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Finally, completed... let's say so... (lots of pics)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Frank Martin, Mar 21, 2006.


  1. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Specs:
    • ~3/4" highly figured bubinga pommelé on ~3/4" swamp ash - from Gallery Hardwoods; chamber in the upper butt
    • Wenge/bubinga 5-piece neck; two graphite rods, ebony fb., small frets - made by Sándor Kovács, aka KSP Guitars
    • ABM 3566B bridge
    • LeFay Rough Crystal soapbars; passive circuit with a twist :smug:
    • Adjustable brass nut
    • Hipshot Ultralites
    • Dunlop straplocks
    • Bubinga knobs
    The neck and the neck pocket was made by a luthier, the rest was made by my Father (he wouldn't let me handle power tools, so I was just there guiding and helping)

    Thanks-list:
    Martin Koch's website was quite inspiring - also, many other tutortials, too - see, even I can make a bass! :smug:
    Thanks Larry for the wood! The figure still amazes me (and many others as I see :smug: )
    I'd also like to thank Sándor Kovács for the neck - nice job, well made.
    Initially I just wanted to ask the people at ABM to what spacing their bridge is adjustable, as I couldn't find them anywhere in my country; they told me I can order it directly from them. They also sent me the bridge before I even sent them the money :D Thank you again!
    I got the p-ups from the ebay.de shop elektronikzubehoer - thanks!
    Hipshot Ultralites and TruOil from LMII - thank you!
    My Dad, who actually did most of the things :D

    I would also like to thank all the people here who helped me with their ideas, advice, hints, experiences, encouragement.
    I'd especially like to thank Hambone for all his help; also, Matt of FBB, JP, Geoff, JSPGuitars, Wilser, Jacksonsmen, (and whoever I forgot to add :ninja: )
    Thank you very much guys! :hyper:

    And now for the pics:
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    Copper shielding? No skimping on the material here, copper plates! :D
    Passive wiring: P-ups -> Vol pots (500k log) and series/parallel switch -> Tone pot (250k) and switch: 44nF, 100nF or takes the tone pot out of the circuit -> Transformator: 500 on the primer, 3000 on the secunder. (This is why all this shielding was necessary). Despite being passive, the output is hotter than the active/active Corvette :smug:

    [​IMG]

    Oh and the most important part: the why and the how does it sound/play.
    Being a lefty who likes 6ers in a small European country is not quite a good thing. Might sound funny, but the Corvette 6 was the cheapest lefty 6 available here at the time.
    The aim with this design was to make a bass that is lighter, balances better and has a clearer, brighter tone, but a bit of growl, too - to add a bit of diversity to the Corvette's tone.
    The shape was based off the Corvette (I just simply took a pencil and drew it around :smug: ), and also inpired by Jerzy Drozd and the NS shape.
    Even though the neck was (much) heavier than anticipated (I even had to redesign the bass a bit because of it), it now balances very well. Plays nicely, smoother than the Corvette. The neck feels comfortable, though there are still some things to correct (high frets and stuff).
    And the sound: well, after a few mishaps that were finally corrected yesterday, the short description would be clean, full-bodied highs and versatility. When playing the higher frets, the sound is much fuller than on my other basses. Digging in at the bridge, it gives a nice growl. Sorry, I'm not too good at defining sound.
    That's about it.
    :cool:
     
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Nice job! Congratulations.
     
  3. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    Frank, did you make that???

    :)
     
  4. Beautiful!!! I am inspired once again... I need to get some $$ so's I can start acquiring my pieces and parts...

    Lovely!! Great job!
     
  5. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I really dig the body shape, man!
    Looks well made, too. I'd like to try out some of those pups.
     
  6. yep... shes a looker...

    di you use a premade neck? or did you make that one?
     
  7. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    That bass is absolutely sweet: fantastic job!

    Question: you said the nut is adjustable/brass: did you buy it as such or make it yourself?
     
  8. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Awesome work dude!

    I love the copper plates.
     
  9. teacherguy

    teacherguy

    Feb 21, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    Fantastic job! Love that top!

    Jon
     
  10. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Montréal
    And here I thought I was gonna see something new... :bag:

    Looks great Frank. As has been said before, KILLER top. :)

    p.s. Can I call you Frank?
     
  11. DSB1

    DSB1

    Mar 8, 2006
    I love seeing DIY! Congrats and kudos on your project, it looks really clean and I bet it sounds great :)
     
  12. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Nice work man. I really dig the creative stuff you did with the electronics work. I have messed around with the switchable cap thing but never actually installed one in anything. Very cool.
     
  13. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Thanks for all the kind words! :D :cool:

    Now for your questions:

    I got them from ebay.de - then the pair was going for €105 BIN, whereas the retail was €190.
    Nice touch that they have a radiused top - but the screw holes were a bit crooked, maybe that's why it was cheaper. Two pole-pieces per string at the middle of the p-up.
    The sound: the two p-ups are voiced quite differently (or so it seems to me, of course the location also adds to the effect). The neck p-up has a good P-ish sound; the bridge is tighter and growlier.
    Overall, I really like them, the only things I miss is that they are not available as DC; oh and the sunk-in logo likes to collect dirt, but it's hard to get it out of it...

    No, not yet ;) The neck was made by a luthier; however, my next project is a fretless neck for my Corvette :smug:

    I bought it as such, but it's so simple that my Dad said he can easily make some more. It's a brass bar with screws in it, which had the top (ermm... how to explain... where the flathead screwdriver's tip goes) filed so that strings fit. (There's a bit more machining to it, like the radiusing of the bar's top or cutting in to sink-in the screws, but that's the basics of it)

    Good, good, now they believe it's well done :ninja: :smug:
    Wonder why there are no close-ups? :D
    The finish has those tiny bubbles from dust. The back has marks from the piece of cloth it was lying on when drying the top (thought it already hardened enough). The neck pocket and the p-up routes are uneven, some have a little bit bigger holes. Not to mention that there's some steel wool and glue and sanding residue stuck in the finish in the inaccessible corners of those routes... The knobs got matte and are not as shiny as the body. Etc...
    But for a first, it's good enough, right? ;)

    Actually, it's quite easy - just a switch and a few extra solders, yet makes a lot of difference. With this 3-way switch, I can switch from clean (no pot and no cap) to that traditional Fenderish tone (44nF) or to fat, almost dubby lows (100nF). We've tried some more (we built a similar outboard circuit with an 8-way switch :smug: ), but I thought this was enough; lower values had less impact, higher values were too drastically bleeding the highs (even the 100 is, too).

    Well, since I began this project almost a year ago... :p
    Sure. That's why my username is written so and it's in my sig. If you want to, you can call me Ferenc, too :p :D
     
  14. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Frank....amazing! I lack the words.



    May I ask for a PM with complete specs on the electronics? Being a true mechanic, your setup intreagues me :cool:
     
  15. amazing bass
    very good job!
     
  16. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Thanks for the compliments! :hyper:

    I think I'll post it here, as it might be useful to others, too, and might give some ideas. Sorry, I'm not quite good at electronics, we weren't taught a thing in school, my Dad did the designing and assembly part.

    Basically, it's just a few extras and twists on the same old recipe.
    The core of it is a simple passive V/V/T setup.

    Then there's the series/parallel switching - for which I printed the diagram from TB, but I forgot who posted it. In parallel mode, it doesn't do anything - but in series mode, it connects the bridge p-ups wires to the neck p-ups, so this way the bridge vol is isolated, and the neck vol controls the volume.
    As both p-ups were humbuckers, the difference is not striking, but noticeable. Less lows and highs, stronger mids.

    Next is the switchable Tone pot.
    For this I took the idea from this page:
    http://www.buildyourguitar.com/resources/lemme/index.htm
    With the usual setup, there's one wire going to the pot and the other through a capacitator. Here, there's a 3-way switch before the caps, and to the legs are connected 44 (2x22)nF or the 100nF caps, the third is left open - and it cuts the circuit, taking the tone pot out of it.
    A benefit of this design is that it is possible to change tone quickly, with just the switch.

    Finally: the transformator.
    When I first saw the Villex passive output booster, I was a bit puzzled. "Passive" and "boost" seemed contradictory to me upon first hearing. My Dad had more ideas about it - he said it must be an auto-transformator. He explained that it is just voltage boost, the current and resistance change this way.
    The first step was finding a suitable trafo-iron: it had to be small and with an even frequency range. He operated it out from some audio appliance. Well, as you can see, it barely fit into the cavity, and this was a small one :D
    He then wound the iron. There are 500 on the primer, and 3000 on the secunder of very thin copper wire, and insulation between. With an auto-trafo, the primer goes directly into the secunder, or something.
    With the Villex booster, I read that it boosted the lows and bled a bit of the highs - so that's why I went with 500k pots.
    To improve this design, you can try Litz wire. Oh and 6:1 ratio is a bit high, the output is very hot, maybe even 3:1 would suffice.
    That's about it. :)
     
  17. Shawnost

    Shawnost It's all about the Hamiltons baby! Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Huntersville, NC
    That is one beautiful bass. Great job!

    Shawn
     
  18. I hate to break it to you but you seem to have put the controls on the wrong side of the body?? :meh:

    Only joking... nice bass! :D
     
  19. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Thanks.
    These transformers keep me awake at night... I did learn some things about electronics at school, but it was a certain number of years ago, and I seem to have gotten rid of the electronics books.:scowl:
     
  20. instigata

    instigata

    Feb 24, 2006
    New Jersey
    thats amazing. haha. i'll worry about electronics later.

    for now, i'm going to worry about getting the body down.

    i talked to chris stambaugh yesterday. i gave up on a graphite neck, and i'm going to have stambaugh build me a neck and provide me with a pre-glued body blank :)

    and he may be able to send over some hardware, too.
     

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