work well with G. Alves as well. How thick is the Maple top?
     
  4. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    We haven't decided on the exact specs on the body yet, just some of the basics.
     
  5. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    Received several more parts over the weekend.

    Gotoh Tuners
    IMAG0218_zpscc147583.

    Control Knobs
    IMAG0219_zps2aa70ede.

    Pickup Boxes
    IMAG0220_zpscad8135c.

    Delano Pickup
    IMAG0221_zps1ef6044f.

    Preamp Box
    IMAG0222_zps3082bc24.

    Glockenkang Preamp
    IMAG0223_zps4f98ba17.


    Order came in exactly correct from BestBassGear.com. Great transaction, I highly recommend them.

    My neck from Warmoth should arrive on Wednesday.

    Then the fun begins!
     
  6. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    My neck from Warmoth showed up today. It looks amazing! There is a little bit of figuring/streaks on the Ebony fingerboard, which is what I was hoping for. Didn't want to pay extra for figuring, so this worked out great.

    Front
    IMAG0224_zps62710432.

    Close Up of Ebony Fingerboard
    IMAG0225_zpsd3670ec3.

    Back
    IMAG0226_zpsaf4b7e7c.

    Close Up of Wenge
    IMAG0227_zps8a8acb1e.


    I have had several Wenge necks from a couple manufacturers, this is the nicest piece of Wenge I've had by far. Super smooth, and gorgeous.

    Can't wait to start the build!
     
  7. 77stingray

    77stingray Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    Atlanta
    Nice choices I've always wanted to try delano pickups! What it the body?
     
  8. 77stingray

    77stingray Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    Atlanta
    Nice choices I've always wanted to try delano pickups!
     
  9. Cool, another Warmoth project at work.
    Mine is PJ5 fretless, Nordstrand NP5 and BigSplit in 70s position.
    Hipshot through-body, 3+2 headstock, ebony lined fretless.
    Neck and body are both hard maple.

    I am amazed at the quality of the Warmoth workmanship. Superb.
     
  10. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    Here are some of the pieces. Met with Grant this evening, and got the basics worked out. A chambered Goncalo Alves body, with a Quilt Maple top. He will be working on a sketch of the body, and will get started building when that is finalized.

    IMAG0294_zpsa37d30b1.
     
  11. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    Have I mentioned that I'm super stoked about this project!
     
  12. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    First pass at body design. I love it! There may be a few small tweaks, but this is the essence of what it will look like.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    After debating tunings with myself for awhile, I've settled on BEADG (at least for now). That said, I ordered some D'Addario Black Nylon Tapewound strings to go on this build.
     
  14. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    No real updates on the bass itself. But I did get the case I ordered for the bass. It is a Gator Commander Series Gig Bag. I am really pleased with it. Looks great, and has tons of useful pockets. Plus it looks to be tough, protective, and has a rain cover.

    Hopefully I'll have some updates on the bass soon!
     

    Attached Files:

  15. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    Sounds like she's gonna be a sweet bass!! Can't wait for further updates!
     
  16. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    Body has been rough cut.

    roughcut_zpsd93bf4cd.
     
  17. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    Every time I look at that latest picture, I can't help but grin ear to ear. This is going to look and sound killer!
     
  18. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    Grant has finished the primary sanding. Bass is looking amazing!

    sanded1_zpsbde832ee.

    sanded2_zpsfe02d493.
     
  19. mfbolton

    mfbolton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 30, 2007
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Owner - MFB Enterprises, Craftsman - Notlob Basses
    After some delays (due to the arrival of a baby and a move), Grant has started working again. Neck and body are now attached. He will mount the bridge soon and I'll go over for a feel test.

    IMG_8920_zps8a340bc9.

    The material on the bottom side of the neck will be removed.
     
  20. RebopBass

    RebopBass

    Jan 26, 2013
    Belgium
    Nice, love the body shape and wood choices! What will be the pickup placement ?
     

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