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DeMars Guitars, take 2

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dan D, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    LajoieT properly chastised me for a naive mistake on my part regarding my first posted message on TalkBass. I joined TalkBass just that day and didn't realize that I was violating some protocol on the use of the Forum by not overtly identifying myself. I guess I was trying not to make it a blatant commercial plug on my part and instead keeping it rather low-key. Lesson learned. :oops: Thanks to LajoieT for calling it to my attention - and for the nice words on my new bass.


    There are photos from our recent launch at NAMM posted on our website. Feel free to take a glance: http://www.demarsguitars.com/news/nammpic2006.html

    Your opinions/thoughts/etc. on these instruments, are certainly welcome.


    DeMars Guitars
    Norwich VT

    Attached Files:

  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Neck Piezo sounds like an interesting idea...Care to elaborate on your experiences with it?
  3. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    For the 30+ years I've been playing, I've heard luthiers/players speak of the effect of the neck on tone, specifically the contributions of different woods, both fingerboard wood and neck wood. Maple sounds different from ebony which sounds different than mahogany which sounds different than [insert material here]. I've always wondered, "Well, why not capture it?"

    There is a wonderful quote from Phil Kubicki in the great book, "American Basses" (page 110) that reinforced my theory about the influence of the neck on an instrument's tone. He noted that indeed the neck vibrates too:
    "Since the neck is a lot less massive than the body, it can vibrate easily and more freely in response to string motion than the body can. This means the neck acts as an exposed acoustical brace with the strings, much like the tines of a tuning fork.”

    Fortunately when I was exploring what components to use for my designs, I discovered the dime-sized BigShot piezo transducer (by K&K Sound http://www.kksound.com, who also makes our dual-channel onboard preamp). When we built the prototype, I had confidence that the piezo at the neck heel would indeed be able to capture such vibrations. The result: it captures a really great resonance: alone it almost sounds like a warm archtop instrument. The undersaddle bridge piezo sounds like you would expect it to, well-balanced yet somewhat bright (note: the brightness can be easily tamed via that channel's onboard 3-band EQ or at your amp). The addition of the piezo at the neck heel to the undersaddle transducer produces a full, almost 3-D, sound; it's difficult to describe, but those who played either the guitar or bass at NAMM experienced it.

    The potential downside is that if the piezo at the neck heel is cranked to the max, it can capture some left-hand "noise", but that is easily taken care of by attenuating the volume of that pickup without affecting its "musical" contribution. In addition to the sonic contributions described above, an unexpected upside is that several guys at our NAMM booth were playing funk/slap on the bass and raving about the fact that they were FINALLY able to capture the click/percussion they'd always wanted to hear, due primarily to the transducer located at the neck heel.

    Thanks for the question; I hope that explains it adequately.
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    That's very interesting...It makes sense to me, as a player who prefers the neck position tone to the bridge. It always seemed that bridge pickups are a bit too focused and lack some of the depth that you find up the string.

    If you take your comment a bit further, about the neck as a 'tuning fork' and what we know about neck resonances (ie. deadspots, etc)...does this mean that you've got to think about 'tuning' your necks tonally? If so, how do you go about finding a 'base' resonance that works with the instrument across the board and down the neck? Also, as you commented on neck woods, how does construction effect what you're doing (flat or quarter sawn, trussrod elements or other 'stiffeners' that are inherent in bass building)?
  5. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    Good points...

    As for the neck construction, it is 3-piece quartersawn rock maple, with alternating grain for structural stability. No graphite rod inserts or anything. We use the dual-action trussrod from LMI on both the guitar and bass, adjustable at the headstock.

    The 3-piece maple also gives incredible inherent strength to the integrated 13-degree pitchback headstock (it's not spliced/glued on, but the same wood as the neck), which provides adequate downward pressure on the TUSQ nut. The fingerboard is either fretted Indian rosewood or fretless ebony. Nothing weird or exotic - just top-quality materials that are proven and that players like. Incidentally, the truss rod cover is the same shape as the headstock...a neat little design detail that keeps the lines parallel. :cool:

    The determination of the neck's resonant frequencies, etc., is a bit beyond the scope of what I wanted to determine (or analyze), but I can report that there is no phase cancellation between the two pickups, which was one concern I had at the start. Since these instruments don't "move air" or have vibrating tops, the piezo at the neck heel provides an "icing on the cake" to a reliable under-saddle transducer arrangement. All in all, the second piezo in fact indeed does what I had hoped, in an instrument that I hope is pleasing to both the player's eye and the ear. :bassist:
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Again thinking about the tuning fork comparison, why not put a pickup at the headstock?
  7. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    Cool idea, bongomania! :D

    Extending the tuning fork analogy, there should be even more amplitude at the headstock! I'll bet there'd be more fretting hand "noise" (noted in one of my previous posts here) and who knows what effect the tuners and other hardware would have. Plus you'd have to run the transducer wire all the way down inside the neck. The neck heel was a fairly safe and benign place for the second transducer on my instruments.

    Yours is a neat idea though!
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Hi, Dan. Welcome to TB.

    Be forewarned,however, this thread will eventually be closed, since manufacturers/builders/etc. are not allowed to start a thread to promote their goods. (Even if they do identify themselves properly.)

    However, while the thread is open (and since I would not personally be opposed to any new manufacturer being allowed just one self-promoting thread!) let me ask:

    So, this is an electric, with some chambering, but built to resemble an acoustic, and with a version of acoustic-style electronics. Right? Looks nice.

    Where are the instruments built?
  9. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    Hi Peter -

    Thanks for the words of warning. Not trying to promote my stuff here, just answering questions. If this is looking in any way self-promotional, I'd be happy to take it off-line and exchange emails (or PMs) with any interested parties. I'm very interested in remaining an active (and tactful) member or the TB forum.

    You're correct about the design/intent of the instruments. These are indeed chambered solid-body acoustic/electric instruments that require amplification. And look/sound like an acoustic instrument.

    With the exception of the Gotoh compact bass tuners (Japan) all parts, woods and components are sourced in the US and the design/construction/assembly is totally US as well. No interest at all in having an instrument built offshore.
  10. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    I think this thread should be kept open, commerical users are allowed to post threads asking for feedback from users, this is really just a feedback thread. Your ideas are really cool and that soundhole is a good way to get recognised. All the best of luck to you.
  11. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    You say that this bass doesn't "move air" so why are you using a hollowbody which is more prone to feedback?
  12. wow!
    that is a really cool bass!
    Clever soundhole too!
  13. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    An answer to tplyons:

    It's not a hollowbodied instrument. The top is glued directly onto the solid body and doesn't vibrate. Ergo, no feedback. The solid body has a few small chambers routed out before the top is applied, all essentially to lessen the weight of the body: one in each upper bout (toward the neck), one under the strumming arm and one under the "soundhole". What is captured by the pickups is the effect of the vibrating strings (and to a smaller degree, the effect of the neck, as described previously), not the vibrating top.

    Hope that makes sense.
  14. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    So it's NOT the ABG it looks like? Wow, I've been had ;)
  15. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    Gee, I hope not! :) I guess the "A" in ABG has a very loose interpretation! That's why I called my guitar and bass "chambered solid-body acoustic/electric" instruments.

    Good question, though!
  16. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    beautiful bass!

    I would love to hear sound clip.
  17. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Great looking bass, any chances on doing a 5 or 6 string?
  18. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Hey Dan, great stuff. You either have an awesome PR machine behind you or you are really on to something special. To get all those bass heavy-weights to show up to your booth and pose for pics, good for you!!! Awsome!

    Hey... best of luck to you. I look forward to hearing your basses. Please post some MP3's. I'll bet a lot of guys are interested in hearing them.
  19. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    Thanks for the good words. I can assure you that there is no "awesome PR machine" - just me sitting in front of a laptop in rural Vermont. :) The guys who visited the booth are indeed legends and I am grateful that they took the time from their busy days to give my instruments a workout at NAMM.

    No mp3s (or videoclips) available yet. Not sure how useful they'd be, though. I'd rather that the player hears HIS/HER own music on my instruments than someone else's - that's the real test. It's an interesting idea and I'll give it some thought.

    As for a 5- or 6-string bass, both would require a redesign of the headstock, since adequate space is required for the additional tuners. I will probably consider both revisions later in the year, but I'll have to gauge the market appeal of the 4-string first.