Difference between 1 , 2 and 3 pieces bodys

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ComputerPhantom, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. ComputerPhantom


    Nov 20, 2005
    I would like to know whats is the difference between 1, 2 and 3 pieces bodys. In exemple, the Music Man Sting Ray is made with 3 pieces of wood, it is good or bad? Thanks
  2. I would say it isn't good or bad.

    I've played basses with 2, 3, 10, 22, etc piece bodies and I'd have to say that I haven't noticed anything that I could attribute to the number of pieces in the body. The multi-laminate neck-thru multilaminate basses would seem to indicate that it doesn't make much difference. I'm sure that Jean Baudin's Hideous Claw 11 string bass has about 50+ pieces in the body and I haven't heard that there's anything wrong with the sound.
  3. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    In the end it's the cost and availability of the wood needed to make it. For a 1 piece body you need a block of wood around 14 inches wide, 20 inches long and around 2 inches thick. that''s a pretty big tree, and you don't get too many boards that size out of it. On the other hand, a 2 piece body needs 2 boards 7 inches wide with the other dimesions being the same, much smaller boards are available from much smaller trees (or from smaller parts of the larger tree that gave up the 14 inch board, and a 3 piece body needs only 4-5 inch boards, again much more avaliability and generally (all other things being equal) 3-5 inch wide by 20 inch long boards will be cheaper than 1-14 inch wide by 20 inch board.
  4. my brother has 2 CNC machines that operates for his business out of my father's shed.

    my father also has loads of good quality woodworking gear (cabinet maker quality).

    neither of my brothers maches have enough travel in the Y axis to to bass bodies one-piece...but multi-piece (2 or 3 pieces) would be a snap...

    On a side note...
    my brother doesn't know it yet...but he's about to receive some 3D Cad drawings (as soon as a get myself a new computer :crying: )

    I'm going to induct my retired, woodworking father, and my brother into the bass building business...:)

    my father's next-door neighbor is a qualified guitar tech and has attended luthier school...I've seen some of his work that he does, and it is quite good...oh how I wish I was back in the states to pull this all together...but I'll see what I can do from 10,000 miles away :)
  5. I have kinda wondered myself how you attach different pieces of wood together so seamlessly. Do you just glue them?
  6. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004

    You need a jointer or be really good with a plane to make your gluing surfaces perfectly flat, if you don't want your glue line to be visible.
  7. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    And the word "Elmers" should not be in your mind right now... ;)
  8. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I use Titebond. You actually don't need a jointer at all. A decent table saw will get the edges just fine. I have used both, and both ways work fine. On my last bass, I glued up the 2 piece mahogany body after running the sides through the table saw, and the glue line was darn near invisible.

    Just never try to sand the sides, you will mess them up, in fact, you don't wand your glue edges perfectly smooth, just perfectly flat and square.

    The biggest advantage to having, say, a two piece body, is being able to use a 13" planer rather than the double price 15" or belt fed drum sander. But on the other hand, no piece of gear will make you happier than like a 15" drum sander.
  9. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    :eek: not even if it's ProBond?!
  10. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    you dont need 3D CAD drawings to feed into a CNC machine.

    using AlphaCAM to power a 6axis machine, i just need a 2D drawing and AlphaCAM does the rest (by your orders ofcourse).
    i am not sure if that applies to the neck or not, i havent tried that yet. but for the body, you just command the software to route all around at a specified depth. then route pickup cavities at a specified depth etc etc.

    so you dont need 3D. only 2D with all the routing parts and in your CAM software, you specify all sorts of different variables.

    on a side note, the beauty of CNCs is actually feeding the machine a whole block of wood. if you are gonna take 2 or 3 pieces out of your CNC, you might have difficulties and imperfections in the gluing process. then you are defeating the whole purpose of CNC perfection there.

    this is how i am gonna do my 6strings single cut neck through. rectangular blocks of wings, glued to the one piece neck through. one large file of 2D including truss rod routings yada yada yada. the machine just goes through to shape everything from A-Z. cut the body and so on.

    imo, thats an excellent way of utilizing the machine's capacities for our application :)
  11. i understand what you are saying, some of these problems can be worked around by prejoining the wood and carefully selecting join locations...at any rate...CNC could prove quite useful for doing pre-routing for neck pockets and pickups on the center piece, prior to a glue up.
  12. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    your definitely correct!

    i guess that CNC can be quite useful for your necks if it can work pieces of woods that are 90cms long
  13. Just to point out never to say "never" :D ...I've saved my butt a couple of times by being able to jig up a body half on edge so that I could run it over a sanding belt that has been secured to my bench. If I couldn't keep the edge perfectly perpendicular to the face, I would "mirror" match them. The fraction of a degree they might have been angled didn't matter during glue-up.
  14. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Exactly... Use TiteBond. Elmers is too elastic. I've used special epoxy made for wood too... but it tends to creep at the seems.. then you can feel it unless you have a hard finish on the wood.

    The yellow Elmers carpenter glue is the same as Franklin TiteBond.
  15. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    You almost have to have at least two piece body. It's difficult to find very wide boards, and even when I had a wide enough piece of wood, I had to cut it in half to fit in my plainer!

    I made my basses with cherry bodies with book matched tops. I hadn't seen anyone use cherry at the time (early 90's) and it looked nice. I figured it would sound like a warmer maple, and it does. The body was one piece but as I said I cut them into two and then glued them back together. You really can't see the seem. I used an 1/4" purple heart lamination between the top and back, with a two veneers, one maple and one died black wood between the purple heart and the top.

    One thing I find is the number of pieces for the body don't seem to make a difference in sound. But the laminations do tend to tighten the tone up. The more heavily built the bass, the tighter the tone. Something light weight, like swamp ash, korina, polar, or basswood, will have a more resonant sound... not that the tighter toned bass is not resonant.

    I didn't own a table saw, but I had a jointer and a plainer. All my straight sawing was done on a Delta bandsaw with a fence and a resaw blade. Not the best way to do things, but it worked fine. Having a bunch of bar clamps is important too! I actually used this clamp I bought as a kit, that was made from 4 2X4's with metal parts you screwed on. It held the pieces together and the 2X4's also kept them level. They say clamp with enough pressure to keep things tight, but not so tight that you squeeze all the glue out. Personally I never had that happen and I clamp pretty tight. If your clams are too lose you will get an ugly glue seem.
  16. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts

    I was kinda trying for a bit of a joke, refering to the squeeze bottle of white craft glue that everyone who has kids knows so well...
  17. Doesn't the amount of pieces affect the resonance/sustain of a bass kind of like a neck thru vs. a bolt on because of the small gaps between the woods, so the more pieces of body wood there were the less sustain a bass would have? I'm just speculating here.