Custom Rockin' Growly 5-String

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by eViL cAkE, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. eViL cAkE

    eViL cAkE Guest

    Sep 6, 2001
    Just East of Dallas

    I'm in the conceptualizing stage of designing a custom 5-string bass.

    Tone-wise, I'm wanting mostly aggressive, growly upper-mids to cut through a loud rock band. Ofcourse, I also want plenty of low end punch and some tasty high end "sparkle", but I definately want "growly" mids to be the dominant tembral characteristic. Oh yeah, just a reminder, it is a 5-string, so B-string balance is an issue as well.

    Anyway, I'm mainly focusing on the wood combination for this bass for right now. So far, I have two similar tone wood combinations in mind;

    Bubinga Neck+Ebony Fingerboard+Ash Body


    Wenge Neck+Ebony Fingerboard+Ash Body

    If any wood officionados out there could compare and contrast the likely tembral charactiristics of these two wood combinations, or give me alternative suggestions on getting the tone that I'm after, I would appreciate it.

    Thank you, :bassist:
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I heard it many times that bubinga is not rigid enough for a neck, and it's not recommended.
    How's about wenge with bubinga laminates?

    I'm going for a somwhat similar tone, and my bass will be: ash back with bubinga top, wenge veneer between them; wenge-bubinga neck with ebony board.
  3. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    My two cents on the matter:

    First off, bubinga is IMO a viable neck material in terms of stiffness...the weight is the main liability.

    If growly midrange action is what you're after, I would suggest a different wood than ebony for the fingerboard.
    In my modest experience, ebony contributes an extended, 'glassy' high end, and clear bass, but the midrange is often "dry" and a little scooped sounding.

    For more midrange heavy tones, I've had good luck with wenge boards (a natural with a wenge neck), or Pau Ferro, which is hard, durable, beautiful, and relatively cheap. We build almost all the Veillette fretless basses with Pau Ferro, and its strong midrange growl is one of the reasons.

    I think a Wenge neck and ash body is a great combo.

  4. Bubinga body
    ovankol neck
    wenge fretboard

    standard corvette specks, *roar*
  5. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    that be pretty killer. strong and good looking, and good sounding too.... if not a bit on the heavy side, but the denser the better: more sustain :D
  6. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yeah and 4,3 kgs, standard spec for a 6 :meh:
    That's why I'm building a new bass.
  7. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    What about african walnut body, wenge neck, and wenge fretboard? that's what I'm doing on my 5 I think.