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Fanned 5

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Al Heeley, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. A new project is brewing. I want to put together a fanned-fret 5-string, low E to high C, 34.5" scale for the low E up to 32.5" scale for the C. 46mm nut, some wood left over from previous builds include some nice sawn and planed maple for a bolt-on neck, and a mahogany-zebrano sandwich body.
    Here's first plan sketch
  2. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Looks nice...exactly like a Dingwall. ;)
  3. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Westchester County NY
    Sorry, Al, you have to finish the Ricky first!!! We want more posts on the Ricky.

    (Nice sketch.)
  4. Heh..! The likeness to a dingwall is not actually intended (but they are such a sexy instrument..), I actually traced the body shape from my Warmoth Gecko then added the tail indent to follow the lines of the sloping bridge.
    The Ric is nearly there, got the bridge pup routed now and the final hardware arrived- the chrome mount ring and pup cover for the bridge. So now its s l o w l y finishing the top varnish then I can glue on the fretboard and finish her off. I got impatient waiting for the final coats to dry so I thought I might as well start work on the next harem member.:)
  5. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I, too, noticed the similarity to Dingwalls...

    Looks like it's going to be a fun project, though :) subscribed!
  6. Started work on the fanned 5 body this morning. Here's the shape copied onto Simo's Sapele, I sandwiched a thin veneer of white wood into the join, which adds a nice centre-line mark and also helps to hide any of my bad jointing.
    Here's the basic body shape jigsawed out, sanded smooth and some countouring started.
  7. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    Very nice and I think it looks like a Dingwall too. You do make lovely basses!
  8. Thx uncle! Trying to decide on pickups; I'm thinking of a single musicman type humbucker for a 5 string for this bass. Any comments or suggestions?
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I'm thinking a tilted MM type will leave something to be desired as far as polepiece position vs. strings.
  10. this is going to be a killer bass! the body is just gorgeous!
  11. That was a concern of mine too, Pilot. However, by tilting the pickup angle thru about 20 degrees, you move the outer pole pieces no more than about 2.5mm closer to the centre. The 2 nad 4 position ones will hardly move at all. I reckon there's enough dispersion in the magnetic flux fields to get away with that, especially if I make the string spacing a tiny bit closer than a standard 5-string Stingray.
  12. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    I would NOT use a MM style pickup in any slanted config. Use 2 jazz pups right against each other instead, you can align the magnets much better that way and it should sound similiar.
  13. Does it have to be slanted, other than for aesthetic reasons? Am I risking introducing a tonal inbalance due to the pickup falling under different nodes to the treble strings, due to the scale spread? I think the Novax basses use perpendicular pickups, but the Dingwalls use them slanted. Maybe the tone variation from this is only apparent to superhumans with perfect hearing. Those who can talk to bats and listen into conversations with blue whales across the depths of the pacific trenches.
  14. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    The node thing is inconsequential, since the nodes of a string will move whenever you fret a note. The problem that might arise is that a non-slanted pickup will be closer to the bridge on the treble side and farther away on the bass side, which would be similar to having a bridge pickup on the high strings and a middle pickup on the low strings. This will usually accentuate the highs and high mid "nasal" quality on the high strings, and more mellow highs and more bass on the low strings.

    The actual difference might be negligible. People have used non-slanted pickups on fanned fret instruments, so you might try to find those and see if they notice the uneven sound from string to string.
  15. Here's a close-to-scale drawing of the effects on the pole pieces of a 5-string MM bass pup, both perpendicular and slanted thru 20 degrees.
    The question is, will the pickup still function adequately with this off-centred pole piece alignment?
  16. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I'm just speculating here, but I wonder if there might be some phase problems with that setup. The string would be moving into the magnetic field of the lower coil's magnet precisely as it was moving out of the field of the upper coil's magnet (does that make sense?) It seems like there could be an issue with the two signals combining and canceling out certain frequencies, which would give you a weird, stuck-wah pedal sound. Again, I don't know, just a thought.
  17. THSL


    Jun 3, 2007
    New York, NY
    If you are going to use an MM pickup, I'd recommend keeping it perpendicular to the centerline of the neck...
  18. Jonsbasses


    Oct 21, 2006
    Fort Worth, TX
    Builder: Jon's Basses
    Yep, you can only get a few degrees of slant out of dual coil pickups. 20 is a bit too much.
  19. OK, I'll play safe and keep it perpendicular.
  20. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I would recommend Nordstrand pickups, specifically the Fat Stacks or the Big Splits. You can have them "reverse" the pole piece configuration, which will allow you to angle the pickups properly, and still have perfect string coverage. Like this:


    If you place them together you can come fairly close to a MM or P positioning, and still have the option to "split" it to either pickup for tonal variation... I'd also recommend using an Aguilar OBP-1... IIRC, it was originally designed to approximate the original MM Stingray 2-band preamp.

    Just my $0.05 (two cents adjusted for inflation)

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