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First Build - Maple Bloodwood Fretless

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pi_r_squared, Aug 2, 2012.


  1. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    I actually searched to see if the rookie build posts were typically put in the "Luthier's Corner" section. I guess that's the norm, although I don't consider myself even a little bit of a luthier, more like a "guy who built something that looks a little like a bass in my garage".

    I actually wanted a fretless, and NOT having to do the fretwork seemed like a HUGE bonus for a first timer.

    Built this from scratch (almost, someone else can decide if I cheated). I did purchase a piece of bloodwood roughcut to size to use as a fretboard.......ok, I bought 2, in case I screwed the first one up.


    First pic is the pile of 1x2's and a 1x6 I picked out at Home Depot.

    Not sure why, but rather than glue the neck up then taper it, I decided to taper all 4 pieces that make up the neck. Something about leaving the extreme fibers intact I suppose, but mostly because I could do it with a table saw.

    second pic shows the taper jig, feather board and the 4 tapered neck pieces prior to gluing.
     

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  2. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    Next 2 pics are gluing the neck, and gluing on the pieces to widen the headstock (maybe a proper name for those, I suppose, it's beyond me.

    Not sure how to insert images now, rather than just attach them :meh:

    Next time I think I'll find a couple pieces of angle iron or something to clamp the neck.......took WAY to long to sand out the waviness from clamping :meh:
     

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  3. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    Neck roughed out and templates for the wings glued to the faces of maple 1x6's

    Used a hole saw to cut the control cavity in the back half of the bottom......also routed a passage from there to (sort of) where the pickup would end up and sandwiched the routed passage between the front and back half at gluing.

    There's probably some really cool way to keep from filling the passage with glue......but I had to grab a pile of q-tips to clean it out before it dried.
     

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  4. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    Gluing each of the wings together.

    Realizing that I just filled the wiring passage with glue is what sent me running for the aforementioned q-tips.

    Glued and rough-cut wings with the roughed-out neck.
     

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  5. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    Wings with the edges rounded.

    I think this is before I got a larger radius router bit.

    and the wings glued to the neck.
     

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  6. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    I'm missing a batch of pics somewhere, from routing the truss-rod, pick-up cavity, gluing on the fretboard, tons of sanding, etc.......but fast forward a little.....

    I had to "soften" the corners at the tops of the holes I drilled for the pickup cavity prior to routing the cavity. The drill bit I used really tore up the surface around the holes.

    Anyhow....a ton of sanding later.....free-handed the fretboard radius and checked it with a cardboard template. Picked something between 14" and 16" because that's what the bridge measured.
     

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  7. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    Roughed out headstock.

    (template for routing the pickup cavity in the background)

    It got WAY to small by the time I got done with the transition to the neck :eek:

    I wanted it to be fairly short, for the offset (rather than angled) headstock, so the string angle might be steep enough that I could avoid needing a string tree.

    Mostly did the offset headstock because the scarf joint scared the pbbbbbt outa me.....and it might not have been possible to do the scarf joint with the neck being tapered from the time it was glued together?? (not sure, my head explodes if I try to picture cutting a scarf joint AFTER the neck is tapered :help: )




    .....and the headstock shape I decided on......HATED IT.....kept reminding me of a pac-man ghost :meh:
     

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  8. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    With a coat or 2 of tung oil, hanging outside to dry...


    and the position markers on the side of the fretboard (fingerboard? on a fretless? maybe? I dunno)

    Drilled and filled the markers....next time I either need different bits, or I gonna use stick-on ones. The larger ones really tried to tear up the grain in the bloodwood.
     

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  9. Looking good! Subbed.
     
  10. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    Completed pic.

    Ended up with A LOT more body south of the bridge than I planned on......still trying to figure out how I managed to get the wings a couple inches too low :meh:

    seems it might be related to the problem I had with the headstock getting way shorter than I had intended.

    Just the jack and the volume pot for now, until I can find a jack plate that has a compound bend in it to fit the big radius on the edge of the body. If I can find one, the jack on the front will probably get replaced with a tone pot.
     

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  11. neren

    neren

    Jun 5, 2012
    Eugene, Oregon
    WOW! Beautiful bass. Great job.
     
  12. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    Back side of the body.

    Electronics cover cut out of a plastic kitchen trash bin.....pretty sure I saw someone on here do that, can't remember who.

    ....and the headstock (shrug)......tweaked it a little, figure asymmetrical might make me warm up to it a little......I don't hate it anymore. I'm generally happy with the body, but in comparison, the headstock brings to mind something I might have made at camp as a kid :meh:
     

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  13. pi_r_squared

    pi_r_squared

    Sep 3, 2008
    Wanted to show the transitions from the neck to the headstock and the body.

    They ended up looking a lot more "organic"?? than I had intended......maybe due to not having a plan for how to shape it before I started. I quit sooner than I should have at the body, but I was getting scared that I would get carried away with the belt sander and whittle too much away.

    Anyway...played it the other night.....still not sure if I like it because I actually like it, or if it's something "only a mother could love"

    The body is pretty diminutive, but I wanted to be able to build it with wood I could get at the local lumber yard (1x6 max).

    It weighs just under 8 lbs, I still want to try messing with some ballast in the bottom half of the electronics cavity.....see what I can do with the cg.
     

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