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First bass build: Looking for feedback

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by BassAv8r, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. So after extensive searching of this forum along with MIMF and various books, I have begun making my first bass.

    It is a two-piece mahogany body with bookmatched AAA maple top. The body design is my own and was intended to be fairly ergonomic yet simple. I realize that the scroll on the upper bout may seem like a knockoff of the CT et al. design, but I just had to have it to satisfy my G.A.S. for that look. The bolt-on, fretless neck with ebony fingerboard is coming from Carvin and will be have a custom headstock design. I already have a Hipshot "B" bridge (through body stringing) for it, and I will be using Gotoh tuners and Carvin's active/passive electronics. All hardware will be black, and the finish will be Tru-Oil.

    I am looking for feedback and help on the following areas:
    1) How does the design look?
    2) What pickups work best for a fretless mwah sound? (Can't afford Barts, but I can afford Basslines, EMG Select, etc.)
    3) What is the easiest way to cutout a paddle headstock that has been laminated with maple veneer with the nut already installed?
    4) Any hints about setting up the fretless neck (ie truss rod tightness, string action, finishing the fingerboard).

    Thanks a million for the expertise in this forum!

    Attached Files:

  2. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    I like it...It's a bit whimsical
  3. jamiedunce


    Jan 21, 2005
    wow! I love that shape! cant wait to see it when its finished!

    Well done
  4. Thanks! I wasn't sure about the design at first, but after I saw it cutout on my practice template I was pleased.

    I should have the neck this week and will post pics when I get it fitted. I still have some concerns as to how the neck pocket will turn out - mainly the portion of the body that sits under the neck and transitions the neck to the body. I left this part unshaped (that's why it looks funny) so that I could have flexibility with the neck position and so that I could shape it as necessary to allow easy access to the upper frets.
  5. 1) I think the design is great.
    2) I'd go with the EMG's.
    3) Bandsaw should do 'er. If the veneer is on there well, it shouldn't be a problem. The nut shouldn't be either. If it is, take it off.
    4) Truss rods is truss rods and necks is necks. Each one is different. As far as the action goes: the lower the better. Regarding the finish: I think that depends on what kind of wood you're using.
  6. Thanks for the input! I think I might try using 2 emg-HZ's. In regard to the fretless neck setup, I think I'll just have to play with it a little to get it to sound the way that I want. I still am uncertain about whether I need to leave the ebony fingerboard alone or to put something on it to protect it...
  7. Very Nice!
  8. I haven't worked with ebony yet. I know it's come up before, but if you can't find anything, the person to talk to is Hambone.
  9. Hambone, if you're watching this thread, do you have any suggestions on whether I need to finish the ebony fingerboard or not?

  10. If it's high grade ebony, you might only have to finish with fine abrasives and then polish it. If it's the ebony I can afford, I usually sand to 600 grit, then steel wool real smooth before either dyeing and then using teak oil as a finish or just the teak oil (Watco) if I want the colors to show up. The teak oil gives the ebony a very nice sheen - almost like polishing but no hint of waxiness or oiliness. It doesn't even build up.

    But I would think that most of the FB's you would get from LMI or others would be good enough not to have to do too much to them. I haven't ordered from them so my experience with their product is nil. I tend to make do with what would be considered lower grade materials.
  11. Thanks for the wise council as usual, Hambone. Since it's coming from Carvin, I assume that the ebony is of decent quality. So I'll probably try polishing to a shine, then if that doesn't work, try the teak oil.
  12. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    you mean REAL ebony vs SEARS ebony ?
  13. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I get all of my fb's from LMI and they are all high grade stuff. the gaboon ebony is black as night. the macassar looks nice and streaky.
  14. Oh, this is a different case altogether. The Carvin pieces are finish ground with diamond abrasives and they are really, really nice. You probably won't have to do anything but rub it down with a little steel wool before the gloss blinds you.
  15. Awesome! I wasn't quite sure what to expect from them, but now I know. The neck should arrive sometime this week (it has taken them three weeks to build it). So hopefully I'll have some pics soon.
  16. Pardon my dredging this thread out of the 10th page, but I finished this bass and thought I'd post some pics and a question. The pics are below and the question is as follows: What would cause my E string to significantly lack sustain while all of the others will ring for days? Could it be the break angle at the nut? Maybe the fact that the low E string is a .100 (D'Addario Chrome)?

    Attached Files:

  17. Here's a couple more...

    Attached Files:

  18. I once bought a set of D'Addario's that had this exact problem with the E string. I contacted the factory and got a response from Mr. D'Addario hisself! He explained that they use an oil in the winding process that is usually baked off at the the end of the production line but sometimes this step isn't complete or gets missed altogether. His advice was to put that string in the oven at over 400º for about 30 minutes and it should be fine. I did as he said and that was the solution.

    Give it a try. If not, give them a call and see if they'll drop you a new one in the mail.

    BTW, did you know that Carvin offered that neck with a paddle headstock to cut your own design?

  19. Yes. GRRRR...... In fact, the one that I originally ordered was with the paddle headstock. They told me that it would take 3 weeks to build. I said fine. Three weeks rolled around and they said it would take another week to ship. I waited another week. I then called again only to find that they had messed something up in the guitar shop and needed to do a rebuild on the neck that they were making for me. This, I was told would take another 2-3 weeks. At this point, I was already done with everything else for the bass and was pretty ticked off with their customer service as a whole (long story). I was ready to tell them where they could stick the neck when, fortunately, I was able to talk with the customer service supervisor who said that they could immediately ship one with the pre-shaped headstock. I thought about it and decided that their design was fairly close to the one that I had in mind, so I had it shipped. Oh well. I figure that there are many basses out there that imitate the Fender, Sadowsky, et al headstock, so why not use the carvin design? :eyebrow:
  20. tekhna


    Nov 7, 2004
    I see all these really high quality first builds around here, and it drives to such jealous agony!
    Great work.
    Did you have a lot of prior woodworking skill, or was this a first attempt?